Ring Side Report GenCon Experience! Friday to Sunday


Orc Stomp 5k-My day started at 5:30, because I hate me.  After going to bed at 12:30, I decided to run.  Why?  ORC STOMP!  This yearly 5k is at 8AM one day and 6AM the next.  These are a great group of guys and gals who put on a race.  This year was even better than the last.  Now, they have time sensors, sponsors, all sorts of great things!  I love these guys and wish them the best.  You can tell that I haven’t been running lately because my 5k time was 38:12.  Not great, but it is what it is.  Either way you should join them if you can!  Join quick because T-shirts are limited!

After a shower, shave, and fruit breakfast, its off to the con floor!

Paizo-I am pretty sure these guys did NOT have a clue how swamped they would be at this con.  This year is their first year as a large co-sponsor to the con.  I had a pre-order of the pathfinder adventure game, and If I didn’t it was SOLD OUT the second  day of the con!  HECK, they had canvas bags for anyone who spent over $100 and those were SOLD OUT of the SECOND DAY OF THE CON!  It’s a damn good day as a retailer when you are sold out of bags with a $100 price tag.  Picked up my pre-orders and was off.  Something new I’ve noticed: line end standy holders.  Lines are getting CRAZY at GenCon!  Now stores have lines to just BUY that wrap around the booth!  Not sure how I feel about this.  Either way, Paizo, you got the most of my money, so you win this con.  Congrats!

After the crazy that was the Paizo booth, it was off to the rest of the con.

Daydreamer Interactive-Ever hear of these guys?  No.  Neither have I, but you know what they did right?  It’s a quick start guide that’s free.  I walked up to these guys and they handed me a free copy of Infinem quickstart guide.  These always make me happy.  Now, I will run a game at my local store.  All those other games that I walked past, if you don’t even have a quickstart PDF I can download when you hand me a card, I don’t remember you.  I never heard of Arcanis from Paradigm before Origins 2011, but now I run two games a month and have bought all their books.  Keep that in mind.  I don’t even need a real book, just give me a dropbox link!

Gust Bustin’ Games-Last GenCon I wandered over to their tables and played Trailer Park Wars.  Since then, I’ve bought two copies.  They are currently making an expansion to the game.  Its due in October, but whenever I see them I like to scream at them “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!”  They always laugh and as I walked away one sales person looked at the manager of the company and said “See, that man wants our product!”  By the way, if you cosplay a character from your game, you get points in my book.  You cosplay a redneck (I know you because I are one)  you get big extra points.  Hence, I’ve bought two copies and will most likely buy two copies of the expansion.

Geek Preacher, Christian Gaming Guild, and Game Church-I ran in to these guys and I always love them.  I’m Catholic, so I tend to be at odds with my religion a lot.  These guys make me happy as they always have uplifting messages that tie my gaming life to my faith.  As I said to them and it became the quote of GenCon “You guys make me not hate my religion!”

Tasty Minstrel Games-I am CHEAP! and my local game store offers 1/5 off the cover price of any game.  For me to buy a game that is the amount I want off a game to buy it outright.  Beyond that you have to give me something extra like a mini-expansion or something.  As I walked around the con, Tasty Minstrel was selling Belfort for 1/5 off and giving the first expansion of Dungeon Roll with a Dungeon Roll purchase.  I love the Secret Gaming Cabal Gaming Podcast(more later) and they vouched for Belfort so I bought it sight unseen.  I also was able to talk with the publisher and an artist at the company.  We commiserated over his low pay and how the convention hall charged $75 BUCKS A DAY FOR VENDER INTERNET!  Always great to talk to the guys who make the games.  It’s even better to pat them on the back as they fake cry over artist rates!  Great bunch of guys.

Modiphius Entertainment-I walked by the creators of the ACHTUNG! CTHULHU game.  We talked about their kickstarter and how progress was going on the game.  I missed their playtest, but we talked about the future and the possibility of a living game.  Great people who are working hard to bring a good product to market.  Looking forward to my PDF!

