Who's Yer Con 2013

Who's Yer Con is a small gaming convention held each year in Indianapolis. Historically it has been free, but as it has grown, it's become harder to do it entirely on the basis of voluntary financial donations, so there's a real possibility it may have to shift to a paid model in future years in order to move to an adequate-sized hotel, although the concom hopes to keep membership prices as low as possible.

This year's Who's Yer Con was held over the weekend of March 15-17, 2013 at the Clarion Waterfront Plaza on the west side. At least this year the road construction on the I-465 I-74 junction was finished, so we didn't have to follow a confusing roundabout path to find it. However, because we were volunteering and had promised to come for the swag bag packing on Thursday, and were attending another event shortly before it, we had a little fun getting there in time.

I had an ankle bothering me, so rather than try to do the packing walk at the swag bag packing stations, I worked on badge stuffing. We had a little trouble because the badges were alphabetized by first name, while the gaming schedules were alphabetized by last name. That meant we had to sort all the gaming schedules by first name to match them with badges. At least it wasn't as bad as the awful Duckon where all the badges were ordered by membership number and it took hours to get pre-registered members checked in.

On Friday we went there extra-early to help with dealer load-in, since it was something we knew quite well. However, as it turned out there wasn't anything for us to do for the first half-hour or so. Then, when dealers started showing up and we took initiative to help out, one of the senior staff took it upon herself to put us in our place with a very sharp criticism. Never mind how much experience we might have elsewhere, it didn't count here, so we'd overstepped ourselves and needed to be drawn up short. Neither of us found it encouraging to be treated like barely competent teenagers, and figured it might well be the last time we did any volunteer work for this con.

However, once the dealers actually started arriving and we had work to do, things became smoother. I ended up watching the door to make sure people who weren't dealers didn't come in until official opening. We presented it as a safety measure to protect them from getting injured while dealers were moving heavy boxes and displays.

Once the dealers' room opened, I really didn't have that much to do, so I sat at ops and wrote. An acquaintance dropped by to tell me some stuff and ask me what I'd heard, but I figured I'd just as soon stay out of other people's quarrels. So I just said that I'd heard a lot of things, but the only thing I'd been told officially concerned our own roles in the relevant conventions.

After supper, we went over to the open gaming area and looked at some of the logic puzzles the True Dungeon people had set up. I fiddled with one of them for a while, then talked with the game director about narrative in fiction and games, and how the first idea you come up with is often overly obvious and results in a shallow story.

After that, my husband found a pickup game to play and I did some more writing. By the time we left that evening, I had several pages of notes written on an effort to address a major logic hole in a novel I'm working on.

The cat was very happy to see us get home, mostly because she was hungry. So we fed her and turned in for the night.

On Saturday we didn't have to get up quite so early, so I had time to do a little stuff on the computer before we took off. We got over there in good time, and since I didn't have anything scheduled, I let con ops know I was available before settling in to write.

On the whole it turned out to be a productive day for me, if a bit frustrating at times. I discovered that the entire chronology and presentation of one novel I'm working on will have to be rethought. I suppose it's better to find that out now rather than after I've written the whole novel.

In the evening we headed back home and took care of some stuff. We had some unwelcome excitement when the power flickered and crashed our U-verse router. Thankfully I was able to use the iPad to get on the 3G network and find out how to properly restart the router so we could get our phone and Internet working again.

On Sunday we headed back to the hotel for the last day of the con. I checked in at con ops, but they were all set for volunteers, so I settled in to do some writing. For the most part I was exploring the logic for one scene that was giving me a lot of trouble, hoping I'd then be able to thread my way through it.

While I was sitting there, I overheard a conversation between two senior staff that made me wince. Worst of all, the person who had done the problematical thing seemed to be quite proud of herself and think she'd handled the situation particularly well. Given that it concerned another group which was using a room in the hotel for a church service, I got exactly the opposite impression of her handling of the situation. Far from being exemplary, it had probably left that group with a very bad view of fandom, and the efforts of several individual congoers to explain what we were doing probably served very little to counteract that negative impression.

In the afternoon my husband's volunteer shift got canceled, so he went to play a game and I attended the question and answer session. After that we both went to the final raffle in which they distributed all the remaining prizes. He won some stuff, but I didn't. However, given that I'd won some stuff in the regular raffle, I wasn't too disappointed.

Then we headed home for the evening. I had some books I needed to ship, but I was tired enough that I decided I'd rather wait until Monday rather than make a stupid mistake and wind up having to placate an irate customer.

Copyright 2013 by Leigh Kimmel

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Last updated June 7, 2013.