GaryCon VIII — March 2016

Well, once again I don’t write about GaryCon (late March) until Gary’s birthday in July.  Getting to be a habit…

The big news this year for GaryCon was the move to “Grand Geneva Resort & Spa” – the old Playboy Club, Lake Geneva’s most infamous attraction and home of GenCon 1977!  Well, quite honestly, the old venue, “The Lodge at Geneva Ridge,” could no longer hold GaryCon.  By last year it was so packed that tables were almost touching each other.

Briefly put… I thought the new venue was absolutely wonderful.  For starters, there was ENOUGH ROOM.  I never saw more than 3 events or so in the smaller rooms, and even in the larger rooms there was enough space between tables that you didn’t have to worry about being able to hear.  The miniatures gaming space was one of the best I’ve ever played in; bonus XP to Paul Stormberg for having tables not taken up by games, so that we referees could actually stage things in advance of our games!

Now, I have to admit there was one drawback.  The old venue was so small that if you wanted to find somebody, it took about 10 minutes to search the whole joint.  The Grand Geneva (GG from now on because I’m lazy) is enormous.  There are people I wanted to talk to whom I glimpsed only briefly and never saw again.  And there are enough bars and restaurants on premises that you can’t just “go to the bar to see who’s there.”

Yep.  Restaurants, bars, a Starbuck’s on premises.  This place is something.  Nice sized rooms, plenty of tables, ice water all over the place.  This is a very, very good convention venue.

Luke and crew continue to have volunteers supplying water and snacks for referees – a real lifesaver, let me tell you.  And once again, there was tableside food delivery available.  That’s a wonderful feature.  Plus, this year the crew simply had the resort include tax and tip in the menu cost of the items.  Yes, they were a bit pricey, but welcome to the land of running a convention.  Convention hotels make their money off the food and drink they sell, not the hotel rooms or even the hall rentals.  So buy the tableside food and quit complaining.

My only wish for the tableside service is some kind of salad, once again.  My 61 year old gut can’t always handle an entire weekend of greezy meat.

And if the servers could bring BEER to the gaming tables, that would be AWESOME!!!

This year there were four of us travelling together.  Once again my friend David came along, and this time we brought Paul.  The three of us have known each other for over thirty years.  We also brought Brian, who is much younger but came to GaryCon a couple of years back.  All in all, we were looking forward to a great weekend together.  We left Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon and arrived about dinnertime.  We checked in and took the shuttle to the main lodge.  Oh, yeah… besides the main lodge, they have ANOTHER lodge/hotel about half a mile away, with free shuttle bus service!  (Tip your drivers, you bloody cheapskates!)  Not only was there a regular schedule, but we never had to wait more than a few minutes on the late night occasions when they had to call for a driver.  This shuttle service is excellent, and it means that staying in the overflow lodge is NOT a booby prize.

Anyway, upon arriving at the main lodge we wandered a bit and then went into one of the restaurants for the buffet dinner (“Hot puppies, GRUB!”).  We followed that up with some social time in one of the bars, and eventually headed back to our suite.

Well, talking about the venue pretty much filled this episode, but that’s okay.  Tune in again for the next part of this silly tale, in which many pointless and annoying deeds are done to trouble the councils of the Small and the Silly.

Beer, out.