If you haven't read
week's article, I strongly suggest you go back
to read that first, otherwise the "second half of a
list" won't make a lot of sense. The short recap is
that I worked Gen Con So Cal a couple of weeks ago
for Wizards of the Coast, and have compiled a list
of 45 things I learned while working this
convention. This is part two of two of that list.
21. Disney closes at 8pm
Our original plan for Gen Con So Cal was to take the
kids to Disney on the Monday after the event. Of
course, the kids were being taken care of by my
wife's side of the family, and not once has anything
ever gone according to plan where my wife's side of
the family is concerned. This is not to insult them,
it's just the way they are. Something always seems
to come up or sound better when the plans begin to
get nearer. In this particular case, it was Disney.
My brother in law was in town, but wouldn't be for
next Monday, so suddenly they wanted to go to Disney
on Wednesday, while I was stuck fighting the
previous twenty issues you read about last week. My
wife was trying to see if I could make it out in
time to go to Disney with the kids, which was
admittedly only a mile away or so. But we found out
that Disney closed at 8pm, so I sent them ahead
since I did not expect to make it out before 8:30 or
so. For the record, I got done at 7:30.
22. Valet parking is $20 a day
I hate SoCal Parking, that's really all I have to
23. Peter Adkison is a nice man
While going through all the annoyance of the bad
little things, Kelly came to bring me to lunch
before I got too deep into things. Who should walk
in with her but Peter Adkison, old head of Wizards
of the Coast and current head of Gen Con. We had met
Peter a couple times before, and he met Kelly in the
elevator on the way to the site, and decided to go
to lunch with us.
Considering how busy he probably was, that he took
some time out to eat lunch with us, and was always
happy to see us throughout the weekend was a
testimony to how nice he is. Considering how often
he sees us, I wouldn't have been surprised if he
barely remembered our name, but instead he
remembered everything, and took plenty of time out
for us over the course of the weekend. Just a nice
24. Jeff Donais is always willing to help For those
of you who don't know, Jeff Donais works for Upper
Deck as head of Organized Play and R & D for the TCG
group. I've known Jeff for a few years now, since he
used to work for Wizards, and ran into him at the
hotel lobby Wednesday night. We exchanged
pleasantries, and he explained to me that if there
was anything I needed, to just let him know. I
slightly questioningly reminded him that I was
actually working for Wizards this time, not him, but
he said the offer still stood. Very nice of him. I
was tempted on taking him up on it and asking to
borrow one of the big digital clocks they use for
the Pro Circuit for my events, but decided not to
push my luck.
25. The purple tables and black tables are mine,
although why they are not just all one color is
Yeah, I dunno, I just don't get this one. The
seating for Gen Con was segregated into several
color coded areas, with each color being for a
different company, except for some reason I had two
colors. I to this day do not know why I had two
26. Oh, we also have red tables, but those are for
At least this one was slightly understandable. Board
Games were in a slightly different area from the
Card Games, so had their own color coding system.
27. Italian Legends packs are tempting.
One of the fun things about these events is that
Wizards always seems to come with some kind of cool
prize for these events. This time around they
brought with them a case of Italian Legends packs to
spread out amongst the prize pools for the weekend.
All weekend we kept teasing Scott Larabee from
Wizards of the Coast that he needed to let us do a
pack master with the Legends packs.
28. When advertising a light saber prize, its best
to have a light saber.
For the Star Wars events this weekend, one of the
things we did was give away a Light Saber for the
final prize. But when it came time to do the product
count, there was no light saber in the stock.
Strangely enough, the saber kind of magically
appeared over the next two days before the final
event. When I asked Wizards when it came in, I was
told we had it all along.
I smell a conspiracy.
