Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Adventuring at Cons – Coblin Style!

By Andrew Burkett

Well, another Con on the Cob has come and gone, and Andy Hopp and his staff have exceeded my expectations yet again.  This was my fifth time attending this “off the cob” art, sci-fi, and gaming convention, but my first time as a member of the press.  As usual, both the staff of Con on the Cob and the staff of MSTB Gaming (they handled registration and event ticketing) were welcoming and helpful throughout my experience this past weekend. 


Andy Hopp

My Thursday began by helping Michael Mirth, president of Spellbinders, set up his booth.  Seeing I have never been on the vendor side of a convention before, this gave me a new view of a con.  The staff in charge of the exhibitor hall was very accommodating of Mirth’s every need.  I was very pleased in the layout, flow and variety of the hall, both as a vendor and a shopper. There were plenty of game, clothing, jewelry, and other geeksential vendors to choose from.


After Spellbinders was done using me as a pack mule, I started to wander through the artist hall.  Both well and lesser known artists were displaying their pieces under the direction of Heather Krieter.  Heather is a very well known fantasy artist in her own right (Legend ofthe Five Rings CCG, My Little Demon) and does a wonderful job overseeing the art fair.  I thoroughly enjoyed bidding on some of the fantastic pieces of art.  Then I spent some time meeting the other artists who spent the weekend talking to fans and signing autographs.  Famous artists like: Tony Steele, Ed Beard Jr., and Aaron Acevedo not only spent hours in their booths, but also could be found playing games and attending parties with their fans.

Gut Bustin' Games' Redneck Life

Of course, there was tons of gaming throughout the entire weekend.  There was Savage Worlds role playing with Sean Patrick FannonSilvervine RPG was out in full force with John Arcadian, Ed Yarraus, Alec Stringer, and Ryan Rawlings. Gut Bustin’ Games was also there in their Full redneck-trailer park glory.  I was able to get a game of Sutakku, by Smirk and Dagger Games as well as play testing Karesansui, by John Hazen along with my menagerie of prototypes


The Truely Talented Destini Beard

The truly unique thing about Con on the Cob is the vast variety of events.  There is literally something for everyone.  Music was preformed nightly ranging from the comedic to the enchanted.  I personally was enthralled with the amazing vocals of Destini Beard.  Contests of all sorts were being held at the show's main stage.  Favorites of mine included Quick Draw, a 3 minute sketch of the audience’s choosing, and Iron Artist, famous artist and a secret ingredient. 

Cheese Fountain by Gut Bustn' Games

To top off each night are some crazy parties.  Thursday night brought me to the artist’s Drink-n-Draw. This was the featured artist time to see how well they could apply their trade while inebriated.  Friday night I wandered into the AnCon Ale House, a beer soaked, gaming soirée hosted by the fine people at AnCon; Another Game Convention.  Then Saturday the cocktails flowed at the Savage Saturday Night Bar and Grill, hosted by Sean Patrick Fannon, and the Barfleet party (think if Star Trek was filmed at a bar.)  Saturday also brought me to the NEO Witches Ball, another great event full of belly dancers, psychic readers, drum circles, magic and so much more.

My Chevy S-10

To wrap things up, Con on the Cob is an awe inspiring event well worth the price of admission.  If I had one complaint, it would be that they have outgrown their venue.  The Clarion Inn Hudson is a nice place to have a convention, but when Con on the Cob is tipping the scales at over 700 people, it might be time to venture out to bigger and better venues.  Needless to stay, whether they stay put, or find a larger convention hall, I will definitely be attending all of Andy’s future Cons.  I might even throw a few people in the bed of my 1999 Chevy S-10 and drag them along too! 


 This Convention Receives Andrew Burkett’s Seal of Approval.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Adventuring at Cons

By Andrew Burkett

As most of you know, I have recently been appointed as NorthCoast Gamer’s Social Media Manager.  In reviewing the social media outlets that NCG have been using, I came a crossed a rarely used Blogspot account.  To remedy the lack of use, I decided to start my first blog.  With a trip to Gamerati Jamestown looming, I figured reviewing game cons would make a good subject for said blog.

I set off Saturday morning, a couple of weeks ago, East through the Ohio country side.  It is a great time of year for a drive.  Thanks to some detailed directions via Facebook posts and a few well place signs, I arrived at the well hidden Jamestown Fireman’s Banquet Hall with no issues.  The Firemen’s hall was a great venue for a small game day.  They welcomed us gamers with tasty, yet very in expensive food and opened their doors to their otherwise private tavern.

I checked in at registration and was greeted by PeteFigtree, the show’s host and organizer.  He personally walked me through registration and handed me a heaping pile of swag.  He also answered some of my questions about Gamerati and its first year in Jamestown, Pa.  There were about 50 people in attendance and a slew of different games in 3 blocks of 4 hours each.  Of course there was plenty of open gaming, play testing and demos though out the entire day. 

I surveyed the room and saw many familiar faces.  Andy Hopp, of Con on the Cob and Mutha OithCreations and Heather Hopp of Surreal Siren, had a both set up in the back.  John Hazen, of Undercity Games, was in the midst of a game of Risk 2 with his wife.  Frank Belter and Dan Britt, of MSTB Gaming and AnCon, were conversing over lunch.  Dan Cetorelli, of GaspCon, Tracy Barnett, of Sand and Steam Productions, and Paul Stefko, of Nothing VenturedGames were waiting anxiously for the comedic rap stylings of 2D6.  And at final glance I saw Tom Flanaigan, of Knights of the Night actual play podcast, and Brie Sheldon, of Gaming as Women in some heated roleplaying.

I found my way to the table provided to me and joined the other Game Master setting up their favorite games.  I had my screw you neighbor game, aptly named Screwed; the winner of AnCon 2012 Iron Geek, John Hazen and Tim Jesurun’s Karesansui; and my latest and greatest prototype, ThermoNuclear War on today’s  agenda.  For such a small con, it wasn’t hard to find players.  Pete guided a few people my way himself.

After much gaming, it was time to see who won the slew of games generously donated to the raffle.  Coincidentally, my team won the “Best Poker Hand” event which netted me a copy of Eaten by Zombies.  Fortunately for the other attendees, the prize table was so deep, almost everyone walked away with a prize.

My 1988 Mercury Grand Marquis
At the end of the day, I felt that Pete Figtree and his team of volunteers reached their goal to bring gamers together and promote regional geekery very well.  I will defiantly be attending next year’s game day and bring as many people that I can squeeze into my 1988 Mercury Grand Marquis.


This Game Convention Receives Andrew Burkett’s Seal of Approval.
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