Jeremy "Bolthy" Zimmerman (bolthy) wrote,
Jeremy "Bolthy" Zimmerman

Norwescon 2013: After Action Report

Originally published at Jeremy Zimmerman. You can comment here or there.

Another Easter as come and gone, and with it another iteration of Norwescon. Norwescon is the largest convention of its type in the Pacific Northwest.

Though I’d bought a four day membership a long time ago, I only ended up going for one day. It’s not exactly close. Were I to leave straight from work in downtown Seattle, I’d either need to drive to work that day (and give up my left arm for parking) or bus down (which would take an hour). Or I could go bus home to the other end of Seattle, then drive 25 miles down.

Staying at the hotel was not a viable option. It was the weekend after AmberCon US, so my ability to spend money (and vacation) for another hotel when I live “close” just isn’t viable.

If there’d been an evening full of compelling events on either Thursday or Friday night, I might have gone. But there were only one or two things that made me think, “Oh that could be fun.” It wasn’t worth the pain to go down.

So I only went Saturday. And that was fine. As far as I can tell, that’s really the sweet spot for panels.

I opened my Saturday with a collection of authors from Broad Universe, organized by Mae Empson. I’d gone there only knowing the works of the awesome and talented Folly Blaine and Cat Rambo, there were also readings by Camille Alexa, Carol Berg, S.A. Bolich, and Brenda Carre. Hopefully I missed no one. All were very awesome.

Also very exciting was getting to see Lee Moyer, who was the artist Guest of Honor. Normally I don’t pay attention to who the Guests of Honor are, as I’m not well-read enough to know all the authors and artists involved. So I was pretty stunned to see that I actually knew the artist this time. Lee has always done amazing work, and seeing him interviewed by Lillian Cohen-Moore was a real treat.

In previous years I have pretty rigorously followed the writing track, but this year I had a bunch of gaming panels I sat in on. There were great panels on women and minorities in the game industry, women in gaming communities, and a comparison of story games versus Dungeons & Dragons (and other “adventure” games). A lot of what I chose involved who was on it. So I sat in on a lot of panels featuring Erik Scott de Bie or Ryan Macklin. I also made a point to catch a panel with Mickey Schulz (specifically the one on women in gaming communities).

One panel got me to reconsider looking at the original Apocalypse World book, instead of its many hacks. I still don’t like the setting,  but there’s some excellent writing on gaming in there.

I also have heard a lot of good things, now, about Gamma Ray Games. Were it not in Capitol Hill, I might check it out. The place has an Ladies Night. It also hosts the Story Games Seattle Meetup. Both of which are designed to be welcoming environments for gaming curious people, especially women. Which is really pretty awesome.

Really there was just so much to see that it was hard to pick, and I missed a lot of stuff I wanted to see. But I did also need meals, or it would have been a much shorter day for me. And it would have ended in tears, maybe also blood.

I had come to the con thinking that I would bag out around dinner time. But then a friend invited me to the “pro party.” I have a general aversion to parties. I’m anti-social and my hearing isn’t great under the best of circumstances. In a crowded and noisy room I miss a lot of conversation. But I don’t see the friend often, and he’s a hero of mine, so I bit the bullet and went to the party.

I had to drive home, so I couldn’t get drunk. (And, really, the last thing I want to do at a pro party is get drunk and embarrass myself in front of The Pros.) I spent the party sitting. If I were to judge success of attending by the number of new people I met, then it was a failure. I sat in a chair and friends drifted towards me and hung out and chatted. More than one friend joked that I was holding court, which is laughable on a lot of levels.

I capped off the night going to Erik Scott de Bie’s reading (awesome!) and then drove home close to midnight.

I had considered going to the con on Sunday, but after spending 14 hours there I just couldn’t. My body was broken on Sunday. Every inch of me hurt. Which is depressing. For a few more weeks I can say, “I’m not old, I’m 37.”

All told, I had an awesome time. The volume of things to sit in and hear about was awesome, and I constantly ran into people I know that I felt comfortable around. Really the best fan convention I’ve been to this year.

Tags: conventions, indie rpgs, norwescon 2013, writing

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