Monday, March 29, 2010

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?

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