JP On Gaming

Monday, February 9, 2015

Con Recap: Winter Fantasy 2015

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.



  1. The VOs don't need to grow up. They went two years ago in force. There were like 20 Vos there. A special event (Bonekeep) was written solely for Winter Fantasy. They were treated like shit. They were lectured to and talked down upon. They were treated like they were an inconvenience. So, they've opted to spend their valuable time, money , and energy elsewhere. How about not judge a situation you have no first hand knowledge of. In other words, stop judging, take your own advice, and "grow up" instead of belittling the people that are awesome volunteers.

    1. I will judge and I am privy to a LOT of information I refuse to post on this blog. A LOT. Knowing the individuals involved, the full picture appears. I'm not saying the WF folks are blameless, but I'm sure they'd be willing to put aside their own failings.

      The fail IS on the VOs and their leader Mike Brock to fail to support a show.

      I do participate and promote cons and events I believe support the local community, whether they offer games I like or not.

      If you want to discuss this situation, you know my address. I haven't forgotten yours.

    2. Brock runs the PFS like a good ol'boys club. If you disagree or cross him, he throws his weight around and scares people under him into compliance and silence. He has driven off some of the best volunteers Paizo has ever had for the sake of saving face and burying the truth about his misconduct while campaign coordinator. Lisa & Vic should put him in the unemployment line.

      You've got my address too coward.

    3. Sorry JP, but I'm afraid you don't have any sort of insider info. I was there in 2013 and my wife was originally going to be the PFS coordinator appointed by Brock at WF. However, Baldman has *their* way of doing stuff which unfortunately wasn't applicable for PFS and we spent most of our time twiddling our thumbs. When we tried to go play a game to fill the time we were going to be charged $8 which was pretty awesome. So instead we were running impromptu tables out in the lobby area. The issues were all well-documented and if anyone was on the GM listserv we were very open about our issues. Back in 2014 I made a follow up post on Paizo's site when asked why we weren't there again.

      My experience with Neoexodus, which was primarily at Cincy-Con in 2014, is that it doesn't tend to attract players, but it serves as a backup/overflow campaign. Which is unfortunate as it seems interesting. I'd back off on Paizo and talk with LPJ about making WF a bigger focus.

      Back to BG, David has unfortunately surrounded himself with a cult of personality so whenever we made a criticism there were half a dozen guys who'd rush in and tell us we were wrong. If PFS was to return I'd imagine that BG would need to release the yoke and give them some more autonomy.

    4. I won't get drawn into a fight or retract my thoughts on this. I made my point clearly, having heard enough from BOTH sides.
      Your Cincy-con experience is limited. NeoExodus is small, but once players realize the impact they have, they want to play more. I do not have a huge organization behind me, so my growth is slower.
      I will be at Origins and Gencon and I invite you to come and try to impact the world if the Legacies Campaign. See how it feels to play in a campaign where YOUR decision matters. That's really all I can do.
      If you look on Warhorn, Legacies is the #10ish campaign out there. We are growing.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. As a former VO,

    Great organization at Winter Fantasy??? That is ludicrous, I signed up to GM most of the slots, get my schedule. Showed up for a slot 1 hour early to get yelled at and threatened to be kicked out of the con for being late.

    Come to find out their schedule was 1 hour off what was listed, I also was still on time.

    I would recommend not volunteering for the Baldman and if you do try to get there 2 hours early. Also don't expect an apology or even a reply via email.

    My experience was like a bad episode of twilight zone.

    Just go to Origins or any of many other cons. I have been to MANY cons and I have not seen a bigger mismanaged con. It is bad when players leave on the first day.