Thursday, August 21, 2014

2014 Gen Con Recap


We started with the annual will call line to attain Badges. Arriving before dinner on Wednesday is always recommended.  The line wasn't too bad and took about 20 minutes.  

Afterwards we grabbed the annual Steak and Shake dinner then we were off to the Stink. This is a family friendly event with contests and prizes although I have to admit that this year was a bit of a disappointment.
 

Next up was the Legendary Games team meeting. Jason Nelson headed it up. Neil Spicer, Todd Stewart, myself, Clinton Boomer, and Mike Shel discussed the new works to come. I will give a few hints, think mummies, aliens, ritualistic societies, and treasure. We discussed Boomers' "Splintered Godhood" as well as the new Legendary Planet adventure path and campaign setting. Lots of wonderful ideas.

As that came to a close, Boomer and I headed off to the Diana Jones Awards. As soon as I walked in I saw my good friend Stan! who introduced me to a few of his friends. After obtaining a drink I ran into long time con goers John Reyst of d20pfsrd and Steve Russell of Rite Publishing. They were hanging out with Andrew and Monica Marlowe who were working the booth with Monte Cook. Other friends I found hanging out were Rob Bowes and Liz Theis from Lonewolf, Ryan Mackinlin from Evil Hat Productions and Paizo, Stephen Radney-Macfarland from paizo and his past editor Tori, and Peter Adkison from Gen Con.


I was thrilled to meet some of my online friends for the first time including Jamie Chambers (who I forgot to get a picture with! Doh), Matt Forebeck (see the assault picture), Jacob Blackmon (fantastic artist), and Hal Greenberg who is the owner of Samurai Sheepdog and fellow RCRF board member with me (more on this later).


I really enjoyed meeting some new contacts like Layout man Reese, David Brown who published Adventures in the East Mark - The Red Box, Monte Cook who published Numenera, Jaye Sonia from Stormbunny Studios, and of course the 2014 Diana Jones Award recipient: Robin Laws for Hillfolk.
After the Cadillac Ranch closed I got the opportunity to drive John Reyst's mustang GT. As I use to drag race years ago I took up the challegne to bip the tires as I redlined it off the light onto the freeway, WHILE going around the curve in 3rd before hitting the straight away. There was a second there I wasn't sure I would clear the curve and smash into the cement pylon but manage to pull it out of a near fishtail while slamming it into 4th gear. That was quite the adrenaline rush. I will be ready to race Erik Mona in his Challenger next year.
 

Getting back to the hotel we noticed it was 4am and only had a few hours of sleep before I had to get up for a 8am meeting. We crashed hard.

Thursday morning I met Hal Greenberg and Steve Long (long list of credits) for breakfast at Patachou. We met to discuss the new non profit we are board members of. The RPG Creators Relief Fund (www.rcrfcharity.org) is designed to be a relief fund for creators who have suffered a downturn or unfortunate events that keep them from working or staying in business. We have several prominent members of the industry who are either on the submission board or advisory board. The board of directors are in their last stages of finalizing the non profit so that we can begin raising funds and providing support. If you would like more information about becoming a sponsor or donor, please email me or check out the website.
 

After breakfast I met back up with my husband, brother and nephew to walk the hall. There was quite the crowd ready to enter at 10am.  We were shocked to see this year, Gen Con made several larger exhibitors provide lines to get into their booths. Bummer, but it did seem to keep the crowds down. So we started at the entrepreneurs avenue and made our way towards the front.

We spent a little longer at booths of friends in the industry to talk but otherwise we at least spent a moment at each booth or as long as demoing a game. The Clever game was a good family and good learning game. I plan to add that one to the wishlist. We checked out a steampunk LARP card deck but when we tried to go up later for the demo it turned out to be a full on event. I ran into Nioami Tripi designer of Flip Flap who I had met last year. She had the finished product with her that she had kickstartered. Speaking of kickstarters we also stopped in the Stonehaven Miniatures booth. We were surprised and happy to find them giving away free decks and dice and make and takes. Very cool.
Some of the other booths that stood out included: Greater Than Games, where we demoed Sentinels of the Multiverse as well as their other games. We definitely spent a pretty penny there.  Gaming Paper, where owner Erik Bauer thanked my husband for his military service and gave him a kick ass military discount.  What an awesome company they are and their new products can use dry erase making the paper last even longer. Catalyst Games, their battletech boardgame was fun and good to see after so many years. Dwarvern Forge and a few other mini terrain booths were of course nice visuals. We ran into Sean Reynolds and his wife Jodi at Monte Cooks booth. Of course the best find was the camel toes. I think that kept me laughing for half an hour.

