Thank you Winter Fantasy and at David Christ for a great weekend of D&D.
WF is "D&D Christmas". It's amazing. It's cold. And you will be too excited to sleep.
Here's why you should go in comparison to the mega-cons - Origins and GenCon, and the hometown favorite, Dragon*Con. If you want to play D&D, the best D&D, you should go to Winter Fantasy.
If I could *only* go to one of these events a year, it'd be WF and here's why...
It's cheap. The hotel is something like $100 a night. Flights into FWA are not terribly expensive. Badges are really reasonable.
The DMs are the cream of the crop. Dave puts a lot of effort into getting feedback on his DMs and making sure only the good ones come back. He's been doing it for years and he's got a great crew.
It's easy. It's maybe "only" several hundred people so there's no shoving, no lines, and no waiting. Okay, Fai Chen had maybe 10 people in line sometimes, but that was it. Food is easy to get to and not too expensive and restaurants aren't slammed with people. The convention room has maybe 70 tables for D&D and it's pretty spacious and comfy.
The content is amazing. All the new mods. The new Epic. If it's D&DAL, the WF is going to be the showcase.
OMG it's full of stars. WF and WotC and the D&DAL staff have been working together for years (decades?) and there's a great relationship there. As many of the admins, local coordinators, and authors that can be there are there. AND they're generally not so mobbed as they are at other cons so you can strike up a conversation with them.
D&D is the main point. At GenCon, Origins, or Dragon*Con, there's a whole lot of other stuff going on. Do you want to play D&D or demo the new board game? Do you want to play D&D or go to the costume parade? Do you want to play D&D or see your favorite superstar? At WF you don't have those kind of paralyzing decisions. It's D&DAL, Pathfinder, Shadows of the Demon Lord, or a few other RPGs, but it's mainly some kind of D&D variant. There are a few card games and a few board games if you're burned out, but that's not the main thrust of the convention. They do one thing and they do it well.
Yeah, last year was my first, and I had a blast. (Although it turns out I'm way too old for this , five days of modules turned my brain to absolute mush!)
I thought Baldman Games did a great job overall, although hopefully they will make optimal use of the space this year. (There was unused space in the hall, while the module tables were so close together it made conversation very hard.)
I figure I was refreshing for about an hour. I finally locked in and was able to snaffle a Tier 2 track, but the B rather than my preferred A track, so that messed up the rest of my planning, and I just grabbed what I could after that.
Slots 1 and 2 were totally sold out, which is super-annoying, hopefully Baldman can get some more DMs to sign up. A waitlist would be a useful option.
So now I don't know whether to come on Wednesday and just see if I can sit in on something, or simply show up for Thursday noon instead.
While my friend and I didn't get anything resembling our plan, as the tracks sold out way too fast, we do have "something" to do from slots 3-10. I guess we'll adjust our hotel by one day and drive up Thursday morning, and get home at a reasonable time Sunday.
We did land one AO, which we're both psyched about. Ending the con with a bang!