Turning Out the Lights

I’m staying up too long again tonight, but I really want to write down my weekend impressions while they are fresh.

The clock read quarter-to-eleven before I could drag my carcass out of bed, which meant that Closing Ceremonies were only three hours away. No panels, no costuming, just time spent with friends today. I wandered the halls, trading hugs and saying hellos and goodbyes, until noon when the con auctions were to begin. My interest this year remained solely academic, as I’d vowed to spend no money at the con: the budget this spring wouldn’t support it.

The White Elephant auction at 1:00 contained many fascinating items, including Shadowrun gaming materials that almost tempted me. (I looked carefully, finding none of the books that my group has specifically mentioned searching for.) Soon enough, though, the Closing Ceremonies began, dragging on for almost three hours before everyone could tear themselves away. I joined jsciv and candidevoltaire for an evening of gaming that lasted until 11 with a dinner break; we played the new Battlestar Galactica board game for two hours, and I judged it worth playing but not one I’ll be purchasing soon, if for no other reason that it plays best with exactly five players. Now, I’m back in my hotel room, bleary and typing away.

Was the con a success? Indeed so, from my perspective. Rumor has it that attendance numbers reached average Technicon levels, which must be a good thing. I had a lovely time, as did anyone else I got to ask. Should there be one next year? I’m not as sure. I think this must be the last Technicon in its current form: future versions with or without the same name will need much new blood, and perhaps new ways of doing things, to attract college students jaded by DVD players and online gaming. I’ll always be available for the panels and performances I’m good at, but I have no interest in a strenuous staff position, and I doubt many other of the con’s veterans do either anymore.

I’d like there to be another T-Con; but I feel that forcing the issue would cause more harm than good. I’m comfortable biding my time and letting things take their natural course. And until I learn what that course is, staff members of SheVaCon expressed strong interest in having me present my late-night insanity at their event, which will give me something to do while waiting for Technicon 27 or Technicon Next Generation #1.

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  • jsciv says:

    Ha! You and I are both blearily updating far too late into the evening! 🙂

    I intend on trying to get Spiel to do something next spring even if T’con isn’t a go: it won’t get all of you my friends to Blacksburg, but it may get enough to make it worth the trip (and it’s certainly fun to play with the students). But a Spiel room is far easier to arrange and deal with than a full con. We just invade and play ad hoc. Programming largely consists of someone asking someone else, “what next?” The con as we know it no longer has the facilities (even the past two have been awkward in some ways with the split between the daytime space and the Microtel), and yes the staff are almost officially a generation past college-aged and have been doing it since then, so it may be time to let it regenerate. Still, it was a great weekend.

    Hopefully I’ll see you soon!

    EDIT: Oh yeah, and the gaming actually lasted until 12:30. If you care, Starbuck and I were sleeper Cylons and while it was close, we did finish off you pitiful humans. 🙂

  • Mikhail says:

    I appreciate knowing the ending! With three maybe-Cylon cards under my character sheet, ending up as a certified human surprised me! The table did think that you two were the most dangerous candidates – guess you proved it.

    A Spiel day next year sounds like a good idea. Could I make it there? Don’t know, as it doesn’t sounds like I could offer much in the way of my programming. I’d sure like to show up to see everyone though!

    Thanks for your company today. It was well worth sticking around.

  • jsciv says:

    I have pretty much no poker face and made a misstatement early that tipped people off, but I was often very useful to the humans’ side. This, combined with Starbuck revealing as a cylon on an Executive Order, confused people and left the “let’s find the other cylon” hunt a bit off-guard (I played into a lot of things that only a human would, including against the other cylon openly when it might have been okay to reveal), long enough for me to jump us almost out of fuel and then use my once-per-game power to reverse a choice of the President and thus finish it. I didn’t actually realize QUITE how onto me you all were, but in the end whatever I did was just enough to keep the cylon inquisition off of me just long enough.

    It’s really sad too: I put the humans in such a GOOD position to win when I was asleep that I really thought I’d lose as as cylon. But though I had pity in my cruel metal heart, I still had to try and doom you all. 🙂

  • madwriter says:

    and I were trying to figure out ways to get folks to Blacksburg every spring regardless of whether or not there is a T-Con…something that could just get us together for a few panels of just hanging out and chatting for 2-3 hours. We should try to come up with something between now and then. 🙂

  • John Franklin has been talking about “Plan B” for a couple of years. I can probably dig up contact info for him if you want it and don’t have it already.

  • madwriter says:

    Ironically I don’t think I do have contact info for him, although he apparently sees a couple of my best friends in NoVA on a semi-regular basis. (And I saw him myself one of my last visits up there.)

  • Mikhail says:

    Hurm. That kinda led me to a question last night, as I tried to settle my mind into sleep.

    I didn’t notice any poor play amongst the human players in Sunday’s game. If there were missed opportunities, they aren’t obvious to me, and random chance didn’t seem especially cruel to us either. I’m also not clear enough on the rules to know how we’d have stopped you if we’d exposed you – we can’t throw you out an airlock as near as I can tell.

    So, is the game really designed for the humans to always fail unless the Cylons play poorly or get soft-hearted? Or am I being needlessly pessimistic?

  • jsciv says:

    If you are sure that the Admiral or the President are Cylon it is ABSOLUTE top priority to brig them. Particularly the Admiral, who can burn your fuel into the ground (case in point). The flip side to that is that it is critical that you are not wrong, because brigging a human is just as bad. Roslyn needed to go on the hunt as soon as the sleeper phase happened (in fact, my first turn after the sleeper I would have Exec Ordered her to had I been human).

    It’s definitely designed to make it hard for the humans to win, but in that particular case once you all had seen me goof it up you should have brigged me so fast it’d make my head spin. It’s a first-time mistake, really, and I’ve seen it happen twice (when I was playing with my Andy he made a small mistake that was also downplayed and nobody was sure enough he was a cylon to brig him so that later in the game he was the only one in the right position to take an Exec Order to let the humans win. I was also a cylon in that game).

    So my considered opinion is that you have to be both decisive and right in acting against the cylons for the best chance to win.

  • Mikhail says:

    Well, the thing about your ‘goof’ is that you had me about 60% convinced that it was an honest goof and that you’d really put down the wrong card. I was tired, you’d had quite a week, and it was, as the Mythbusters say, plausible.

    But that’s my point. Besides the ‘goof’ you were a sterling Admiral, and I can say that I did not have enough suspicion to brig you, as valuable as you were. I know I would not have made a different decision, and therefore my share of the game was lost long before I left the table.

    I don’t know. I find this result somehow unsatisfying, but as a first-time player who wasn’t even able to stay for the finish, I might just not have enough experience yet with the game. It certainly was compelling, and I hope for another shot at it.

  • jsciv says:

    The misplay before the sleeper phase was a real goof. Afterward I got caught in a misstatement about how many green cards I had and Lucy (who knows me too well) knew it was a lie from my tells but she didn’t go on a witch hunt after me like she probably should have.

    It’s always annoying that the game is balanced in favor of the cylons, but that makes it all the sweeter should they win. Is it too far in the toasters’ favor? Not sure: I do think that it’s very easy to sway first-time players but I don’t think that in a d of itself is a game-breaker. I would love to see 5 experienced players at it (whether or not they know each other well) to see how the balance feels.

  • jsciv says:

    The Spielers and I have talked about something, but Spiel planning is “get a room, bring games, play.” So not really the same scale at all (though we would show up to someone else’s event I’m sure).

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