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Subject: An unabashedly glowing review of TetonCon. rss

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Craig West
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Lawrence
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An unabashedly glowing review of TetonCon.



For a preamble, I'm not affiliated in any way with the TetonCon folks, nor am I being compensated for my review. I'm just a guy who took his family to the con and had the best family vacation ever. I should explain that statement a bit. I'm a devout gamer. PC, console, card, board, whatever. I like ccg's and simple party games and heavy stuff like Terra Mystica and War of the Ring. My son and daughter play some with me. Both like Magic the Gathering and a variety of board games. My wife likes party games and light family, themed or abstract or word games. She is not into euros. I love euros. My son and I did a lot of gaming at the con. My wife and daughter did almost none. My wife came to the con game room once time for 2 minutes. She's an outdoors person, and for her vacation is not about being in a room. I know, I know, why are we married… I ask that with some regularity, and then I remember, oh ya, she’s the one who got the raw end of that deal.

So, for us, a vacation that allows us to each choose what level of the outdoor and gaming and sightseeing activities we wanted to do was ideal. This is THE reason this vacation worked so well for us. There is no other game con I know of that presented us all with the things we liked to do the most all at one location. Speaking of locations...

THE LOCATIONS

Jackson Hole is a small, very nice laid back town with a crunchy ganola, live and let live vibe to it. Aside from the expense of being there (it has tourist level pricing for most things) we found there wasn't much we didn't like about the place. We flew in, got a comp'd van ride to the hotel/resort/condo, checked in, and walked into town to get some dinner at a bar and grill on the main town square. The center of town was about a 15 minute walk, which was great for us and we didn't really have need of a car except for the one trip we'd have liked to have made to the grocery store.

We ate most nights at the Snake River Brewery which was also about a 15 minute walk. Trumpets from the roof tops couldn't recommend this place enough. In our seven nights in Jackson Hole we ate there five times for dinner. We went up and down the menu and the whole family was pleased. Normally it's me who's wanting to go to the local brewpub, but not this trip due to the food which was that good. Really a highlight of the trip. Beer was grand too.


There's plenty to do in the town like hiking and shopping and mountain things like alpine sliding. Except for the hiking, everything cost a lot. The alpine slide was $15 a ride down. No, that's not a misprint. It's worth it a time or two, but repeat customers we were not going to be.

Nearby towns also provide distractions like the tram ride up the mountain above Teton Village. And the parks are worth a trip to see as well. In general, the area has the type of open sky and majestic peaks that you don't get much in most of the country. It's pretty spectacular.



The condo we were in was very nice. It was a three bedroom condo with a family room, dining room and kitchen. Downstairs there was a fourth bed and the laundry facilities a sitting area and another bathroom. We all had plenty of room. The furnishings were nice. The condo had seen some use as the entryway carpet showed, but it was as clean as a normal person's house would be if not cleaner. Was it perfect? Of course not. There was a light that was out in our kitchen, the utensils in the kitchen were pretty cheap, blah blah blah. Who cares. It wasn't the taj. It was really nice for normal middle class folks like us. Jackson is more of laid back place than a luxury place. Our condo was in keeping with this. We loved it. I’ve traveled a lot here and in Europe sometimes stay at very fancy locations and I’d take the condo over those places hands down. It’s much more relaxing.

The gaming took place at one of the big resort buildings in a nicely sized room on the lower floor. It was the sort of standard meeting room you see in hotels, but the size was much more intimate than the giant 40 foot ceiling rooms you play in at Origins and GenCon. Don't get me wrong, those cons have their pluses, but intimate gaming isn't one of them.

THE GAMING



In the well lit game room you could always find one or more of the excellent staff that put on the con. They had a very good library of some popular games, some older games and a lot of the new stuff I was hoping to play. I didn't run out of new games to play or people to play them with during the whole con.

Mike and his staff were a highlight of the con. They went out of their way to teach games that people wanted to play, play a game when there was need of a player, give up their seat any time a con attendee even hinted an interest in a game being played. Really top shelf attitude was shown the guests the whole time we were there. And these folks opened the game room early and closed it late every day. You could even take a game to your condo if you wanted to play it there.

The gaming ran the gamut from LCG's, to worker placement board games, to RPG's. Casual gaming and tournaments were there. I didn't see much CCG action, I don't think anyone was LARPing, there wasn't much miniatures gaming. There was even a full contact game of Ticket to Ride each night by several of the women/wives/sig-others that attended. It was a little scary really with the whoops and the flipping of tables and brandishing of knives that occurred during those games. I may be embellishing a bit there, but if you wanted a casual game or a blood sport, both were on tap here.

