Archive for Conventions and Events

New Year, New Look

Hello everyone,

The holidays have kept me quite busy and I have been neglecting my blog in a most serious way.  So to get me jazzed up to get back to writing about my geeky family life I decided to give the blog a face lift.  I am going for a look that is cleaner, simpler and easier on the eyes.  I hope you like what you see.  If you have any suggestions for improvements I would love to hear them, just add a comment and let me know!

I am also working on getting a schedule down for regular blog posts; especially regarding the new games we have been playing, as well as old favorites that we have pulled out and dusted off.  Also we are only two months away from Gamestorm 16!!  If you get your membership now you can still save some money, but come March 3rd you will be paying full price.  There really isn’t anything else you can go to for 4 days of solid fun for such a low price so get in while the getting is good.  GM sign-ups start soon and I am trying to decide what I should run this year.

Oh and a new game from a local company that I helped to Kickstart will be shipping soon.  More on that when the game arrives and I can share pictures of my new prize.

I plan to start a small section called Fact Friday, the odd stuff you didn’t know you wanted to know.  Off to research and be back with the first Fact Friday tomorrow!!

Embrace your geek,

The Halfling

Gamestorm 14

Last weekend was another exciting gaming convention, sure wish I could go to more of them.  As it is nearly bedtime for me this will be short and sweet.

For those that don’t know, Gamestorm is a gaming convention held each year in the Portland/Vancouver area of the PNW.  The last few years it has been at the Hilton in Vancouver, WA.  For 3-1/2 days we take over the entire convention space and fill it with RPG, RPGA, Miniature, Indie, Board/Card Games, LARPs, LAN, CCG, and console gaming.  There is something for everyone and all have a great time.

This year I ran one session of Horror Rules, and played in a number of RPGs.  I played Faery’s Tale, Monsters and Other Childish Things
, Zombie Cinema, Teenagers from Outer Space, and a d20 modern set in the old west.  My weekend was full of all sorts of great stories and I plan to share them over the coming days.

But for now I will end with one of the many great quotes from my gaming weekend.

“I’ve been snasquatched by the hideunder!”

Cheap and Easy Sci-Fi Convention Costumes

The Jetsons

Costumes galore…

One of the aspects of the Science Fiction convention we go to each year, Orycon in Portland Oregon, is that people dress in all sorts of great costumes.  And while most of them are more inclined to be grouped with a genre, such as Steam Punk or Pirates, there are others that pick a specific character from a movie or television series and dress as them.  Depending on the movie this could be either super simple or terribly challenging to manage.

Here I will cover a couple ideas that have struck me this weekend that I think would be fairly easy to accomplish, even on a tight budget.  And for some of them the reference is back in time about 20 years and will make people have to stop and ask you who you are supposed to be.

The Jetsons

The JetsonsSo The Jetsons may be an animated cartoon, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use it for costume ideas.  Any of the family members, outside of Rosey the Robot, would be fairly easy to dress up.  You just need some clothing in the right styles which may be found at your local discount retail store or resale clothing store.  If it isn’t the right color don’t worry, just get it in the lightest version you can and use some RIT Dye to dye it the color you need.

George Jetson – White, long sleeved, high collared shirt with the collar up and added black cord for trim work; Blue pants that are tighter fitting, and a dark green, wide belt should do the trick.  Then just a matter of getting your hair the right color and a standard guys style.

Jane Jetson – A bit harder to manage, but a tighter fitting, flared skirt dress dyed purple and add a collar of starched white triangle.  Then a pair of purple tights and a center part medium hair do in light red and you are good to go.

Judy Jetson – A red sleeveless, short crop shirt with the added red, starched triangle collar and a pair of snugish red pants and you are good to go.  The hardest part of this one is the white, high ponytail hair – afraid I am not sure how to manage that one, but if anyone has any good ideas please share

Elroy Jetson – White t-shirt, and some green overalls complete with green shoe covers and you are almost there.  Add in a red, starched full-circle collar and the baseball hat adorned with the antennae and you are good to go.  Standard boy cut hair in yellow is the last touch.

