Tuesday, August 24, 2004

GenCon 2004

My absence lately has been due to two different factors: the near-death of my home computer, and a journey to GenCon Indy 2004. My computer is currently attempting to fix itself (my three-year-old hard drive is apparently falling apart like the House of Usher), and I returned this morning from GenCon.

GenCon's motto is "the best four days in gaming," and for once, I have to agree with the marketing hype. I had a great time; it was a hell of a lot of work, and I certainly didn't get to do all the things I wanted to do (like shop for friends), but it was four of the best days of my time both at WizKids and as a gamer.

I can't quite put a finger on why; I spent most of my days (and half of the nights) doing press and PR stuff for the 'Kids, but there was a feeling of general serindipity in the hall - the gamer funk didn't seem so harsh, the crowds seemed less rowdy, the floor seemed just a little softer, and the games were just a tad more fun. Although this may contradict the previous sentence, the experience is difficult to quantify, so perhaps I'll just summarize and leave my memories to reuinite with this page whenever I read it in the future.

I flew out on Wednesday, early but not too early, and arrived in Indy in enough time to help with the final stages of set-up. Seth and I arrived within ten minutes of each other, so we shared a cab ride from the airport. He convinced me to go to the Diana Jones Awards (awards given by a secret society for excellence in writing independent RPGS - although the definition of what an "independent RPG" is can be considered questionable). I had a little too much to drink - Bombay Sapphire and Tonic at triple strength - but wasn't any the worse for wear the next morning, thanks to liberal doses of Vitamin C and water.

I spent the four days talking to press contacts. Before the show, I sent out a "news blast" to all attending press, outlining the special events we had going on at the show. Of most interest was our new Pirates of the Spanish Main game, which was really the first game I handled PR on from its initial announcement. I'd like to think I deserve some of the credit for the games' success, but not having worked in the PR field before, it's hard for me to know how much of that success is because of my hard work, and how much of it happens to be plain, dumb luck. My ego and my brain are still duking it out over that question.

But all was not work! I managed to play in a few Battle Royales (a fast-playing version of HeroClix), and by the middle of the first one, I didn't have to look at the reference sheet to remember the rules any more - I was kicking ass with the best of 'em. I almost won the last one, too, against some friends I've made in the HeroClix community, Dan, Duane, and Karl.

I met up with Michael and Karen, so there were old friends, too. Michael was after Pirates (who wasn't?) and Karen looked great. She's going to become an actuary and make a lot of money to figure out that fat people like me die sooner than thin, athletic people. I was like, heh, I can tell you that and it will only cost you a quarter, but so far, no job offers.

I made it home with a fair bit of stuff: from Green Ronin, the Red Star sourcebook, based on the comic of the same name; their Trojan sourcebook, about the Trojan War, and a new Mutants and Masterminds t-shirt. I picked up AEG's World's Largest Dungeon. Actually, I continued a tradition and was the first person at the con to buy it, like I was the first person to buy DnD 3.5 last year (bragging rights are MINE!) I grabbed the Diana Jones-winning My Life With Master, a card game called Cthulhu 500 that combines the Cthulhu Mythos and Indy 500 racing (it's awesome - I was the Sport Cthutility Vehicle), and some Game of Thrones stuff too. The World's Largest Dungeon really seems to be worth the money; if one module can provide over two years worth of gaming, that averages out to be less than a dollar a session, if you game every week for two years.

Seth and Jon introduced me around to some folk at White Wolf, I found an Al-Qadim module by Wolf, and all in all, had a great time. I was up at 0'Dark-Thirty, but I got home at noon and I actually slept most of the way back.

Now, dinner calls, and I have more stuff to post about later.

No comments: