Welcome back, dice fondlers! I… I… I’m in the wrong article, aren’t I? My apologies. This isn’t Adventures in Random Roleplay, this is the Youmacon recap attack! Yes, Youmacon, which ran from Nov. 1st to the 4th in downtown Detroit this year, is an anime convention. Still, you know that if I’m involved, there will be tabletop roleplaying references without question. So let’s toss aside our preconceived notions and take a walk around the wonderful melting pot that is Detroit’s Youmacon.
What Missing Friday Cost Me
First things first, I will admit that I was unable to make it by Friday due to the unerring shackles chaining me to my desk at the day job. Missing out on a full day’s worth of events at Youmacon is already a serious bummer, but on the gaming front, I was particularly disappointed that because Friday night gaming featured a Dungeons and Dragons game with musician, seiyu/voice actor and streaming gaming personality Jason Charles Miller. Don’t get me wrong, there are loads of great games running at all times at con (more on exactly why later), but Jason Charles Miller hosts the series Starter Kit on the Geek and Sundry / Nerdist collaboration Project Alpha. Starter Kit is a series that invites the designers of various game systems to teach a mixed group of new and experienced roleplayers a new system from the ground up. If you read my weeklies, you already know how close to my heart introducing new and strange RPGs is, and can understand my disappointment.
However, we made sure to make up for it on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was a delightful blur of cosplay and artwork as I toured artist’s alley and the vendor hall. It was great seeing Comfort and Adam at their booth in artist’s alley – if you aren’t following their work, you really should be. While you can find them at many of the major cons across the country, it’s always nice getting a chance to see them in Michigan where they’re closer to their home. There’s definitely a warmth they save for their fellow Michiganders.
Another surprise in the artist’s alley was Denitsa Trandeva, the artist for local game company Thunderhead Games’ in-house system, Netherstorm. Denitsa had made the trip from Bulgaria to meet with fans, and Thunderhead even had a 50 copy limited run art book available exclusive to Youmacon.
However, for all the beautiful clothing, fanciful collectibles, and media available, Youmacon 2018 wasn’t without a touch of sadness. Con regular Creepy Kawaii is retiring from the con circuit after this, his tenth year of Youmacon. Many of his wares will still be available at his website, and I wish him only the best.
The Saturday cosplay game was strong indeed. I encountered a fantastic Alolan Ninetails, an imaginative Oogie Boogey cosplay with fluorescent green dress, and several Marvel Netflix characters skulking about the shoe shine stations at Cobo.
There was also a Witcher Geralt and Ciri that should absolutely be starring in the Netflix series over Henry Cavill. #betterwitcherthan – don’t @ me.
I would be lax, though, if as roleplaying representative I didn’t call out the wonderful Critical Role #Critter cosplay. As expected, both Jester and Mollymaux seemed to the most popular to cosplay, but I was pleasantly surprised to meet multiple Nott the Braves, Yashas, and Calebs. Many of the Calebs had even practicing their German accent. It was heartwarming.
I wrapped up Saturday coverage with a trip to the autograph room to meet the ever pleasant Ivan Van Norman. For being Geek and Sundry’s resident Master of Dread (both the game Dread and the emotion– seriously, just go back and watch him run Paranoia for Geek and Sundry here), he’s definitely one of the most relaxed and friendlier folks I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Earlier in the day, he had run a session of his Outbreak: Undead game (and there’s another one to add to the the ARR! List). Another game to watch from his Hunter’s Press book company is the delightful Kids On Bikes, for when you just need to play a specific kind of movie and scratch a particular itch.
On Sunday, aside from the delightful people-watching and socializing that really marks the final day of con for me, I took the opportunity to head back over to the tabletop gaming area.
You see, Youmacon’s tabletop gaming area has a beautiful library of games to play all thanks to the Tabletop Gaming Library. This year, the TGL started con with 598 separate games and were on track to finish with 604 because of donations (Even though they prefer not to add games while actually at con. It plays havoc with their cataloguing system.). Every year, they have pins, shirts, and patches available to show your support, as well as a raffle. Through last year’s support, they were able to get new shelving units to display and store the games during con. If you’ve ever enjoyed tabletop gaming at Youmacon and haven’t ever supported the Tabletop Gaming Library, I’d definitely encourage you to. They’re great people making sure that everyone gets a chance to play and have fun. And isn’t that the epitome of con, right there?
If you want more cosplay photos, check out our photo albums over on the Dashing Nerds Facebook page.
With that, I must away. Random roleplaying games are calling me and I must answer. See you next time, con jockeys!