On the first day of the convention, I tossed a few portable games into a backpack and headed to the hotel, which is just a few miles north of where I live--and, fortunately, right on a convenient bus route. I arrived just around opening time at 1pm and headed into the game library/open gaming area, where I set my things on a table and sat there scoping the room for a while.
The convention does offer formal events in which someone volunteers to teach a particular game at a specific time slot. The events being offered are listed in binders with sign up sheets each day. There wasn't anything that particularly interested me the first evening, so I planned on doing a bit of open gaming for a while.
Fury of Dracula
Lords of Waterdeep
Machi Koro/Machi Koro Plus
Waiting for the next bus (which only comes once per hour at that time of night) and walking home from the bus stop meant it was nearly 11pm by the time I managed to crawl into bed.
In the morning, I packed several more games into my new wheeled carryon bag and lugged them (along with my backpack from the day before) to the convention, arriving around 8:30am. I wanted to sign up for the Among the Stars event that was supposed to be at 9am, but it ended up being canceled (perhaps due to lack of interest). That left my entire morning free, though I did sign up for something else at 6pm, figuring a 2 hour game session at that time would allow me to return home for a good night's sleep.
By then it was about 11:30, and I was getting hungry, so we broke up for lunch. I went to a restaurant across the street--which must have been new, because I don't remember it being there when I attended YaoiCon several years ago. I wasn't very impressed by it, unfortunately. I tried ordering the pizza, only to be informed by the server that they don't start making pizza until 1pm (information that isn't written anywhere in the menu), so I had to switch to a pasta dish that was okay but not great. At least there was sufficient quantity that I could save half of it to eat for supper, though that meant I had to carry a carton of pasta around with me the rest of the day.
I spent a bit of time looking around the dealer's room, but there wasn't really anything I wanted to buy. Actually...there was one game I would have been interested in buying, but the price tag on it was $75. Since the MSRP was only $60 (not to mention that it could be readily purchased online for $40), I wasn't about to dump my money on it. I did, however, come across a table where a guy was giving demonstrations of his game, Dragon's Hoard, and selling them at a discounted rate (even compared to online prices). After watching the demonstration for a few minutes, I ended up getting a copy for myself. (I will admit, I bought it mainly for the art...)
At 3pm, I met up with a bunch of people from the website BoardGameGeek for a math trade. This is a process in which a bunch of people submit lists of games they are willing to trade away. The participants look at the available games and then mark which ones they'd be willing to take in exchange for the ones they are offering. Then a computer program calculates the trades (sometimes very complicated ones) that will satisfy the most people. I was trading away one of my games (Police Precinct) in exchange for a fantasy parody game called Dungeon Lords. I got a bit worried when nearly everyone else had finished their trades and my trading partner hadn't shown up yet. The person who had arranged the math trade had his number, fortunately, and was able to text him. He showed up about 3:25 and we completed the trade without any further trouble.
Sentinels of the Multiverse
Caverna: The Cave Farmers
By the time I managed to get home and tumble into bed, it was nearly midnight--far later than I had anticipated, that's for certain.
I arrived at the hotel the same time as the previous day, knowing that if I came too much later I would have a problem getting a table. I considered signing up for a 6pm event of Pandemic, but when I checked the binder for the sign up sheet, it didn't have one. I guess it was canceled. I claimed a table right away and was promptly joined by someone asking if I would help test his game prototype. I said I would, and he brought over the game supplies, then roped two more guys into joining. He stayed out of the game and explained things while the three of us played. He said the working title of the game is Capital of Magic, though he may change it before he tries running a Kickstarter project for it. It's essentially a resource management game in which the players are wizards trying to use magic, wood, and stone to build towers for themselves in a land filled with perilous monsters. My two opponents spent a lot of their time summoning up powerful armies to attack more areas, while I used my resources to buy a bunch of spells. I ended up building my three towers to win the game before the others managed to build their second towers. It was an entertaining game, though I don't know that I would buy it personally.
Once those games finished, it was nearly 2pm, so I took the shuttle bus to downtown Burlingame to pick up some lunch. I ate at a brunch restaurant that I pass by whenever I take that bus route yet had never tried stopping at before. It was a little on the pricey side, but the food and the service were quite good. I had good timing and didn't have to wait long for the bus to take me back to the hotel. I had to wander around for a while, but eventually I nabbed myself a table and set up my game stacks again.
Among the Stars
I ended up catching the 11:20pm bus home again that night and going straight to bed.
I had to wake up early enough in the morning to get my laundry done before leaving. I managed to finish just in time to catch the bus that would get me to the convention by opening time. I swapped out some of the games I had taken the previous day in favor of new ones to try.
I'm kind of amazed at how many games I was able to get through...not to mention how little sleep I was able to snatch every night. I suspect I'm going to crash tonight before I have to start back to work bright and early tomorrow morning.