Almost all of the artist booths blew us away. Such talent. I picked up several cards for Legendary Games to pursue in the coming years. I even got to meet Ralph Horsley and pose with the new cover of the Mythic Hero's Handbook. I didn't spend much time in author's alley but I did swing in to say hello to Chris A Jackson. His new pathfinder tales book will be out this December but he had his newest book for another series out. It was a pleasure seeing his wife Annie too.


We made it only to the 1800s before we broke for lunch. We went to Mikado Japanese Restaurant and had bento boxes and sushi. The spicy tuna was great and I loved that they had gluten free soy sauce!

We wandered a little bit more around the hall before I headed out at 5pm for the Legendary Games panel on what's to come.

After the panel my boss Jason Nelson and I headed over to the werecabbage industry werewolf game. This year Legendary Games was honored as the 3PP guest of honor.

This year's participants were Lou Agresta, Melanie Hamilton, Noel, Savannah Broadway, Cosmo Fallacy, Tom Knauss, John Ling and family, Neil Spicer, Jason Nelson, LJ Stephens, Owen Stephens, Stan! Brown, Troy Taylor, Sara Teter, Liz Courts, Neil Shackleton, Aaron Frankhouse, Erik Frankhouse, Erik Bauer, Adam Daigle, Brandon Hodge, Clinton Boomer, Jen Rco, and host David Hall.


As I won last year as the Tanner I was able to name the location. Since the theme was werewolves in space I went with us being located on a mining meteorite space station named F69-W.


Stan was the first to die and became our ghost. In a surprising turn of events when Boomer was selected to be killed by the villagers, he being the hunter, turned and killed our mayor. Each time a mayor was selected they were promptly killed by the werewolves. Hoping I had enough village supporters I ran for mayor but the next round the villagers voted me to my death. And so play continued until the werewolves had won. A sad fearful bunch for sure. Tiny Az'ole, our Russian plumber, played by Cosmo offered much comic relief in this otherwise grotesque murderous night.

I stayed for a bit after the game ended before heading off to the 3PP event at Scotty's Brew House. This clearly was the after party location. Many of the 3rd party publishers were here along with many freelance writers, as well as paizo employees. Mike Brock and I did several shots of a drink called snicker doodle. There was much drinking, laughing, discussion, and more. A blast from the past met us at the bar too, Sarah Lowry and fiancé Zack Finer. Sarah and I met in 97 at Gen Con in Milwaukee and haven't hubg out since. She had just finish her burlesque show and met us for drinks. At 4am we had shut the bar down. A handful of us left to go get steak and shake.


I tangoed the whole way there with a lovely woman named Allison Tsatsa. Once we got to the restaurant I realized I didn't have any of my credit cards or ids! YIKES! Tim Hitchcock didn't bat an eye and suggested that we retrace our steps looking for them. So he and I headed back to Scottys' while I called them. Luckily I had left them where I had started to tango. Doh! I gave the servers an extra tip for being patient with my drunk ass. And a huge shout out to Tim for being simply amazing and an awesome friend. We taxied our way back to the hotel finishing our night at 6am.

Friday we actually got to sleep in a little but we still made it to the Hall by 11am. We wound our way through the rest of the hall from the 1800s back to the one hundredths booths. I spent a little time speaking with Steve Wieck at Drivethru RPG about sponsoring the RCRF charity. We are excited they are going to be a big part of the non-profit.

After lunch I snuck into the RPG Superstar Panel to pick up some of our print products from Jason Nelson and take them over to meet with the ACD distributor. One of the more important parts of my job at Legendary Games is building these relationships and ultimately sales negotiations with distributors. I owe a huge shout out to Pierce Watters for introducing me to Simon at Books a Million.

