Tuesday, August 19, 2014

[GenCon 2014] It's Over, Go Home

This is funny, trust me.
Well. GenCon 2014 was one for the books. Yup. Some high points:
  • The State of the Hat panel on Thursday. Fun way to kick off the convention. (I like doing panels. Are you doing a panel for a thing? Maybe you want me on it!) Some cool stuff on display there, including the Campaign Coins fate point tokens and a spiral-bound copy of the War of Ashes playtest rules. Finally got to meet Fred, Rob, and Sean in person. At least, I'm pretty positive Sean and I have never met. Anyway, also got to meet my personal savior, Adam Jury. Plus, the panelists didn't outnumber the audience this year, which was nice.
  • Three very successful and fun playtests of The Sparks Nevada Thrilling Adventure Game, including one for a table of four superfans and one for aforementioned Evil Hat project manager Sean Nittner. Good feedback all around. This new version really feels like the show, and it's faster-playing to boot. One of these had the best aspect I've ever come up with (pictured above).
  • An equally successful and fun game of Atomic Robo that let me playstorm ideas for training and planning montages for Shadow of the Century -- plus my players included Dave and Liz of Nearly Enough Dice, all the way from Scotland, which was very cool. Great to meet you guys in person! Wish we could've found time to do an interview face-to-face, but oh well. Hangout it is.
  • The fastest ARRPG game of my or anyone's life at Games on Demand -- about 90 minutes, after introducing the PCs and explaining the basics of Fate -- but still managed to squeeze in two fun fights, a brainstorm, and, y'know, general roleplaying and farting around. Felt like a sprint from start to finish, but we did it, and everyone had a great time. I really enjoyed conceding on behalf of those last two NPCs.
  • Playing in a Tunnels & Trolls game run by childhood idol Ken St. Andre. I told him later at the Flying Buffalo booth that T&T was a formative game for me, and that I was now a famous game designer. I don't think he believed me on either count. But it was still nice to tell him anyway, even if only one of those things is true.
  • A drum corps fan I met Thursday morning while making our D&D characters for the convention. Most of the rest of the gamers at the table were fairly unpleasant, demeanor-wise, so it was cool to be able to talk drum corps with this guy (marched Cadets '92, son marched SCV in... 2011, I want to say), let him look up stuff in my PHB, and ignore those other people entirely.
  • My first D&D game of the convention, when the DM had everyone go around the table and call out their race and class. After "Fighter, fighter, fighter, wizard, cleric," it was a pleasure to say "Bard!" The looks on their faces... priceless. But they changed their tunes the first time I handed out an Inspiration Die. Take that, unbelievers.
  • My second (and, unfortunately, last) D&D game of the convention, when the tweenaged girl at the table got to strike the killing blow against the monster with her magic missile. I just like it when first-time players get to do cool stuff, especially if they're kids.
  • Seeing ARRPG on the rack at the IPR booth and hearing that it was selling like hotcakes.
  • Getting interviewed (on video!) about ARRPG, and suggesting questions to the interviewer, who was -- admit it, Spencer! -- more enthusiastic than prepared. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It was flattering. Cool guys, those guys.
  • Played a demo of D&D Attack Wing. Like X-Wing, but with dragons. I... may be in trouble.
  • Signing books! I feel like I signed a lot of books, including one copy of Jadepunk. No Fate Core, though. I guess that was a 2013 thing.
  • Meeting a few industry-types who either wanted to meet me or felt they had no other option once I had been introduced. Regardless, hey, meeting new people.
  • Talkin' business! Business business business! Numbers!
  • Every single time someone told me they liked/loved/were excited about ARRPG.
  • You! That time I saw you there and we talked about, I dunno, some gaming thing, probably.
  • Going to the ENnie Awards the night that Fate Core, Fate Accelerated, the Fate System Toolkit, Fate Dice, the Fate SRD, and Evil Hat itself won ALL THE ENNIES. And also John Adamus and Ericka Skirpan got engaged on stage, which was a thing only one of them knew was going to happen. I'd never been to the ENnies before -- never really felt like I had a reason to go -- so I can only assume they're all like that.

Low points!
  • Only getting to play games for 3 hours. Boo.
  • That T&T game wasn't actually, like... good.
  • D&D DMs being stingy with Inspiration. I'm roleplayin' my face off over here! Gimme the Inspiration already! Sheesh.
  • Staying at a hotel out by the airport and having to take a 40-minute shuttle there and back every day. This was a bigger hassle than just the time lost. The shuttle only ran once and hour, and at night there was just a 10:00 and a 1:00 -- so if you didn't get the former, you had to wait around for three hours for the latter. Say, if you're at the ENnies and the thing lasts until 10:30.
  • Being constantly aware the whole four days (five, including traveling Wednesday) that Gateway's in two weeks.
  • Not getting around to meeting you. Yeah, you! I meant to meet you, honest.
Looking forward to next year, when I will make good on my promise to myself to not schedule so much stuff. See you there.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

[GenCon] What Am I Doing I Don't Even

GenCon is next week! Holy troat!

Somehow or other, I already have a pretty full schedule for the con. Here's what I know so far:

  • Thursday, 1pm: The Sparks Nevada Thrilling Adventure Game
  • Thursday, 5pm: State of the Hat, the Evil Hat what's-goin'-on panel. Yay, doing a panel! For future reference, I would do more panels. Panels seem fun. Are you putting a panel together? I bet we can contrive a reason for me to be on it!
  • Friday 10am: GMing at Games on Demand (pictured above). It's only a two-hour slot, so odds are good it'll be Sparks Nevada.
  • Friday 2pm: Atomic Robo: The Roleplaying Game.
  • Friday 7-ish pm: Attending the ENnies. I may be missing an Indianapolis Indians game for this, so some Evil Hat Fate thing had better win something to make this worthwhile.
  • Saturday 2pm: GMing at Games on Demand again. Four-hour slot, which makes Atomic Robo or my ARRPG-based Crimson Skies thing likely.
  • Sunday 10am: My last two-hour stint at Games on Demand.
I'm also currently slated to play a few scheduled games, including a one-hour D&D 5E demo-intro-thing Thursday morning, a Tunnels & Trolls game (with Ken St. Andre!) Saturday morning, and some Crimson Skies (the WizKids minis game) Saturday night. But... I dunno if the D&D and Crimson Skies games are going to make the final cut. For one thing, the shuttle to and from the convention center is an hour. For another, back when I booked those games, I was like "OMG, what will the new edition of D&D be like?!" (I've since played it more than a little) and "If I'm going to run a Fate Crimson Skies game, I should probably play the minis game" (I've since become... less convinced of the necessity of this). 

But there is zero chance of me missing that T&T game. And I have plenty of generics, so come at me, bro.

I'm also trying to leave more gaps in my schedule for GoD or off-the-books games or, like, someone saying, "Hey, I want to talk to you about this project," which, based on the past few months, is a thing that could conceivably happen. If you interpreted that statement an assertion that I am so important and in-demand that I expect people to be stalking me just for the mere chance of hearing words fall out of my mouth, you are absolutely correct.

Seriously though, it's nothing like that. It's more like this is my fourth year at GenCon, and every year I promise myself that "Next year, I'm not going to sign up for any games in advance! All the cool stuff seems to happen at GoD and in off-books games!" and then I've done the exact opposite of that three times now. So I'm trying for a late-game course-correction here.

Anyway, see you there. And hey, if we don't see each other there, then maybe I'll see you at Gateway, because it's only two weeks after GenCon, which was only two-and-a-half weeks after Comic-Con

I'm freaking out.