THE STAFF

I've already written about the staff and the game room, but their hospitality went well beyond that. They put a lot of food in the condos of the breakfast, lunch and snack variety. We didn't eat even a half of what was there. They even got my family a couple of items specifically because I'd mentioned them when I filled out the forms to attend the con. Really above and beyond the call. They were always willing to suggest where to eat or get a provision or to solve some other issue you were having.

THE EVENTS

There many non-game events that you could do there. There were two tours of the big national parks nearby that were included with the con price. My wife and daughter also went horseback riding. There was an added charge for this of about $70/person I think. We took a local bus to Teton Village and rode a tram to the top of one of the mountains over there. Don't be fooled by the word tram. The thing was ridiculously nice. The view was stunning and you could hick down from the top if you wanted. A really nice place.

This con doesn't have a dealer room. It doesn't have TrueDungeon. It doesn't have a lot of cosplayers or a parade. It doesn't have lots of those spectacle sorts of things the bigger cons have. And it doesn't have the big city stuff like all the bars and restaurants and lots of flights there and all the negatives of big cities like the noise and crowds.

THE VALUE

I went into the con thinking that it was somewhat expensive. I came out of it thinking it wasn't nearly as expensive as I thought due to the fact that included in the price of the con is your lodging (at a resort in an expensive part of the world with really easy access to the con), several events (the park tours were long and thorough and expertly guided), and basically breakfast and lunch each day as well as tons of snacks for whilst one was gaming (including pop-tarts for which I have a most likely fatal weakness). We didn't really spend much other than a nice dinner each night, which for my family of four was $55 almost exactly each night. I looked and didn't find much else in terms of lodging that was too much better than $200/night. So, I'm not going to do a bunch of math, but rather say again that I believe for what you got the price was worth it.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Perhaps the only thing left to say is that I waited to write this review until after I'd already signed up and paid the deposit for our attendance at next year's TetonCon. It also occurs to me that I actually know quite a few of the people who I played games with there and have stayed in touch with them. I really like this aspect of the con. You're put together with a consistent group of people whom you get to play games with for several days and you get to know them over the course of the week. I look forward to going back next year to play some more games with some familiar and some new faces. The people in the gaming hobby are really quite grand. I've met neurosurgeons and restaurant workers and owners of businesses, and we can all sit down at a table together and enjoy each other's company for a while... whilst trying to probably invade each others' lands and take their stuff, but that is the way of things sometimes now isn't it.

I can't recommend TetonCon enough. I hope that I've given adequate info for would be attendees as well as people who now know this isn't a con for them. If you're of the former, I hope to see you next June.






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Andy Andersen
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Sounds like a whole bunch of fun
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Nick A
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Great write up! You've sold me on the value prop.
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Alejandro G.
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Great photos!
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Craig West
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Lawrence
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xpiredsodapop wrote:
Great photos!

thanks. it's quite a place for a game con.
c
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Darren Nakamura
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Columbus
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I can second just about everything in this review. And hey, I see myself in one of those photos! I think that's when we were playing Mice & Mystics.
 
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Mike Sokalski
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How was the food there? My wife and I tend to center our vacations around food
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Mike C
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Since none of the guests piped in I'll answer. Although if you want one of the guests to speak up you might try our Conventions Forum thread here:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/994373/teton-con-2014

Jackson is very much a high end vacation destination and it has the food to match. It's not cheap, but it's not outrageous either. It's certainly cheaper than big city food (Chicago/New York come to mind for expensive food). It's a small town so there isn;t 5 restaurants on every block, but there are a lot considering its 5 hours from the closest real city.

There are great lunch and breakfast places, ranging from Great Harvest (a chain) to Eleaven (my families personal favorite), as well as the Brew Pub Craig's family loved.

Dinner options are extremely varied including Italian (calico), Western game (Gun Barrell), BBQ (Q), and tons of pizza places. They even have a michelin star restaurant at Amangani (i'm not sure if the star is current).

There are NOT a lot of chains, there are the typical fast foods available, but pretty much everything else is a unique restaurant, which can be a bit intimidating to those who have their typical favorites.

I would say for a tourist destination it is well above it's peers. Compared to big metro areas, it may not rank so high.


in terms of the food in the rooms, it's name brand stuff that most warm blooded americans enjoy. Stuff like cheerios for breakfast and ham/turkey for lunch.
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Darren Nakamura
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I realize this is a super late reply to the food question, but I will say that the Jackson restaurant Local has the single best hamburger I have ever tasted. I don't even know how to explain it. If we ever go back (and we hope to), we're going to eat there again for sure.
 
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