Inspector Gadget

Inspector Gadget

From www.mycomicsandstuff.com

Here is another cartoon from my childhood that crosses over to the sci-fi realm, guess it isn’t too much of a wonder how I got into this stuff huh?  Since the setting of Inspector Gadget was modern day, at least for the 1908′s when it was created, the costumes are pretty easy to manage.

Inspector Gadget – A gray double breasted shorter length trench coat, if you can’t find double breasted then get single and replace all the buttons with a matched set to make it look double breasted.  You will also need a gray belt, and may need to add belt loops for it if the coat didn’t come with some.  A blue pair of pants, and some gray shoes.  Oh and don’t forget the dray hat, brown gloves and black fly-away hair.  Since you obviously can’t do all the gadgets you could pair it down to jazzing up the gloves with the Gadget Phone look and that should do the trick.

Penny – A basic T-shirt in red and you can add the white stripe or get a shit shirt and figure out dyeing it red in top/bottom stripes.  Then green pants and some red shoes, which may require dyeing white shoes or making shoe covers.  Then some basic blond pigtails and you are good to go.  If you could locate something that could be her watch or her computer book that would help the costume along to make it obvious you are in costume, especially if you had the computer book worked out.

That’s a wrap…

So ends another costume idea blog post.  I hope you enjoyed this way-back, flash-back to my youth as much as I did and if you get a chance to work out any of these costumes for your next dress-up event send me a picture and let me see how it turned out!

 

 

 

99 Cent Costume Workshop – From Orycon

99 Cent workshop 2009

99 Cent Costume Workshop

Every year that I have been to Orycon (which is the last several) the Portland Costumer’s Guild has put on the 99 Cent Costume Workshop.  I am sharing this great idea so that other groups might stumble upon this post and decide to do the same thing at their convention as well.

So what is it?

Well the guild brings in multiple boxes of scrap material and other various bit and pieces of electronics and other stuff.  All of it are things that no one really wants anymore.  Some of the fabric is sizable, like a half to full yard, but most are smaller pieces like remnants from a pattern cutting.  All of these items are dumped into a mound on the floor in the front of the panel room while the attendees gather in the chairs for instructions.

Once the appropriate time has come and everyone that needs to be there from the Guild is there the “workshop” begins.  Each year there is a different theme and we are instructed to not only make costumes from the items in the heap, but also generate a short back-story for our character.  While there are not many kids that go to this workshop it is a shame as my kids have really enjoyed going to this every year.

We are given about 45 minutes to generate our costumes and stories.  In addition to the various scraps of fabric, ribbon, electrical cords and the like we are provided with glue guns, duct tape, and scissors to assist our endeavors.  There is a good amount of teamwork that happens as people see where others are going with their costumes and either offer to help them or find items in the heap that would add to their décor.

Is it a contest?

In a manner of speaking it is, but the prizes are generally low key.  The first couple years I did it the Costumer’s Guild gave out prizes that they made during the event pulling from the same material that we used to make our costumes.  Of course to do this requires you to have enough base material to draw from.  One year they decorated CDs, another year it was hats, and one year it was these odd disk shaped things (see the picture from 2009 below and look at what my kids are holding).

There are also usually other prizes that are given out for things like “Best Costume”, “Best Back-story”, “Best Robot”, “Best Animal”, and “Best of anything you can think of”.  Usually there are enough small prizes like kid’s books, candy bars, or light switch plates that everyone gets something.

And then when all is said and done there is the packing up of the event and the endless encouragement from the Guild to take home anything you want from the heap.  This is because if they wanted this stuff it wouldn’t be in the heap in the first place.

Themes and Pictures from Years Past

2010 – Alice in Wonderland

This time we were to make characters that would be auditioning to be in Alice and Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

This is my daughter in her completed Multi-Color Cheshire Cat Costume

My son made himself into a robot which would protect Alice from the Red Queen.  He did pretty much all of this himself, I only assisted with a small portion of the hot gluing until he figured out how to manage that himself.

My entry was of Little Blue Riding Hood who was rather upset about having being beat out by Little Red Riding Hood for the other gig and decided to try out here instead.  Sadly as I was wielding the camera I didn’t score a picture of me.

2009: Alien Dreams

We were all aliens whose alarm clocks had sadly woken us each up from a great dream, and as we rushed to get ready for our day we had just enough time to piece together the great inspiration of our dream that we had been having prior to waking up.

