Thursday morning dawned bright and rainy, a typical March day in Portland. I was packed and ready to head out the door, but why I thought that I could get to Vancouver, WA from Wilsonville with four stops in 30 minutes is beyond me. I got to the hotel before noon, ready to make sure everything was where it was and get things set up.
Of course, what I did was watch the con shake down over the rest of the day. From table schedules that didn't take multi-table events into account, to sign up sheets that got left on a Kinko's truck somewhere, it seemed that the entire day just sort of broke down from the start. Fortunately, everything seemed to have a solution, although I missed the first game I was scheduled for, Age of Steam: Zombie Apocalypse when things needed doing right as Mike started to explain the game.
As such, my gaming day started five hours later at 7pm with a pretty hilarious game of The Last Night on Earth. This is a title we tried at Sunriver a couple of years ago but it didn't receive a particularly fair reception and I'd decided to get rid of my copy as I just didn't think it would get played. At the con we played a six-person game where Steven and I were the zombies, and things were looking good as we'd been discarding down the Human deck pretty rapidly, and things looked very good for us right up until the action card that was depleting their deck got taken out. After that, it was goodbye zombies. We didn't eat a single human. Still, more fun than I'd had in my first outing, although I'm not going to buy it again.
With a little time to kill before I had to be at the library desk, I sat in on a teaching game of Dominion with Matt and Wes. This was Wes's first play of the game, and we used the basic teaching deck from the original box. I went for the Mine strategy, and was doing pretty well, but hadn't focused enough and Wes had gotten one more Province than I had (the difference in the score). Dominion continues to be one of my favorite recent releases, although I know some have burned out on it. The speed with which you can teach someone to play and having fun is really amazing, and the versatility is approaching infinity in terms of card combos.
Then it was on to manning the library, which was long and a bit tedious. We had one exciting moment when I realized that no one was scheduled to open the room in the morning until after 7:30am, but the Men In Black had events scheduled at 7am, but the security team did a great job of finding a solution quickly. The down side was that there was already a game running at the library counter, and I was uncomfortable starting up the Washington's War game with Chris while it was going. By the time they cleaned up, though Chris had gotten into a game with Tom Lehmann, and that was that. We hope to get a game up on Sunday, but I'm not holding my breath.
Dave had finished up his Great Race scenario from the Settlers Das Buch set, and I had a couple of bottles of beer on ice in the room (I'd forgotten I had a case of Bridgeport IPA in the trunk of the car), so he stopped by and I gave him one. Of course, I did not have a bottle opener with me. I was able to get the caps off with a key and that was the end of Day One. A more exciting start than I had hoped for, but a good start.
I had very good and candid talks with both Phoenix and Aaron about the next steps the con needs to take in the future. Primarily, I'd like to see two things: documentation of the con process available to anyone who might need it, and formalized communication channels instilled into the culture. I think that if those two things happened (and frankly, the latter can be driven by the former and vice versa), I think there is a very good chance that the con can start to learn from it's mistakes more quickly. For now, far too much is held in the heads of a handful of people who all have different ideas about how things should get done. Distill that information into an accessible and usable form, drive use of that information, and the problems caused by individuals who seem to have an overinflated sense of their own skills will be mitigated to the point where it isn't a chore to get people involved.
Day Two should run a lot smoother, and I'm looking forward to it quite a bit!