To those of you who do the convention circuit, you’ve probably heard about this thing called Con on The Cob – Games, Art, Freaks & Fun. It’s a small-ish convention in northern Ohio from October 15th –17th. It generates a lot of buzz for a very good reason. I went to last year’s Con On the Cob with my gaming company and had a blast. I have some stories that I can’t really tell, and I have some stories that I can tell. I met a lot of great people and had a great time.
What exactly does con on the cob offer?
- Great Guests – This year Con On The Cob has Jamie Chambers, the guy who created the RPGs Battlestar Galactica and Serenity for Margaret Weis Productions. They also have Sean Patrick Fannon who works on so many projects that it is hard to list them all. Here are a few: Champions RPG, Shadis Magazine, Dragon Magazine, Origins Gaming Convention, Shaintar: Immortal Legends, and Onebookshelf.com. Finally, as far as gaming goes, Larry Elmore, who has likely produced any fantasy illustration you ever drooled over as a kid.
- Gaming, Lan Gaming – Gaming is no stranger to Con On The Cob. The gaming room is usually packed. Doing a quick count, there are well over 100 games being run. That doesn’t count the lan room which is always available if you’re looking for something to do for a few minutes.
- Art & the Mother Of All Marketplaces – There are a lot of great artists hanging out in the Artitorium and there are a lot of great vendors every year. The mother of all marketplaces has an excellent atmosphere and lots of great comics, games, costumes, organizations, and artists selling their stuff.
- Miniatures – Miniatures have an entire room and lots of seminars. If you’re into making miniatures or just want to find out how, I can’t think of a better place.
- Music & Movies – When there aren’t music acts going on, there are movies being shown. When there aren’t movies being shown, there are movies going on.
- Seminars – There are a lot of great seminars going on, the best of which is being given by two of us Gnomes. I don’t see why you would need any more reason than that, but if you do those other people who I mentioned in the guests list are going to be talking a lot too.
- Parties – Jeebus, lets not talk about the parties. Ok. If we must. I’ll say only one thing about the parties. They are great. They are memorable. I’ve been recognized at other conventions because of parties . . . The parties are good.
- Great Size – I mentioned that Con On The Cob was small-ish. It definitely isn’t the size of Origins, but it is getting there. The beautiful thing about the size of Con On The Cob is that it is perfect for meeting and making connections. At almost every other “big” convention I’ve been to, I’ve met someone who was at Con On The Cob, or who heard about it and was planning to come to a future date.
- Style – Con On The Cob definitely has a different style, as does Any Hopp, the guy who runs it. I can promise you it is like no other convention out there.
So, Con On the Cob, definitely a great time. If you are looking for one more convention to make it to this year, or you haven’t been able to make it to any, I would definitely suggest Con On The Cob in mid-october, but I got in touch with Andy Hopp and asked him a couple of questions about it.
Johnny’s Five – Five Question Interview With Andy Hopp
For those not familiar with Andy’s style, get ready for a wild ride. I’ve left Andy’s answers EXACTLY as he gave them.
Hey Andy, thanks for answering a few questions. First off, when and why did you start Con On the Cob?
Way back in the day. I mean waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay way back in the day. Seriously, like 2003 or something, I met a certain aspiring artist at Gen Con. For the sake of anonymity, let’s called him Jim Y. No, wait, that’s too obvious, let’s call him J. Yoder instead. Anyway, this mysterious fellow showed me his sketchbook, which was filled with all manner of fantastically twisted scribblings and creatively stylized drawings. They were very imaginative, but I could see he would benefit from a bit of tutelage in the basics -stuff like perspective, creating depth and shadows and the like. You know, basic artsy-fartsy stuff.
Anyway, I said to myself, “Hey, why not invite some of my artist friends and aspiring-artist friends over to my house for a weekend so we can draw stuff together and maybe play some games and stuff?” “No reason,” I replied. “Cool, let’s do it.” Wow, I just noticed, due to a barely caught typo, how “aspirin” and “aspiring” are only one letter away from each other. Some poet or something should notice that and do something about it.
So that’s what we did. I expected maybe ten people to show up but almost thirty arrived. Friends came from all over the country. We went to the Cleveland zoo and drew animals. We had some art workshops. I made waffles. We played a Call of Cthulhu game with a nightclub called “The Swinging Cock” (it’s sign had a rooster on a trapeze) and much fun was had. I woke everyone up in the morning with a song…*
The waffles had blueberries. I think. My memory’s a bit fuzzy on that detail.
