DragonCon 2012 Recap

Weird thing about DragonCon 2012… it’s just one big party. The weird part is that it’s even true for us gamers who get stuck at the bottom of the Hilton, in the basement. The entire con was me waking up early and going to bed late, drinking energy drinks so i don’t pass out, talking to new and old friends, and playing tons of games until i just can’t take it anymore. Of course, I was having so much fun that the portable micro-recorder that I brought around so I could record mini interviews with my friends and colleagues only got used at my panels to record them for Third Eye Games’ new Media Gallery.

It’s not a gaming con, but the gaming programming is insane. In the hands of Rucht Lilavivat (the one and only) gaming has done nothing but grow at DragonCon. This is also the con I love to go to, cause i get to speak on panels. Panels are like heroine to this guy with two thumbs. I made the best of them and I believe the panels.


Yes, I know the con doesn’t start until Friday. Bear with me though, this is some fun stuff. So, I left early to drive up to Atlanta and all those precautions that I used to make, the getting a tune-up and an oil change, the checking the tires and getting an alignment, you know the things I used to do before any DragonCon…. yeah, I didn’t do them. Wouldn’t you know it, my tire blew and my other was very near to that point as well. So, this is a lesson for everyone… check your car out before a big trip. In the end, it really only stole about 2 hours out of my day, so it wasn’t THAT bad. It just felt like it was.

After that, I met up with my friends Amy Ashbaugh and Juan Baez III who were kind enough to let me stay with them this DragonCon. After helping them set up Amy’s art booth (and my help, I mean do things that then needed to be redone again by someone taller) we set off for Juan’s show that night. You see, Juan is the vocalist to a great metal band called Undead Viking Mafia. Do check them out and support them if they are your cup of tea… they are quite good.


Let me say first that Friday was the only day I had free time. I woke up and made my way to the Games on Demand HQ, which was GREAT to have at DragonCon. It made a friendly place to get a pickup game and I really hope they get more volunteers. Arnold and Kelly did an amazing job manning it, but they couldn’t be tied down. DragonCon 2012 is just too tempting.

I got to have lunch with my good friend Clint Black of Pinnacle, where we talked about life and the industry and everywhere in between. He is the example of real friendships that I have made from the industry and his family is amazing too, making me lucky to really know them all.

After that, I had my first of 4 panels, Publishing an RPG. It was almost just me on the panel. When I found out that the other panelist wasn’t going to make it, I called in Clint to come join me and Adam Jury was kind enough to help out too. I could have done it by myself, but I don’t think it would have been nearly as much fun. The next panel was Gaming with Children, which I crashed. I got to pimp Mermaid Adventures a bit, but Jodi Black really stole the show. She knows a lot about the subject. Later, I got the chance to play a game of my new card game with a random passerby. Pretty ok feedback, but it was a 2-player game, meaning the game fully supported that kind of play. I was on the hunt for more players.

I went out for dinner with Dave Silva after that, getting to meet his lovely wife who revealed how much Dave apparently talks about me at home. lol. So, let this be a lesson… if you are an editor, make your deadline or your employer’s wife will get an earful. We had a fun dinner with some friends, but I was passing out the whole time. DragonCon is all about late nights and early mornings, and that one got the best of me, sadly.


Arrived at DragonCon, just barely missing the parade, and made my way to my next Panel, Cinematic Roleplaying. There was a woman in the front row that laughed every time I said Mermaid Adventures, which was kind of annoying. I swear there was also a trio in the crowd that was trolling us… and I don’t respond well to being trolled. I think I was actually rude to them, even though I was trying to cover it up by being funny. You listen and tell me.

After that and a quick bite to eat, I headed down to run one of my games. Wu Xing was chosen and I had a table full of people eating up all the ninja action. Afterward, we had a 6-player encounter of my card game. It was slow, but mostly because there was a lot of questions and suggestions floating around. Then my second game session came up and, guess what, more players for Wu Xing! Who am I to say no, right? This one was even more fun and I got to play with some fans I met last year who run a dojo and love the game. I love repeat customers.

There was a great game of Fiasco (Magic Girls Playset) that was on Saturday at some point. I don’t really discuss my Fiasco games in public though. So, there’s so much fun in that game to be had if you have the right group. Buoyancy and bats were involved.


Woke up for my early day to demo some Mermaid Adventures for a couple who went on to buy 2 copies of the game. Can’t blame them, it’s a great game. After I did my best sales pitch, I actually took some time to walk around the exhibitor’s hall and artist alley. A lot of great stuff and I was able to get a few cards for artists that I may use in the future. Always good.

Then I got a 4-player game going for my card game that just gave me a TON more ideas of how the gameplay could be improved. This is why I love playtests – I am revamping the whole thing now and it’s only going to be better. After that, I got to play some card Kaijudo with Adam Jury, which was a lot of fun.

My final panel was next and it was a blast. Indie RPGs was the title and I was kind of nervous about the expectations of such a panel, being that the term Indie is so wonky. Jason Morningstar did a great job of squashing that right up front and that made the panel go really smoothly. Had Jeremy Keller join the panel as well, which was great, since I hadn’t had a chance to really talk to him all that much. Great guy, he is!

After that, was Savage Sunday Night, which I was late for. My game that I was supposed to run of Apocalypse Prevention, Inc, was basically replaced with another GMs game. I could have taken it over, but the GM was really excited to run his game, so I decided to step aside and just play instead. I can’t say it was the best game I’ve ever played of Savage Worlds, but the night was still enjoyable. Met some new friends and had fun anyway.

Adam Jury had mentioned having his own card game that he was also play testing, so I called him up and forced him to show it to me… at gun point and knife point and lots of please, please, please. His game is awesome, but I’ll have a hit out on me if I divulge more than that. I think his game has gone through more playtesting than mine, cause it was pretty much awesome.

And that was it… my con ended on a high note and it was a great con this year. I was told that my panels were rated highly and that games programming was getting positive response to them. So, I hope I’m invited next year so I can continue the track record and make it Year 4 as a panelist. Maybe next year i’ll be a Guest and not just an Attending Professional (Rucht, that’s pointed at you).

Until next time.