29. When receiving Neopets Product, its best to have
Then, there was the opposite issue. Two of the cases
I got where for NeoPets events. NeoPets events we
never had scheduled, and were not in the Gen Con So
Cal event listing. Fortunately we ended up using the
NeoPets product at least a bit for the Convention
30. Two words - Donkey Ears
Roughly two weeks before Gen Con So Cal, I got a
call from Wizards, explaining that Mark Rosewater
would be wearing a donkey costume, and that they
would like the judges for the event to wear donkey
ears. A quick discussion between myself and Dan Gray
and we decided this would be a detail we would not
tell the judges until the events started, for fear
It turned out to be irrelevant, however, since the
ears never showed.
31. I really do run into someone who knows me no
matter where I go.
It's a long running joke that no matter where I go,
I end up running into someone I know, and this event
was no exception. This time around, I ran into Ivan,
head of Con Events, and convention company in
Arizona. He was working for Peter learning a bit
about how Gen Con runs, and it was good to run into
him. I also got to run into a record number of
people that said they read my articles. Hello to all
of you and thank you to coming to say hi to me! Its
always a great feeling to know people are reading
32. If you want me to have people sign tax forms,
give me tax forms for them to sign.
In the sanctioning packet that Wizards gave me at
the convention, they informed me that the winners of
the $250 cash events would need to fill out a tax
form. However, they sent me no tax forms for them to
Thankfully, Dan Gray had the file on his computer
and we were able to print some out.
33. Just because you ordered tables, doesn't mean
you get chairs On my glorious stage which we had all
the problems with and got set up so late, it was
quickly determined that apparently having tables
does not mean I get chairs, and there were none
available for me. I ended up stealing a couple from
my TCG tables until I could find someone to do
correct this little problem for me.
34. Even after being questioned, and admitting you
don't have a badge, you can still get in.
All day Wednesday I did not have my badge, as you
can surmise from my earlier problems list.
Theoretically this meant that I was not allowed on
site yet to do set up, yet every time someone
stopped me to ask me where my badge was, and I said
I didn't have one yet, but was doing set up, they
let me in anyways. While this was incredibly helpful
for me, it was slightly disconcerting from a
35. Don't let your wife pack for you.
While I love my wife dearly, her version of packing
is much different than mine. She had a new idea that
she wanted to make sure my feet were always fresh,
and that every time the event was over I would need
a change of clothes. So I had double the socks i
would ever need, and almost double the outfits,
because the reality is that most of the time, after
my work schedule, I can just hang out in uniform for
a little bit, or just change shirts, or in many of
the cases it won't matter because I am just going to
go to the hotel and sleep.
36. Make sure your wife packs for herself.
To make a funny story funnier, my wife, in her quest
to get my packing done perfectly (in her mind),
forgot to pack shirts for herself. Thank goodness
her mom and her wear the same size.
37. The sanctioning numbers will be wrong.
When Wizards asks Linda Roberts, head sanctioning
person and savior of my butt on numerous occasions,
to sanction like 40 events in an hour for four
different days and four different games, each with
at least two different formats, something invariably
gets messed up. This set was no exception, but it
was minimal. The only issue I had was two MLB
Booster Draft events being listed as Constructed.
38. Ben's phone is better than Jay's phone.
When the hotel fiasco happened, I wanted to let the
car load of Ben, Jay, and Chris Shaner know about
the change, since they were en route.
Unfortunately, they were crossing the great
wasteland that is the freeway between Arizona and
California, so it was unlikely that I would actually
be able to get a hold of them, but I thought I'd
try. I called Jay's phone, and Ben answered. The
reception was horrible, and I figured I'd just have
to wait and try again when they got closer to
California. The last thing I heard from Ben was to
try his cell phone instead, so I hung up and dialed
Ben. Ben's connection was crystal clear.
39. It's $2.50 to fax one page to Seattle from the
This was a lesson I didn't want to have to learn,
but I had some Pokemon paperwork I absolutely had to
get done that weekend, so I had to print out the
sheet and have the hotel fax it. $2.50. Ouch.
