Still coming down from the events of the past weekend, I find myself reflecting on one of the things I look forward to every year since 2008. My first year at TempleCon was as a guest on the suggestion of a good friend. I saw people playing games I had never even heard of. I tried some myself and had a blast. I was then contacted by the same friend who recommended the convention in the first place. He told me they were short on staff and were moving to a larger location. That year, I met Grant and Ximon, two very accommodating and lovely people whom I am glad to count among the people I call friends.
At TempleCon 2008 I was given a badge and a task. My task was to make sure everyone wandering about was wearing a badge. If they did not have a badge, I was to send them to registration. If problems arose, I was given instructions to follow. I was even asked if there were any events in particular that I didn’t want to miss and they would schedule around it to accommodate as much as possible. I met some interesting people and learned about many different types of games, some of which I never knew existed. Ever since then, I have offered my time and energy to Grant and Ximon on the first weekend of February every year. I find it very rewarding as there are many people and things I never would have been exposed to.
One of the things that draws me to this event in particular every year is the very diverse cross-section of people that attend every year. I have made friends with steampunk enthusiasts, gamers, reenactors, vendors, artists, musicians, authors, game designers and many more. Every year is a new chance to meet someone for the first time and make a connection. There’s also the chance of running into long-lost friends, as well as discovering that people you know happen to be friends with other people you know in a completely different circle of friends. I look forward to having conversations with people that I only see at this event as well as people I see on a regular basis.
The retro-futurist theme that TempleCon has used in the past 4 years has been one of the major reason I have been so interested in this convention. The Do-It-Yourself and Maker aesthetic is truly evident in steampunk these days. I am a tinkerer by nature and that is why steampunk appeals to me. I have recently started messing about with foam dart air powered guns, extending their range and coloring them by hand. TempleCon gives me the opportunity to talk with like-minded individuals and expand my knowledge base while contributing to theirs as well.
Last year, I became acquainted with a man named Ben Peal who had quite the knowledge of Scotch Whiskey. I took part in one of his panels dealing with the aging process of Scotch and thoroughly enjoyed myself. This inspired me to contact Ximon about holding my own alcohol-related panels. I decided to hold 3 panels on hot alcoholic beverages that I titled “Mull It Over.” The first night, I made mulled wine and a Scandinavian drink called Glögg. The second night I served up 3 different types of honey-based liqueurs as well as steaming mugs of mulled mead. On the final day, I had quite the crowd show up for my mulled cider panel.
As far as games go, I didn’t do nearly as much as I wanted to this year, but mostly because of my inability to plan ahead. Like I said in the beginning, Grant and Ximon always ask what I am interested in participating in before they write out a schedule so I don’t miss out on the things I want to see and or do all weekend. It’s just that I find myself so scatterbrained that I often forget where to go and what to do when I am not working. I did happen to squeeze in one very quick round of The Spoils, a collectible card game that has beautiful artwork, hilarious flavor text, wonderful back stories and very fluid game mechanics. There is a local league nearby to me that I have started getting into. I think next year I am going to try to get in on some more board games, specifically Arkham Horror and Munchkin.
Then there were the panels that I went to during the course of the convention. I had the pleasure of attending a panel run by Ay-leen the Peacemaker discussing topics of equality, the influence of historical events and people on steampunk and other things as well. This panel was being held right before mine and I had a bit of preparation to attend to, but I interjected here and there when I could. I also attended a panel on “Steampunk in Media and Culture,” as well as “Fashion and Etiquette in the Victorian Age.”
I particularly enjoyed the attitude of “Tell us what you think” that seemed to be a general theme throughout the different panels. Being able to educate people is a passion of mine, and bringing up the subject of the historical figure that is referenced in the name of The Wandering Legion of the Thomas Tew was a highlight for me this weekend. For those of you not in the know, Thomas Tew was a privateer from Newport, RI that was quite the successful sea rover. If you would like to know more about him, go here. But enough about that, we are here to talk about steampunk.
All in all, I must say that I enjoy my time as a Templecon Volunteer Staff member. It gives me opportunities that would normally be closed to me while giving me the chance to help out two dear friends while catching up with people I don’t see nearly enough and meeting new people that I can share experiences with. All while grabbing a pint, rocks glass, wine glass, shot, or mug of my favorite alcohol and playing a few games here and there.
Jeromy Foberg is a rogue and a scou-I mean, an upstanding gentleman who spends his time developing his steampunk persona of Alfonse Morrigan on The Steampunk Empire. He also contributes his time to a reenactment unit called The Rhode Island Pirate Players as well as working at renaissance festivals.