Thoughts on Rabbitcon

The basic problem with bringing a quorum of writers for a given site to the scenic and ridiculously picturesque wilds of New England in May for an extended weekend of drinking, revelry, Rock Band and epic marathon gaming sessions is that nobody wants to get back on Tuesday and do work. God knows I don’t, so you will have to indulge me as I wax a bit nostalgic.

When it comes right down to it, Rabbitcon was an unqualified success, and for a man who had expected to be able to generate relatively little interest in the board gaming aspects of the weekend also an eye-opening surprise. Impeccably hosted by what I now officially think of as a convenient “friend-hub”, a person to whom you can attach in leech-like fashion to siphon off friends rather than having to go out and make your own, the entire event was virtually flawless.

Well, there was that one time that poor Cory grew pale and quiet after I plied him with bourbon shots, but that’s hardly worth a mention.

Allow me to share with you my favorite Rabbitcon moments — or at least the ones I can disclose without being exposed to litigation. Those of you looking forward to regular GWJ content, we resume our regular schedule tomorrow.

Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game — By Sunday I was a full-on board game geek, and this particular game took the entire experience to the next level. Playing along with Katerin (Go team, human!) and four other intrepid players this was a six-hour exploration of social dynamics, paranoia, hive mind, Kobayashi Maru scenarios and betrayal. The rules of the game are meaningless -- this game is simply about who is and who is not a cylon, and the dynamics of play do a genius job of managing to cast reasonable and equal suspicion on every player.

Our particular game was clearly unwinnable by humans no less than 138 different times, and declared unbalanced in favor of the Cylons to the point of being broken only 20 minutes before we humans won. It is, and this is important, exactly as despairing, hopeless and ridiculously full of life-changing escapes as the show was in its first two seasons. When we escaped three basestars and a swarm of fighters while fighting back a boarding party of centurions from heavy raiders, all with virtually no food, fuel or morale by rolling a monstrously unlikely series of dice to jump the fleet and set up a winning strategy, well that was a moment unlike any other. Honestly, I get chills just thinking about it.

JUMP!!!!

Rock Band — I shamelessly admit that I have been practicing my Rock Band skills for two solid months, so that I could arrive and unleash drumming and guitar work to boggle the minds of onlookers. I won’t be coy — every time someone wandered into the room to watch me execute double beats, back beats, fills and rolls on the hardest songs my self-worth increased by a factor of ten.

Eventually Rabbit’s wife had to school me on proper social etiquette, and I learned how to simply say thank you rather than spout thinly veiled false modesty that was certainly both cloying and nauseating. What I did not expect was to enjoy singing in front of a group, and while very few songs were comfortably in my range, I realize now that I had been longing for years to unleash the Billy Idol primal scream of White Wedding on an unsuspecting public so that people outside were forced to come investigate. Rabbit has audio documentation of this event, and I do not want to hear it.

That is all irrelevant however to the joy of listening to Katerin make guitar sounds during Rush songs. Comedy, thy name is Lara. Also of note, Cory’s mad singing skills. If you ask nicely, particularly with alcohol, he will croon ballads for you.

Delicious Ribs — Rabbit’s friend Rob — not that Rob — is not only an outstanding game designer. He is a wizard of the grill, and created glorious, succulent and tender morsels that described a menagerie of tastes to envelop my senses. I am from the south, so I know from ribs, and this man can do things with grills that angels themselves could not.

Imaginary People Come to Life — For the most part I assume that none of you are real, and the entire community is some kind of delusion I have imagined to sate my attention lust. When forum names take on corporeal form it is at first jarring and then an epiphany.

I don’t know why I continue to be surprised that the community is exactly as friendly, smart, engaging, witty and open in real life as they are online, but there is nothing better than walking into a room full of strangers only to discover that none of them are strangers at all. Pyroman, Wordsmythe, Demiurge, E Hunnie, Cmitts, Rabbit, Drunken Slepnier, Katerin, Certis — there are real people behind these and many other iconic personas. They are even more awesome than you already suspect.

Goodjers are, however, huggers. Be warned.