40. Limited events require land.
You'd think I knew this one by now after years of
running tournaments, but somehow it slipped my mind,
until the first Unhinged event when someone came up
and asked me for land. My bad, my bad.
41. Joe's Crab Shack does not serve chocolate ice
cream or Mike's Hard Lemonade So, one night, we all
got to head to Joe's Crab Shack for dinner. Dinner
there was great, although I was having bad drink
problems, mostly through the fault of my own. The
first drink I ordered was a Joe's Volcano which I
got mostly because it was what I was staring at when
they asked for my drink. I did not like it much, and
switched to a Heineken, but there was a big Mike's
Hard Lemonade sign right in front of me, so I
resolved to get that one next, during desert. When
desert came around, my wife asked if they had ice
cream for the kids, to which we were told yes, just
We asked if that meant they only carried Vanilla,
like some places do, but no, they just don't carry
chocolate, they have plenty of other flavors. Were
they out of stock? No, they just didn't carry
I was amused all the way up to the point where I
ordered my Mike's Hard Lemonade and was told that
they didn't carry it. I animatedly pointed to the
Mike's sign I was staring at all night, and the one
above the bar, and the one by the restroom. My
waitress nodded sagely and said that they were great
at false advertising, but that they did not actually
carry Mike's Hard Lemonade ever.
It was at this point I gave up on the night.
42. It's my fault you showed up 21 minutes late for
On Sunday, the early type two had a whole five
people for it, not very big, but hey, we run any
event if we can. Exactly 21 minutes into the event,
four people came up to request to play in the event.
I gave them the same answer to always give in this
situation, which was that they could play, but with
a first round loss. They then went into a compelling
argument that obviously a nine person event was
better than a five person event. I agreed, but
explained that I could not penalize the other
players because these guys showed up late, and even
if they had signed up for the event and just not
shown up until now, they would still have had a
match loss. One of them then told me I was being
condescending to them, and to please stop making up
Fortunately I have done this long enough to know the
right answer to all of this is to simply point out
there are other events and to walk away. I will
never win this argument, and when someone is so far
off base that they think its somehow my fault that
they showed up over twenty minutes late for an
event, well, I have no way to convince them of
43. Even the Grand Prix Trial will not necessarily
go off The guesses on attendance were all over the
map for this event. We figured the G.I. Joe events
were never going to go off, and the Star Wars one's
were unlikely as well. We figured that, at the very
least, the premiere events would go off. How wrong
we were. One of the Grand Prix Trials went off with
the minimum amount of people, and the other didn't
44. Every Donkey in California has the same name
This is by far my favorite story for Gen Con So Cal.
As I mentioned before, Mark Rosewater was wearing a
Donkey costume for the Unhinged events. During
Thursday, it was still pretty slow, and there was a
grade school class field trip that was going through
the exhibitors. Mark had not been wearing the actual
donkey head because it was extremely hot and it made
him sound like he was talking in a deep dark cave,
but he decided for the kids that he would make an
exception. He put on the donkey head, and walked out
to the main walkway where the kids were starting to
The first couple of kids looked at him a bit
strangely, but were o.k. with him, and he raised his
paw and waved. Then it began.
"EEYORE! EEYORE! LOOK IT'S EEYORE!"
Suddenly the entire class fell upon him, screaming "EEYORE!"
over and over and jumping up and down. Mark was the
perfect donkey gentleman, playing along just fine,
while the entire rest of the crew had to hide behind
the tables, laughing uncontrollably.
45.Everyone wants Unhinged
My final learned thought was that everyone loves
Unhinged. No less than 12 people in the Upper Deck
Pro Circuit left the event then came over to try to
get into Unhinged events. In addition, two of the
judges of the Upper Deck Pro Circuit approached me
to see if I was willing to exchange their judge
compensation from the Pro Circuit for Unhinged
Whew! That was a lot longer than I thought it was
going to be. Thanks to everyone for reading and see
you next week!