Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gen Con 2014

Wow. What a con! This has to be one of the best cons I've been to for years. I'm not insulting any of Gen Cons past (save maybe for the one I had hurt my back for, the one I had my back operated just before, or last year's Hurt Hand Debacle) but this year was just fantastic and a lot of fun for me.

But before we start on the convention...


Before the con started I had joined the Independent Game Designer's Network! I had been told about IGDN by Eloy earlier this year but after having some chats with him and other members I decided to apply. It's been pretty awesome so far, as it has put me in touch with some like minded individuals. Even when we are goofing around on Hangouts, it's been pretty fun.

While I was not able to help out with their booth at the con, it was great to talk to Ben Woerner, Joel Sparks, Ryan Schoon, and many others.


Tuesday was spent fixing last minute catastrophes and trying not to freak out over the oncoming convention. I went to the Dogslicer tapping at Scotty's that night, though they seemed like they were still in a frantic rush to get everything together in time.


Wednesday was spent helping Eloy set up the booth and lugging a suitcase full of snacks around the convention hall. Ran into many friends, and saw Matt McFarland with his bundle of books. We got the booth assembled in record time this year, with all of the 3EG books in a nice row. Watching the Dealer's Room rise up from nothingness is a pretty cool sight to see.

Stopped by the Onyx Path booth and saw Rich and Eddy there. Eddy seemed pretty pumped about the con as well, which we'd all find out about later on in the con. Eddy's new fantasy setting, Pugmire, will be published in the future. I'm not up on all the details but the phrase "apocalyptic fantasy canine RPG" has been used.

That night was the IGDN Social at Loughmiller Pub. I admit, I wasn't happy with the venue for it. I have a thing about being in a cramped pub and being forced to stand so close to people made me a bit irritated. Still, I got to meet lots of cool people, and Ben, Ryan, and I had a chance to chat a bit.

Thursday was blur, but between working the 3EG Booth, fixing a credit card issue with the Hyatt, and running an adventure I was pretty beat.

The Wu Xing adventure was an absolute blast to run thanks to two players who were downright excited to be there. Wu Xing is their favorite game and they signed up for all of the WX adventures at the convention! They picked the same pregen characters and ran them throughout the con as if they were on one continuous adventure. They pushed other players to do cool things and they never shied away from the action.

While at the con I talked with Ivan van Norman, who some of you remember from the TBS show King of the Nerds. Ivan's pretty cool and loves to chat about anything, and he was really excited to show off Operation: Deep Space.

That night I hung out with my roommates Dereke and Rico, and got some points with TJ and company over at the RAM. I didn't care for the Everblight Ale, but the Porter of Deceit was absolutely fantastic. I ended up a little drunk, which had the weird reaction of stuffing up my nose that night.


The breakfast buffet at the Hyatt was really good, and they offered a discount to us. I never figured out why; it couldn't have been because we had a room there because we never told them we had a room there, so I can only assume it was for the convention. The food was magnificent, and it helped me continue to eat healthy.

Salmon, watermelon, melon, bananas, a little bit of scrambled eggs, and crispy bacon. Top that off with OJ, water, and a little bit of soda for the caffeine and this helped get me going for the day.

Friday was incredibly busy! I saw a constant stream of customers going by the booth. I had a little bit of time to wander the hall but I spent the vast majority of the day covering the booth for Eloy (who wasn't feeling well) and running another WX game. I ran into Chris Shaffer as I was on my way to dinner, and we enjoyed great food at the Champs just outside the ICC. We had some laughs and Chris walked with me over to the ENnies at the Union Station.

The ENnies were fun as usual, and I got to meet Daniello in person. He and his friend were hilarious, and I still have their version of that Brazillian song stuck in my head (Though I can't remember the lyrics and don't want to butcher them.) We watched as there was a proposal on stage, and we applauded all of our colleagues and friends who were nominated and/or won.

Kudos to Ryan Macklin for his speech, which you can find on Youtube. He talked about developing a more open and inclusive community, and his Call to Arms speech was very welcome to hear.

Afterwards Eloy, Daniello, and I wandered over to Matt McFarland's birthday party! It was fun hanging out with old friends and making new acquaintances. It was great catching up with the Daves (David Jones and Dave Brookshaw) as well as lounging on the couches in the back with Renee, Eloy, and others.

I received invites to do stuff after the party but was feeling exhausted, which led to me getting tons of sleep that night. This helped, because the busiest days were yet to come!


See that photo? That was only an hour after the hall opened. It got packed quickly!

Saturday was the day I wandered the halls with my girlfriend, and with the new size to the hall it was a daunting task to try to see it at all. With 29 rows going almost to the back of the building it was the largest hall ever for Gen Con. I'm sure I missed many aisles, but that was only due to the lack of time!

The 3EG booth sold more books that day, and Eloy seemed to be on the mend. I checked out a few games I had been interested in but I managed to give my girlfriend her gift of Ticket to Ride 10th Anniversary Edition and I gave my sister her birthday gift of Crosshares, a game where you play as members of a military unit made of bunnies.

That evening we hung out at the Beer Garden, where I missed getting any of the Froth of Khan by an hour. :/ Bah! I always miss the Gen Con beers. I enjoyed Sun King's Wee Mac ale while enjoying food from the food trucks. Afterwards I played "My Name Is Inigo Montoya, You Have _____, Prepare To Die" while we waited for midnight. Why did we wait for midnight?

Well, we had an important date to keep. A friend of ours had come up with the best way to propose to his fiancee. I don't think she had any idea of what was going on, though she did wonder why so many of the people who were eliminated from "Are You A Werewolf?" were sticking around to take pictures of them. CONGRATULATIONS TO SARA AND PATRICK!!!

I hung out with Dereke for a while, just sitting on one of the stone benches outside of the hotel and people watching for a while. We ran into Saladin Ahmed as he was trying to get pizza, I got offered wands and amulets by a wizard (I swear to God, that's a true story), and when we both realized our legs were going to explode we watched Attack on Titan before calling it a night.


What's that? You are surprised I would do something so silly? Well then you don't know me very well, do you? ;)

Sunday may have been the busiest day of the convention for me or perhaps it felt that way because I was so tired. I had a few business meetings that day and had planned some podcasts. All of this was between checking in on the booth and getting some last minute buys in.

The Third Eye Games booth did record business that year, with over 120 books sold! AMP, the new superhero game written by Eloy, sold out and everyone seemed to be talking about it. The look on his face was quite memorable, as he's a pretty modest guy but I could tell he was proud.

Wrapping up the con was kind of somber, as I was sad it was all over. I said goodbye to my new friends and we went our separate ways, though I have never been so grateful to have the Internet to keep in touch with them.

To everyone that wanted to meet up but we didn't, I apologize. I was so busy that I barely took time to eat, which led to some health issues Friday evening and Sunday evening. I'm better, but my body hates it when it goes 12 hours without food or caffeine. I had to choose sleep some nights over socializing with others, though I do feel like I missed out on fun things.

To Kristen Bushman, Kitty Scheetz, Brian Sherrill, and the many other booth volunteers whose names I'm forgetting but who are so awesome and great for what they did, thank you for all you've done.

To Eloy, who continues to help me out just as much as I help him, thank you for another great year.

To Gen Con and the city of Indianapolis, thank you for another great year!

To this little bugger, I was so glad to see you when I got home.

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