Gen Con Report: Thu, Aug. 14

 Thursday started a bit later than usual (a pattern that would continue). Where last year I was in the Exhibit Hall during the Trade/Press/VIG hour before official opening, this year I got to the hall at around 10:30 am, after a good breakfast at the Embassy. My only planned thing for the day was my panel at 2 pm, so I simply went in to wander the hall and say hello to friends and industry acquaintances manning their booths.

Something was off, though. To be honest, after about an hour of walking around, I felt out of it, almost like I could have cared less I was at Gen Con. I didn’t know why; it was just this sense of blah-ness. Nothing called my attention, nothing seemed appealing, and the crowds just pissed the hell out of me. I ducked outside the hall when my wife called and after a fairly long time on the phone with her, I ran into the Fist Full of Comics and Games guys and chatted with them a bit.

Me & the Fist Full of Comics and Games Crew

That raised my spirits a bit, and after another quick scan of the hall, I went over to the Westin, where the podcasting event track was set. My panel was entitled “The Impact of Podcasting in the Gaming Industry,” which is really heavy stuff if you approach it correctly. I was saved, as my panelists–Chris Hanrahan, Don Dehm and Michael Stackpole (in that order below)–were all excellent sources of information with unique viewpoints on the subject at hand. 

Podcasting & Gaming Industry Panel

I cannot thank these three gentlemen enough because they made the panel a wonderful experience full of really good advice and discussion. I look forward to releasing that to my TDF listeners. We went a little over an hour, and when all was done, I realized that I, indeed, had been nervous about this panel, quite surprisingly, but undeniably. With the panel done and the immediate feedback so positive, I felt better, and after saying hi to Dan Repperger and Chad Wattler of Fear the Boot, who were setting up for the next panel, I hit the Exhibit Hall. That’s when I felt it. That’s when I was finally able to start enjoying Gen Con.

Josh arrived that afternoon, and by about 4 pm or so we had met up at the hall where I had been talking to various industry people about some business stuff for Highmoon Media. Once with Josh, we hit the hall again and bought some books: Josh got Hunter: The Vigil, and I got Don’t Lose Your Mind, Thou Art But A Warriorand my pre-ordered copy of Beowulf. Once the hall closed, we went back to the Embassy suites so I could get ready for the night’s activities.

At 7:30 pm I joined the various publishers at RPGNow/DriveThruRPG for a nice dinner at Buca di Beppo, much like last year. I can’t eat there, but trust me when I say that it is very tempting. I had a Peroni beer and chatted by Mark Clover of Creative Mountain Games, Bob from Mongoose Publishing, and Vicky Potter (and a fellow minion whose name escapes me right now) from Tabletop Adventures. My only regret about the dinner is that I didn’t get to meet more of my fellow publishers. I know public introductions are corny, but something allowing us to realize who was who would have been nice. Something to think for next year. At 8 pm, though, I left because it was time for our Star Wars Primetime Adventures game. 

Star Wars Primetime Adventures Crew
The Star Wars PTA Crew: Paul Tevis, Rich Rogers, Me, Judd Karlman & Mick Bradley.
Rich Rogers took the pic and joined us thanks to Photoshop.

We started this game last year, so we were all pumped for this year’s episode. The players–Judd Karlman (Sons of Kryos), Mick Bradley (TGTMB), Rich Rogers (Canon Puncture), Paul Tevis (Have Games, Will Travel) and I–had all been expecting this moment with baited breath, and the game did not disappoint in the least. Where the pilot episode last year had a good mixture of camp and seriousness, this year’s episodes (we ended up playing through two) were a lot darker, more than Star Wars has ever been, and it was magical. The story we crafted together was just powerful and emotional, and each of the characters experienced satisfying growth as they descended into a downward spiral. Frankly, if my Gen Con had ended after this game, it would have been completely worth it, and I cannot wait for next year for all of us to play again. The game was recorded and will show up soon enough in the Canon Puncture Actual Play feed, much like the pilot episode did.

Our game done, I met up with Josh and after cajoling Mick to join us, we went to the Claddagh for a pint and some non-gaming, friends-catching-up talk. We were eventually joined by Paul Tevis (who was so easily swayed to walk into this bar after he had left another and sworn he was going to sleep), though, alas, Last Call had been announced while we were sitting at the tables outside, so we missed the chance of a second round. Our beers done, we all called it a night and turned in, already making plans for the next morning.