There are two grand events on my nerd calendar that I look forward to every year*. One involves thousands of geeks and nerds and enthusiasts gathering for several days to indulge their hobbies and interests, surrounded by like minded souls and peers, legends in their chosen fields, and a dizzying array of people who just want to help you do what you love (generally in exchange for coin of the realm). The other, is pretty much the same thing, just based around a different hobby. I am, of course, talking about Pennsic and GenCon.
Pennsic is the biggest SCA event on the annual calendar, and has over 10,000 Scadians camped out in Pennsylvania for two weeks (or a portion thereof), with plenty of historical geekery to be had. Put on armour, grab your sword and shield, and march to war with your kingdom and allies. Don your fancier gear and engage in rapier battles. Throw axes, shoot arrows, throw spears. Not inclined to fight? Pennsic University runs literally dozens of classes every day, with topics ranging from crafts like glass blowing, leatherworking, and (my personal favourite) kumihimo, to medieval dance, cultures of times gone by, literature of 11th Century Finland, you get the idea. You can spend the entire time just learning. Or, ya know, simply relaxing around camp with a good book, going to a few campfire parties… Pennsic is like another world, and frankly, it’s amazing.
I’m certain most of you are a lot more familiar with GenCon. It’s only four days long, but when you have a gaming convention with boardgame companies showcasing their upcoming releases, industry professionals teaching games, nerd celebrities, immense tournaments, just so much board game, card game and tabletop miniature game stuff that it literally spills out of the convention center and takes over the nearby football stadium? You know you’re in for a good time.
I’ve attended several GenCon’s now, thanks in no small part to the generosity and hospitality of Ninja Steve and his family, and even if GenCon wasn’t a thing I’d still be looking forward to visiting Indianapolis in the Summer. I mean, the heat’s abysmal, but the company’s well worth, especially when the clan gathers. GenCon’s have seen my pick up the Dr Who RPG, Star Trek Ascendancy, Shark Island, and of course a plethora of Warmachine goodies from Privateer Press and chibi delights from Ninja Division.
This year we’re expecting the Crucible Guard from Privateer, after their Lock & Load Launch, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there’s Monsterpocalypse on display, if not actually available for purchase. I mean, I’m hoping there are., I’d love to see the Terrasaurs and Martian Menace available…
I’m not sure what to expect from Ninja Division – Relic Knights 2.0 has been advancing closer and closer towards production, and we’ve recently had news of the Ninja All Stars universe blending with Super Dungeon Explore to allow for even more heroes and mobs and minibosses, but you know, it that Tusk Raider is there, it’s going to be difficult to walk away… it’s a freaking dwarf riding a battle walrus!
Steamforged games is also on the radar, and I’m expecting the Falconers Guild box to be available. Given how much I enjoyed painting the Farmers Guild’s The Honest Land box, I may be considering the opportunity to paint another self-contained project that comes with the bonus of reminding me that I have no idea how to paint feathers… If they have Godtear up for demo’ing that may be on the to-do list as well.
There’s so much more to ponder for GenCon – Dust 1947, Arena Rex, new VS System expansions, and who knows what new board games are en route – but for me, one of the biggest considerations for GenCon is what I’ll paint to bring down and play with Ninja Steve. The anticipation of time with him and his family is a great motivator to actually get me off my butt and painting….
*Well, three, but CaptainCon’s more of a “working holiday” with the Lost Hemisphere Fundraiser. GenCon’s working too, but I get a lot more walking done…