Well, I'm back. GenCon 2006 compared very favorably to GenCon 2005. It did seem to have a different vibe, though. Perhaps it was because I knew so many ENWorlders going in this time? Perhaps it was because I just knew what to expect? I dunno, but it did seem more relaxed (odd, since I hardly slept).
Unlike last year, I stuck with ENWorld pickup games and only paid for one event: True Dungeon (fun, as always). This years crop of games are described on this thread over at ENWorld. On Thursday morning, I played an antisocial government agent in Buttercup's Damnation Decade. The game was fun, but it did result in a Total Party Kill (TPK). Thursday night was time for Rel's brilliant Sky Galleons of Mars. I played Tex as a hyperactive hick last year, but I believe that I had more fun playing the imperturbable Captain Umbridge this time around. Friday morning's game was Old One's outstanding Blood Alter of Wodan (Grim Tales). As Leudonus, I finally got to play the brick and had a blast wading through Saxon mooks. Saturday's Risus game was cancelled (on account of a very late night TBR excursion), but I was very honored to be a part of PirateCat's all-star game of Mutants & Masterminds: Antiheroes. As "Killswitch", I was supposed to be the smartest man in the world. I fear I didn't do him justice, but I was just happy to bask in the "perfectness" of all the other player characters. I was especially fond of Kisnit's Migraine and the amazing exchange between PirateCat and KidCthulhu as Knockout's clueless parents. Finally, there was Alenda's Halfling Musketeers game. Of all the games, I may have had the most pure fun in this one. As the party swashbuckler in a swashbuckling game, I was able to pull of some really sweet moves. And playing alongside PirateCat really made my con.
Beyond the gaming, I will say that once again, I was inspired by the people I met and saw. On the one hand, I observed every negative stereotype one would associate with gamers. The people made me thankful that I am fit, healthy, successful, and have an exciting life outside gaming. On the other hand, most of the people I interacted with were fantastically cool people who inspired me in so many ways to be a better person.
In the dealer hall, I was happy to come away with only a few purchases (I spent way too much in the previous years). This year's purchase was limited to a onesie for my son, some new dice, and Qin: The Warring States. The later is a fantastic wuxia game set in late Iron Age China, just as it was being unified for the first time. I don't know if I'll ever use the rules (which do look very playable), but I certainly hope to use the setting at some point, even if it is just for one-shots or dimension-hopping games. The book is absolutely loaded with excellent historical information about ancient China (which dovetails nicely with my studies of Chinese). It also doesn't hurt that the book is really, really handsome.
Lastly, I will also say that were were blessed with fantastic weather, which made my two marathon training runs very enjoyable. For some reason, I find Indianapolis to be a really cool city. I've known about the canal walk since my first year, but this year I discovered the trails along the river (one of which skirts the edge of the zoo).