I had an amazing GenCon 2016! I wanted to share some of the awesome with you!
This year we had a new setup for the booth. Instead of having a full 10×10 corner booth from Studio2, we bought a table setup from the Indie Game Developer’s Network. That meant we didn’t need as many people to run the booth too, which was nice, so it was primarily me, Kristen, and Luke, with Patrick pinch-hitting here and there to help out. We got to prominently display our Third Eye Games-ness all over the place and still represent the IGDN well, I think. We have, of course, the awesome table-cloth as well, which I think is still a huge draw for most.
This year was the first that we didn’t have our name listed in booklet, though. We were just part of the IGDN booth, so I had a ton of messages saying “What booth are you at? I checked the book and can’t find you!” So, I’ll likely list us separately again next year to try to make that work a little better.
Cheese Weasel was amazing this year again. Lots of great new people were introduced to our games because of this program. If you haven’t checked them out, you should.
Games I Ran
I was attempting to ease my GMing schedule at GenCon this year, only putting myself down for 2 games, but as GenCon loomed, I had a few GMs cancel at the last-minute and so that made me have to take one two other games as well. No big, I’d like to think I’m a pretty good GM, so I’m all in for more fun, even if it takes me away from the booth and from relaxing (the two focuses I had this year. lol).
Thursday I ran Part-Time Gods. The game was really good. The adventure was called Fear Itself, and there was a little bit of a mix-up. A couple of the players thought they were coming for a game of Fear Itself with the adventure called Part-Time Gods, instead of the other way around. Made sense to me, but also tells me that GenCon needs to have their listing be a little clearer. The group itself was great though! The player who took on Sawyer put on a creole accent and called everyone cher, while the other players did their best to put Sawyer in ever bit of danger the adventure had to offer. It was a group that ran off the rails pretty early in the adventure, which meant a lot of off-the-cuff decisions. Fun was had.
Friday Morning I ran the first session of Sins of the Father. This was the game I was going to run anyway, cause it was very new. This group got the system really fast and became card manipulating fools throughout the adventure. The full table of 5 players decided to serve Corrupted Gaia and the session involved them trying to find a suitable sacrifice. When we got to the actual sacrifice ritual, I could tell that even a few of the players were disgusted by it. Yuck! I was excited, because it was the first time the public had seen the game and I’m so happy it went so well.
Saturday morning I ran The Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition, an adventure called Switching Rhythm. It’s a fairly straight forward adventure that has a few twists to it, including a tightrope battle at the end which was amazing. All the players picked brutes, so having any kind of combat challenge was difficult, but balance and intellect were difficult. One of the players kept reminding us at the table how nothing we were doing would happen in real life, which was odd when we were playing a game about ninja heavily inspired by anime. In the end, everyone had fun and a couple of the players came and bought the book afterward. So, score!
My last game was Saturday night and it was the second session of Sins of the Father. This time we served Xantor, the Dream Eater and their mission was to find an artist at the height of their creativity and harvest their brains. Every player in this game had their characters down to a T and were roleplaying like pros. I feel like I was on a role as a GM this night as well, which only made the game even more enjoyable for everyone. We laughed so hard we cried and our sides hurt. What a way to spend Saturday night at GenCon, for real! It was amazing!
Again, I’m terrible at taking pics at the table, but I’ll try to do that next year.
Games Others Ran
I wouldn’t be where I am without the help of some awesome friends and volunteers. Third Eye Games had 29 events on the schedule, and they all went off without a hitch. Thanks to Carol, Dwayne, Patrick and Darrell, my returning GMs who rock it out every time. So, thanks to Ian Howard, Karl, Derek, Joe, Rob, and Alasdair who stepped in and took over slots left empty by GMs who had to drop out.
The biggest thing that comes from great GMs is a bump is sales. One rule that exists at GenCon is that literally “people buy games that they get to play.” If you try to sell RPGs at GenCon without running games, you will sell significantly less, unless you somehow are a marketing genius. This year, a lot of customers that came by the booth said “Just played this game and the GM was amazing, sell me a copy please!”
Thank you to everyone that keeps making Third Eye Games look great!
Speaking of sales… OMG, people. I was excited last year that I finally sold enough to break even. I made a strategic decision to partner with the IGDN instead of Studio2 primarily because of booth costs, and it really paid off this year. Lots of profit, profit, profit!
Our biggest sellers were, obviously, our newest, and yet they were diametrically opposed in both size and approach. Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition is a hardcover book with tons of art and beautiful production values for $40, while the other game was Sins of the Father, a little game for $20 that people just couldn’t resist. We actually sold out of Sins of the Father by Friday, which rocked my world, and we gave away 50 Quickstarts for Ninja Crusade, which not only generated more sales at the show, but will go on to sell more copies and hopefully support the current Kickstarter running for Empire’s Reign as well.
