Wizards Owns My Underwear
As you know if you read last week's column, I was on my way to Vegas to attend the Gaming Manufacturer Association trade show, or GAMA, to keep it short. The trade show actually runs from Monday to Thursday, but I was in Vegas from the previous Friday on for other conferences and meetings. There's a lot of stuff I really can't talk about that occurred during the meetings I went to, due to Non Disclosure Agreements, but I had a few very specific goals for these conferences. I successfully completed the following:
1. Talking to Wizards of the Coast about what kind of set up would occur with me helping them for Pro Tour San Diego, where all of you are more than welcome to drop by and say hi to me. I will be in charge of all side events.
2. Talking to Wizards of the Coast about the possibility of me helping out more with the West Coast Convention Scene, specifically San Diego Comic Con, and Gen Con So Cal. San Diego Comic Con seems like a sure thing for me, but one can never tell. Gen Con So Cal is a much tougher decision for the powers that be. They have a very good working relationship with Professional Event Services for a lot of these conventions, and understandably want to keep that relationship going. Its an obvious case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," and admittedly I have very little extra value to add to that equation, besides location. By being closer to these events, my cost to Wizards to staff these events is theoretically cheaper. In the end, I think what will happen is I will end up helping Professional Event Services with this event, which is fine by me. Mike Guptil, head of PES, is a great guy, and I think I could learn a lot from him.
3. Talk to Professional Event Services about helping them with the Duel Masters Mall Tour in my city. That conversation went very well, and I look forward to helping them out when the tour rolls around to Phoenix.
A bunch of other meetings occurred, and sometimes I felt like I was too busy playing deal maker to actually get a lot out of the weekend conference, but it all worked out well in the end, and I think I got all the data Wizards wanted me to get while also getting my personal goal accomplished, thanks in no small part to my wife Kelly, who attended and filled in the gaps of things I missed, kept me on track, and helped with my interaction with Decipher for this weekend as well.
Yes, I had some interaction with Decipher as well, primarily in a "you scratch my back I scratch yours" sort of way. Decipher was running a Premiere Series event that same weekend in Vegas, in the same hotel GAMA was in, as well as all of these other conferences. The new Lord of the Rings set, Siege of Gondor, just came out, and I was bringing some boxes of the product to Vegas for some of my regulars that they had pre-ordered, figuring it would heighten excitement for everyone if people were there busting packs of the newest set. Before I did this however, I talked to Scott Gaeta, who helps plan and run a lot of these events for Decipher, to make sure I wouldn't be stepping on any vendor toes by doing this. It turns out that, due to late scheduling, they had no vendors for the event, so a short conversation later, and we were set to put up a vendor table at the Premiere Series, earning us a few extra dollars while simultaneously helping Decipher out by giving them a vendor to sell packs, singles, and sleeves.
Well, the sleeves part was a bit challenging. We were in such a rush, and this was so last minute, we neglected to bring any sleeves with us. Alas, it was Matt Tabak to the rescue! Matt is part of the organized play company that runs events in Vegas and a good friend, and one phone call later, Matt was on his way with sleeves for us to sell. How did he get these sleeves, you may ask? Well, there was a Game Keeper going out of business on the way for him, and their sleeves were discounted enough that he could buy them cheaply and bring them to us to sell at enough of a markup to make it worth doing. He bought out the entire store, which was plenty for us to put out to sell.
Yes, sometimes we really are that disorganized and chaotic.
Saturday night was a pleasant break. My wife and I went out to Ruth Chris’ Steak House for dinner with Dan Gray and his girlfriend Becky. Dan is the Los Angeles Tournament Organizer, and Becky a talented and wonderful judge and scorekeeper for Dan. Its very rare that we get to spend quality time with Dan, and Dan’s glee in ordering Banana Foster, and virtual cackling as the room lit up with flame as the waiter cooked it table side, made this dinner truly delightful.
Sunday night gave us a second treat: dinner with Dan again, but this time with Matt Tabak and his girlfriend Julia. This time we went to the HofbrauHaus, a German beer garden style restaurant, where you can order GOOD beer by the liter. Speaking as someone who grew up in Germany, this was a rare moment of joy to me. As I ate my Weiner Schnitzel with Spatzle, and drank my liter of Dunkel while the German Band played beer tent songs, my money problems and stress over the weekend quickly washed away. This perfect time was spoiled only by the thought that my wife was leaving back to Phoenix, and I was stuck in Vegas for four more days.
