Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Convention blues: I am old and no fun anymore

I have had a lot of fun running board and card game events at tournaments in and near Houston. I love certain aspects of the hobby, and some of the people. If I'm hosting a game at a convention and the right people show up, BAM total entertainment explosion.

All that being said, I'm not running events right now, and for the near future. It's too jarring. I'm 31, I've got 2 small children, and I want to be at home with them.

Most importantly, the people and conventions sometimes suck. I don't mind running games with only a couple of people, but not when they're being jerks. The perennial complaint that arises in the Houston Gamers is: why pay to have fun, when I can show up at a club meeting and have fun for free?

Of course, the answer to that is: Run enough games at the convention to get in for free. But seriously, if I'm spending $30-60 on gas to get to and from Austin, College Station, Dallas, or San Antonio, plus forced to pay a parking lot $6-15 to park, well, that's not free anymore. Unless I'm actually playing games that are the equivalent of pure heroin, that's starting to look like a pretty expensive little junket. If we ever get a bullet train or equivalent, awesome, I'm there.

I hate driving anywhere, parking and wandering around always sucks, and in general, the external planning required is just a pain. Ever run a half-mile in the rain across a college campus with no umbrella and hundreds of bucks worth of water-soluble stuff? Ever had to decipher a campus map drawn by a sophomore with no car? Yeah, I volunteered for it. I'm hanging up my GM hat for a while.

Yes, there are awesome people at conventions. More and more, I don't want to talk to the players. I want to talk to the game designers, the organizers, and the dealers. Real-world questions like, "Are you making money?" "Is this better or worse than last year?" "This looks cool, why should I personally buy it?"

I'm at the point where even my games have to have a deeper meaning.


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