This year's Winter Fantasy was one I was very much looking forward to attending. It would be the first time I would bring adventures written by me to the con and I was really excited.
I spent the evening of Thursday at home with my wife and kids. It was very enjoyable... I got to watch Wifetime or some other chick-flick... It ended with a wedding and everything was good. I called out the ending at the start.
I woke up at 3am, finished loading the car and off I went. Reached the Grand Wayne Center around 7:15am ready for some action. I set up my banner and waited. I had few tickets sold and I purchased tickets to play the Arcanis adventures and returned to wait. Throughout the day, I filled my tables with released GMs. And was able to run 3 out of 4 of my projected slots.
Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and evening, I got to play some Arcanis. Here, unfortunately, there were a few hickups. The kind of hickups that ruin events, but that aren't anyone's fault per se. One of the table didn't go too well, on the one hand, the GM was tired, on the other, some of the players didn't care and just wanted to leave. You know, THAT kind of table. I was tired and didn't push hard on some items and well... I ended up screwed. Big time. The kind of screwed level where you wonder if you want to play some more... I'm definitely unhappy about how things went down, but can't really complain as I am not completely without blame either... I will most likely put together a post once I am able to put things into perspectives.
The Sunday morning did not go off. Although I was ready to go, I took the option of driving back home instead.
Allow me to put down some high and low points of the con.
The Good Stuff
Very open atmosphere There is a fun atmosphere around the con, one of camaraderie I have not seen a lot at other events. It is refreshing and just a blast to see.
Great organization I cannot say enough good about the organization. Dave (the Baldman) runs a very tight ship with a staff that is not only very competent, but friendly, knowledgeable and extremely efficient. Show up at your muster and in a smooth way, you are shown to your place. I went to HQ upon my arrival and I was handed a clear and very clean sheet with my table (it was the same throughout the con), and shown where it was.
Seriously, to anyone who organizes game days and conventions, Baldman's games' organization is one that can give lessons to a lot of you. Yes, they have some added tracking but the whole thing runs smoothly. They have access to whatever you need as a GM.
Long-time friends Living Greyhawk was more than "just" an organized play campaign. It was a social network. A large and self-sustaining network in which I met great people, and made connections I will cherish forever, I will name Les-F, Konrad-B, Jay-B, the Baldman himself, Chris Tulach, Greg-M to name but a few. I got to hang out with them - albeit shortly. I do not think any campaign since has generated the type of friendship LG did... *sigh*
The Location I can already see some readers going "Really? You are talking about Fort Wayne, IN!" Well I can understand the comment. However, the Grand Wayne Center is located in downtown Ft Wayne. Meaning there is food in fat gamer walking distance. And not "just" one, but the best is "King Gyros" next door. I LOVE Greek food and partook often. It was good.
The Liberty Dinner Halfway across town, this unassuming dinner is a true gem I love to patron. They have large plates at a decent price.
The Bad Stuff
Low attendance Perhaps the biggest drawback of the con was the low attendance. For me, Winter Fantasy will always remain that enormous New York hangar of 2004. I have been talking about the con to everyone, but in the end I don't know what I can do. I really hope that next year's will be bigger. I will be putting together a Legacies program myself, with the hope to bring in more people, and hopefully cross-pollinated with the Arcanis/Witch Hunter crowd. Seriously, the bigger the attendance, the more game options there will be. If you have a chance to go, come. Really. This is a great con. If you have a chance, please come.
Almost exclusively 5e/Wizards centric/ few other options This one is more a con for me, rather than for other, but the focus, and majority of the attendance is clearly on 5e. Again, not a bad thing, but not a big thing for me. 90%+ of the tables played were 5e, which had a strong presence. Good to see the community thrives.
No other Pathfinder This is one that keeps puzzling me as to why the Pathfinder Society does not support this local con any more. I know "things" happened, but. FOR PETE'S SAKES, GROW UP. The gaming community is not big enough to play these type of fight games. Indiana, Ohio & Michigan VOs, that is a FAIL on *YOU*. As is, I can say that I am the only Pathfinder available out there.
I really plan on attending next year, hopefully see the team and get to run more and new exciting games.
Apart from "the table", I had a great time.