My Norwescon Schedule

I’m a guest at Norwescon here in Seattle this weekend. “The Northwest’s Premier Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention” is in its 33rd year and I’ll be on hand to talk about all sorts of gaming goodness. You can find me on the following panels.

Wargaming 101
Friday, 11:00 a.m., Evergreen 3 & 4
What is miniatures wargaming? How does one get started? Do you really have to be a good painter? Do games last for hours? What is the difference between skirmish and battle? Is this a good hobby for women? Come learn more about miniatures wargaming, from historical to sci-fi/fantasy and steampunk. Our panelists will explain the attraction to the hobby and what types of games are available for everyone, from newbies to experienced players.
Dylan S. (M), Jason Bulmahn, Chris Pramas

What is D&D;?
Friday, 3:00 p.m., Evergreen 2
D&D; has been through a number of editions, each of which has changed the rules and the core setting around it. In the past few years, games like Pathfinder, Castles and Crusades, and Swords & Wizardry have emerged from the OGL to offer their take on traditional, D&D; fantasy gaming. What is the core of D&D; and what allows it to remain so popular despite the rise of digital games?
Wolfgang Baur (M), Jason Bulmahn, Bruce R. Cordell, Chris Pramas

Family-Friendly Games
Saturday, 10:00 a.m., Cascade 10
Panel experts discuss what makes a family-friendly game and what options are out there for the family that wants to game together. Our panelists will discuss age- and family-appropriate games for all ages, covering everything from board and card games to video games.
Chris Pramas (M), James Ernest, Mike Selinker

The Publishing Revolution
Saturday, 5:00 p.m., Cascade 4
The future of publishing is a big question mark right now as traditional publishing houses shrink along with the economy. At the same time, multiple versions of community-driven new media publishing models are popping up all over the internet; and some of the best fiction being written today is showing up on the web out of small independent publishers. What’s happening, what’s the future of publishing, and how can you become part of the publishing revolution?
Jak Koke (M), Bob Kruger, Chris Pramas, Patrick Swenson

Hope to see some of you there!

Vegas and GTS

I was in Las Vegas last week for GTS, the main trade show for the hobby game industry. This was the first time I’ve been able to go in 3-4 years, since it never seemed worth burning vacation days for when I was working at Flying Lab. We did the show lean and mean this year, with just Hal and I there to rep for Green Ronin. I wish Nicole could have come, but Kate isn’t quite old enough to be left at home for four days alone.

GTS was handy for meetings and I had many throughout the week. Some of these may bear fruit and become interesting projects. The floor traffic was a little light. We actually brought too much stuff to give away to the retailers for once. The upside to that was the quality of conversion was better. In the years when GTS was overrun with swag hounds due to the Wizkids promo items, some retailers would only stop at our booth long enough to find out what was free and then drag their almost bursting bags to the next booth. The folks we talked to this year were actually interested in what we were up to and in letting us know what was working and not working for them. As you might imagine, that’s a lot more useful. I was pleased to hear so much positive feedback about Dragon Age, particularly the stories about new gamers seeking it out in stores. Several folks told me about running Dragon Age for 8-10 year olds and that is awesome.

Overall, we did some good business and I’m glad we went. What really made the trip worthwhile was seeing old friends though. I got to touch base with many people I see but rarely and that’s always nice. We were delighted to see Nabil, Simon, and Lisa from the Travelling Man stores in England for the first time in 6-7 years. Hal and I went out to dinner with them at Lotus of Siam, which served the best Thai food I’ve had. The next night we had dinner with John Kovalic at Bouchon and that was also terrific. Since John got off the convention express, I don’t get to see him that often so it was great to catch up. The next day we walked down to Circus Circus for a 70s time warp, and then stopped in at the Peppermill for giant cocktails. The only thing that would have made it better was if John and I could have thrown down with a miniatures game. I guess I’m going to have to go to Madison for that.

Vegas remains equal parts amazing and horrifying. You’ve got billion dollar casinos where the rich go to play connected by bridges on which immigrants sell bottles of water out of coolers and homeless people beg for change. One guy had a sign that said, “Need money for beer.” A group of drunken frat guys thought that was hilarious, so they start taking pictures and video. The sign holder’s friends said, “Hey, you’re going to be on YouTube.” One of the frat guys replied, “I’m not giving you any money but you’ll totally be on YouTube!” Viva Las Vegas?

The Travel Bug

Since leaving Flying Lab I find that the thing I want to do most is travel. During the three years I was working two jobs, I had to plan my travel carefully and husband vacation days. I spent some every year on GenCon and then of course there was our epic trip to Finland for Ropecon. For the time being at least my schedule is more free, and I just want to go all over.

I will be at GAMA Trade Show in Vegas in a couple of weeks. This will be the first time I’ve been in years, so that should be fun.

In July I hope to be out of the country at another convention. I’ve received the invite and plan to go but visas must sorted and all that. I’ll announce plans when I’m sure everything is a go. It’s a country I’ve never been to before, so that’s exciting.

That’s all good but I want more. I want to visit my friend Jess in Shanghai. I want to finally take Nicole to Belize. I want to go to Salute in London one of these years. I want see Australia and New Zealand (I was invited to GenCon Australia last year, but after I said yes they stopped answering my e-mails, which was weird). I want to walk the beaches of Normandy. I want to visit Istanbul and see the city my grandmother got booted out of. I want to visit friends in LA, Boston, Montreal, and DC. I want to go to a punk rock festival in Chicago. I want to head east again and see Poland. And I always want to spend more time in my home away from home, NYC.

I want to, but reality intrudes. This year it’s probably Vegas, the mystery trip, GenCon, and maybe some business up in Edmonton.