TOKENCON 2023 – getting there

At BGG last year, we made some really important friendships. One of those was our connection with Oklahomans Will Thompson and David Thomas of Absurdist Productions, fellow game designers, self-publishers, and good people.

Dave also helped organise the Indie Zone at TokenCon this year, and invited us out to visit. We had a tough choice – there were several other conventions on at the same time, including Unpub Prime, but the idea of a small convention where we could practice our setup and have a quiet first booth won out in the end – and we were glad that it did (even though “quiet” was not the right word for it)!

Our trip to TokenCon started with a 2am wake-up to get to the airport in time for our 5am flight. We had our TSA pre-clearances for the first time, and wow, what a difference that made! Straight through the lines and relaxing at the gate with hours to spare. To help out, as it was a full flight, I allowed them to check my hand luggage, which sadly came back destroyed – I loved that green suitcase set, but my carry-on will never be able to fly again, unfortunately.

the first leg of our journey was a short hop to Seattle, where we foolishly trusted the gate on our boarding passes for a while, then decided to check – and lucky we did! Instead of only being a few steps away from the gate where we arrived, as per the ticket, we actually had to catch a train (!!!) and arrived as the last of the passengers were boarding, phew!

For our longer flight from Seattle to OKC, we had pre-ordered snack packs. They no longer offer “real” food on flights here, as far as I can tell – snack packs are nice, of course, especially when they contain things like fruit and cheese that we can’t easily bring with us, but I miss the days of a proper airline meal. It’s a bit like camping – airline food has a nostalgic appeal for me that makes it so much more palatable than it would be in daily life.

Still, we ate our crackers and cheese and then George settled down to do some sleeping, while I, as usual, did not. I did have fun doing puzzles on my new app, though – I prefer IRL puzzles, but this certainly scratches that itch. Something about pending conventions makes me want to do puzzles, I can’t explain it.

When we landed, we got messages confirming that our housesitter was safely in residence, and the pets were all doing well, which was reassuring – Jamie is such a great housesitter, we love that we have a trained vet tech in charge of our precious family!

Luggage retrieved, we summoned a Lyft and I enjoyed the wonderful windy weather while George huddled inside, baffled. Unfortunately, being very tired and still unwary of the American hotel habit of naming several hotels in the same city by the same name, we ended up going to the wrong Hyatt Embassy Suites, and had to get a second Lyft all the way back – I had mentioned it was only around the corner to our driver, and she corrected me and told me 18 minutes, which I accepted as I didn’t know the area, but I should have trusted my instincts and checked the map again – I knew it was a 5-minute drive. But we did get to see a bit more of OKC than we otherwise would have, so it was ok in the end, pun intended, especially as this was my first visit to the state of Oklahoma.

Once arrived at the CORRECT hotel, we showered to remove all the aeroplane crud, hit the hotel pool to try to soak away some of the aches and pains of travel, had a second shower to wash off the hotel pool, lol, and then we were ready to get set up for TokenCon proper!

First, we met up with Will and Dave, and some of the other local designers, and went out for a lovely Pakistani dinner. It was nice to go out as a group and enjoy a “family style” meal where we all got to try a bit of each dish. The curries and rice choices were very tasty, and it was fun to try some new things. The naan was good, but still not the tandoori naan I am accustomed to expecting from NZ curry restaurants – I will have to keep hunting.

Once we got back to the hotel, we headed for the Indie Zone to prepare for the convention. Our setup was deliberately very simple – two large banners that we sent ahead of time, a tablecloth, a small banner, and our prototype. We also had little dice bags, but made little effort to sell them – mainly because we simply had no time between testers!

We were ready in a very short time, then we headed for bed like the very tired and elderly folk we were. Stay tuned for the next part of our journey!

Published by Drayer Ink

Artist, designer, ideas person

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