GenCon 2013: Recapon August 22, 2013 at 3:18 pm
Another GenCon passes and as usual, it did not disappoint.
I love GenCon. It is definitely my convention experience of the year and more so than other conventions, there is just something magical about the atmosphere, the people, and the overall feeling of nerd community. We may be there for different reasons and interests but for four days in Indy, GenCon is one big family reunion.
This year brought a new experience for me in that I set up a table and exhibited as d20Monkey for the first time at GenCon. Sure, I am familiar with setting up at small shows and appearances but this was my first “big con” experience and let me tell you, I learned a lot. Exhibiting at a big show is a lot of work, from the prep leading up to the show, to the load-in/set-up, to 4 days on your feet, to the tear down on Sunday. It is awesome but exhausting.
Setting up next to folks you admire is another level of stress as well. I spent most of the first 2-days thinking “why am I here?” but by Day 3, I was fine. I picked up some con stories, advice, and learned what to do in the future.
I met a ton of you and it was incredible. If I ever had doubts as to how much people enjoy my work, GenCon all but destroyed them. Every person who came to the table was happy and super-friendly. I love to engage people at conventions and the conversations/laughs shared over the four days means a lot to me (especially on Sunday when I was running on fumes). I love creating things that make people smile and everyone one of you returned the favor.
The level of cosplay was through the roof this year as I saw some of the best costumes. From Space Marines to the best Batman I have ever seen to the AMAZING steampunk Ghostbusters (with a FUCKING STAYPUFT MARSHMALLOW MAN) to my personal favorite: Steampunk Santa. In the interest of full-disclosure, I should tell you that I got a little too excited to see Steampunk Santa. I hugged that man so hard. He was PERFECT. The costume was top-notch and he had the hair, and the beard, and the rosy cheeks, and OOOOMFG 10-YEAR OLD BRIAN LOST HIS SHIT. Santa was a class act, though. I hope I am half as cool at that age.
I attended the Ennie awards for the first time and had a lovely evening. School Daze by Tracy Barnett won a Judge’s Choice award. It was awesome to see Tracy on stage accepting the award for a book that means so much to him personally and that I am very proud to say I illustrated.
Jennisodes Project Ninja Panda Taco was nominated for best kids game as well, but lost out to Doctor Who (damn Doctor). However, she was at home, working on her first little minion so I think it’ll be okay. The evening gave me a chance to unwind and enjoy the company of folks I consider close friends (and that isn’t a long list), have a few drinks, and appreciate how fortunate I am to have stepped a toe into illustrating games. I would like to continue this going into 2014.
Being at the booth all day cut into my available playtime but I did get the chance to play in a session of Trail of Cthulhu (a Gumshoe variant) and it was outstanding. I am huge fan of the mythos (no shock there) and the ToC system captured the essence perfectly without being heavy-handed or clunky. I played Miss Dupree, an adventurous southern belle from Georgia (yes, I had a makeshift hand fan at the table) and it was a blast. There were ex-soliders, private eyes, journalists, a professor that sounded like Woodrow Wilson, sex cults, and a giant tongue. Good times.
I played a demo for a cool and interesting game called Flowerfall from Asmadi Games. The concept is super simple and a ton of fun. Players have cards representing sections of a garden and take turns dropping the cards to the floor from waist-level, attempting to match colors and control the garden for points. Again, super fun and fast.
I snagged copies of the Lords of Waterdeep expansion Scoundrels of Skullport and Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle as well. I am a huge Lords of Waterdeep fan so I have high hopes for Scoundrels. As for D&D Next, I stopped my playtest a few packets back but I am excited to give this a try soon.
It was a great GenCon for many reasons and if left to my own devices, I could ramble on about it much longer but I’ll wrap this up and simply say that the joy given to me each year by GenCon and the amazing people who attend means the world to me and I look forward to next year.
Make plans to attend at least once in your life. Come roll some dice.