Here are the three kids that attended the workshop in 2009. Left is Z, who dressed as a kind of robot complete with his weaponry.  Right is my son, who was a statue that was protecting someone (this picture does not show the great lampshade head armor he had engineered).  And Center is my daughter who was a teenage princess complete with her cell phone crown.  [Note: I just finally got the piece of material she is wearing as her dress removed from her dress up bin this last weekend]

Sadly, again, there is no picture of me and my great costume from this year that I have a copy of.  I was so busy helping these 3 with their costumes I didn’t have time to work on my own.  So in the last 5 minutes Guild members and the kids were throwing together a costume for me.  It included a dress type look, complete with two Earth idols, one of each from the great icons of the planet as understood from space, Indiana Jones and Sponge Bob.  I believe I still have both of them around somewhere.

Beyond Orycon

I think that this is not only a great idea for a Science Fiction Convention like Orycon, and I sincerely hope it will be back again this year as me and my kids look forward to it all year, it can also carry over to a birthday party or other gathering.  I can see this working well for a pre-teen or teenager Birthday party.  I can even see it working at something like a bachelorette party where you make wedding gowns.  The possibilities are virtually endless.  So have you been to an event like this one?

 

LARPs in Pacific Northwest

LARPs in Pacific Northwest

Before you head off into the land of LARP you need to understand the two basic types of LARP that exist. The first is Boffer LARP and the second is Non-Boffer LARP. Let’s look at these a little bit closer.

Boffer LARP

Most Boffer LARP’s I have encountered are based in a medieval time frame; usually a fantasy setting that includes some form of magic. There are a group of people that run the game, they decide the plot and play out all of the NPC’s from the wench at the inn to the dragon in the cave. Then there is a group of players, they dress up as their character and attempt to navigate the various plots that are thrown their way. Some events are single day and others are weekend long where you are your character both day and night. Typically there is an over-bridging story arc that carries from one event to another, while smaller stories come and go along the way.

Links to Boffer LARP’s in the PNW

Alliance Oregon
Alliance Seattle
Amtgard
SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) – Kingdom of An Tir
Legacies

Non-Boffer LARP’s

Non-Boffer LARP’s come in a greater variety of setting then do their counterparts; everything from -cavemen to vampires are covered this way. Resolution of skills is usually done via Rochambeau or through other means that do not involve actually swinging a weapon or rolling dice. Usually these events are single day events, and some carry a story arc that covers multiple events. This variety of LARP lends itself well to a convention setting as no weapons are required making it more hotel friendly. Costuming is strongly encouraged to help set the mood and make staying in character easier.

Links to Non-Boffer LARP’s in the PNW

Shag LARP

 

A Con for us Geek Girls

Geek Girl Con

I just found out today, via Twitter, about a new con that is having its first event this year. It is Geek Girl Con!!!! The con is meant to celebrate all things geek in all of us geek girls, past, present and into the future. I would love to take all my Geek Girl followers, but alas you are not all local and the event will be held in Seattle, WA on the weekend of October 8-9. And the best part is that the cost is only $35 for both days.

Having been, in many cases, the only girl at the gaming table I know it would be awesome to be at a con dominated by geek girls like me. If they host an rpg schedule and I can manage to get to the con (which I am hoping to do) I will run a game for sure. It would be awesome to run for an all girl group, so different!!!

Hope that you can make it and support all of us great geek girls!!!

Gamestorm – a quick rundown

So I know I keep mentioning Gamestorm so I thought I would take a moment to explain what it is and why I love it. So to star the explanation, Gamestorm is a convention held annually in the Greater Portland area and is currently on its 13th year. The convention is dubbed “The Pacific Northwest’s Premiere Social and Strategic Game Convention” by their website. I am not sure I agree fully with the tag line, at least not the social part, but it is a great gaming convention.

The convention currently runs for 4 days from Thursday through Sunday and is held in March. This year it will be March 24th through the 27th and is being held at the Hilton in Vancouver, Washington. While the location is not ideal for those without their own wheels it is a nice area and does have a number of restaurants of decent quality and pricing within walking distance.