Of course, AMP sold a bunch of its books, and I really like it when Apocalypse Prevention Inc. gets some love too (another game that people who played it just couldn’t resist buying). Storm Battalion also got some attention too, and people really dug it’s crazy setting.
Another big thing that contributed to sales was that there were a few Kids and Gaming symposiums that went on during the show. This made it hard to keep the kids games on the shelves, to be honest. We were left with only 1 copy of Mermaid Adventures and 2 of Camp Myth by the end of the show. Infestation sold really well too, which just solidified the really big family-style gaming presence that just keeps getting bigger every year. This is just the right time for us to complete our Pip System Corebook and get that ready for next year. 🙂
Here I want to call out some fun times had with some of my favorite people, some of which I only get to see once a year. First off, I spent a lot more time this year with my editing manager and friend Carol Darnell. She roomed with me and John D. Kennedy, ran a bunch of games for Third Eye Games and was a pleasure to hang with in every way. And even though John was super busy with his success with Modiphius and running sessions for his upcoming Pulsars game, he still found time to hang as well.
The IGDN Social on Wednesday was amazing. I got to see a ton of people and generally be myself, a social butterfly. I also got to give a speech in front of the whole place, and I hope that it wasn’t too weak. I’m awesome in small settings, but public speaking isn’t really my thing, you know? Overall, I found the event successful both from a “let’s hang out” and a “representing the IGDN” senses of the word.
Jess Banks and I are working on going on a Prince tour soon. Very soon.
I got to hang a lot with Steve Discont, cause he just so happen to be everywhere I was. Turns out, he’s really awesome!
Jesse Butler and Morgan Weeks seemed to run into me a lot of the time, and are like an awesome vortex for conversations. I think I hung with them just about every night of the con, come to think of it.
I missed the IGDN dinner due to running a game, but I did make it to a great tapas restaurant with Danielle Lauzon, Wesley Harper, Matthew McFarland and Michelle Lyons-McFarland. That was a fun time, both because of the company and because I’d never had tapas. I still felt hungry afterward, but what do you expect from appetizer dinner. Lol.
I also hung with some of the Onyx Path folks, like Danielle and Wesley, Matt and Michelle (again!?!??!), Joseph Carriker, Neall Price and Dave Brookshaw. Meredith Gerber, Mike Hollywood, and their friend (and now my friend) Leia were also there. I had a headache so I ducked out early, but not without enjoying myself first.
I got to talk with Andreas Walters and Elizabeth Walker quite a bit. Again, I just kept running into them (in a good… No, a great way!). They were a pleasure, and kept making me smile the whole time.
On the final night, after everything was over and done, I went to dinner with Kristen and her partner Eric, and had some delicious Italian food. Afterward, I headed over to the Exile after party, always thrown in the Embassy Suites lobby on Sunday after breakdown. Jeff Combos was there, and I found out that Sechin and Katie Tower wouldn’t be coming to GenCon anymore, so I’m making plans to head up to their neck of the woods. Also got to play some games with my old friend Mario Dongu, Daniel Jones, as well as Jeff and Sarah Moore (all of those being some of my favorite people in the world). I even got talked into coming to Origins by Amanda Valentine and her daughter Mary Rose… So that’s now in the works.
And the con ended with an IGDN positivity circle with a lot of the people I’ve previously mentioned and the addition of Shoshana Kessock, Steve Radabaugh and Dustin Depenning.
Needless to say, I did a lot of hanging out this year. Even though Ben Woerner and I always seem to be ships passing in the night.
I know I’m forgetting SOMEONE!
PS: I also met Steve Kenson without realizing it and I’m terribly guilty for not being able to remember it. Though, from his account, it was very pleasant. Next year, maybe I’ll get to have a conversation with him that I remember. ha!
Adventures of Me and Maeve
This year, my interaction with Maeve was the best. If you don’t remember her, she’s my biggest fan and she’s now 10 years old. She came dressed as Judy Hopps from Zootopia with amazing ears. There were treats and presents abound. I’m going to do something really nice for them next year, cause they keep bringing me things and I’m just so humbled.
Best yet, we got an invite for Maeve to run Mermaid Adventures for a podcast called She’s a Super Geek. I talked to Maeve’s awesome parents and it may just happen. As always, they are the highlight of my year every year.
It was a great, but blurry year. Lots of new friends made, and even turned a profit. All of it trumps my 8 hr Delta delay on my way home or the fact that my feet hurt the ENTIRE time. You have to go through some bad to get to the good, and oh man did I have some good.