Afterwards, I made my way over to the Westin with Hal Greenberg for our meeting with Peter Adkison. Just before our meeting we got to grab an early sneak peek at his new movie, The Devil Walks in Salem, as they were setting up the sound for the backers to have their early exclusive screening. We got down to business. Hal and I discussed with Peter the importance of the RCRF charity and how Gen Con can play an important role in it. We are excited to work more with them in the coming months.

After the meeting, I was able to sneak off to meet Sarah and Zack from dinner at Harrys and Izzys. I had the salmon and asparagus. After all the drinking and fast food it was wonderful to have some more nutritional food. Next up we headed off to the Union Station for the Ennies. The meet and greet was set off by a fantastic band (what can I say I might be a little bias since they are friends). The band featured James Sutter, Tim Hitchcock, Jonathan Nelson, and Rone Barton.


The Ennies were hosted by Jen Page and Bill Cavalier and they did a marvelous job; witty, funny, and overall entertaining. I especially thought the mad libs idea was a nice twist from what we normally see. We even were surprised to see a marriage proposal as well. I was extremely excited that Heart of the Razor published by Frog God Games took home the silver for Best Adventure. Lou and I worked tirelessly on the project management and marketing of this book.  I, bringing Richard Pett and Gary McBride on board and Lou bringing Tom Knauss and Owen Stephens on board. Overall the four writers brought a balance and additional excitement to Nick Logue’s masterpiece, Razor Coast. I couldn’t be happier for them. A huge congrats goes out to Paizo, Monte Cook, and Evil Hat Productions for cleaning house on several awards.   


As the night slowly came to an end and many parties got on their way I was humbled by Jonathan Nelson’s invite to just hang out and game. After all we were at a gaming convention. I bid Lou goodnight and with much excitement gave him a huge congrats hug before heading off to the Westin. And yes I owe Jamie Chambers an apology that I couldn’t make the Legacy Reactor88 Afterparty. We will definitely have to hang out next Gen Con!  



Jonathan, Dashielle, Andy, myself, and Team Jason (my husband and boss) played a competitive gave of Lords of Waterdeep. The final score ending with Jonathan at 95, Andy at 107, Team Jason at 114, myself at 120, and winner Dashielle at 134. Even with the more relaxed evening we still found ourselves getting back to the room at 2am.

Saturday morning came very quick as not only did we have a 9am game but it was time for Cosplay! Since we were playing in a steampunk themed game we broke out the leather and brass. Andy and I had worked on his outfit the week before Gen Con. We dug through my father’s basement and found all sorts of treasures like railroad stakes, pressure gauges, brass gears, and more. The local thrift shop provided goodies like corduroys, a vest, and even a bowler hat. With a little sewing and some disassembling of my mother’s old leather purse we had an excellent Steampunk outfit for less than $100.

We arrived for the Clockwork: Dominion, Power game. I had found this RPG originally on kickstarter and backed the game. For those of you who know me, you know I don’t read rules, so I thought what better way to learn this new game I backed than to have the designers teach us at Gen Con. Zeke Coughlin and Nathaniel Dean, the game designer and publisher, were each running a session. This diceless game focuses both on the roleplaying and the fate of the cards. Everyone, including the GM, uses the same deck of cards. The cards provide initiative, percentiles, special ongoing effect, remarkable actions, and more. The initiative and combat was most interesting to me as it allowed the players to engage in a more organic nature. You have 3 chances to interrupt and act depending on what cards you and the others are dealt. The combat continues until all cards are played (and then new cards are dealt) or until the combat is over. I found this game to be well written and unique. The steampunk theme and era were of course additional perks. Nathaniel said they would be entering the product for the 2016 Ennies consideration. I hope they win as the game mechanics are simple enough to bring new players in without it seeming like an RPG.
 


