I tell ya, there’s just nothing like GenCon. You go to other cons and you’re happy if they exceed your lowered expectations. Then you go to GenCon and have your expectations exceeded and then some. For example, we had our best Origins ever in June and I ended up feeling pretty good about that show. On the first day of GenCon alone, we did about 70% of our take for all four days of Origins. People come to GenCon primed and ready to game and to spend. For a manufacturer it’s like having people throw money at you for four days. We sold out of the Red Star and Foes of Freedom (our new books for the show), as well as Mutants & Masterminds rulebooks, Thieves’ Quarter, and a bunch of other stuff. My sales goal (based on last year’s sales) was exceeded by 40%. Nothing to complain about there!
We announced the Thieves’ World license to much excitement. We had some cool color preview fliers for Black Company and Blue Rose that grabbed a lot of attention as well. Then Friday night we attended the ENnie Awards. In the three previous ENnies, Green Ronin had outright won two categories each time. My goal for this year: three gold ENnies. Needless to say, when we received seven gold and four silver ENnies, I was stunned but delighted. I was especially pleased that we won the Best Publisher Award. In fact, if we had won that alone, I would have been satisfied. However, it was also nice that two books I did design work on (Nocturnals and Book of Fiends) got nods. Our publishing partners, the Game Mechanics, Human Head, and Dog House Rules, also did well. This all made Friday a happy, happy night.
Personally, it was also a good show. Many of my good friends were in attendance and I made time to catch up and hang out. Wednesday night, I was foolish enough to stay up until 5 am talking politics with old college friends. I operated on two hours of sleep the whole first day of GenCon, then stayed up until 3 am again the next night. My friend Bill ran a WFRP game for our old game group (plus special guest Dr. Evil) using the new rules. It was a blast to play with the guys again, as we haven’t roleplayed together in two years at least. We also got a chance to go out with friends from Canada and do a big end of show GR dinner. That latter is a tradition of the past few years, including the attendance of AEG’s Jim Pinto (which makes no sense I know, except Jim is a great guy and it’s usually our only chance to hang out).
I did not get much time out of the booth, so I’m not the best guy to report on what was new and exciting. I did trade for a bunch of stuff, including the new Blackmoor, dungeon tiles and a Battle of the Bulge wargame from Fiery Dragon, the latest Shadowfist expansion, and some other d20 books from Necromancer and Paradigm. My only actual purchases were for the Flames of War miniatures game. I picked up the new Stalingrad book, which is excellent, and a bunch of miniatures for my emerging DAK force based on the historic Ramcke Brigade of paratroops. Plus of course tanks, because, well, I like tanks. I haven’t even assembled these yet and I’m already eying the Stalingrad book and thinking of doing a Red Army force as well. Stop me before I spend again.