Gaming Hoopla. Mike, Chuck, and I attended for the weekend seeing as how it's only about 25 minutes away from our houses, and it was a really great time. We don't have a lot of opportunities to play games and with gamers outside of our comfort zone, and Gaming Hoopla is big enough and varied enough that we get a good chance to see some things we haven't seen before.
The Hoopla is almost entirely a board game convention, but last year Chuck tried his hand at running a game of Fiasco and a Call of Cthulhu one shot. The Fiasco game ended up with just Chuck, our friend Dan (artist of Icons and extremely entertaining gamer!), and myself playing a three player game and having a blast. Call of Cthulhu went over a little better with me still taking one of the slots but having four other, almost all brand new to role-playing joining us for a fun and VERY interesting experience.
I think after considering his experiences last year, Chuck aimed to try to ease people into role playing a bit slower with something a lost more recognizable than even the big squiddly-faced hero - D&D. He's planning on running the free rpg day Dark Sun adventure from last year to try to attract some new role players and work to build up a tiny emerging role playing community at the Hoopla. Unfortunately for me I couldn't get my crap together quick enough this year to run a one-shot Dragon Age adventure like I'd have liked to considering I haven't finished the darn thing yet!
The other big high-light that Chuck is running is a couple of Summoner Wars tournaments. We've only ever played Summoner Wars in our little group, and now there are plenty of different factions that a large group of new players are able to all have a unique experience and should give us a better idea of how the factions run outside of our own interpretations of the strategies. On the board game side of things, Mike is running Dwarven Dig, a big multiplayer game of Mechaton, and some small Monsterpocalypse tournaments. I'm excited to see how their games go and more excited to be able to jump in if they need an extra player. As for my plans I'm not really signed up for anything at this point in time, but I'll be bringing the Lord of the Rings LCG to play (solo or to teach if I run into anyone who wants to play) and Death Angel. I also plan on looking through the registration book to see if there's anything that looks like fun to sign up for on the spot. Of course one of the best things about the Hoopla is their vast gaming library which let us play a game about sheep (which was a lot of fun) and an unpronounceable game where you do competitive blocks which was a ton of fun.