Thursday, June 5, 2014

But, Wait! There's More!

"Speak up, Spotted Jaguar, you're mumbling again."

And we're back for another chapter in the on-going saga of Chirine And Gaming - at this rate, I could do a book or at least a seperate blog about the subject! - and this bit is about why I don't do conventions; and, I should note, why I don't do the big open / public events anymore. There's two reasons: one, the sheer amount of grunt work involved - the logistics of the thing, as it were; and two, the aforementioned 'rate of return' - the amount of joy and happiness I get out of the thing, vs. the amount of hassle and kicking around I get for doing it.

This thought process actually got started back in June of last year, when I did a Braunstein at FFG's Event Center. The game itself went very well, I thought, but the logistics were a nightmare. People had offered to help me do the whole set / show/ strike cycle, but it didn't work out in practice for a number of reasons. The icing on the cake / dagger to the heart came post-show, when one of the people who had assured me of their support - and whom I had been really counting on for their help - informed me that he expected to get a $100 a day per diem payment plus expense payments for his transportation and meals, in return for which he would be acting as my "chief of security" for any future events.

Security, I got in bucket loads. What I needed (and still need, for events like this) were stevedores, longshoremen (longshorepersons?), teamsters, and docents. And, as might be expected, there's no budget for such per diem payments.

And I'm sorry; I'm only human. I contrasted this person's attitude with that of an old friend, who drove up here from Milwaukee for the weekend and filled in admirably as a worker bee to help me load and move all weekend. And this, I will note, after surgery for cardiac problems; he filled in with no complains and with unfailing good cheer and enthusiasm. The Gold of Glory for him, as far as I'm concerned.

I look very hard at what it costs me to run events; I have to, what with The Missus being disabled and our having to live on a pretty tight fixed income. It is very cost-effective for me to refit the game room as a min-studio for Skype, Google+, and podcasts; these are effectively a no-overhead / no expense activity, while conventions are costly in terms of personal time, personal energy, fuel costs, hotel rooms, and sheer hard work. The June 2013 game is packed up as tightly as I can get it, and uses a set of cloth ground sheets for the basic scenery; even so, this one game alone takes up thirty-two cubic feet of space in the back of the GMC Astro cargo van I own. The van will take a little over sixty-four cubic feet of cargo in one lift; I can pack two large-table games and put on a really good show, but there isn't a lot of room left over.

And, I will admit, if I don't think I'm going to have a good time at the event, I have a really hard time justifying participating - let alone the possible travel time and expense to and from the event. Case in point: MAGE Con in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; I had been interested in going to the convention a number of years ago, to see the Temple of Vimuhla model that Prof. Barker built back in the 1970s. it was scheduled to make it's first public appearance in decades, and I wanted to go and have a look at the old thing. So, I went onto the convention's website, and contacted them about getting a membership. I got the following e-mail in reply:

Mr. Berry:

As it is the prerogative of Midwest Area Gaming Enthusiasts (MAGE) to
expel or exclude anyone from it’s events, I will have you know that you
are NOT welcome to attend any of the events sponsored by MAGE.  The
executive board of MAGE and the current convention manager have placed
your name on a list of gamers who have been banned from any MAGE event.
Please do not attempt to attend as doing so would be a will full act of
trespassing and we would have no choice but to have you removed by the
appropriate law enforcement agents.

On a personal note, I am still irritated that the blue prints of the
temple I allowed you to review in 1983 showed up in another publication
without my knowledge or consent.  The statute of limitations may have
run out but my personal distain for you lives on.

Stephen  Vossler
Tekumel Track Coordinator
Midwest Area Gaming Enthusiasts

I still have no idea what he was carrying on about; he submitted a set of plans for a temple of Hru'u to us at Adventure Games, back in the day, and as per procedure I submitted a copy of the plans to Prof. Barker for his review and comments. I never heard anything back from Phil on this. Supposedly, I took advantage of Mr. Vossler by sending his plan to Dave Hargreave, who used them in one of his "Ardouin Grimore" publications; I had to look Dave up on Google, as I'd not heard of either him or his RPG series. I suggested to Mr. Vossler that he look at the author of the article he was worked up about, and contact them regarding the matter; he never replied, and I am more then a little grateful for that.

Needless to say, I didn't go to the convention; I didn't miss anything, as the Temple was a no-show, and I saved myself the cost of a day-long trip to South Dakota, a weekend in a hotel, and all the meals along the way.

If you, Gentle Readers, feel that you can detect a sense of annoyance on my part, you'd be right. I've been getting kicked for almost thirty-five years by various people, starting with the players in Phil's original game group in 1976, and I have finally run out of what people hereabouts call 'Minnesota Nice'. I used to have to put up with some really stupid people "for Tekumel's sake", but I simply don't have the energy and stamina to both be productive and diplomatic.

Like it or not, diplomacy is taking the back seat in favor of productivity; the latter gets me a lot more niceness then the former ever did.

And a note to the researcher: Yes, I do save everything.