Where to begin? It’s hard to say, because this year was SO amazing. Picture how amazing I said it was last year and multiply that by a billion! We had great sales and a lot of great experiences. I also remembered to take a lot more pictures this year (3 from last year vs. 33 from this year is quite the leap). So, let’s get to it!
First, I want to thank my booth volunteers: Kristen, John, Jeremy and Aaron. Without you, we would not have been able to have the great year we did! One of the biggest things this year was the setup. In previous years, we had banners and books in the back, with a demo stand in the front that we would use to talk to people, show product and run demos. However, this setup came with it’s own problems. Lots of people would attempt to use our booth as a shortcut through traffic, would bump into people and trip and fall and be generally rude. This year, we switched it up and had one table in front and another in back, taking out the possibility of cutting through. I hung my head and said a prayer for my fellow booth runners who still had to put up with that kind of treatment, but they held their own (one even tripped someone for attempting to cut, but I’d never be malicious enough to do that). People seemed to enjoy this new setup, even coming by and saying it was WAY better than last year. So, cool.
I was on two panels, both of which went really well.
On the Freelancing and Self-Publishing panel, first off, I was late. I left my booth early so I could make sure I made it to the Marriott in time for the panel. Sadly, it was in the Crowne Plaza, so I was about 5 minutes late. Not that bad, but still, appearances matter. I’m glad
that everyone was willing to forgive. From then on, I became the contrary voice on the panel – fun stuff! Basically, every time someone asked a question, there were a variety of different answers, all kind of similar, but giving alternate views of the answer. THEN I WOULD DISAGREE WITH THEM! It was entertaining and got a laugh every time, but I also felt it was important to give my opinion, which differed greatly from the others on the panel, so they received a rounded answer. I won’t go into specifics (it’s one of those things you need to be there for), but it was a great panel with a bunch of other great publishers too.
After the panel, I met “the orbital platform of awesome” that is John Adamus. We had long talks about a lot of things. Lists primarily, all of which were very enlightening.
My second panel was with Jason Pitre: Intro to Indie Games. The intent behind it was to introduce people who weren’t in the know about Indie Games, but there was a lot of questions about what constituted and “indie” game. We went over the different type, but settled on just talking about what we thought was cool. The panel quickly steered into questions about self-publishing too, which is a topic I have near and dear to my heart. This panel had a smaller audience too, which meant I got to meet some cool people in the process, instead of speaking to a sea of people. So, awesome sauce!
Went to the ENnies with my friend and fellow writer, John D. Kennedy this year. So, everyone knows I was nominated for Best Family Game for Mermaid Adventures. Even though my game didn’t win, it was totally a pleasure to be nominated. Think of it this way… The judges pour over hundreds of products and pick a handful that they believe are the BEST of the BEST of the year. When the voting starts, it’s a rush to vote for your “favorite publisher”, some voters doing so without actually knowing about everything that’s up for nomination. Doctor Who, for instance, won the Gold ENnie in my category. It makes sense, though. Even I love the Doctor, so of course it wins (huge fan base + great property = win). Reminds me a bit of school elections, where the most popular wins and sometimes that’s pretty awesome.
I did get to talk with a lot of people I only get to see once a year at the ENnies too. It was hosted by Amanda Valentine (I got to hang with her and Clark Valentine a bit over GenCon, which was cool). She did a great job hosting and really set the bar high for whoever hosts next year. I was interviewed by the ENnies media about my nomination too and it just dawned on me how super-duper proud I am of my little game and what has come out of that. Unimaginably so. When I didn’t win, Sean Patrick Fannon and Carinn Seabolt took me out for burgers to drown my sorrows in grease and potatoes.
I have already submitted Wu Xing: Truth and Lies and Camp Myth: The RPG for consideration for the 2014 ENnies. With the feedback I’ve gotten from these two books, I have no doubt we’ll walk away with at least one nomination (hopefully). The way I look at it, Truth and Lies has amazing Cover Art and there is no reason it shouldn’t get a nod for that category. Camp Myth: The RPG is all around great and could easily sweep best family game next year, if something else better doesn’t come out by then. lol. Yes, that is a challenge, people!
Note: This is my third year having my own booth for Third Eye Games. Year 1 had amazing sales and sold a ton. Keep in mind, that was Part-Time Gods’ first year and we had a lot of traffic due to the successful kickstarter and whatnot. Sales from Year 2 were just depressing, though. It was very discouraging to sell about half of what we did our first year for Year 2, but we fought our way through and did it well. This year, Year 3, however, we got back in the swing and were up to our Year 1 numbers. Funny enough, we nearly ran out of copies of Part-Time Gods this year and we had Mermaid Adventures and Camp Myth: The RPG as close followers. Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. always does very well at GenCon and we sold way more of the DGS-version of API than the Savage Worlds edition, to my surprise.
The biggest thing about the booth this year was that we had a small demo area for out new movie-making card game, Top Billing. We demoed the game for several people and sold a good number of decks, which made feel better. I mean, we demoed and playtested the game for months with all my family and friends, but it’s success at the gaming mecca that is GenCon means a lot.
I had some amazing moments with some of my awesome friends and even a few industry peeps I’ve never had the opportunity to hang with before (mostly because I was too nervous to go say hello. It’s definitely something I’m slowing getting over. Anyone who thinks successful people don’t fanboy out over someone is wrong. Everyone’s got that someone who make them go Squee! I won’t drone on a lot about these, cause they are all pretty self-explanatory, but here’s a few people I got pics with while we were hanging. Those of you that I didn’t get a pic of: We’ll fix that next year.
Best Moment Ever
While I had many, many awesome times at GenCon this year, there is one that stands out as the best.
Last year I sold a copy of Mermaid Adventures to a young girl named Maeve. I met her while she was wearing a Pikachu costume and she even came back to tell me how much she enjoyed reading the book, cause she tore into it right away.
This year, she returned. She had to buy another copy of Mermaid Adventures because she had worn through her copy and I was told she was already running the game for her family. I asked her which adventure she ran and she said it was “The Undersea Olympics”. I almost burst into tears, quite literally. This especially became the case when she delivered to me a block of soap she made for me. It was blue like the ocean and had pearl crystals in it. I have yet to use it, but it is sure to make me the cleanest game designer in the world, right?
All and all, it was the best moment ever for me. I signed her tattered book (she insisted on it being the old one and not the new one they bought) and I snapped a pic with Maeve. I could tell she was excited to see me again, but I don’t know if she realized how much excitement I had to see her again too!
I keep thinking about why I got into game design in the first place. It was the idea of people out there using things I wrote to entertain and influence their lives. If THIS is not the epitome of that very concept, then I don’t know what is. This is what it’s all about, people!
In short, this GenCon proved to me that I have a place within it (being the industry as a whole). The voice in the back of your head always has a way of trying to tell you you’re not good enough. Well, I’m here to say… tell your back-of-the-voice to shut it!
Until next time, everyone!