Greetings, fellow humans. It is I, Dan, your favorite member of Fandible, here to provide a timely and comprehensive report of my adventures at Dexcon. Now, I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, Dan, wasn’t Dexcon like 2 weeks ago? How is this ‘timely’?
Well, I’ll say to you what I say to everyone else: HOW DARE YOU. I AM AN ENNIE NOMINATED PODCASTER.
I used that on my boss last week, worked like a charm.
Anyway, Dexcon! For 5 glorious days in July, Dexcon is the biggest tabletop gaming convention in the entire Morristown NJ area. Are there games of Dungeons & Dragons? You bet your sweet posterior there is. Are there LARPs? Oh, yes, yes there are. Are there board games? Mountains of them. Literal mountains.
Whatever your particular flavor of gaming geekery, it’s in there. I think there’s a room for video games too.
Sadly, I was the only one of the Fandible crew that could make it there this year, which was a damn shame. Watching the sheer glee on David’s face while he’s dressing up and making last minute tweaks to some prop or another for a LARP, Angela’s pride at having run another excellent game, Billy’s confusion at having enjoyed a PbtA game, or whatever it is Jesus does at these things, is always one of the high points of a con for me. So I was a bit nervous heading out there all on my own. What would it be like without my usual gang of misfits around? Would I have fun? Would I enjoy the downtime between games without them? Would I be forced to interact with, gods forbid, strangers?
Well, I’m happy to report that, while the rest of the group was sorely missed, I still managed to have a grand old time, and that’s because Dexcon is, simply put, one of the best gaming experiences out there. At least, once you manage to get through the archaic game pre-registration system. Sorry, Dexcon organizers, I love you, but there’s gotta be a better way than emailing cryptic codes back and forth. Regardless, the sheer variety of games, themes, and experiences to choose from is amazing. All the big names are there, along with dozens of indie games, not to mention experiences that you can only really have at Dexcon.
And I decided to bring Jerry to all of them. Well, most of them.
I was a young Jerry Herzberg at a deliciously 80’s game of Rememorex. I was a doomed Jerry at a terrifying game of Dread held in a dark room with only a single flashlight. And I was Jerry, grumpy old back-alley doctor, in the incredible inaugural game of Arksong, a LARP about a group of strangers who wake up in a damaged colony ship deep in space, with no memories of how they got there.
I was not Jerry at the two Dr. Dolotts freeform LARPs (which, btw, I cannot recommend enough if you get the chance to attend one, they’re brilliant). These games are basically improv group therapy sessions, and for the first I was Bob, a man obsessed with breakfast cereals, in therapy with other Cereal Murderers. And for the second, a session for video game characters that never got the sequels they deserved, I was a grown up version of Bonk from the old TurboGrafx-16 days. Bonk had some… issues about spending his infancy as a giant-headed baby who was forced to kill monsters by BASHING THEM WITH HIS GIANT BABY HEAD.
I was also not Jerry for a series of 3 sequential Numenera games. Instead, I was Jared, a Weird Nano who Abides in Crystal. He had a twin sister called Kay.
The GM got the joke halfway through the third session and gave me an XP for it, so it was worth it.
Point is, I had a lot of fun at some excellent games, but even when I wasn’t gaming, I was still enjoying the casual camaraderie of being surrounded by my people, the same kind of geek as myself who will excitedly blather at you about their character or this neat game they tried. Constaff was great, everyone was friendly, the hotel itself where the con takes place is lovely, as is Morristown itself. When it came time to pack my bags and head home on Sunday, there was a bit of sadness, yes. But more than that, there was just a warm glow of having gotten to indulge in this weird hobby of ours shamelessly for days with nothing to worry about other than getting enough sleep to be up and ready for an 8 AM game the next day.
If you get the chance to make it down to NJ for next year’s Dexcon, please, do! Maybe next year the whole crew will be able to make it, but even if they can’t, I definitely will.
I’ll probably bring Jerry along again, too.
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