After dropping her off at the airport, we decided to do some gambling for the night. Since Dan was staying at Harrah’s, that was our first stop.
Dan and Becky had already gone ahead, since we had two cars, so it was up to Julia, Matt and I to find them in the Casino. I had just finished off a liter of beer a few minutes ago, so a stop at the restroom seemed like a good plan at this point.
Too Much Information Alert! Read below at your own risk!
So, I am a boxer man. I like boxers over briefs, and my wife tends to buy cutesy boxers for me to wear because she thinks its funny, and I simply don’t care enough about the design of my underwear to argue it.
Tonight, it was Mr. Potato Head boxers. And as I was sitting, doing what you do in these places, I looked down to notice the tag, which said in nice black letters “Copyright 2001 Hasbro.”
(For those of you that don’t know, Hasbro owns Wizards of the Coast.)
After a weekend of in depth Wizards of the Cost meetings and conversations, all I could think was “Wizards owns my underwear.”
“… I wonder if they have the right to ask for it back. Will one of the Wizards employees come up to me at some point and request my underwear?”
The moment was made even more surreal by the fact that, after washing my hands, and walking out of the restroom, I noticed a perfectly good pair of sneakers in the bathroom trash.
I wondered what company asked for those back, as I headed out to meet everyone by the tables.
End Too Much Information Alert!
All of us liked Pai Gow, but alas, the Pai Gow tables were $20 minimum bet, which was a bit steep for everyone but Dan, who was as reckless a gambler as anyone I have ever met. We talked to the pit boss briefly, explaining that there were five of us willing to sit down to gamble immediately if they lowered the table minimum bet to $10, and we couldn’t help but notice that they had three completely empty $20 tables sitting there. But alas, the pit boss was unmoved by our pleas, explaining that $20 is the minimum we would find anywhere, and you can “win faster” by betting $20.
A short conference later, and off to the Imperial Palace we went, just next door. Ironically, the first thing we see at the Imperial Palace is $10 Pai Gow tables, but they are mostly filled, so we go for $5 Black Jack instead.
Now, I have lost roughly $50 at Pai Gow so far this weekend. I just could not win at Pai Gow. Normally, I can just play forever, break even, and order a great many drinks, but not this weekend. Pai Gow was the game of death for me.
Apparently I should have been playing Blackjack all along. I was up $50 in under 30 minutes, as the dealer kept feeding me 20 after 20. On the off chance that I was not dealt a 20, I would hit into a 20. I think I lost 3 hands the entire time. Unfortunately though, Dan was not so lucky, and his money faded fast, followed by Matt Tabak’s. With only the girls and I left betting, we decided to quit at Black Jack, and go see what else was going on. Dan is a big fan of Craps, which I have no idea how it works, so he headed there, and I followed out of curiosity.
Dan tends to throw dice to not crap out, and out of the entirety of craps, I do understand the more he throws dies, the better it is for the betters. I vaguely understood the Field line (which is a place that says if the dice land on any of a few different numbers, it pays off), and joked with Dan that I should just bet on Dan on the Field line. He said to go for it, and as a lark I cashed $40 into chips and tried it out. Dan’s roll pays off once, then he craps, and the dice roll goes to me.
To me. I have no idea what the hell I am doing. I have no idea how this works. I’m told by Dan to throw a bet on the pass line, so I do, and then just chuck the dice.
Now, as a gamer, it seems logical to no throw the dice to hard, as you don’t want them to fall off the table. This is not so true for craps, and my first wimpy throw is met with admonishment by the table boss, who explains to me that I need to throw the dice so that they hit the back wall at least.
My drunken state translated this to mean they needed to hit the back wall ON THE FLY. Well, then I need to throw them a lot further obviously! With a nice bit of air I launch the dice …… right into the chest of the guy at the opposite end of the table.
Ok, so not that hard. Right! Got it! Funnily enough I bet on myself on the field like 3 times and end up $40 up when I crap out, and hurry away from the table, before someone throws dice at me in retaliation.
Shortly after, I headed to bed for the night, prepared to be ready for the GAMA Trade Show itself, which I’ll tell you a lot more about next week. See you then!
E-mail me at rayp-at-primenet.com.
Have a great week!
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