This was my first year attending RavenCon in Richmond, VA. I’m definitely going back. Two days removed from the con weekend and I’m still buzzing about the experience. Pretty much a fantastic three days from beginning to end.
It’s always a bit of a worry heading to a new con for the first time. I’m not the most social person with strangers – so there’s that – but it’s also just an environment where, you know, there are good cons and there are bad cons. RavenCon is a great con (at least, 2013 was a great con).
When we arrived we were surprised to find that we didn’t have to compete for parking. The con has a great hotel space with huge parking lots. Nothing is more frustrating than starting a con weekend with an hour of looking for a parking spot. I work on a college campus – I get enough of that during the week. We sat in on a very heartfelt opening ceremonies shortly after we got in and were pretty much put at ease. I was impressed with the con staff and the hotel staff right away and listening to them speak at the opening ceremonies, I knew I was at a con that was run by people who loved their con – but also by people who seemed to understand running a con.
My first two stops after the opening ceremonies – the vendor room and the gaming space. The gaming space had a great layout with a busy table full of people playing pickup games right inside the door which was charming. There was plenty of room to move around and set up. I ran into the fine gents who run Battletech at Marscon and they had a game going on and an open invitation to join them on Saturday – which I gladly accepted. The Vendor room did not disappoint either. Even though most of the vendors were familiar to me from other cons, there were some different faces and the space was well-used to make the flow less cramped than many other con vending rooms I’ve hit. (Maybe I seem over-impressed by this… but it is always frustrating being in a vendor room where you constantly feel like you are in the way of everyone else). We were so giddy we spent way too much money.
I scored a great prize on Friday night, finding a copy of D&D Clue. This has been on my “wish I had list” for a long time… so I was stoked.
Also, I may have forgotten to mention this but… this con has a competition running all weekend for “Best Room Party.” Having attended a few room parties at cons before I was skeptical – but it seems that the concept of publicizing them and adding elements of theme really opens the floor. The party my friends and I went to on Saturday night was welcoming, lots of nice people, low-key in a good way. I heard a rumor (just a rumor, now) that the Klingon party on the 5th floor got a little rowdy… but hey – Klingons.
Whoa, I’m at 500 words and I haven’t even made it past Friday yet.
Let’s see… Jonah Knight and Mikey Mason, awesome. I have no way to explain how much I enjoyed Mikey doing a spontaneous cover of Jonah Knight’s King of Nebraska – which is pretty much the greatest song ever.
Bella Morte concert at midnight, yep, awesome.
Every panel I went to felt worth the time, yes and awesome. (again, maybe I’m over-impressed here but I want to give a serious word of thanks to the moderators of the panels. They were well-chosen and overall the best moderated panels I have ever seen at a con. I can’t say enough good things about the way RavenCon 2013 was run.)
Now – downside. They really struggled with their art show and actually cancelled the art auction due to lack of bidding. For some people this might not have mattered but I love the art shows at cons and especially the art auctions. Their charity auction was so much fun it more than made up for it – but I’d love to know if this is a recurring problem area for them. If it is, call me… (seriously).
That said, the art auction is the only downside I can mention to what was, overall, one of my best con experiences. If you are anywhere near Richmond in April – look up RavenCon, you won’t regret it.
Thanks for reading – and I hope to see you at RavenCon!