MarsCon 2004: Let's Play Doctor

Mars Today - January 2004

Got Mars?!

NASA's Opportunity rover has been beaming back spectacular high-resolution color images of Mars to Earth for most of the month. Check out http://www.lansbergen.demon.nl/space/MarsRover.pdf if you'd like to make your very own paper Mars Exploration Rover 1:15 model. Halfway around the planet, Spirit is transmitting information to engineers who are resolving its memory problems. While Japan bid 'sayonara' to Nozomi, sending it on a fly by of Mars, NASA's Mars Global Surveyor provided evidence that Mars is emerging from an ice age. ESA's Mars Express orbiter was successfully placed in orbit around Mars, but scientists believe the Beagle-2 lander has landed in Isidis Planitia, making it impossible to communicate with the lander. Meanwhile, on January 11, NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter celebrated its one year anniversary, a full Mars year (687 Earth days) of mapping the planet and studying its environment and chemical composition.

News about Mars has taken over the airwaves. What does all this mean? Have we been invaded by Martians? Are we, ourselves, launching an invasion of Mars? Is there gold in them thare craters? Is this all just one huge coincidence?

Coincidence? I think not. The truth has finally been revealed...and it may well shock you. These multi-million dollar missions are actually a cleverly-concocted ploy to lure you into making your very own journey to explore a place that is not nearly so far, far away. Devious, aren't we? That place, of course, is MarsCon, a fun-filled Minnesota science fiction & fantasy convention, now barely a month away. Now is the time to register for MarsCon if you haven't already, book your hotel or party room, put the finishing touches on your costumes so you can enter the Masquerade hosted by Doctor Demento, dust off those art show entries, and solidify your programming and gaming plans ahead of the Program Book deadline. Get your own little slice of Mars, right here on Earth. Register today.


MarsCon is an annual science fiction & fantasy convention sponsored by FenSF, Inc., and run completely by volunteers. Our theme for MarsCon 2004 is "Let's Play Doctor!" Guests of Honor will include the totally Dee-mented radio star Dr. Demento, Richard Biggs of Babylon 5, Minnesota's own "Dr. Mike" John M. Ford, internationally acclaimed belly dancer Dawn "Davina" Devine Brown, Shockwave radio producer Baron David E Romm, and the great Luke Ski! The convention takes place March 5-7, 2004, at the Airport Hilton in Bloomington, Minnesota. Convention activities include concerts, panel discussions, parties, gaming, science & art exhibits, specialty vendors, movies, singing, dancing, drumming, and more. It's an entire weekend of fun for the whole family.

For a glimpse at celebrity panelists, special guests and planned events, check here. A very Preliminary Program Schedule is posted here.


Registration rates go up after January 31st to our at-the-door rates, so please send in your forms now if you haven't already, and make sure your friends and family members are registered.

Current Weekend Rates (through 1/31/04): $42 for adults; $15 for children ages 6-12; Free for children under 6 years of age. At-the-Door Rates (after 1/31/04): $55 for adults; $20 for children ages 6-12; Free for children under 6 years of age.

Group Registration (through 1/31/04): Groups of 10+ can take $5 off each registration if they register as a group. The registrations must be submitted together and payment must accompany the registration forms. This cannot be combined with other discounts.

Supporting Memberships (through 1/31/04): Supporting members pay a reduced rate of $20 and then complete the transaction by paying an additional $25 at any time up to and including at the door.

To register for MarsCon, simply mail in a registration form along with your payment to this address: MarsCon, P.O. Box 21213, Eagan, MN 55121. Registration forms may be found at many local conventions, at comic/gaming supplies stores, in our Progress Report mailings, as a printable PDF here, OR you can register on-line using PayPal from this page.


The deadline for booking rooms at the special discount rate is fast approaching. To reserve your room for MarsCon 2004, call the Airport Hilton at 952-854-2100. (Very Important: Please mention "MarsCon" when you call or you will be charged more for your room.) Sleeping room rates for MarsCon are $99 per night + tax.

The Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport hotel is located by Interstate-494 & 34th Ave South in Bloomington, Minnesota, conveniently near the airport and the Mall of America, and overlooking the Minnesota River Valley Wildlife Preserve. Accomodations include an on-site gift shop, a video arcade, and a stunning glass atrium-enclosed recreation area featuring an indoor pool, two whirlpools, a redwood sauna and fitness center. There are two restaurants (Cafe Carabella & Biscayne Bay) and a lobby bar, and the Hilton provides complimentary transportation shuttle service to the Mall of America every hour and to the airport every 30 minutes.

Getting a room at the hotel is a wonderful way to enhance your convention experience. It gives you a home base, a place to park stuff, entertain friends, and land whenever you finish with partying throughout the convention weekend...not to mention it supports the convention and makes the host hotel very happy with MarsCon. Please reserve your room today.

For more information about the hotel and a special artist's rendering of the hotel in flight, please take a look here.

For an extra-peachy-keen-neato map to the hotel, follow this link.


