I'd say most of the people who might read this are already well aware (and were probably present), but this last weekend was our 4th Annual Giant-in-the-Playground / Order-of-the-Stick Johnson City Meetup - or OotSCon, as we've come to call it, believing it to be the largest of such meetups relating to the forums.
That's right, 4 years and counting. I consider this quite an accomplishment for us locals. Even more, pretty much everyone always intends to come back for future gatherings. Indy (Scott) even told me he'd rather miss GenCon than our meetup. High praise, eh? (hahahahaha I typed that out and then saw the Canadian/Eh joke. hehehe)
Anyway - it was, as always, an awesome time.
The meetup started early this year as quite a few people arrived on thursday. Usually there's one or two, this year I think there were 10 or so. I had a previous commitment for thursday evening (Patrick's Star Wars game), so I didn't meet up with them until close to midnight, but it was cool to see everyone for the half hour i was there. I met up with Reinholdt who was staying at the Igloo there, and also took Indy & ZRS back for the night (since they didn't have a hotel till the following day).
Scott, Dave & I spent friday morning relaxing. I was working on leveling my SW character, and they were trying their luck at some Super Mario Bros. Wii (which became a bit of a staple of the Igloo for the weekend). It was nice to mellow out for for a while - esp with the canadians, who are awesome.
When Sheri got home from work, we made our way over to the Hippie Hut to join the rest. Upon arriving around 2pm, we realized that food might have been a good idea at some point, so we went out to Chic-Fil-A - a place Scott had been told he should try (Aside: Scott did ask me what I recommended there - I told him to try the chicken :-D).
Friday afternoon/evening/night was spent at the Hippie Hut in the usual fashion: with copious amounts of board gaming. We did take a brief break for dinner at Main Street Pizza, where it was good to see Matt again. I officiated a game of Touch of Evil for some of the newer players who wanted to try it - I think I actually know the *rules* to that game now, instead of relying on llama to tell me what to do.
Saturday is our big meetup day - cooking out at the Greenwood Challenge Course. In the interest of Robb having a bit more time to hang out and not being exhausted, we didn't actually do the high ropes that had been so popular previous years. Instead we had some swordplay and some amusing games of Cash & Guns Live. We *did*, of course, have Kubb. It wouldn't be a meetup without Kubb.
Saturday night we met up at the Mid City Grill, as is tradition. We think we're actually included in that place's planning now as the owner knows our group comes in in late June and, i believe, asked about it specifically this year. Also, after our massive year 2 group, some of us couldn't help but notice some new paint, lighting and other decorations.
Anyway, we took over about half the place for the night, enjoyed the food and played more games. I participated in Trog(Jeff)'s 4e adventure wherein a Forum Mod, a Troll and a Noob battled a group of vicious cat-muffins. Many inside forum jokes abounded. The introduction to the scenario was even in prose. After that, he, Gryf and I sat around discussing rpg's, systems, gming and all manner of geekery. That was also a lot of fun.
Sunday was our turn to host, as is also tradition. There were quit a few people still around on sunday this year - even later into the evening. Hippie & I grilled most of the rest of the chicken and there was more general hanging out, more board games, a small birthday celebration for Reinholdt, and more Mario Wii.
On sunday night, those of us who still remained - a remnant by this time, but still a good size - went for dinner at the Crazy Tomato. I think this is the first time we've had more than one or two around on sunday night. After that, we returned to the Igloo where a few of us played a game of Ticket to Ride while the others hung out and Reinholdt continued to mercilessly sacrifice his Toad minions to insure his own survival.
So, my thoughts/reflections:
So many great people, so little time. As Trog pointed out, there's so much awesome in such a small span of time, you can't possibly experience it all. You hear other people talk about stuff and it sometimes feels like there was a whole other meetup you missed. Still, this event continues to be awesome.
Scott/Indy in particular, is awesome. Our personalities seem to mesh really well and we had a great time hanging out and chatting about all kinds of random stuff. He needs to move down here.
So I've played in a 4e game now - however briefly - and I spent a good chunk of time talking about it with Gryf and Trog. My impressions of the system are pretty neutral - there are things I like about it, there are things I don't. I certainly don't think it's "better" than 3e, but I'm not sure it's worse. It definitely has a different *feel* than previous editions of the game, and that may be where they're losing people the most.
As always, I took a lot of pictures of the weekend's festivities and posted 'em on facebook. They have garnered quite a few comments and some rather high praise from Scott, Jeff & others and, - i can't lie - that makes me feel pretty good. I'm glad other people enjoy them. :)
I agree that it was a wonderful event again this year. I was also astounded at the number of photographs... mostly when I logged into facebook and saw that I had 56 messages. 0.o