IceSwarm VI : A Goonmeet After-Action ReportHVAC Repairman
Over the course of the last ten years, player meetups have become a cornerstone of the EVE community. In cities across the world, players from every part of New Eden come to these events to talk about all sorts of things, both EVE and non-EVE related. While a lot of these events are sanctioned and supported by CCP themselves, other player groups will often host their own private meetups at bars and private residences. Goonswarm Federation is no exception, conducting several meetups across America and Europe throughout the year. Two of the events, both in Wisconsin, have become the main meetups due to their proximity to several of our higher profile players. The winter meet has been dubbed “IceSwarm,” and is the de facto private goon event of the year.
The last few IceSwarms have been held at Arkhamina’s house, who is one of the Goonswarm logistics directors. Though it’s mostly a goon affair, everyone from the CFC is invited as well as a few random EVE pubbies and a couple non-EVE players. I’d previously attended several of the Madison events before. I have family in the area and I’ve made the four hour drive enough times that I don’t need to write down directions.
The drive from Minneapolis to Madison was hellacious. The night before there was a great deal of wet snow (snow that falls above freezing), which was immediately followed by six inches of proper snow. When temperatures dropped below freezing, the wet snow turned into ice. That meant that the cities could only plow the snow that had accumulated, and didn’t have time to drop salt and sand to melt the ice. I initially tried to leave my house at 6 AM, but the highways were so disastrous that I had to turn back. Cars were getting stuck in the ice and people were getting out to help push them forward. It was a miracle no one was harmed.
I tried again at 10 AM. The roads were a little better, but it was still scary. I’m by no means a coward driver, but I’d never seen the roads this bad. Between Minneapolis and Madison I must have seen at least 150 vehicles either in ditches or flat out crashes. A drive that usually takes me about four hours took me six. Had the roads not cleared up about after Eau Claire, it probably would have taken much longer. I arrived in Madison at about 4 PM, checked into my hotel, and headed off to the house party.
I arrived at the party and started greeting some of the people I recognized and introduced myself to those I didn’t. At the time I arrived, there were roughly fifteen people there already (about 40-50 would show up total each day). I talked to Arkhamina, DaiTengu, Doc Watts, and a few others for a bit. Mugshots were being taken because it was nearly impossible to remember who the newer people were, with an erasable mini-whiteboard listing your player name and your crime. Mine was bad posting, though I still maintain I am innocent of that charge.
There were two kegs at the party; one was filled with Spotted Cow (a local Wisconsin beer) and the other was filled with cider (no idea what as I didn’t have any). Another goon brought Jello shots. As you’d expect with a bunch of fat nerds, there was a buffet table in the back room. Ranging from various vegetables to deli meats to exotic homemade desserts, the food was plentiful and delicious. A running joke the last few meets is that the various wives and girlfriends are in a cold war dessert arms race, all competing to be at the top. The food was amazing and I salute everyone who made that buffet possible.
After 48 and Konno arrived, the garage crew assembled and we began doing our thing. I won’t go into explicit details of what we did there, but once we exited we’d re-enter the party with suspiciously red eyes and growling stomachs. The garage crew had a great time that weekend.
Arkhamina’s basement also features the largest assortment of board games I have ever seen in my life. The collection numbers at least one hundred, and that’s a conservative estimate. The board games are a timeless tradition, with Battlestar Galactica and Cards Against Humanity played at nearly every meet. In addition to those, the basement also features a large screen TV with a full Rock Band setup, providing endless hours of entertainment with Goons drunkenly butchering rock classics.
At that point I was pretty drunk and the unknown vapors emanating from the garage had taken its toll and my memory started getting hazy. At some point we attempted to broadcast the meet to a google hangout, but I guess problems arose from that. I’d been awake since 5 AM that day, and I began nodding off on the couch downstairs. Miraculously, while I was napping no one drew any penises on me. When I awoke from my impromptu snooze, I was sober enough to drive and decided to duck out relatively early (about 11 pm). Once back at my hotel, I fell asleep almost instantly.
I woke up pretty early Saturday and visited the family in the area. I returned to the house party in the early afternoon and immediately began drinking again. The living room turned into a discussion about Pokemon, at which point I myself and Doc Watts retreated to the other room to escape that god awful discussion, periodically returned to the room to check when they were talking about less awful things. When the Garage crew fully returned we began doing our thing periodically throughout the day.
Someone had the idea of setting up a Twitch stream to broadcast IceSwarm. Kismeteer hosted the first part, with myself and a few others taking over for portions of the stream. We got bored of it after a while, and decided to troll everyone by setting up the stream watching a table full of nerds play Battlestar Galactica for most of the night.
With all the people coming in, there was an open door policy where you’d just walk in the front door instead of knocking or ringing the door bell. When someone had knocked in the late afternoon, everyone in the living room yelled at the door to come in. When we heard further knocking, someone opened the door to discover several Girl Scouts and one of their mothers. They saw all the cars parked in the streets and decided to try their luck selling us some cookies. They had no idea what they walked into. A line formed and twenty minutes later, they were completely sold out and were several hundred dollars richer. I really hope our pack of unsavory fat nerds got them their trip to space camp or whatever their top reward is. Easily the funniest part of the weekend.
Mittens showed up sometime in the early evening and made the rounds. He recognized me in the garage (we’ve met a few times in the past) and said hello, praising my posting. Plans were made later that night for a group to either go to a Gay bar or some Goth club. I was pretty lit at that point and things started getting hazy again.
One of the benefits of Wisconsin is that it’s never in shortage of beer, cheese, or sausages. Saturday had plenty of sausages being cooked, and holy hell were they delicious. Kismeteer brought up some alcohol from Chicago, and offered me a shot of some alcoholic root beer. It might have been one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted in my life. I never knew alcoholic root beer existed and now I need more of it in my life.
From that point on in the night I pretty much played nothing but Rock Band and schmoozing with other EVE nerds throughout the night. When the gay bar crew exited for whatever adventures they were planning on doing in downtown Madison, I decided to call it a night. I let a sober goon who was staying at the same hotel I was borrow my car to drive us back to the hotel and passed out in a drunken stupor on the couch in the hotel room. I apparently couldn’t make it back to the bed in my awful condition.
On the last day, I woke up at about 6:30am, checked out and was on the road about an hour later. Usually the goons get together for breakfast in town but I was hungover as shit and wanted to be on the road with as few cars as possible. The roads heading back were still awful, forcing me to stay in the slow lane most of the way; there were still globs of ice and compacted snow on the left lanes.
This was my fourth Madison meet, and easily the most fun. I’ve had a great time at all of them and made new friends at all of them. My only regret was not taking my own pictures. Regardless, my hats off to Arkhamina for hosting another wonderful goonmeet, and I look forward to the next one. If there is an EVE meet in your area, I strongly suggest going to it. They are invariably a good time.