Monday, August 31, 2009

Con Report: Fan Expo Canada (Toronto)

Just as a lark, I attended the Fan Expo Canada Convention in Toronto on Saturday.

Before I describe the convention, let me start with a short preamble. I have little-to-no convention experience. I received Dragon magazine as a kid (and teen) and always wanted to attend GenCon. I went in 2008 and checked that off the list of things to do before I die. I would like to go again in 2010. I really didn't game that much while I was there but played in the Goodman Games Tournament (and advanced) and wandered the vendor hall. Picked up tons of cool gear. That was cool enough for me.

So, I rope-a-doped my good friend and former role-playing buddy into going to Fan Expo with me. Although gaming was included as one of the "areas" in the vendor hall, and there were games taking place throughout the convention centre, I really didn't dig the vibe. The vendor hall was dominated by Anime (which I can't stand) and Comic Books (not my bag either); I mean DOMINATED by these two areas. Gaming, as defined at this Con, was video gaming. I went hoping to score a few D&D minis for my home game and only found one store selling minis. That just sucks. The cosplay was pretty average too with the exception of the Star Wars 501st Legion.

Having said all that, I think there were a ton of people who enjoyed it. The lines to get in at 10am Saturday morning were huge and the line to get in to the convention centre extended down the street and around the corner by noon. People in Toronto were keen to attend.

So, overall, it wasn't what I expected but I'm glad I went. It was an opportunity to hang with my buddy and check out the larger gaming scene in Toronto. I don't know whether I would go again. Maybe in a few years when my kids are older. There aren't many "pull" factors for an RPGer.

Here's a few pics of the Con (that's me with the Tron bike and with the 501st):

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Home Game: Map for the Ruins of Mar Campaign

Here is a preliminary map for the beginning of a new AD&D-influenced B/X-LL game. I tentatively titled the new game The Ruins of Mar as the primary action takes place in a age-old ruin in a hilly region known as Mar. As you can see the town of Hillsbury will provide the base for the PCs, with the larger city of Duloc located further south. I will likely create a larger map of the region, but this is a starter. A tip of the cap to Grognardia's Dwimmermount map contained therein.

The Point of this Blog

I have in mind several purposes for this blog. They include:

1. After-Action Reports of my Home Game.

I have played B/X, 1E, 2E, 3,5E, and tried 4E. I am currently interested in rule-lite gaming. Right now, my group has settled on a Moldvay Basic/Labyrinth Lord but with basic rules for mini use. If you live in the Niagara Region of Ontario and want to play, get in touch.

2. Review Academic Journal Articles devoted to the Study of Role Playing Games.

I work as a professor in Ontario, Canada. I plan on writing a cultural history of D&D, and need to review academic material of note on the subject. I'm hopeful to bring material to light that some in the gaming community may not be aware of. I'm doing this blog for fun and to engage with other gamers, it won't become another job. I have too many of those :)

3. Discuss personal points of interest related to Old School gaming.

Occasionally, I bump into really neat stuff other people are doing on their blogs, or I just need to rant about a particular subject and get something off my chest. I'm hopeful you will bear with me.

Thus, the purpose of this blog is to review and discuss D&D in public fashion and, hopefully, provide a platform through which to debate and discuss the game with like-minded gamers.