For the past several days, I’ve been searching for words to describe my first Gen Con experience. I’ve been a writer for well over a decade now, and words have utterly failed me. One now does come to mind, however: WOW!!!! That’s succinct, I know. Yet it accurately encompasses the extent of this massive event for me.
But, I’ll expand on that.
First, I have to say how overwhelmed I was by the kindness many of you showed me in answering my pleas for assistance in attending Gen Con. Without your aid, I would not have made it to the Big Show. I responded with personal thank-you notes as donations came in, and I did get to say thank-you in person to some of you, but I can never truly express how much getting to Gen Con meant to me. This has been a geek girl’s lifetime dream, and you made it happen! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I honestly can’t say it enough.
- I was attending Gen Con as an Industry Insider Guest of Honor. Yes, this geek girl from small-town South Carolina was in the Gen Con program and talked on panels and everything! Man, what an honor!!!
- At the fans’ request, Gen Con included more women game designers at this year’s show. There were five of us (me, Jess Hartley, Michelle Lyons-McFarland, Susan Morris, and Elizabeth Shoemaker Sampat). That was totally historic! I’ve even got a pic! See?
- I sat on nine panels and ran two games! I was crazy-busy.
- As a member of the Streets of Zobeck team, I won a gold ENnie for Best Adventure!
- Stone Skin Press (part of Pelgrane Press) released copies of the New Hero II anthology, which has my second published short story in it, “Killing Osuran.” Several of us authors signed copies while we were there.
- I got to meet Ben McFarland for the first time. We’ve talked on the phone and been on G+ hangouts, but I finally met him in person.
- I got to hang out with the kobold fans at the Hard Rock Cafe and at three panels. I even had lunch with the very nice Mike Dean (hey, Mike!); supper with Jarrod Camire (well, he’d already eaten when I ran into him at the restaurant, so he really watched me eat while we talked); I ran “Beyond the Ghostlight Reef” for some new fans; and I ran my Rogue Mage game with Matt Stinson (fellow ENnie winner), Michael Wice, William Senn, and Aaron Phelps.
- We had four kobold minions in one place! Brandon Hodge, Ben McFarland, Wade Rockett, and I worked the “Meet the Kobold Minions” panel. At PaizoCon, I was the lone minion at the panel. (Note, I still didn’t get to meet Miranda Horner, the Kobold web guru, at the show, and I’m bummed about that. [As am I.—MH])
- The Kobold Overlord invited the minions to a steak dinner—and we weren’t even the steaks! The food was UNBELIEVABLE. Thank you, Great Overlord!!!
- I got a cool Midgard t-shirt, and I got to hold a mock-up of the Midgard Campaign Setting book. The cover is beautiful. This is really going to be a major book that you won’t want to miss out on.
- I met many, many game designers: All the wonderful ladies I mentioned above, Tavis Allison, Ed Greenwood, James Ernest, Matt Forbeck, Rob Heinsoo, Robin Laws, T.S. Luikart, Ryan Macklin, Dominic McDowell-Thomas, Jeff Tidball, Gareth-Michael Skarka, and James Wyatt.
- I hung out with the Troll Lord Games folks for an evening, and Tom Tullis, Fat Dragon extraordinaire, FINALLY acknowledged me (he avoided me one year at Origins, you see—well, that’s my story, anyway). Oh, and Wolfgang gave the Trolls a copy of the Kobold Quarterly with the Castles & Crusades monsters in it. They loved that!
- On the way to Indianapolis, I actually got to talk with gold-ENnie-winning Savage Worlds Brand Manager Clint Black. I’ve known Clint for years, but we always see each other at cons—where we don’t get to talk to each other. I rode up to the con with the Blacks, so Clint and I finally got to chat about game-designer stuff after all these years (or, as his editor wife Jodi joked, we YAKKED for hours).
Whew, that’s a lot of stuff! And yet it’s only a fraction of the fun I had at Gen Con. If I can ever get back, I will. If you’re a gamer reading this and have never been to the con, you should definitely make the pilgrimage—it truly is the gaming Mecca.