MarsCon is right around the corner. Only a month to go, and the party rooms are filling up quickly. Don't wait until the last second to register your room party. Do it today. Here's how:

To reserve a party room, please contact MarsCon directly via email [deactivated -- see current year for a working email address] , phone 651-339-0397 (voice mail & numeric pager), or snail mail at P.O. Box 21213, Eagan, MN 55121. You can also request and reserve a party room using the Party Room Request Form. Once a party room has been assigned, you will be contacted with a confirmation number so you can secure your room with the hotel. Keep in mind, Guest of Honor Richard Biggs will be assisting with party judging this year.

Parties will be grouped together on the 11th floor of the hotel, close to the Con Suite. Additional parties will be placed on 12th floor by Krushenko's if 11th floor fills up. A preliminary map of the parties floor is featured here so you can get an idea of the layout. Party floor rooms are $119 + tax per day, and must be booked through the convention, then secured with the hotel.


The gaming rooms will be open all day and all night throughout the convention weekend. A map of the hotel layout is featured here so you can get an idea of where gaming will take place. Planned events include:

Dragon Ball GT Focused Regional Tournament - Focused events allow for only Dragon Ball GT cards. This event will be 6 rounds of Swiss format capped off with a Top 32 cut into a single elimination bracket. Sign ups begin Saturday at 8:00 a.m. in the tournament area. The tournament starts promptly at 9:00 a.m. and will run no later than 10:00 p.m. that night. There is a $15 entry fee for each participant (in addition to MarsCon registration) and prizes are listed at "http://www.dragonballgttcg.com. (Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.)

CAV Sci Fi Miniatures Demo - CAV is a game of mecha combat from Reaper Miniatures set in the 23rd century. As the Galaxy recovers from a long and brutal war, the factions and governments that make up the universe of CAV strive to resist the lure of wealth and power, overcome age-old rivalries, and co-exist. Learn how to play (15 minutes) and play in a small battle. This demo event is strongly recommended for inexperienced players who wish to participate in the scenario/tourney scheduled for later in the day. Free keychains to participants. For more info on CAV, check out this fan site at: http://www.mil-net.net/ or http://www.reapermini.com/forums. (Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-Noon)

Dungeons & Dragons for Kids - A brand new Dungeons and Dragons adventure for girls and boys, ages 6-12. No experience necessary, advanced players welcome. Must be able to read some. Characters will be provided. A parent must be present to register the child into the game. (Saturday, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.)

CAV Sci Fi Miniatures Scenario/Tourney: Defense of Neo-Tokyo - The local defense forces are a highly trained group of men and women protecting Neo-Tokyo. But even they will be pressed to survive an unimagined onslaught from a mythical source... the Cult of Mothra. In secret cult members have been building a force strong enough to destroy Neo-Tokyo, yet small enough to escape notice until the time they designate. Can the local defenders protect their city? Or will Godzilla save them....

This will run as a combined arms tournament. Each person will have a comparable army pre-designated for them (show up and choose one). Each force will be composed of armor, infantry, a CAV, and some aircraft. Using new Reaper tournament scoring, you will score points for each point of damage you do to your enemies. So "kill-stealing" will not be a tactic of choice... Participants will be broken up into the two sides, and each player will play 3 one-hour battles. The sum of the 3 scores will determine the winner overall.

Prizes will go to the top 3 places. Prizes include miniatures, a CAV T-shirt, and a CAV hat. (Saturday, Noon-4:00 p.m.)

Other events, still in the works, will be hosted by The Source: Comics & Games, Outpost 2000 & Beyond, Score Entertainment, TwiRP, FanPro Commandos, and others.


Are you planning to drive a long distance to MarsCon with a couple empty seats? Do you want to find a quarter of a room to sleep in? A party room to share with another group? For your convenience, a room share/ride share message board appears on the MarsCon web site here. Feel free to use this page to link up with like-minded folks. Oh, yeah, and do all that stuff your mother taught you about dealing with strange people... even strange fen.


Only two more meetings to go before the convention! MarsCon planning meetings (also known as ConCom Meetings) are open to all, volunteers and spectators alike, and we encourage you to attend if interested or even mildly curious. [It's a little-known fact that these meetings can actually be fun. Shh...] Here is the schedule for upcoming ConCom Meetings:

Feb 15, 2004 -- 1-4 pm - Airport Hilton (Conference Theatre)
Feb 29, 2004 -- 1-4 pm - Airport Hilton (Conference Theatre)


To add yourself -- or remove yourself -- from our email list please surf to http://mail.marscon.org/mailman/listinfo/marstoday and scroll down to "Subscribing to Mars Today" (to add yourself to our list) or "Mars Today Subscribers" (to remove yourself). Follow the instructions and you're in (or out). If you have any trouble at all with your Mars Today subscription tell the MarsCon webmaster via [deactivated -- see current year for a working email address] .


MarsCon 2004: "Let's Play Doctor"
Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Hotel, Bloomington, MN
March 5-7, 2004 -- All Weekend Long!


E-Mail Address: [deactivated -- see current year for a working email address] *
Snail Mail: MarsCon, P.O. Box 21213, Eagan, MN 55121
Web Site Address: http://www.marscon.org
Phone: 651-339-0397 (this is a pager; leave your number please)
* Email address will change often to avoid spammers - this page should update automagically.

© 2004 FenSF, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This page last revised January 12, 2006 at 01:51 PM

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