Another GenCon Down

It’s the Monday morning after my 21st GenCon and I’m sitting in the lobby of the hotel grabbing some free wifi. Nicole is crashed out upstairs. She went to the Dead Dog party after our traditional Green Ronin dinner and then it seems to Steak & Shake in the middle of the night. I don’t expect her to get up for a bit so I thought I’d scribble down some thoughts about the show.

The big news for GR was, of course, the launch of our DC Adventures RPG. Fans didn’t have long to wait after our initial announcement in May, but Thursday was a day we’d long anticipated. It took three years from the beginning of our negotiation to the release of the game, and that doesn’t include the proposals and such we did back during the Black Industries era when it seemed we might do a DC game for them. The response was fantastic. Gamers rushed in when the hall opened and we had a line that wrapped around our booth. We brought 300 copies and had sold so many by Friday that we had the warehouse ship in more on Saturday. By Sunday they were all gone. Dragon Age too did really well. I thought I had brought enough for the whole show but we sold out on Friday. Brought more in Saturday and sold those out on Sunday too.

And gaming? Yes, I actually got to do some. On Thursday night I ran a Dragon Age game for Wil Wheaton, Jeff Tidball, Will Hindmarch, Andrew Hackard, Evan Sass, Nicole Lindroos, and my step-daughter Kate. I wrote a new adventure before the show and everyone seemed to have a fun time. The characters were 5th level and Grey Warden recruits. After completing the adventure and acquiring some darkspawn blood, they went through the joining and ended the session as full Grey Wardens. None of them died in the joining either.

Kate was a riot. She had been nervous about the idea of playing before the show. I told her that she’d either be playing or watching, so she might as well play and have fun with us. Then she was the one who found the missing Grey Warden early in the adventure, and she who solved the riddle later in the adventure. On the way back to our hotel afterwards, she asked if I could run Dragon Age for her nerd posse back home. She is a next gen gamer for sure!

Saturday night I played in a Pathfinder game with Rob Schwalb, Steve Kenson, Evan Sass, Marc Schmalz, and Crazy Todd Miller. My old friend Bill Simoni ran the game and it was a good time. Bill was the guy who kept me playing AD&D in college when I was otherwise exploring the further reaches of RPGs. We don’t get to game too often anymore so we try to get together when we can and GenCon is a prime opportunity. Crazy Todd is also a member of my college game group, so it was like old times except with the addition of the unique roleplaying styling of Rob “Dr. Evil” Schwalb. I think we’ll all remember Rob’s hilarious quest for a “shady seamstress” early in the game.

Bill wrote a cool adventure involving a murdered mage who wasn’t really murdered at all. He outdid himself on presentation too, with beautifully painted minis and 3D terrain and props. I played a sorcerer and wreaked some major havoc. It’s been ages since I played a d20 game, so I had to dust off my knowledge base. As I said at the time, it’s been a long time since my square has been threatened. Considering he’s been working on 4E for the past three years, Schwalb’s recall of 3.5 era rules was impressive.

The only real downside to GenCon was my increasing exhaustion as the show went on. I did not sleep for more than 4 hours any night until Sunday (when I got a glorious 6 until coughing with con crud woke me). Saturday after Bill’s game, I feel asleep for 2 hours and then awoke. After staring at the ceiling for awhile, I grabbed my laptop bag and went to the lobby at 5 am. Pretty ridiculous and it’s no surprise that I’m feeling like crap now. Hopefully, the flights home won’t be too bad later today.

Overall though, pretty great GenCon. I had the chance to catch up with many good friends, do some profitable business, find new opportunities, and even play some games. I do regret I didn’t get more time to walk the exhibit floor, but the Green Ronin booth and various meetings kept me ridiculously busy. I did manage to buy and trade for a few things and I may blog about that later. Right now I need to see about getting some fried chicken and waffles before I leave town!

Originally posted on LiveJournal on August 9, 2010. 

Hither and Yon

I have had a hectic couple of weeks. I visited family and friends in New England, had meetings with DC Comics in New York City, enjoyed a game convention in Olympia, and attended my brother-in-law’s medical school graduation in Portland, OR. Along the way I saw a lot of old friends and ate some delicious food, like Maine lobster, New England fried clams, and NY pastrami. At the same time I’ve been trying to keep my fingers in a dozen different pies and work more on Dragon Age. Ironically enough, my most productive work day while traveling did not involve the laptop I lugged everywhere. One day I went to the NY Public Library on 42nd St. and worked in one of the huge, gorgeous galleries there for several hours with nothing more than a notebook and two RPG books. That was old school. I also amused myself by taking a picture of the street signs at 53rd & 3rd. Ramones fans know why.

The convention was Enfilade, the yearly show of the Northwest Historical Miniature Gaming Society. I believe this was my fifth year in attendance and it was fun as always. This is the one con a year I go to strictly to play games. No work, just pushing lead. I gamed for 24 of the 48 hours I was there. By Saturday afternoon I was a little worried because I had played two fun games and two frustrating games and usually I have a better ratio at Enfilade. Luckily, my last two games were good, making it a 4-2 in my favor. I missed Rick, who is my usual compatriot at the show. More friends have begun to attend over the years though, so I had a good time hanging out with Jefferson, Stephen, Randy, Alfonso, and Jason. I think the best thing I played was an Indian Mutiny game using The Sword and the Flame rules. I posted pics from the con on my Facebook page.

Things should be more mellow over the next month, which is good because I have a lot to get done. I am in theory going to Brazil for RPGCon at the beginning of July. I say in theory because I need a visa to get into Brazil and before I can get a visa I need a plane ticket. Since the visa process takes three weeks I need that real soon, but my attempts to sort this out with the con has not produced any results yet. We shall see.

I am certain that I’ll be in Vancouver as the “Honorary Guest of Honor” at Conquest, BC July 9-11. I love Vancouver so I’m sure that’ll be fun.

Suddenly, GenCon is feeling close.

Originally published on LiveJournal on June 3, 2010.