This year I'm going to do one post for the entire convention experience. I found that daily posts just didn't have enough information for my taste so instead you get one after it's done. Also, that way I didn't tell the part of the world that reads my blog that I wasn't at home. Gotta think of these things, you know.
I drove down this year since I had the time to do it and I brought my cat rather than boarding her or having someone spend ten minutes a day at the house to feed her. I think it was the right decision. I don't know if she's saving up to punish me when I'm least expecting it.
Overall it felt like, well, ReaperCon. Same kind of vendor setup. Same kind of general space setup. Same pretty much everything. And that's the problem for me. It's the same as it has been for the last few years.
Don't get me wrong - it's a good all-around convention with the added bonus of having the well known artists as guests. People enjoy themselves thoroughly. But I've reached my saturation point. Hence it was my last year attending.
The pre-game was the Meet and Greet. I chose the package that came with the limited edition 100mm version of the convention Sophie miniature. Sadly the extras sold out before I could get one for my friend. My roomie and I went shopping after I got settled in the room and I was able to catch the tail end of the food options for MnG. The options are limited to what the hotel can provide and it's been hamburgers and hot dogs the last few years. That might not sound good but it's leaps and bounds better than the 'pizza' they served before that. Trust me.
I also had a Buccee's brisket sandwich I'd purchased but saved that for another day. I think Buccee's BBQ is overpriced and overrated now that I've had some. But hey, I had it. We'd gone to Buccee's for my roomie and he picked up some merchandise he wanted. We also hit the local Walmart for basic supplies like water, booze, and snacks.
Since there's no more metal trade-in at the convention I don't have to keep Thursday open to go through the Boneyard (their unpackaged minis). I'm still sad about that. It was one of my favorite parts of the convention. But it left me the chance to take classes during that time.
I took two classes - one on freehand for non-artists and one on painting tiny text. The freehand one was good but I already knew the material from other classes. The text one was, well, not so good. Let's leave it at that. My class experience wasn't a stellar end to the series. I also crashed my friend's class on using paper and brass foliage so I learned a little there and got some goodies.
One class was Thursday, I crashed the course on Thursday, and my other class was Friday.
I did sign up for some of the Hobby Hijinks events. Those are free things like speed painting, conversions, etc. This year you could register for them like classes but with no charge. I liked that because in the past it was whoever got there first. So I had some fun with doing silly things and being kind of social.
I signed up to play a game but bowed out. I'd had a long, hard day. I was hurting. And the GM had allowed their friend to be an additional player that made the table one person larger than the event showed. I don't like either of those things so I gracefully gave them my seat and went back to the room. I would have liked to have played but I wasn't in the mental state to be a good player. I only showed up because I didn't want to leave the table down a player so having the extra person was a good thing in the end.
I didn't do any vendor shopping this time around for two reasons. One is that my knees didn't allow me much mobility. The other is that I didn't need or want anything from the vendors. I made one sweep through to get a punch card filled for a free mini and that's when I took stock of who was there and what they were selling. So I kind of did a speed browse to confirm that I was right in what I didn't need.
I did enter into the painting competition. I wanted the extra convention money (which I never spend), the badge ribbons, and I pretty much expected to bring home a bronze medal. Once again I grabbed a few minis off the painted shelf, touched them up, and entered them. They picked the one I thought they would pick to judge and it was a solid bronze. See for yourself.
I forgot they make you name your entry so the 'Redemption' thing was very last minute. It doesn't really mean anything. But I nailed the face on that one and I'm proud of that. Plus I don't think people use enough copper in their armor colors.
I now have two bronze medals to hang up by my painting area. As much as I don't seem to think much of them I'm going to show them off. I did win them at a convention painting competition, after all.
I spent more time talking with the artists I know than doing much else. I didn't paint because I didn't bring anything to paint or any paints. I was going to spend time at the basic paint and take table but the hobby events were enough painting for me. I really don't like painting away from home and the plan to practice what I'd learned in classes wasn't necessary. I did bring home a few minis that I would have painted, if I had been at the paint and take table.
I have a battered folder with all my class notes and handouts from every class I've ever taken at ReaperCon. It's got a lot of history in it. Since I wasn't coming back I felt it was acceptable to have the artists sign it - sculptors on the front and painters on the back. I'll cover those over with packing tape to preserve them as part of the whole. I do refer back to those notes at times so it's a nice way to remember everyone.
I stayed a day later than I normally would because it meant spending time with my roomie. Last convention and all that. He left early the next day to get to the airport and I wonder if the room felt as empty for him when I would leave early in previous years. It was nice not to have to rush but it was sad that he was gone and I'll probably never see him in person again.
The attendees seemed to have a good time like they always do. This is their convention now and it's a good one for them. It's a nice mix of the art side and the gaming side with the chance to socialize all weekend. And it's one of the nicest, friendliest conventions I've ever attended.
That being said the unthinkable happened. This was a convention where you could leave your stuff out all weekend and be sure it was safe. The artists left their minis at their tables so you could see them even when the artists were out and about. This year someone went through - twice - and stole minis from the artists. That really bothers me and I'm hoping desperately that it wasn't a convention person who did it. I also hope they can get the minis back. But it's going to change the tone of the convention going forward. I could have done without ending on that note.
I don't know if I would drive rather than fly if I were going back. It was a very long, boring drive broken up into two days on either side. If the hotel were closer to the cheap airport I don't even think I'd need a rental car now that I have no reason to go to the factory. If I'd been running games and needed all the accessories then driving would be the way to go. I've seen how careful my roomie is with his luggage weight and how much he has to bring. Driving means it's whatever fits in the car.
I don't have pictures of the convention itself. I didn't find any reason to take them. It was an event hotel with all the generic fittings and some Reaper specific decor. The painting contest entries are on the ReaperCon website so if I feel the urge to see what was there I can scroll those. There's a lot of entries if you want to see some good painting and imaginative work.
Last year I didn't think much of missing the convention. I have a feeling that I'll get a pang when it rolls around again but no more than that. It turns out my roomie only showed up this year to force me to show up so we could have a proper goodbye. I think that's sweet in a number of ways. I needed this last visit all around.
So there it is. After all these years my last ReaperCon. And it goes out with a whimper, as it should.