RonO (rono_60103) wrote,


This weekend Tara and I took advantage of her parent's hospitality to attend Rock-Con, the Rockford area gaming convention, and Dorkstock the "con within a con" honoring muskrat_john, and his comic Dork Tower. Unfortunately, due to his parent's 50th wedding anniversary, John was unable to attend.

We left for Rockford Friday evening, a bit later that I'd anticipated based on Tara's desire to start packing on Thursday -- she only got Derrick packed. Since it was approaching dinner, we debated briefly about where to eat, and finally decided on The Colonial in Elgin since it was on the way and was going to be a more Weight Watchers friendly place that the Steak and Shake we have often eaten at on the way to or from Rockford. This was interesting since this made the second time in less than a week I'd eaten at The Colonial, which I normally only eat at three or four times a year. It is next to the Elgin Community College where I take exams, so I often stop there for lunch before taking my tests, as I'd done on Tuesday.

After supper we drove to Rockford and Tara's parents, arriving a bit before 7. We decided not to head to the con, and spent the evening with here parents, grandmother and Derrick. Tara also started work on her entry for the Igor Bar contest, and we stepped out briefly for supplies for the bars (we didn't have any caramel).

On Saturday, we got moving fairly early. Tara finished the Igor bars and we let Tara's parents know not to expect us back until after dinner. This took a bit of doing since Tara's mother seems to assume that if we're in town she has to feed us (or over feed us), three meals each day.

We got to the con too late to start any of the games in the 9:00am to 1:00pm session. I had been toying with the idea of signing up for an D&D session so I could gain some practice using the new 3.5 rules -- having not played any D&D since 2nd edition was current. Unfortunately, the most inviting session was at 9:00am on Saturday so I didn't join. We looked around the dealer's room and met up with a bunch of the Dorkstock people (many of whom are also DucKon concom or regular attendees at DucKon and the other Chicago conventions).

We also looked around the dealers area and the gaming area. At one point, Tara and I picked up a Blink deck, read the rules and played 5 games. Blink is a very fast card game and the deck was there in preparation for a tournament that afternoon as part of Dorkstock.

Rock-Con is held, or at least was held this year, in one half of the Rockford Park District's Indoor Sports Center on what would otherwise be used as volleyball and basketball courts. The dealers were at one end, with the organized game areas in the middle, and the open game, Dork Stock and similar areas towards the back.

Based on my observations of what was going on, and what was listed in the program, most of the gaming was large scale miniature war games, with most but not all, set in historical settings. There were a few SF and Fantasy settings as well.

After a while Tara and I headed off for lunch. We tried to go to a nearby Thai restaurant that has, according to Tara, a very good lunch buffet. However, they have changed their hours and now don't do lunch on Saturday. Instead we tried a place called Hapy Joe's, and got a not too bad lunch. Clearly this is not the kind of place, however, where you see two adults eating without kids very often.

We stopped by a Farm and Fleet briefly to get a knife to cut the Igor bars, and ended up with a machete as the only one we could find that would work. We then returned to the Con.

As we got back to the area where Dorkstock was (and where our bags had been left since there were people we knew hanging around in the area) and I noticed that as part of Dorkstock, they had a GURPS game starting soon. After some debate I added myself to the players list (bringing the total to two) and waited for it to start. Due to some confusion with the other player, and after adding the GM's future wife to give us enough players, I spent a couple of hours playing a Kobald who, with the other players, was trying to capture some babies to bring back to the King. Unfortunately for us, the babies in question were a Medusa -- who turned my character to stone a number of times before I literally got her in the bag -- a werewolf -- in wolf form due to the full moon -- a vampire and a baby wizard who cast random spells. Further, they were guarded by a babysitter who appeared to be a very competent spell caster and her familiar cat. All in all we were successful at returning 3 of the 4 babies (the vampire was accidentally eaten), with only one casualty. More importantly, much fun was had by all players and watchers.

About the time the GURPS game started, the Igor bars were judged. There were two entries. Tara's "Dark Side" bars had the layers described by Igor in the comic -- a layer of chocolate chip cookies in bar form, covered by caramel and pecans (instead of peanuts), then a layer of rice crispy treats (Tara added high quality cocoa to this layer) then a layer of melted chocolate (bitter sweet in Tara's) and a pattern made of dark chocolate M&M's and other semi-sweet chocolates. The other entry was a layer of rice crispy treats (no cookie layer) covered with a bunch of different types of cereal, reses pieces, gummy worms and junior mints. Due to, we are sure, some mix ups on the part of the judges (including one who was convinced that Tara had mint in her bars that the judge didn't like) Tara came in second.

In the evening, we went to Beef-A-Roo for dinner with the Dorkstock crowd, but ended up sitting separately from most of them. After dinner, we decided to go back to Tara's parents instead of hanging out at the con.

On Sunday we got up and headed over to the con about the time everyone else went to church. We got there before the 9:00 sessions had started, but I found that the one D&D session of the morning -- a "Hack and Slash" adventure using a randomly built dungeon -- was full. We instead spent some more time (and money) in the dealer's area and hung around the other Dorkstock people.

At one point, the cook from the Park District snack bar upstairs came down, and sat next to Tara and started talking to her. It took her a moment to recognize that he was her cousin. Unfortunately, before they could talk much he got called away for work.

For lunch we went up to the snack bar, having mistaken it for a sit-down restaurant, and ate. When we came back downstairs, I joined a pick up game of Ticket to Ride: Europe, which I enjoyed even though I came in third out of 4 players -- only beating the person who had bought the game that morning. Tara watched us play, but elected to not join.

After that we packed up and headed back to Tara's folks. We spent some time talking with her parents and grandmother before heading home. On the way home we nearly stopped at The Colonial again for supper before deciding that we could instead go to The Nest Cafe a bit closer to home for a similar, but different supper.

A couple of times during the weekend, I wandered near the table where King Maker was being played. When I'd looked at the gaming schedule online before the convention, and again in the program book, the name of the person running that game was the same as a friend who I knew for a few years in college before he moved to Rockford. I was wondering if this was the same person. However, if it was, he has put on a lot of weight in the last 11 years -- I last saw him in 1996 when we were both visiting Albuquerque at the same time -- as well as growing a beard and altering the shape of his face. I'm pretty sure that instead he was either a different person with the same name, or a different person was running the game then had originally signed up.

This weekend's experience has done a few things to me. First, I'm now more willing to try gaming at conventions (and would almost consider running a D&D or other RPG game for DucKon if I could be sure to test the scenario before play to make sure that the timing etc. was OK). Second, I may be more willing to look into attending other gaming cons instead of just SF cons. Finally, I certainly think that we'll go back to Rock-Con next year, at least if it also hosts Dorkstock.


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