Live Show! — In general I record the podcast in a quiet room, by myself, in front of a microphone that fills the majority of my otherwise boring view while hundreds of miles away from my nearest co-podcaster. Being in a room with most of the crew, and live in front of an audience, was a joy I wasn’t entirely prepared for. I will forever lust for the immediacy of the feedback, the participation of listeners and the heightened sense of connection with the rest of the cast.

I realize, for those of you who stayed for the After-Show, that it was a terribly self-indulgent exercise, but it’s because none of us wanted that show to end. Whether it will be a particularly good podcast, I can’t say for sure, but it is easily the most fun I’ve ever had recording.

Ten Thousand Other Things — Cory's endless twittering. Julian’s awesome kids. The Snorlax. Making smores. Don’t Stop Believin’. Being lapped in History of the World. The third case of Corona. Wordsmythe hopelessly trying to teach me real drums. The Canadian National Sport. Driving through a Norman Rockwell painting.

The memories are indistinct, jumbled and joyous. All I can say is if you are invited to a Rabbitcon and if you can make it there, then you would be doing yourself a deep disservice to not attend.

Comments

Love it. The rise of Board gaming, Rock Band, Xbox live, etc.; all reinforce that Gaming is a social activity! Break down those barriers, people.

Now, cast aside your prior engagements, and come to PAX!

I am in some kind of fun hangover today because of the amazing amount of awesome I just packed into 5 days. Totally agree about the ribs. Delicious.

I still haven't parsed the crazy number of new board games I fit in this weekend. The card game Paranoia, Can't Stop, Small World, Hive, Lost Cities, Pandemic, Dominion, Diamant (though I didn't really play this so much as drunkely suggest Certis and Elysium's pieces were engaging in a Brokeback Mountain scenario). All were great.

I find trips like this and GenCon incite a passion for board gaming and gaming in general that I rarely feel otherwise. Finding a group of real people who also enjoy games as much as you do is a powerful experience, and no matter how many times I find myself in the middle of it, it fails to be mundane.

I hope McChuck reads this. :D

All I can say is if you are invited to a Rabbitcon and if you can make it there, then you would be doing yourself a deep disservice to not attend.

PyromanFO wrote:
I am in some kind of fun hangover today because of the amazing amount of awesome I just packed into 5 days.

I think I might die of fun withdrawal. Or maybe it's switch from consuming coffee all day and booze all night. I'm a bit fuzzy on a number of things, so it's hard to be certain.

Glad you guys had fun! At the risk of sounding feminine, there was definitely a moment or two during the podcast where the mutual respect and admiration you guys all have for each other really shone through. Especially when you guys were talking about how it all got started. Poor Lara was almost in tears!

though I didn't really play this so much as drunkely suggest Certis and Elysium's pieces were engaging in a Brokeback Mountain scenario

My God, I had forgotten about that. Honestly, the things we did with those poor wooden mining men. I had no idea that's what cowardice smelled like!

Elysium wrote:
though I didn't really play this so much as drunkely suggest Certis and Elysium's pieces were engaging in a Brokeback Mountain scenario

My God, I had forgotten about that. Honestly, the things we did with those poor wooden mining men. I had no idea that's what cowardice smelled like!

I'm still not even really sure what the rules were, I was far too focused on making jokes at the expense of little wooden mining people.

Why do you fuel the flames of jealousy so strongly?

How much more BSW and TF2 do I have to play with Rabbit before I get an invite? Katerin and DS met me a few years ago, they can vouch for my awesomeness! I didn't set their place on fire or anything. I can afford an actual hotel if there's one nearby!

Rabbit’s friend Rob — not that Rob

My first thought was Rob Corddry. Then I remembered... we deduced that Rabbit was Rob Corddry, didn't we?

Goodjers are, however, huggers. Be warned.

I still have the scars from ColdForged.

Sounds awesome. My wife and I hosted our own event this weekend up at her parents' cabin North of Montoursville, PA along the Loyalsock river. This is the 2nd year we've done it, bringing several of our friends and their families up for board games, food, and general awesome laziness, but this year we decided to name it, and it was with no small debt to you guys that I decided CabinCon was the proper moniker. So thanks for that.