During the 4 days there are 5 different tracks of gaming that go on.
RPG games for those table-top gaming fans
LARPs for those who are a bit more socially inclined in their gaming
Miniatures for those who like to really watch the combat happen
Board Games for all of the board game geeks out there
Panels for those who want to discuss gaming further
CCG for the Collectible Card Gamers out there, I would take my magic decks if I still had them
There are also Indie games and prototype testing of new board games that goes on at the convention as well.

So if you are in the Pacific Northwest and are looking for a way to stay up much too late gaming only to get up bright and early the next morning to game all day again then Gamestorm is the place for you. I just really suggest you take Monday off from work too as you will need it.

The Perfect Gamestorm Shirt!

Awesome Con Shirt

So as I am sure you are well aware I will be attending Gamestorm again this year in March. So I am looking to find a new shirt to wear at con, to go with my collection of gamer girl shirts. This year we are adding to our collection of friends that are going, one of our additions is a couple that we game with. So since this time there will be a female friend for me to hang with I am most excited about the awesome shirt I just found on Cafepress, I am going to show it to my friend this week and see if she will go in with me and get us a matched set to wear around Gamestorm. It is sure to attract attention, draw comments, and may even help us win a couple games.

 

Bringing your kids to Orycon

Pirates at Orycon 31

Pirates at Orycon 31

Kids and Con

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges I have in being a gamer parent is how to incorporate my kids into my gamer life. Specifically without boring them and without them driving me crazy. Orycon is exactly one of those challenges.

I didn’t discover Orycon until my husband and I got together. By then I already had two kids and was fully into mom mode. The first couple of years that we went we did not bring the kids. I was still getting my feet wet and they were pretty young, we weren’t sure if they could handle it, or us handle it either for that matter. Last year we finally took the leap and brought them with us, well for 1/2 of con that is. They came with us on Friday (was a no school day which helped) and stayed over night. We arranged for my mom to pick them up just before dinner on Saturday which worked out great. Splitting the time like that let us enjoy a night of costumed fun with the kids, but also left us with Saturday night to enjoy the costume time and room parties without the little ones in tow.

Orycon Child Policies and Care

Orycon has some good, and clear, policies about kids at the convention which can be found on their website. They also have child care that is offered and they make a good effort to keep it secure which I think is great. Now while looking up the links to paste here for you, I discovered that they have made a change this year to the policy on unattended minors. This year kids 6 and up may be unattended if they have the ability to behave themselves, otherwise I believe they are escorted to child care at your cost (at least the child care part was there last year). Also the kids have special badges that include a spot for parent name and phone number on the back of them, just in case. If you want to take that a step further you could take a lesson from the Oregon Country Fair and use a sharpie to write your name and phone number on your child’s arm. Presumably, short of a cannibalistic kobold attack at the con, they shouldn’t be able to misplace their own arm.

Kids and what to do

I will say that there are only a limited number of sessions that young children, elementary school and younger would find interesting. At least that was the case last year, I am hoping for more this coming year. I suspect next year I will run at least one so I know there is something for my kids to get into. As an exception to this general statement, last year the Greater Portland Costumer’s Guild put on two events that my kids really enjoyed and are hoping to attend again this year. Those were the 99 cent costume workshop, an event where under limited time and supplies you are to construct a costume that fits the rather loose theme provided, awards for everyone at the end. Also they enjoyed the Friday night milk and cookies room party, this year I am going to bring some cookies to it. I sincerely hope both events happen again, and earlier enough that my kids will still be there.

99 Cent Costume Workshop

99 Cent Costume Workshop

Don’t forget the costumes

The kids also enjoy dressing up in costume and seeing all the costumes that people put on for the event. If you decide to bring your child I highly recommend bringing 1-2 costumes for them as well. In fact just let them stay in costume the whole time, how often do they go someplace where that is alright? Since Orycon is only two months away I will be adding another post afterward about how it went this year with the kids.

GameStorm Game Day

GameStorm is hosting a game day this coming Saturday, July 24th from 9am to 10pm.

It takes place at the Vancouver, WA Hilton and will include Board Games, RPG, Video Games, and Magic.

Hoping to make it there myself.

Oh and the best part of all, it is FREE!!!!!!!