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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Strategicon: Gateway 2011

On Thursday, after what seemed like exceptionally long drive, we made it to Los Angeles and our hotel. Seeing how H4773r and I are pretty broke right now I opted to stay at a Motel 6 about 2 miles from the con location, the Sheraton.  The Sheraton did have rooms available for the con, and it definitely would’ve been preferable, however it just wasn’t within our budget to afford a room here. Seeing as how the con runs almost 24-7 for the weekend I will definitely be looking to stay at the Sheraton next year when we attend Orccon. I thought the Motel 6 was fairly decent. It has clean beds and working plumbing, and that’s all we really need for a place to sleep at.

There are several fast food places nearby: El Pollo Loco, Little Caesar’s, Panda Express right near the Motel 6 and on the way to con locale is McDonald’s, Subway, Starbucks, Taco Bell and Carl’s Jr. As far as restaurants go the Westin has The Grill and there is a Denny’s near the Hilton. As well as within the Sheraton are some very nice restaurants: Rendezvous Lounge, The Brasserie, Paparazzi and a Starbucks. And within very short walking distance of the Sheraton is a Subway.

Wi-Fi in general was a bit hard to come by. The Motel 6 charges $2.99 per day (not bad, but not great). The McDonald’s offers free Wi-Fi and we passed by a local coffee place called Internet CafĂ©.  The Sheraton offers free Wi-Fi in their lobby area, but when hundreds of gamers are using it all at once you imagine it’s pretty slow.

We woke up fairly early on Friday, the first day of the con, because I had decided for the first day we were going to walk there. There are several parking lots nearby. The one right next to the Sheraton $10.90 (not including tax), was probably one of the cheapest. All other parking goes up from there. There is also street parking available. Right next to the Sheraton it’s free street parking for 2 hours between 8am-12am. Further down the road is a very small strip of street parking that’s free on Saturday and Sundays, 2 hour parking Monday through Friday. We did end up driving to the con and parking after Friday as walking seemed more inconvenient when I have to pick up and transport people.

My Friday was spent meeting my fellow D20 Girls in person,Rayne Stransky and Ammo Larribas. And then running around the con exploring and taking photos. H4773r spent all of his weekend playing Pathfinder/PathfinderSociety. I learned how to play a new board game coming out this week, Orbit. Doug, one of the developers, is a great guy and wonderful game player. Check out his game if you have the chance. We also did play a round of Munchkin (one of my favorites) Friday night. I also met some casting directors for a new upcoming reality show called “King of the Nerds.”
Early Friday morning board game room (photo courtesy of JC)
Games Library, Friday (photo courtesy of JC)
H4773r plays Pathfinder (photo courtesy of JC)
H4773r attempts to explain Munchkin (photo courtesy of JC)
Saturday I worked with the D20 Girls to give free guided tours for Strategicon. We gave a great one to a Girl Scout troupe (I hope I inspired new girl gamers!). Once we were done with the tours we had some time to take more photos (another project we’d been hired for) and I also just relaxed around the con. Along with my fellow D20 Girls we also met a couple of guys promoting NeonCon. Hopefully we’ll get some D20 Girl representation out there. H4773r and I spent our Saturday night participating in a con event, Dungeonmaster. (I will hopefully get some photos/footage later.) It was actually a lot fun for us D&D/Theatre people. H4773r was voted audience favorite and we won passes to future events.

Sunday was also another day working with the D20 Girls on tours, photography, and judging a costume contest. The costume contest was a little light on participants, but we had fun anyway.

The D20 Girls Project with winner (photo courtesy of Rayne Stransky)
Steampunk LARP GM
Angry Birds the board game

Video game room

I spent my evening hanging out in the video game room playing Left for Dead 2. I’d love to finish playing the single-player campaign.

Monday as our last day we were able to wander around the con and take in some more games. I think I was just too exhausted by this point to function clearly and mostly just people watched. After another exceptionally long drive we made it safely home.

I definitely plan on participating more next year and will make it a point to learn at least 3 different board games and play in at least one D&D/D&D-like game. I’m also looking forward to the convenience of staying at the Sheraton hotel. Maybe if I can get enough funds together I’ll treat us to an awesome dinner at one of the hotel restaurants.

Thanks to everyone who supported the D20 Girls Project and thanks to Strategicon for hosting us.

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