Fast forward, if you will, to the futuristic year of 2005. Flying cars and personal jet packs were all the rage. Soylent Green filled every lunch box and our alien overlords only ate the slow ones. The prevailing philosphy of the day suggested we have another event like the one we had in 2003 (we skipped 2004 because my daughter was busy being born). We were like, hey, if it was that much fun and it was just sort of an informal gathering of chums how much fun would it be if we actually invited people? So we did. This time we had it at a hotel instead of my basement. Sean Fannon almost got arrested. The hotel staff were dangerously unaware we were coming even though I set it up months in advance. We only had one little room and a breakfast area. Everything that could go wrong went wrong, but it was still the most fun ever.
We did it again the next year, in a larger but even shittier hotel with an even more incompetent staff (with a single tooth among them). We added some music shows with Worm Quartet and Sudden Death, a vendor’s room, more art programming, and expanded gaming. We had parties and Klingons and the Corny Awards and broken glass in the carpet and no running water and no toilet paper and trash everywhere and Jeff Easley and Shane Hensley and Bill the Lizard and gaming out the wazoo and I lost my voice by the end of it and it was the most fun ever.
The next year we moved to another hotel. One with an actual semi-competent staff and lots more room. We had Larry Elmore and a bigger vendor’s room and a bigger art show and more gaming and more music and more parties and cops and hot dogs and Extreme Twister and miniatures and my parents and it was the most fun ever.
The last year we moved to another hotel. This one was bigger and cleaner and we had even more gaming and music and parties and art and guests and all the crap I’ve been talking about. It was awesome and you were there and so were you and it was the most fun ever.
Now it’s now and it’s going to be the most fun ever.
Con On The Cob has a great amount of diversity to its offerings. What are your favorite parts of it, and do you have any plans to add or improve any areas in the next iterations?
Absolutely everything is my favorite part but my real favorite part is just meeting people and making new friends and swimming in my money pool like Scrooge McDuck. For me Con on the Cob, or Con on the Mu’Fu’in’ Cob as it’s known in some necks of the woods, is like a big whirlwind of fun. I’m constantly pulled in sixteen different directions like some sort of Stretch Armstrong being drawn and quartered (drawn and sixteenthed?) by a horde of awesome people. Or maybe Stretch Monster, he was cooler. I make it my personal mission to individually meet every single person who comes through the door.
As for specifics, I always enjoy the music shows, and the gaming, and the parties. Oh, and especially the art show and the vendors room. And the Children of the Cob events. And also, I especially really like the miniatures painting and all the demos and seminars and stuff. I love that it’s all about everyone. Kids, adults, old people, middle-aged people, teenagers, embryos, tweens, etc… There’s always something for anybody to do. If you’re not having fun you must be dead.
Of course we’re always trying to make sure there’s new stuff to do, games to play, and interesting guests to meet. New on this year’s rooster is Life-sized Tsuro, a buttload of Living Forgotten Realms games, I know I said rooster instead of roster but I like it better that way, a whole room dedicated to miniatures, karaoke, more vendors, more artists, three rounds of Iron Artist, new parties, trick or treating, a zombie walk, LARPs, an extended LAN party, Rock Band and Mario Cart, and so much more I’m making myself nauseous just thinking about it.
The trick is not to over think things. Just do what’s fun and see what happens. We’ve scrapped some old events that didn’t appeal to people too much, like the anime room and the cannibalistic blood orgy, and we’ve added all that stuff I just went on about. Trust me, it’ll be the most fun ever. If it’s not you can punch me in the stomach.
A phrase that is bandied about in conjunction with Con On the Cob is Shiny Wazoo, can you guarantee me a shiny wazoo?
Absolutely! Official Con on the Cob Wazoo Polish can be purchased in the gift shop.
Con On The Cob has a sister convention that you also run called Oddmall. What is that all about? What’s different in Oddmall from Con On the Cob?
Actually Con on the Cob’s sister and BFF con is AnCon, which is run by Dave Radzik and the gang. It’s uber-fun and you should go to it. www.anothergamecon.com.
Oddmall is an arts and crafts show I run in May and November at the same hotel as Con on the Cob. It’s all about strange and unusual art and crafts and you really should scurry your unpolished wazoo over there as well. www.oddmall.info.
Every article we write has to have a Game Mastering bent to it. So tell me this, what does Con On The Cob have to offer to to the Game Master in particular?
More than anything else CotC offers Game Masters (and everybody else) the chance to interact with game creators, industry professionals, artists, and other like-minded sorts in a casual and non-intimidating environment. We actually want to hear about your adventures.
* Andy’s Wake Your Ass Up Song
Way up in the sky the little birds fly
While down in their nest the little birds rest
With a wing on their left and a wing on their right
The little birds sleep all throoooough the night.
Shhhhh! YOU’LL WAKE THE DAMN BIRDS!!!!!!!
The bright sun comes up, the dew falls away
“Good morning, good morning,” the little birds say.