NukemCon: Afterthoughts

NukemCon has come and gone, and now that I’ve caught up on my sleep and my caffeine twitches have faded, it’s time to evaluate our first-ever home-grown convention.

Overall, I think it went quite well. We got to play a heck of a lot games, although not nearly as many as I’d hoped. The final schedule included two and a half hands of Illuminati, three sessions of Dungeons & Dragons, one run of Conan d20, epic amounts of Halo, a game of Munchkin, a run of Hunters and Gatherers of Carcassonne, and one hell of a Battletech slugfest. Missing where my Delta Green scenario (ready to run, but not enough people), Risk 2210, Settlers of Catan: Cities & Knights, our HeroClix battle with Galactus and a late-night running of The Hills Rise Wild.

That’s a lot of games to have go by the wayside, but no one seemed to mind. The reason for the discrepancy between the planned schedule in the real one was bodies: we didn’t have enough of them. We had 8 players, but occasionally that number dipped to 7, which just wasn’t enough to run two slots, when one of those slots had to be a role-playing game.

Looking forward to NukemCon II, I think that we’ll drop the slot format unless we’re sure of having 10 or more players on hand, and instead divide up the days of the con between board gaming and role-playing. That way, the people who want to play RPGs can play on their day, and the board gamers can play on theirs, and the hybrids can show up for both.

The big surprise of the con was definitely Halo. We networked together three Xboxes, each with its own television, and engaged in four-to-five person fragfests. Halo is an excellent game in campaign mode, and its fun but not stellar when playing with two people — most of the multiplayer maps are just too huge for two people. But the game truly comes into its own multiplayer-wise when you reach four players and start playing some of the team events. Any time folks had down time, they were playing Halo, and most of us are now frothing in anticipation of our next networked Halo event, to say nothing of November’s release of the online-enabled Halo 2.

The weak point of the con was probably the D&D events. They were very role-playing intensive with very little in the way of combat, and stretched out over three days. In hindsight, I think we should have set clear criteria for those sessions, restricting each D&D game to one self-contained slot. We certainly had fun running through the sessions we did, but establishing parameters would have made them better.

One thing I totally forgot to plan for was breakfast — I’m not a big breakfast guy, and I totally forgot to budget time for those who absolutely needed to eat something come sunrise. The 8 a.m. start time, while loyal to GenCon’s schedule, was probably something we could have done without — next time I think we’ll shoot for 9 a.m. That’ll let those who need breakfast grab something while the rest of us catch an extra hour’s worth of sleep.

As Lance said as things were winding down on Sunday, we probably got to play more games than we would at GenCon, what with breaks for shopping or slots that went empty because of conflicted schedules. Just as importantly, we got to hang out with friends for three days straight, playing the games we loved until we were exhausted and happily blurry eyed.

There are a few things I’d like to do differently next time around — like add at least one late-night movie viewing (its been too long since we last watched Big Trouble in Little China or Boondock Saints) — but by and large, NukemCon was a success.

Nuke(m)Con 2004: The Schedule | NukemCon: Day 1 | NukemCon: Day 2 | NukemCon: Day 3 | NukemCon: Afterthoughts