We didn't have ribs or Rock Band, but we did have s'mores and at least 6 games of Dominion, a few of which I managed to win. Also played: Ticket to Ride, Chang Cheng, and way more rounds than anyone expected of a Days of Wonder game called Small World. If you get a chance to play Small World, I'd say you should take it. It's kind of fluffy, but the theme is great, there's tons of variety, and it's a lot of fun.

Small World seemed to be a big hit, and I saw at least 2 games of it played. I also may have fallen a little bit in love with Dominion. So easy to play and so deep.

PyromanFO wrote:
Elysium wrote:
though I didn't really play this so much as drunkely suggest Certis and Elysium's pieces were engaging in a Brokeback Mountain scenario

My God, I had forgotten about that. Honestly, the things we did with those poor wooden mining men. I had no idea that's what cowardice smelled like!

I'm still not even really sure what the rules were, I was far too focused on making jokes at the expense of little wooden mining people.

There's something about that game that encourages this behavior. Last time we played, whoever was back at camp was piled into some tent or other coupling, making grunting and squealing noises, and 70's porn bowm-chicka-bow-BOWM bass riffs while the rest of us were still in the mines. We played out various variations of "Honey, what are you DOING in our tent and with WHO?!?" scenarios each time someone would give up on the jewels and head back to camp.

"Goodjers are, however, huggers. Be warned."

TRUTH. I found this out the hard way on three separate occasions, across two entirely different continents. I guess it's welcomed, but it's a bit weird for the first physical interaction with a new person to be a hug. But I guess I'm weird to not want to hug a British man.


Our particular game was clearly unwinnable by humans no less than 138 different times, and declared unbalanced in favor of the Cylons to the point of being broken only 20 minutes before we humans won. It is, and this is important, exactly as despairing, hopeless and ridiculously full of life-changing escapes as the show was in its first two seasons. When we escaped three basestars and a swarm of fighters while fighting back a boarding party of centurions from heavy raiders, all with virtually no food, fuel or morale by rolling a monstrously unlikely series of dice to jump the fleet and set up a winning strategy, well that was a moment unlike any other. Honestly, I get chills just thinking about it.

It's okay, Ely, you can say it: I was the one complaining BSG being broken about 20 minutes before our incredible, mind-blowing escape. And while I still think the game has some pretty significant flaws, there's nothing that will compare to the sheer thrill of rolling a string of 7's and 8's with three basestars, a cluster of Centurions and about 2 dozen fighters breathing down your neck.

Go Team Human!

Ravenlock wrote:
and way more rounds than anyone expected of a Days of Wonder game called Small World. If you get a chance to play Small World, I'd say you should take it. It's kind of fluffy, but the theme is great, there's tons of variety, and it's a lot of fun.

I LOVED Small World. Played two games of it in between BSG and History of the World, and it was just the right balance of fun, humor, fluff and screw-your-neighbor strategy. Definite pick up for me.

DrJonez wrote:
Poor Lara was almost in tears!

... almost?

Impeccably hosted by what I now officially think of as a convenient “friend-hub”, a person to whom you can attach in leech-like fashion to siphon off friends rather than having to go out and make your own, the entire event was virtually flawless.

That's about the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me. Sniff.

And lest people feel somehow excluded -- 35 people is about the most my little house can handle.

I don't think we'd feel as excluded if Elysium didn't come rub our faces in it every year.
I hate you guys!

Whatever, we've got our Ottawa LAN party in the works, and it will be epic. Epic I say! Much better than rabbitcon. We'll have computers! And, um, strippers! Norman Rockwell never had strippers, did he! HAH!

wordsmythe wrote:
I hope McChuck reads this. :D
All I can say is if you are invited to a Rabbitcon and if you can make it there, then you would be doing yourself a deep disservice to not attend.

Because seeing the tweets all weekend wasn't bad enough? Shut the f*ck up, you bastard. <-- Smiley so people know I'm not actually angry. Maybe a frownie face would be a better representation.

Elysium wrote:
The third case of Corona. Wordsmythe hopelessly trying to teach me real drums.