We had to rush out of the game to make it to our 1pm PSF game. We played in #6-01 Trial by Machine. Our poor GM EA was laughing silly at my character “Tiny the goblin slayer”. Crazy as she is, she finds that more than not she is the savior of the day but sometimes stumbles quite a lot along the way. Apparently, sniffing the white x is not the correct way to search for traps as a rogue, but tying a rope to your waist to steal shinnies in an oxygen deprived area while being thrown by a barbarian is. My randomness to check for traps and search bodies had him perplexed but it wasn’t until I accidently left my party to die that he truly understood the nature of chaotic neutral. Of course, once he realized he forgot to roll for the smoke cloud, then it was just Regs’ character that was sacrificed. All in all a fantastic game. I was able to turn my Paizocon boons and some tokens in, to roll to win the novel Dagger of Truth.



Since Harry and Izzy’s was so great the night before we return for dinner and managed to beat the Saturday dinner rush. They had a most enjoyable Pear Cider called Crispin.

 

We finished dinner and headed off to Lou’s Werecabbages Invitational. Here we played many of games but none compared to the exciting game of Baron Munchausen. A game where lies and Insults are exchanged as we one up the other nobles. I am glad I didn’t go last, but I was able to hold my own while embarrassing the other (mostly male) nobles with talk of amble bosoms and breast milk. Yes, watch them squeam! Laughs were had by all around. I want to thank the other players for such a fantastic time: Lou Agresta, Thursty H, Eric Mona, David Hall, Jen Rco, Tim Hitchcock, Savannah Broadway, Comso Fallacy, and the winner Mike Myler.



After the game I filled in on a Lords of Waterdeep game briefly at the end before doing some mingling. It was nice to see Jason Bulmahn’s new kickstarter game being demoed called Pirate’s Loot (Check it out on Kickstarter now!).

 
Several other games transpired and I found myself in a game of Sentinels of the Multiverse with Steve Russell, his friend Doug, John Reyst, and Jason Nelson. Several others attended the party that I enjoyed talking with like Owen and LJ Stephens, 3D tabletop owners Bevin and Sarika Anderson, Wes Schneider, Levi Miles, Adam Poots (from Kingdom Death), Scott Gable, Clinton Boomer, Ben McFarland, Brandon Hodge, Adam Daigle, Brian Berg, Hal Greenberg, Wolfgang Bauer, Matt Morton, Tobias Drewry, Elizabeth Jo Miller, new publishers Zeke and Nathaniel, and of course my brother Reg McReynolds.  


Later that night we attended the Obsidian Party where I was proud to have been carded at. Here I am with the bouncer, happy to look under 21!

 

At the party we met a handful of new peeps and enjoyed the conversations and laughs. We were even able to steal away one of Margaret Wies’ daughter’s friend (unfortunately I cannot remember his name but we had a long conversation about how he ended up at the party).

 

We headed off to the Cadillac Ranch in a bit of a hurry as my boss Jason Nelson agreed to ride the electronic bull! Not only that, but we got a 2 for 1 special since my brother followed him up. After much laughs we headed back to the one and only Steak and Shake where we were reunited with some of the friends we had just met at the Obsidian Party.  My darling husband who had went back to the hotel hours before came out to pick our drunk butts up. But we have proof that we had out partied Tim Hitchcock, as you can see here, him sleeping at Steak and Shake.

Sunday morning came much too early as I had a follow-up meeting with Scott Holden at Drivethru RPG for their participation with RCRF.  Shortly after I was off to have a similar discussion with Jeff Alvarez at Paizo. We were able to do some last minute shopping and demos. I was able to demo the Hobbit Tales game which won Gold at the Ennies for best family game. It reminded me of the Baron Munchausen game last night but better suited for my kids, so I snatched that up. Meanwhile my husband bought the 5th Edition Players Handbook and swung by AAW Games to get the Rise of the Drow Book. We enjoyed a nice quite lunch at the Noodles & Co restaurant before I had to rush back and handle the organization of Gen Con Booths for next year. 

That’s right, you heard me right, Legendary Games will be partnering up with some exciting 3rd Party Publishers to bring you the best in Pathfinder Roleplaying all in one convenient location. Stay tuned for more on this as we finalize details.  By the time we finished charging next year’s booth it was 4pm and the hall was closed. We packed up the car and headed out. Another Gen Con complete. It flew by in a blink of an eye. With several items on my to-do list, there will be no shortage of work from now until Christmas.