Thursday, January 1, 2009

The CombsCon Email that Started it All

In 1997, some of the gaming crew and I considered a trip to the annual AvalonCon board gaming convention in Baltimore. But after reading the game schedule and closely inspecting hotel prices, etc., Mike sent an email, and that is how it alllllll started.
Subject: CombsCon 1997

Does taking 3 days off work and flying to Baltimore for gaming sound fun but hard to justify to your boss?

Were you disappointed to find that in three days at AvalonCon you'd only get to play 5 games you really liked?

Do you have better things to do with your money than pay for airfare and a hotel?

Try the local alternative: CombsCon!

Conveniently located in Cambridge, CombsCon 1997 offers more!
-- More gaming time
-- Less time away
-- More of the games you want to play
-- Less expensive (no fee, no travel time)
-- Gaming celebrities, including:
---- Scott O'Neil, star of the infomercial "Make a million with the
Canadian Pacific RR"
---- Allan "I never rolled a 6, unless it was bad" Wright
---- Mike Combs, master of lose-lose negotiating

Friday, August 1st at 9am through Saturday, at midnight. 39 Hours!

Games! Each attendee gets to name the games they want to play for a 4 hour period.
LaserTag! We'll go Friday AM for the discount rate, and longer play times.
Bolo! Bring your Mac for a massive network Bolo session.
Food! Lori has offered to create a special treat.

Tell your boss now that you're taking next Friday off.
Send everyone on this list an email to confirm.
Let me know if you want to stay the night.
Bring a six-pack of your favorite beer.

See you there!
Mike Combs
When replying with great enthusiasm for CombsCon, some of us showed off our ultra-geeky signature files.

"How will it end?" -- Centauri Emperor
"In fire" -- Ambassador Kosh
==== don't miss babylon 5 ====

You fell victim to one of the 'classic' blunders!

"WE must play some time."
"Certainly we must -- by POST!"
- Live from the Green Dome...

Then began a debate over whether to play certain games.
Joshua: I'm in (as long as we try to get at least some sleep).
PS. So are we going to play a few Dune games a few Railroad games and Bolo or are we going to try to squeeze in one game of Civilization?

Mike: If your requirement is that we get some sleep, then we probably can't play Civilization. CombsCon 1997 is only 39 hours long, you know. Actually, Scott has a new game, Age of Renaisance (sp), which is supposed to be Civilization with the rules improved.

I'd also like to play a game of Republic of Rome. Every time I go to a
game shop and tell them which kind of games we like to play, they
recommend RoR. The game deserves another chance.

Scott: This would be a great opportunity to play Age of Wren-Uh-Sance (sp?), if anyone wants to set aside 4 hours to try it out. It'll probably take longer than that to play, but if it's any good, we could just continue with it. I'll bring it, in any case.

Allan: I've seen Age of Renaissance played at a con - I'm interested in trying it.

Mike: I bought Air Baron today. Here's a list of games we own, that we haven't played much, that are worth revisiting:
* Air Baron
* Age of Renuhsawnce
* Ransom
* Mediteranian
* Republic of Rome
* Lords of the Sierra Madres (Just like RoR, people keep recommending this highly. With the rules clarifications Allan found, we should try it again sometime.)
* Speed Circuit (well, i thought i'd try to sneak this in)

Allan: Don't forget Eurorails!

Then the celebrity guests chimed in.
I'm proud to be one of the celebrity guests at the inaugural CombsCon, and even prouder to announce that I've chosen CombsCon 1997 to preview my new 1830 book: "Why It's Called 'The Erie': Strategies that Win You Praise When You Lose the Game." Program note: during the autograph sessions, I do NOT sign body parts.
Scott "Make a million with the Canadian Pacific RR" O'Neil
Well, I went to HistoriCon, gamed for three days straight with 'normal' luck (instead of my usual bad luck), wow what a great three days... The van I rented for the trip died in the middle of the Tappan-Zee bridge at 5:00 in the middle on Sunday rush hour traffic. We had to get three rental cars and leave the heap in NY. I was supposed to get home at 8:00 p.m. but instead got in at 3:00 a.m. the next day. Looks like my Karma is back in balance now.
- Allan "I never rolled a 6, unless it was bad" Wright

The first deal of the 'Con was struck.
Mike: Allan, please bring me two six-packs of Oregon IPA at NH prices. I'll reimburse you. (Unless you'd like to die roll for it.)

I'll gladly do that and import additional beer at NH prices upon request.

One of the core crew bailed out, but still made a contribution.

Mike B: Mike, It's wonderful you're doing this. I must, reluctantly, stay away and work. I hope to hear stories. I have Republic of Rome here. If you need it, just let me know and I'll drop it by on Thursday evening or Friday.

Mike: Yes, can I get RoR from you? Drop it off whenever is convenient. If you pick Thursday evening and we're not home, put it on the back porch. Do not try to slide it through the mail slot. The SlobberDog thinks that everything that comes through the slot should be treated as food.

And with all that, we were off and running. IIRC, I was less than three weeks away from a new job, so taking that Friday meant saying I was too sick to work -- though I wanted to say I was too *well* to work :) -- and then giving my notice less than a week later.

Over the years, we not only learned how to spell "
Renaissance", but the group morphed from gaming every other weekend to occasional mini-convention style gaming. CombsCon 1997 was the first of many of these, and I'll post what information I have about them, including who won the 'Con and updates to the Overall Victories tally.

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