No Brand 2011

Friday | Friday/Saturday | Saturday/Sunday

Victorious after the panel, I returned to the table and... well, pretty much sat there for an hour. Oh wait! Once I went up to the balcony to adjust our banner, using a cord AJ fashioned out of duct tape to support it further. With Sarah and Evan helping with the costume contest, we decided to close shop early and get some dinner.

Pizza time!

Saturday-Sunday
Marketing Warfare

Before the pizza arrived, a couple pictures from Saturday's booth duty:

That's right.

Scott's back into paper cosplay. All is right with the world.

And on the flip side... the Death Note.

After splitting a couple pizzas with Deanna, they reported to the cosplay contest while I set up the room for the party.

The party, you say? But it's too early...

Having run a Friday afternoon room party in '07, I'm no stranger to unorthodox room party schedules at No Brand. With our mixer at Detour marred by both other parties and the real rave, I wanted to try doing one at a time when there would be no competition- during the costume contest. In other words, offering an alternative to everybody who doesn't attend it. With Red's help, we got the beds moved and the lighting set up.

At 7:00 sharp, Matt, Julie, Nick F, SeanOrange and friends showed up and it was on!

There was only a minimal effort at dancing, but at least there was some going on. I put a lot of thought into the three-hour setlist and it paid off. I never knew there were so many Rip Slyme fans! One of the artists who was playing his rave music in front of us stopped by often to compliment our music selection.

The best part was that the list was timed to play more trance-oriented music between the costume contest and No Brand's dance, when the traffic would logically increase. This worked too.

Kim stops by with her "Jack of Diamonds" Switzerland that she slaved away at all weekend. She also shows off the fruit of her labor.

As the setlist grooved to a finale (unintentionally, it started and ended with the opening/ending to Durarara), we transitioned back into gaming mode. Many patrons headed outside for more Munchkin.

So many that we actually moved the tunes outside as well.

After newcomer Neil won our first game, combining Star Munchkin with Munchkin Booty (in other words- space pirates), we used everything we had for the original game. Between my two expansions, and all of the booster packs Red and Evan owned (including both Fairy Dust and the Munchkinomicon), we had almost everything in one set and we were playing for keeps.

This actually happened.

Two hours and four Mountain Dews later, I was getting absolutely nowhere. I couldn't use any of my treasure cards and whenever I earned some, someone would take them away. Alex, despite being in the lead, sympathized with my plight and gave me a very useful card. Pissed off at the world, I used my Cleric ability to resurrect a monster I could not beat in a dungeon where losing meant instant death, failed the runaway and played it: Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies.

After assisting me in killing off the entire party, Alex won on his next turn.

We all crashed immediately after that.

We didn't wake up until 90 minutes before checkout, but the process wasn't as bad as expected. Most of the stuff needed to go to the table anyway. The rest of it actually fit in the car. We didn't quite finish off all the soda, especially all the diet stuff that I'm not sure why we bought in the first place (despite getting three requests for Diet Dr. Pepper at the party). Evan and I each selected a 24-pack to keep for ourselves and we put the rest out at the table to give away, donating our leftover candy to Kitsune's table.

Daww...

With everything packed up, most of Sunday was spent chilling around the table with the Kitsune Kon guys and whichever Geek.Kon staffers happened to be around.

And random concepts that combine win with wtf.

After a swing through the video game room, we packed up and attended closing ceremonies. It was the first time I had spent more than five minutes in Main Programming all weekend.

Overall, the response to the move was tremendously positive, with a small increase in attendance more than making up for their slight dip last year. Furthermore, their efforts to attract more local fans through TV and radio seemed to pay off given the number of new attendees they had. It was a revitalizing year for a con that needed something fresh. Odd that they did so by moving back to an old location, dusting off an old plotline and using more traditional advertising streams, but it all seemed to work.

After closing, Nick F. joined us at Perkins for a post-con meal. It was interesting getting his perspective, since it was his first trip up to No Brand. Like me, he didn't attend a whole lot of programming, but appreciated the social aspect of it. While next year will be difficult for him to attend as it's a week after ACen, he's entertaining the possibility, which says enough right there.

Me, I'm just happy that for once there actually is a break between No Brand and ACen that lasts more than two weeks. I might actually be able to get something done rather than spend all my time writing these damn recaps.

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