Well, Nik and I just completed our fourth convention trip in two months. I don’t have another business trip until October, so I’ll hopefully have a chance to catch my breath here. Our latest trip was down the Bay Area for Conquest SF. The same folks who did run this show as the LA con we attended earlier this year. We had a great time this weekend and were treated very well indeed by our hosts. I could have done without leaving the house at 4:15 am Friday morning for a 6:40 am flight, but even that wasn’t so bad once we were in the air. I slept most of the way down.
I did two seminars as part of my guest of honor duties. The first was “Industry Trends” with fellow panelists James Ernest, Keith Baker, and Ken Hite. This one did not go as expected, as we ended up talking a lot about the traditional wargame market due to the questions of several members of the audience. While this is an area I know about due to my own wargame roots, it’s not something any of us on the panel have done professionally, so that was a bit funny. The next day Keith, Ken, and I did a “Worldbuilding for RPGs” seminar that seemed to go quite well. While conversation did stray at times from world building and into campaign management, that wasn’t a problem and I think people left the seminar with some useful ideas.
During most days I manned our booth in the dealer’s area, which was largely populated by retail stores. This was all well and good and I got to talk to many fans of our various games, but we shared the main hall with the miniatures games. This meant I spent each day looking over my shoulder at the many impressive miniatures games going on. The centerpiece was a huge recreation of Troy, with hundreds of nicely painted 28mm figs. There was also WWI air to air combat with 1/44th scale planes, AH’s Circus Maximus played on a hand painted leather board with 25mm chariot models, and tournaments for Flames of War and Warhammer Ancients, Battle, and 40K. Other tables had the Civil War, Victorian Scifi, Man O War, and even more WWII. None of which I got to a chance to play! One of these days I need to go to a good con and just play games all weekend. Business is business, but playing games is how I got started as a designer in the first place.
Sunday night the guests and staff were taken out to dinner at a place called Gulliver’s. It had, as you might guess, a Swiftian theme and the waiters all wore tri-corn hats. I was the special guest for the dinner and got to close the festivities with an impromptu speech that seemed to go over well. I spoke well of the con and I meant it. Despite some setbacks, the staff stepped up and put on a cool show. I’d recommend it to any Bay Area gamers.
After cleanup, Nik and I hung around the hotel until our flight. I overheard a heartening exchange there between a father and his young son, who was perhaps 11. The son was excitedly asking his father when the next convention was. The dad replied it was President’s Day weekend in San Ramon (Dundracon), adding that it was near their church. The son said, “OK, so we can go to church and then rush straight from there to the convention!” It’s great to see gamers bringing their families to conventions and sharing their hobbies with their children.
The flight home was uneventful and I frankly couldn’t believe our good luck (our baggage showed up almost immediately, for example). It all went smoothly until I was paying the cab in front of our house. I got my receipt from him and opened my door to get out. Unbeknownst to me, I minivan was just at that moment trying to swerve around the cab and continue on. My door caught on the side of the van, scraping and denting the whole side of it and bending out my door as well. Doh! We then waited around for half an hour for the cops, I gave my statement, and then I finally went inside. I felt badly for the cabbie, because this is going to go on his record with the company. I gave him my phone number and told him I’d be happy to tell his boss that he was not to blame for the incident. Knowing bosses, this won’t help him, but I thought I at least had to try.
Now it’s back to work. As always, there’s plenty to do.