The first sentence probably hampers the second one. Learn then drink. Not the other way around. And Corona? Did rabbit not get any growlers this time?

I'm just sad that I didn't get the invite for my comment of the year.

Oh, you were there McChuck. You just don't know it.

All weekend it was, "Wow, he's pretty good. He's no, McChuck, but still ... good."

rabbit wrote:

And lest people feel somehow excluded -- 35 people is about the most my little house can handle.

Too True!

McChuck wrote:
And Corona? Did rabbit not get any growlers this time?

There were, they were drunk - the growlers, not the people...though come to think of it....

I'd like my first post to be to throw another log on the "wasn't that just an amazing weekend" fire. Some of you I was meeting again; some for the first time. All of you are people I want to hang with. I especially enjoyed the heady cocktail of relaxation, competition and comeback/comedy ninjitsu that was floating around. Some of the one-liners I heard were simply jaw-dropping in their timing and execution. Thanks to...you know I don't know your screen names, just your real ones...the five of you who gave me my fix of History of the World on Saturday.

Currently taking food requests for the next RabbitCon....

How about something from: http://www.showbunny.com/recipes_usi...

The Beer Butt Rabbit recipe sounds particularly intriguing.

It would be worth the air-fare just to find people willing to play History of the World. I am envious. I can't wait to hear the podcast and thanks so much for the observations!

Dysplastic wrote:
Whatever, we've got our Ottawa LAN party in the works, and it will be epic. Epic I say! Much better than rabbitcon. We'll have computers! And, um, strippers!

In fact, forget the LAN party and the computers!

IMAGE(http://benderc.net/Bender.jpg)

I can promise you that you would win if I were playing Docbadwrench. Or rather, at least, you wouldn't come in last.

At least NotthatRob was the only one who lapped me.

Elysium wrote:
I can promise you that you would win if I were playing Docbadwrench. Or rather, at least, you wouldn't come in last.

At least NotthatRob was the only one who lapped me.

No, he wasn't. Pink kicked your butt too, mister.

I'm just sad I missed Margaritaville.

KaterinLHC wrote:

I'm just sad I missed Margaritaville.

Speaking of...

One of the freakiest things I've seen was "Dr. Dave" picking up my left-handed guitar and figure out how to play along with RockBand's Margaritaville right-handed. On the fly. With fills. It was both impressive and made me never want to pick up my guitar again, as it'll never do anything that impressive in my hands. He did the same thing with "We've Got The Beat".

Hopefully I can attend a Goodjer convention like this someday. That sounds like a ton of fun while I spent the weekend with the in-laws

NotThatRob wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

I'm just sad I missed Margaritaville.

Speaking of...

One of the freakiest things I've seen was "Dr. Dave" picking up my left-handed guitar and figure out how to play along with RockBand's Margaritaville right-handed. On the fly. With fills. It was both impressive and made me never want to pick up my guitar again, as it'll never do anything that impressive in my hands. He did the same thing with "We've Got The Beat".

What you didn't know is that Elysium and I were both playing with left-handed drumsticks!

KaterinLHC wrote:
Ravenlock wrote:
and way more rounds than anyone expected of a Days of Wonder game called Small World. If you get a chance to play Small World, I'd say you should take it. It's kind of fluffy, but the theme is great, there's tons of variety, and it's a lot of fun.

I LOVED Small World. Played two games of it in between BSG and History of the World, and it was just the right balance of fun, humor, fluff and screw-your-neighbor strategy. Definite pick up for me.

I enjoyed learning Small World. It was refreshing to have a game that both has History of the World and Risk's wave-of-armies mechanic and also takes less than three hours to play.

rabbit wrote:
Impeccably hosted by what I now officially think of as a convenient “friend-hub”, a person to whom you can attach in leech-like fashion to siphon off friends rather than having to go out and make your own, the entire event was virtually flawless.

That's about the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me. Sniff.

Not only do I love the RabbitCon friends, but I'm a big fan of learning all the new games that I might not have heard of otherwise. I apologize if this means I disappear to learn a war game or two for half a day.