Chattacon 2004 Rabbit Recap

by Russell Grieshop (keeper of the metal man)

The Convention

Chattacon is a science-fiction convention held in Chattanooga, Tennessee each year (this was their 29th!). When I heard that Brian Cooksey (one of the Rabbits from Dragon*Con) was going, I immediately thought it would be a lot of fun to go with him. We asked Spanky Bob Mabry (left) and Joshua Drobina if they'd like to go, and suddenly we had a quorum!

Chattacon is unlike any other convention I've been to in one primary regard: free beer. Not being a beer-drinker myself, I didn't imbibe (nor did any of the other Rabbits, to my knowledge), but it definitely was a presence at the convention. However, not in a bad way—I've seen much worse behavior at conventions with expensive beer, and everybody was well behaved (if a bit tipsy).

The con suite was a huge room, with a buffet style food bar on one side, kept stocked with munchables the entire time, soda fountains, a bar (beer only), many tables for gathering and meeting, and a dance floor down at one end. Dances were held Friday and Saturday night, and while participation varied, everybody seemed to be having a good time.

The hotel staff was extraordinarily pleasant, as was the convention staff. They all made us feel very welcome, and helped us with everything we needed help with.

There were about 1,000 people at the convention, and while the scheduling was very loose, it left us a lot of flexibility to figure out what we were going to do. We were given a table in one of the game rooms, and we set it up with a pretty tie-dye cloth, and hid a cd player under a table playing soft ambient music. We'll want to work out some banners or signs for future events like this, but even without signs, people found us.

Friday Gaming

Friday was very slow until after about 6 PM, at which point we had all four Rabbits there, and to jump start the event (and get our own energy going) we played a rousing round of Volcano, Stoner Fluxx, and Cosmic Wimpout, all at the same time (left). All four of us were passing dice and the Volcano board around, at the same time that we were drawing and playing cards for Stoner Fluxx.

Before it wound down we had played several games of Stoner Fluxx, and probably two games of Volcano, and one long game of Cosmic Wimpout. It was wild and crazy, but also a lot of fun, which helped us get a good start for the rest of the weekend.

I had made a connection with one of the dealer's room vendors, Sam from Wizard's Wagon, and I brought him a display and some stock so that somebody there would be selling our games. The first two days were really bad for all of the vendors; I spoke to several who told me that sales were way down. Sam did much worse than in previous years, but he also said that if it hadn't been for our display, the show would have been "financially disastrous."

Sam had a few issues with potential customers not really understanding how our products worked (asking for a "basic Icehouse" set, for instance), and we tried to help out by having knowledgeable Rabbits making frequent visits to his booth to answer questions. He did sell quite a bit, though—including boxed sets of both Zendo and IceTowers!

As Friday progressed, we kept our table busy playing assorted Looney Labs games (Volcano, Fluxx, Chrononauts, etc), and there seemed to be a two-player Homeworlds game going much of the time between some of the Rabbits.

Brian used the event flyers from the Are You A Werewolf Kit to announce 10 PM AYAW games, and those were very well attended (above right). At one point, we had three villages going, and we played until the wee hours of the morning. Eventually the games wound down, and so did we, playing a quiet (non-Looney) game with all of the Rabbits and a couple of other gamers.

Tournament Winners

Chrononauts: Michael Crowe

Fluxx: Jessica Lothrop
Aquarius: Shawn Shepherd

Saturday Tournaments

Saturday morning started off slow, but once we were all up and functioning, we quickly planned three tournaments to give out some of the prizes I had brought along. We ran three tournaments: Chrononauts (below right), Aquarius, and Fluxx, with uncut Chrononauts and Aquarius decks as much sought after prizes, and a Fluxx Keeper shirt (Love) as a prize for the Fluxx tournament. We ended up with two preliminary tables, each with two preliminary games, with each of the four games delivering finalists for one four player game to determine the winner.

Brian and Bob started up the Giant IceTowers games Saturday afternoon in the area used for the late night dances, and kept lots of people entertained playing six player games of IceTowers for many hours. We started the Are You A Werewolf games at 10PM, and although we never got a second village organized, we did keep one rather large village going again into the wee hours. Bob was doing an amazing job as moderator for his unruly villages, even singing in a pseudo-operatic style to the village as he took them through the phases.

Meanwhile, the rest of us went off for a couple of games of Klunker, and given the late hour, the fun we'd had all weekend, and our own willingness to laugh at each other, we had many moments of paralyzing hilarity around the tongue-bob economy and who had the best toofus.

Bob and I had to leave by noon Sunday, but we did manage to get in three simultaneous games: Cosmic Coasters, Homeworlds, and Volcano, even teaching Volcano to one onlooker as we went.

We left with lots of hugs from new-found friends (and maybe Rabbits), and it was clear that everybody had a great time. I'm already looking forward to next year!


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