AMBER LOVE 06-JULY-2014 It’s always a pleasure to attend the Double Exposure gaming conventions in New Jersey. As you heard some of the details earlier when Senior Vice-President Avonelle Wing spoke on Vodka O’Clock, there was a lot to look forward to. Normally, I go to DEX events to see the LARPs but this time, I made myself leave that comfort zone and try some new things.
I was dealing with my usual social anxiety but then ran into the friendly face of one of my 501st friends, Joe Roa. Lucky for me, Joe was over at the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS section which is exactly where I wanted to be. I heard 5th Edition was coming out and there was new buzz about the manual intentionally specifying that characters of different races can be non-binary gender specific. It was remarkable change and had fans wondering why a fantasy world took so long to adopt this. Nonetheless, Joe and I caught up on one of the breaks and he will be in the Vodka O’Clock Dexcon D&D episode with Dave Guerrieri, a lead developer who is in charge of play testing the changes of Greyhawk Reborn.
As Avie said in our previous interview, Double Exposure takes harassment very seriously. Their policy about it appeared in a big font on page 2 of the program guide.
As usual the schedule was massive. I had plenty of other things I wanted to see but I’ve learned that when my body is feeling exhausted, I need to be in bed and sleep. I had a long July 4th BBQ where I expended a ton of energy and then headed of Day 2 of Dexcon very late at night to see the D20 Burlesque show. Then I ended up skipping the big weekend gaming schedule and stayed home to rest. I really wanted to catch up with more people and see the annual Sugarfest on Saturday night. They create a bar of candies several tables long and have a mountain of pixie-stix. It’s a sight to see but I was home sleeping.
More reasons to love the DEX events and the Morristown Hyatt is that they make sure attendees are well cared for. There are water coolers all over the place so you can stay hydrated and don’t need to worry about packing a case of plastic bottles among your travel necessities. That seems so minor but it isn’t. It’s a small touch that makes a big difference. Also, there’s a main con suite for all attendees filled with tons of refreshments for snacking; there’s a VIP suite on a different floor with better kinds of food but I never even got up there this year.
I’m not sure if the wifi was free for all attendees. As press, Jesse and I were able to access the organizers’ code and that worked well for me the days and nights I was there. The registration line on Thursday evening was only 15 minutes to get through. Again, it’s a small thing but makes a big difference compared to comic cons where you can be in a line for an hour.
The most impressive part of the Hyatt’s interaction is not only their tolerance of the weirdos we have but that parking in their garage is FREE. I can’t say it enough. FREE PARKING! At a Hyatt! You get your parking ticket like normal and bring it inside. Enjoy your day and whenever you are ready to leave, go to the check-in desk. They validate the stub and you can drive out without paying the daily rate. Parking on the street at the meters is only good if you plan on having a quick visit. Morristown meters max out at 90 minutes, a quarter gets you 30 minutes. It’s a cheap option but you’d be running out to feed the meter constantly.
As for the game play, everything seemed flawlessly organized. I popped my head into one of the video game rooms once in a while. It was dark with a big projection. The LARPs take place all over the hotel from small conference room to much larger spaces and even the lobby when necessary. The new market for testing tabletop games took up twice the amount of space in the lobby than last year which reduced the number of plush chairs for hanging out but no one seemed to have a problem.
The bar was packed all the time. It’s an open-space design so the good thing about that is you are never cramped trying to elbow your way through to a get a drink. They offered the regular menu and a special DEX menu – even offering a black bean burger which I had with my mojito. The tail of a hurricane had rolled into town about then and darkened our skies. There were intermittent downpours. Another reason to appreciate that indoor parking garage. It was a dark and stormy night indeed and everyone was happy for it. Immersing yourself into game play of any kind during the storm had a sense of Gothic camaraderie.
Since upgrading the website, I’ve run into more problems with WordPress. The images aren’t importing correctly with corrupt file titles and the galleries don’t work anymore. I tested a few things like renaming them before import and adding more attributes but those didn’t help. For now, the big gallery is on Facebook. Please remember to Like the Facebook Page and then adjust the settings to “Show in Feed.”
Vodka O’Clock D&N episode – coming soon!