I didn’t really choose to go to CelestiCon, it kind of chose me. Well… my sister and bro-in-law told me to come with, but either way, I ended up in Fremont for Labor Day weekend. Oh, Fremont, how sweet you are for hosting such an awesome, albeit small, con. The general atmosphere was surprisingly relaxed. I swear game designers come to CelestiCon to wind down from GenCon madness. Of course, they play test like crazy, I mean I was super impressed with Celestispiel- a room set up just for prototype testing; but the designers just seemed way more relaxed than I’ve seen them at other cons.
The chill attitudes don’t leave the con lacking, though. There’s a lot of open gaming going, but attendees are legit gamers that show up with equally legit games. The games running officially are sweet, too, but I didn’t really go for those. I followed suit and just rode the wave. My plan did not disappoint as this may have been the best con experience, yet.
ARRIVE! My super cool bro-in-law picked up my badge.
Meet and Greet! So, I’m chilling in my room- about to put my PJs on because i was being lame and tired. Then my sister and two of my bros-in-law are like, “Yo, let’s get a drink!” I’m like, “oh, snap!” I refresh in record time and head downstairs. For some reason, I thought we were just getting drinks, but apparently we were going to the Meet and Greet- this fact didn’t process until after we left, though. So, I neither met nor greeted anyone new. I swear I always have some complete oblivious moment at cons. smh
FLEA MARKET! I bought the dumbest thing at Kubla’s flea market, but this tiny one was like super crazy legit. There weren’t many vendors but this one dude had some awesome things! Hella D&D books, hella comic books and then these sick board games that were still shrink wrapped! I got What The Food for $5!!!!! I saw that sitting there and my eyeballs popped out of my face. I thought I misread the tag- I almost bought it for $25 at Kubla, but I’m kind of cheap. Hello, college?! I love WTF and know my buds will, too. My bro-in-law swiped Volt: Robot Bottle Arena for $9! I’m really, really, really jelly. That game is so friggin’ good. I was so ecstatic with my buy that I just kind of ran out of there.
Nourishment. Don’t forget this step, people. It’s most likely the only thing you’ll eat until dinner. That’s how it usually is for me, anyway.
Jumped into Dead of Winter: A Crossroads. This game is sooooo badass! The graphics are great, the characters are funny, the mechanics are smooth. I was super into it. It was totally morbid and hilarious. There are cards that can be triggered by things you do on your turn. One instance, the infamous Ramen Noodles (one of my nephews) was having his janitor character clean up the compound. This then triggered an event where we discovered a baby in the dumpster. A teenager had hid her pregnancy, so, now our options were to A) keep the baby and the mother, attract 5 zombies and have two helpless survivors in our camp or B) keep the baby, throw the mother out, attract 5 zombies and have one helpless survivor. I’m sure our decision is obvi. We threw the trick out.
Miniature painting! Some cool peeps had stations set up to paint miniatures for free! I had never done it, so of course, I leapt in. My chick looked a little basic, so I covered her in blood. Then the girl volunteering gave me a rock to use as her base- basically setting her badassery in stone. I dubbed her Ragatha then gave her to Ramen Noodles to hold, because he was super prepared with this box of miniatures. Then, of course, I forgot to get Ragatha from him. I will be reunited with you, little one.
After browsing the Dealer’s Room, Ramen and I meet up with my bro-in-law and his dad for some Volt. That game is soooooo goooooooooood! You’re Just battling each other’s robots. You get points for killing each other and for ending rounds on certain squares. The first to 5 points wins. Gramps kept winning, man! Now I understand how people feel when they play Gravwell with me. I did get one W in, though.
Finally got into the play test room, Celestispiel. That was just such a cool resource to have available. Seriously, if you’re a budding game designer, CelestiCon is the best place to powwow with some happening dudes. It’s small and relaxed, so there’s plenty of time to just chill. I got to test this game called Monster Mansion that was really cool. You’re pretty much going through a dungeon- I can already imagine the drunken rounds of this game. It’s timed and is supposed to be super fast. I don’t want to get too into it, because a post about it will be up soon. Just know that it makes for an awesome addition to drinking game night. Plus, Payton Lee, the dude that designed it, is hella rad. His Kickstarter will be up pretty soon, I hear.
I straight booked it over to Ultimate Werewolf because THE Mayor Ted was running the game. Ramen and I were fangirling prettying hard, but I mean- how awesome is it to play a game of Ultimate Werewolf with the designer of Ultimate Werewolf?! Just FYI, it’s fuggin’ awesome.
The rest of Saturday was just chillin’ and some random open gaming, I think. Lots of wandering.
Artemis! Kind of provided a cool e-gaming break. I liked the co-op element. Dudes need to stop underestimating me, though. I asked which position was the coolest and the kid running it answered, “Weapons, but science is easier.” I’ll go for weapons, dude. I don’t know how well we did, but it was super fun.
Cool > Easy
DUNE! It took forever for the rules to be explained and the whole time I was like, “Crap, what am I getting myself into?” But I stayed… Mostly because I thought the dude running my table was cute. Once it got going, though, it was aaawwweessoommmeeee! There’s a reason why this game has lasted so long- it’s just so good! The mechanics are smooth and gameplay is pretty simple. I could have formed a power alliance with one dude but I decided to take the harder route. So, I formed an alliance with the cutie… and we totally lost. Not right away- the battle was soooo drawn out. The game lasted like 3 or 4 hours. Ultimately, though, we lost.
KICKSTARTER Seminar. This was really cool. It ended up being pretty tiny, but it would have been such a cool resource for anyone that’s interested in game design. The three dudes on the panel are super rad! One was my buddy, Brandon Raasch- designer of Dubious Alliance, another was Jeff Cornelius- President of Cosmic Wombat Games and also runs League of Game Makers, and the last was Teale Fristoe- the designer of Corporate America. They had super valuable insight into game design and launching successful Kickstarters that could actually be translated over to other types of Kickstarters. The energy in that room was really inspiring. I just think these dudes are cool, though. They had ideas and worked their asses off to bring them to fruition. Respect.
I finally played an RPG with strangers! Star Wars, to be exact. It was pretty simple- I ended up being the only one to make it to the boss at the end. Hue other dudes got stuck behind a wall of fire, so it was up to me to take down the boss dude. I don’t even know what was happening. All I know it that I was the most skilled shooter and pilot and that the GM kept getting bad rolls at the end. Then I got lots of high fives. So, I won… I think. I’m so ready for other RPGs.
Played another RPG but I was half asleep. Brandon was there and In the end, I think he threw an elixir to me and we all ran out of a dungeon… I don’t even know.
So sad to have left, but I snagged a shirt before I departed and quick game of Smash Up. They have a big raffle at the end. Celestispiel had one, too. I kept missing all of the damned raffles actually.
I really appreciated how chill this con was. At Kubla, I was running from tournament to tournament, but this one was not like that at all. I just hung out with some cool dudes and played games. Honestly, though, cons are gamer dude heaven, so I’m going to be excited regardless, know what I mean? ;) Truth: I’ve got some serious love for CelestiCon now and I can’t wait for 2015’s!
Reviews up soon, babies!
-Go to CelestiCon.