Adventures in Comic-Con – or “You do not have a three digit DCI number.”
When last you met our heroes Ray, Jay, and Ben, they were adrift amongst the chaos that is San Diego Comic Con. Their events were in a different building, their hotel a mile away from the event site, and their events schedule almost entirely unlike they expected it to be.
Some quick thinking was in order. First, the schedule had to be modified to make sure we had time to pick up the product from the con site every morning, and bring it back home each night, because, well, there was nowhere to store product. Second we needed a method of actually doing this. I mean, we are gamers; we are not spectacularly in shape. Carrying CASES of product about three quarters of a mile was quite an unappealing concept.
This was solved with the Magic of Valet. Every morning, Jay would get his car out of the hotel valet while Ben or I would head to the Con Site. We would get the product we needed for the day from storage and lay it out on the curb, Jay would drive around the front of the con center, and, while the police yelled at us that it was a no loading zone, load up the product and whisk away before they got too mad. Then we’d park at the Event site, and get valet to park us, while a bellhop unloaded our product and shipped it up to the room for us. Repeat the process in reverse at the end of the night.
So yeah, it was a lot of extra parking fees and a lot of extra tips to bellhops, but such is life. It worked, and that’s the important part.
The events on the whole were great. They ran smoothly and the players seemed to be having a great time. The topic of this article revolves around the fact that twice during the weekend, players approached us and tried to explain how they were very old players, and had a three digit DCI number, but lost it. Despite our clearly explaining to them that DCI numbers started at four digits, and, while it is technically possible to have a three digit number, it could only be if they won one of two events where they were given out to the winner, they adamantly stuck to their story and explained that we were just too new to the game and didn’t understand.
In general, the attendance for the events was great, considering it is Comic Con. The numbers were 20-40 for each event, which is double what they were last year. Considering we are off site this year, and our events did not make the program, getting double the attendance is quite the feat.
Jay specifically had time off to play the Type 1, as he is a big fan of the format. Comic Con, however, is really not made up of serious players. I think of the 18 players we had for Type I, one person besides Jay was actually playing a real Type 1 deck. Everyone else was playing casual decks that just happen to be legal in Type 1. Ben and I quickly informed Jay that even if he won, he got no bragging rights.
He reluctantly agreed, although we all agreed that if the Winter Orb deck ended up playing against him, he was likely toast.
So, how did I do on my goals for the weekend?
1. Run all the Wizards events efficiently and professionally.
All the events went off without a hitch, well, those that went off. Sunday was kind of messed up in that they closed our room at 3pm, and we had an event starting at 2pm and an event starting at 3pm, neither of which obviously went off. Worst of all, one of the events that fell off the schedule was one we were going to use to test a new judge. Instead we did a lengthy interview process and tested him. Our only other small situation was delaying an event for about 30 minutes because the previous event had not ended, and a large number of people had expressed interest in playing in both. I think everyone was happy with the events over all, so I am happy.
Mental note for me however, is to check out prize pools. Last year at Comic Con, we gave out as a special thing, some Italian Legends Packs. Last year it seemed the reception for them was lukewarm at best, as mot casual players were like “old cards I can’t read, WTF?” So this year when Wizards asked me if I should get Italian Legends again, I said no, it should be just new stuff, as no one liked the Legends last year.
So, of course, the first three people I talk to this year said “Are you gonna have Italian Legends for prizes again?!?!”
2. Make sure my employees had enough “floor time” at the con so they could check out things and have some fun while there.
This was fine. Everyone seemed to get plenty of floor time, except me. Next year I need to schedule more floor time for me. Jay even got to meet some of the guys from Comic Book the movie, and attend their panel. In general, no one complained at all about how much roam and have fun time they had, so all was well.
My floor time was spent taking a couple pictures, looking for two comics I never heard of and buying them, something I suggest every comic fan do at Comic Con, and then, running into the Drunken Master Asian Import Video Booth, and barely getting out with my credit card intact. I managed to grab Shaolin Soccer, Shaolin Temple, Versus, Zatoichi (the remake), Musa, and Hero. If Jay hadn’t dragged me away I would have easily ended up with double that. So, good times for me.
3. Meet with Tim Shields (Seattle and Portland Organizer) and Chris Wong (So Cal Organizer mentioned above) for dinner/drinks.
50% hit ratio here. I did get to have dinner with Tim, and that went well. We had a good time telling stories and hanging out, and a few secrets were shared that I cannot publish, but overall, it was a great evening, and well worth the time spent.
Chris Wong, however, I did not even get to see until Saturday, at which point I was booked across the board with work and meetings. We did get to talk briefly, but it would have been nice to get a lot more time to chat. Maybe next time.
4. Meet up with Mike Girard from Decipher for, well, anything we could come up with.
My first meeting with Mike Girard this weekend was brief. We met on the Con floor, almost bumping into each other. We shook hands, and Girard quickly said “HeyitsgreattoseeyoubutIneedtogototheboothbutbeforeIforgetgocheckouttheSpecieschickit’sagirlinaglassboxplayingwithtentacles!”
Both Jay and I were amused that, in the couple of seconds Girard had to talk to us, the one piece of data he chose to impart to us was “check out the chick playing with tentacles.”
Although we never got a lot of time to chat together, he did play in a booster draft the next day with a couple other Decipher guys, and they seemed to have a good time until duty called them back to the fated booth of Mt. Doom. Another guy I wish I had been able to spend more time with, but seemed fated not to be.
5. Meet up with Score, Decipher, Upper Deck, and Wizards to socialize with the various Organized Play people I knew.
This was pretty much a failure. Due to being offsite, I got to say Hi to pretty much everyone, and that was it. There was no real lag time for me to spend chit chatting with the various peers, and when I did have a few minutes to walk the floor, they were usually busy doing their demos or events. In short, it was a bust from a networking point of view.
6. Take pictures of cute girls in various costumes because, well, they’re cute girls in costumes. A subset of this one was to make sure I got some floor time as well, since last year I didn’t really get any.
This one went well at least! Between Jay, Ben, and Dave Hummel (a good friend who was there as a participant) taking my digital camera on each of their rounds, we were able to amass a suitable number of pictures of costumed or otherwise just cute beauties. I really think this is the most fun part of the con, and in fact next year am leaning heavily towards bringing a staff member to do nothing but take pictures all weekend.
Yeah yeah, I’m a voyeur at heart, or something.
E-mail me at rayp-at-primenet.com.
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