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Gary Con X

Geeks a Gogo was there for Gary Con this past weekend in Lake Geneva, WI--the convention honoring the life of Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons. This convention was the 10th year, and it commemorated the a decade since the passing of Mr. Gygax in 2008. This a great event for fans of tabletop RPGs new and old. Gary Con has become the place to be for many in the gaming industry, and it's a great place to meet the writers, designers, and artists who make the

games that we all love. You may even be able to get into a game run by one of the folks who wrote it, as we got to do Sunday morning when we played a game of Ars Magica run by game author Ben McFarland.

Also there were dozens of publishers, and even some of the big-wigs from Paizo, maker of the Pathfinder RPG. As we hit the bar at the Grand Geneva on Saturday night, we saw a lot of big names from the gaming industry, including folks from the early days of gaming such as Frank Mentzer, Larry Elmore, and Jeff Easley. Among many attendees, much of the conversation was focused around Paizo's announcement, just days before this year's Gary Con, that Paizo would release a 2nd edition of their popular Pathfinder role-playing game.

The convention was abuzz with some of the rumors and accounts coming from the lucky few who had a chance to test-play Pathfinder 2.0. Among the the tidbits we heard were that the game has changed the economy of actions, making it something more like what players of 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons are used to. As well, it looks like skills are likely to be simplified to look something more like Paizo's other big game, Starfinder. Another revelation that has little impact on play, but has been widely discussed is that the terminology of the game will change, with the term "ancestry" replacing the term "race" at character selection. Most playtesters whom we spoke with enjoyed the game, but some seemed to have minor complaints about a few of the changes.

Aside from the buzz about industry rumors, we were there to have some fun as well. This was a great convention for role-playing gaming--one of the best in fact. As mentioned above, we had a great time playing Ars Magica, but aside from that the Starfinder and Pathfinder Societies were there running games, and we broke out the characters that we've had since the very first Starfinder Society games that ran at Gen Con and caught a session. We also got in on an amazing homebrew Pathfinder adventure run by a father/daughter duo who wrote a great kid-friendly Disney-Princess-themed game! We may have been a little tired, but it was a great way to spend Sunday morning. We didn't have a chance to check out the amazing Rappan Athuk 5th ed D&D setup from Frog God Games, but we wish we had!

As well, there was a vendor floor that was packed with lots of great stuff. I only wish we had more time to spend money there--be careful if you put your shopping off until later. The floor was closed by 1 PM on Sunday, and we weren't able to get all of our shopping worked into our busy gaming schedule. Even if you weren't shopping, there were some amazing sites to see, including some incredible scenery from Printable Scenery's Lost Island Kickstarter campaign that just went live! Not to mention the awesome terrain from Effin Cool Minis, and Axenshield's awesome 3D combat accessories!

Though Gary Con was fun, it was a touching event due to its focus on Mr. Gygax. Saturday was "Hawaiian Shirt Day", after his penchant for wearing Hawaiian shirts that were supposedly given to him by his daughter. On the second level of the Grand Geneva, there was a table set up in his honor. On it were gaming paraphernalia, and some books on subjects from tabletop gaming to bird watching. Much of Mr. Gygax's family and many of his friends were there in attendance, as well. Though the convention was a lot of fun, it was also a beautiful way to remember a man who touched the lives of so many.

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