On the spur of the moment, I decided to do a quick road trip to Baltimore to check out BALTICON 50.
I vaguely remember Baltimore as a war-torn and crab-infested hellhole, but it wasn't too bad. I rolled through a few spots that happily took me back to old days in New Orleans.
Outside of wandering around looking for coffee, beer, and eats, I mostly hung out in the posh inner harbor where the con was going on. There was a lot going on this weekend, with a bunch of Krishnas setting up big festival near this fountain, and also a large Islamic conference. I stopped to chat with people from both factions who were super nice, but sadly could not ignite a holy war between them.
Balticon was like a more fun version of Gencon that wasn't so goddamn crowded (while still being pretty crowded). It seemed like a nice venue, however elevators were definitely buckling under the strain. The food at the hotel bar was amazing though. Best deviled eggs ever.
I was really happy to find a Galaxy's Edge, a magazine I hadn't seen before edited by Mike Resnick! If you haven't checked out Resnick's work before, I highly recommend A Miracle of Rare Design. I look forward to reading my copy. I remember downloading Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge and The 43 Antarean Dynasties from some ancient newsgroup and reading them on some godawful pocketpc what seems like a lifetime ago. I've not yet run into Mr. Resnick, I hope to someday get a chance to tell him how much I've enjoyed his work in person.
Did I mention there was a game room? I got in some fantastic games in-between panels.
The first night there was a Two Rooms and a Boom event that was super fun. I managed to win a round as cupid by identifying the enemy president, negotiating a cease-fire with the enemy anti-cupid, sending the spy to the next room to get our bomber sent back, then making the president and the bomber fall in love so that our whole team and the enemy president won. Truly a fantastic round. If none of that makes sense to you, play this game. It's really fun! I met the designers at Gencon and they were great.
I played Valley of the Kings twice with these Baltimore natives and had a great time. Valley winds up being a pretty fun deckbuilder that hits all the right notes. Fast, lots of combos, built-in trashing mechanism (that's also the scoring mechanism). Really enjoyed it, and am looking forward to trying the expansion.
Played a round of Mysterium with the Tasty Pixels guys from Long Island, we won!
Overall, it was definitely worth the long motorcycle ride to check out. My next post will cover the panels I attended! There were some fantastic ones.