MU Skulls at Marmalade Dog 12
Since I forgot to take pictures, I’ll punch a few keys to give you the run down of Marmalade Dog my favorite local convention. With the state of local conventions these days, it may be the only convention available for us in western Michigan.

If you are dying for pictures, just look at the pictures from 2005. Then add a bunch more exhibitors and that is 2007. Same place, most of the same people doing the same things. I was surprised by the big number of exhibitors. As I understand it, the exhibitors get a free table so it would seem like a good idea to register for a table if you were a dealer. The free exhibitor booth space seems like a great opportunity and it’s nice to see the number of dealers expanding.

One change was the very few LAN players and the big number of Warhammer 40k tables. I think with so many broadband connections these days, LAN parties are dead. I didn’t notice 40k at the convention last year but because of the turn-out they decided to run it again this year. It looked like there were more tables than players, though.

The problem I had was being booked up with games with only a 30 minute break in between. That means I have 30 minutes to trying to pack up my game stuff, chat about the post game review, hit the restroom, score lunch in the basement, and then scout out the next game location. That doesn’t leave much time for checking out the dealer tables.

There were quite a few games to choose from. The MU Skulls plan is to play test our Call of Cthulhu games at Marmalade Dog that we will be running later this year at Gen Con so we typically don’t get to play different games. Marc was supposed to run a 2:30pm game but was unable to attend the convention so that duty fell to Mike to fill in. At first we didn’t think that would be an issue because sign-up for the games was low. In a classic Murphy’s Law example, Marc’s game was sold out.

I mentioned game sign-up was low. That does seem to be the case every year. Likely there will be a free slot in whatever game you want to play. I haven’t figured this out. There seems to be plenty of people at the convention to fill all of the free games but most of the games are not filled. The games that
are filled are RPGA events or always seem to be the weird ones like Superhero Ninja Burger Dress-up Dance Theater. This has led me to conclude that Call of Cthulhu players are the most and/or least anti-social people in the world.

My deduction comes out of a conversation with Mike the MU Skulls Director and Will, one of the players at the convention. Gamers are anti-social, or at least have anti-social elements, but get together to play games. D&D and RPGA events were notably full and are at every convention. Call of Cthulhu has much less attendence and outside of the big conventions, like Origins and Gen Con, we almost never sell out. After all, who would want to play a weak, helpless person that will likely go completely insane when they confront their enemy and have a chance to defeat them? That has to be the height of anti-social sentiment. Yet, more so in Call of Cthulhu then any other game, characters must work together to stay alive and in the game. The solutions and activities the characters engage in must be creative and non-violent. The more violent the plan the player engages in, the more likely the character fatality. Therefore, you must rely on your party members and social network to survive. This is a very non anti-social attitude.

My new favorite example of this; a player that was new to CoC was the only one that managed to dig up the background material on our mysterious destination. He then refused to share the information with anyone. Sadly he was not equipped mentally to make sense of the information. So often, the PCs jump into our adventures ill prepared for what they must face. We had a chance for something different this time but due to a clue hording idiot we were doomed. My favorite line from him was, “What? I’m answering all of their questions…”

Marc, in answer to your voicemail question, “How did the games go?” They went fine.


Frank Russell
MU Skulls President