not that anyone cares that it is a late report.

First of all I should say I really have mixed feelings about Diecon. Sure it is the local con so I like to support it, but it's also thoroughly ghetto in my mind, I mean it is ran in Collinsville. Also I have a soft spot in my heart for it since Karon and I met there at a thousand years of darkness l5r game. I also though acknowledge that it really seems to have a sin curve to its quality. Well, ok, I can't prove that yet. Right now it is a bell curve, but I have hopes it will rebound. The first few years were a little dodgey before it built steam, then the middle years it was awesome, now though its kinda in the gutter again. I blame this on the year we didn't have the midwest Kotei for l5r.

Kotei are big regional events and they bring in a lot of people. This years Kotei at Diecon had almost 70 people in it, half a dozen of which were big name players, but that is even a pretty mediocre turnout. I vaguelly recall that my second Kotei at Diecon was pushing 130 people. Suffice to say though that okay even on an average year then that's 60-70 people that came to the convention for that and might also take in some other events and what not. That is a fair amount of money and people. So losing that for one year kinda killed the dealer room last year as not so many people wanted to come out after the Koteiless year, they were still recovering and even this year it was pretty sparse in there.

What was really kinda sad to me was how light the game selection was, I flipped through the rpg events and I'm kinda glad Karon decided she didn't feel up to coming along with me on saturday to play some games while I slung cardboard, there was seriously nothing going on. The only l5r rpg event was first of all ran buy a guy we hate and second on Friday night, and the Saturday events just looked thin and sorta sickly. I'm not sure what is going on there, I'm not sure if that is also an outgrowth of the lost Kotei year because you might have more l5r rpg events planned for instance if you knew you'd have people dropping out of the swiss early because they were doing crappy or later in the day for the people that just didn't make it into the finals.

Another thing that I think has hurt the convention was the death of the Dragonball Z ccg and a few others. The economic downturn has really hurt the gaming community a lot over the past few years and some companies that had sunk a lot of money into expensive product licenses have died. The DBZ tourney used to be as big if not bigger than the Kotei, the main difference being that the l5r crowd is older and has more money usually, but that still means a lot of people weren't there that might have been. Instead I saw a lot more war gamers there, people with armies for Warhammer, 40k and Iron Kingdoms, and while I'm glad to see miniatures coming back in a way, it also doesn't help the con as much in my mind because of several reasons. First the dealers usually don't pack in minis with them, they're heavy and expensive and most of these people buy this shit direct from the companies online because it is cheaper than dealing with store markups. Second it is just a shitton more expensive to get into. You can build a fun and competitive deck for most ccgs with a starter box(around $10) and maybe $60-80 of further investment. Alright I know that's $70, but I also said competitive. You can also take that starter and maybe $10-15 to throw something oddball together just for the hell of it and screw with some webdeck builders. Now why am I doing a price break down here, for comparison, While Iron Kingdoms is supposedly rather cheap compared to other mini games, you'll still probably spend more on it than for a ccg. For Warhammer or 40k though you can easily sink $200 just to get your army started, before painting it or getting some of the better units that you really want. When I considered playing 40k several years back and was looking at Dark Eldar I realized that infantry with Dark Lances was where it was at. They moved hella fast and did a shitton of damage. Now a unit of infantry is like 12 figs. Dark Lancers come in 2 packs for like $9 at the time. That's $56 for one unit, maybe a sixth of the army I would be fielding. Start to see how pricey things can get. So mini games are always a hard sale cause it is so much harder to get into. $10 starter deck or $100 base army...wait lemme think about that.

So that was a lot about con mechanics I really didn't plan on going into, so onto the important part, the Kotei. Annoyingly, despite being told that all prize support for the event was supposed to be legal in the next arc of the game, it wasn't. God someone got an uncut sheet of cards from Diamond, which for people that don't know is 4 years old and 90% of the cards are not legal in tournaments anymore. Now some of what was handed out was from the last set of the arc which is indeed legal in the new arc that is coming out soon. But the real surprise here was that I bothered to play. I stopped playing l5r right after Samurai edition started, I was in my last year at SWIC, money was starting to get a bit tight, I couldn't afford $20 a month on tourney fees and $100 a year in product most of which I wouldn't get around to putting on ebay to clear out even though I didn't need what I got. So I stepped out and I've heard I missed a good arc. The deck I basically had always wanted to be able to run was finally given support and apparently it dominated. With the promise of free product legal for the next arc, having already registered for the con last year, and having a friend with the extra cards to build me the deck I wanted I went ahead and played. Played I say, I kicked some serious ass is what I did. That was quite possibly my best run at a tourney ever. I won 5 out of 8 games I played and at least one of the losses I could have won if I had actually known the gimmicks in the deck already, I hadn't played it till that morning so I was learning it as I went, and another I lost because I didn't really care. Time was called, we were both playing the same faction so in my mind a win for either of us was a win for the Dragon Clan so I just let him have it largely because I wasn't expecting to get anywhere at the tourney at that point. I came out 26th in the standings, so a bit above middle of the road and ya know what, I had fun. Will I get back into the game this set, I don't know, I still don't have much money to throw at the game, but I might show up for the odd game now and then at least.


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