Wednesday 16 August 2023

GenCon Wrapup

 I landed back in the UK this morning after my first trip to GenCon, so I'm afraid today's post is going to be a jet-lagged stream of consciousness structured the only way I know how.

Surface Level GenCon
  • The Doomed sold out on the first morning, so Osprey ordered more for the Friday. The restock sold out in minutes too. As such, I only got to sign a single book, the lone signed copy in existence. I joked that if my plane crashed on the way home it would become a priceless artifact (it didn't, and I'm safely on ground).
  • I played in games of Traveller and Pendragon, both of which were fun but neither really gave me the special stuff I wanted from those two particular systems. I guess squeezing Traveller's very particular spacebox and Pendragon's long form campaign into a limited time-slot is a big ask, but I'm glad to got to tick these two classics off my list in some form. 
  • I attended a Marc Miller seminar. His clear love for both Traveller and RPGs in general really shines through, and his thoughts of the game as both his legacy and something that exists within the wider community was moving, even for a cold-hearted cynic like me. Or perhaps I was just tired. 
The Real GenCon
  • It's a cliché, but the after-hours games, dinners, and drinks that spill out into Indianapolis really were the real GenCon and I'm immensely grateful for the hospitality of those who organised stuff and shepherded me in the right direction. You know who you are.
  • Even in the daytime, prowling the trade hall felt like a string of random encounters, noticing people I knew working on stalls or being ambushed from the aisles, without exception these were all a joy. 
  • Even though I knew that GenCon took over Indianapolis for the week, I was surprised that it appeared to be happening in my hotel lobby even when I arrived late at night. It was even happening in the departures lounge of the airport as I waited for my flight home. Not sure I have the energy for such total immersion, but if you do then this is the place to be. 
Would I recommend it?
  • I got very lucky with my journey being mostly undisrupted, I know others weren't so fortunate as we had some turbulent weather. Even so, it's a pretty brutal trek from the UK. 
  • On top of the travel, this is not a cheap trip. Hotels charge big prices and if you're sticking to the general convention area it's easy to spend a lot on normal day-to-day stuff without realising it. 
  • If the above are things you can work around I absolutely recommend visiting GenCon at least once. 
I booked this trip as a possible once-in-a-lifetime thing, hoping to meet up with some people, maybe talk a bit of business on the side, but nothing too serious. Instead I found it inspiring as a creator, fruitful as a business trip, and a chance to turn names-on-the-screen into new friendships. 

Next year? 

Ask me when the jet lag wears off. 


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  2. Glad to hear you survived GenCon, even more pleased to see you had a game of Pendragon - my all time favourite RPG as an idea. The idea of establishing dynasties (sp?) and then having to deal with feuds etc caused by your father or grandfather is awesome. So was the idea of Traits and Passions, - introducing Love and Hate, for instance. Sadly, I'm not sure I ever handled them well as a GM.
    On a side note, I love the simplicity of your design for Doomed, particularly removing rulers.