CritSuccess-THESE GUYS MAKE DICE RINGS!  I had never heard of these, but they are awesome.  I bought my wife won.  And later, I found out DMs get their first one for $5 bucks, so I bought one for me!  About $20 for a ring that rolls!  Lots of styles!  HURRAY!

And with that it was food time and then back to work for Baldman Games and Wizards of the Coast.   I love DnD Next and working with the crew at Baldman.  Good times and fun, strange things always happen at my tables.  Also, nothing like being told you have to game till 1AM or your fired!

After words, one of my friends flagged me down and excitedly told me about his new discovery!  There is this great place for Noodles!  I asked what the place was and he told me its called Noodles and Co.  He had never seen that place before, and it blew his mind.  Laughing as I told him, I talked about eating there most of college and how its just north of Jackson.  We ended up eating there next to a woman in a TARDIS dress. God bless GenCon!


3AM is not conducive to a 7AM wakeup, but it happened.  Thank god no running today!

Wizards of the Coast and Baldman Games–  Back to running Confrontation at Candlekeep.  I love this mod and the variability.  As I said before, nothing is as awesome as a battle interactive introduction to a system.  I had tables that ranged from a complete party of monks named Skunk, Punk, Funk, and Drunk to a FULL table of people dressed head to toe as Drow.  I love this job.  Ever better Saturday, I got a chance to be first reader.  This person is the proctor for the adventure and keeps time for the tables.  I loved it, it beat the hell out of me, made me horse, and is MUCH harder than it looks to do well.  I think my tables had fun and I know I did.

Passport Games-Mid game shift, I was able to get 30 minutes to sneak out to get a copy of Tokaido.  The creator was signing games at that time and I got a copy signed for my wife.  These guys still remember me from Let’s Play Green Bay so its good to see old friends again!

Back to the con floor!

Stan!-Before the con I visited a holy site on a pilgrimage through Wisconsin: I stopped a the old site of TSR.  I wasn’t sure about the address, and I reached out to twitter.  Stan! responded and helped me.  We talked for a while and I’m really glad I got to meet him.  He’s a great guy.  Also, he signed my Mazes and Monsters  book.

The Manhattan Project –Stumbling and wondering off (Remember less than 4 hours of sleep and no food at this point), I wondered the hall in a drunken stupor and found a group of guys demoing The Manhattan Project .  Again The Secret Gaming Cabal Podcast recommended this game, but this time I got to try it out.  While not completely sure where I was I was able to win this game by my teeth.  A great game that is awesome.  I was hooked.  Now….to buy……

Secret Gaming Cabal Podcast-At New Years, I decided I would pick up a bunch game podcasts and pare them to a few.  This was one and I’ve keep listening since then.  Good guys.  I like the games they like.  I don’t always agree with the games they poo-poo, but I like what they like.  I hadn’t heard the latest podcast, but I saw on twitter the were doing a meet up at the Ram, then the Omni.  No gaming (sad panda), but you could grab a beer and maybe win some games.  At the meet up, Stephen Buonocore was there and its always a great time to see him.  I thanked him for sponsoring the Orc Stomp 5k.  I also got to meet the Cabal crew and they are great guys.  It was good to put some names to faces, it makes listning to the podcasts that much more relatable.  I was able to win a game Pixel Lincoln.  I thank the guys and then had to head out.

The night ended with me drinking with the rest of the GMs from Baldman games while being regaled with insider information on how game companies work as well as learning the history of my hobby.  God I love this job.


Going to bed at 3AM and waking up at 7AM is still a bad idea!  Woke up and got all my gear together and brought it to my car.  From their it’s off to the con!

Church-The Geek Preacher and crew put on a non-denominational church service.  This year is was creation.  Good messages, good fun, lots of puns, and I left with a feeling a faith I haven’t honestly had in a long time.

Catalyst-I thought I was done giving money to these guys at Origins, but I was wrong!  I talked with some of the writer for the game and found they had updated the Firing Line Book.  Good stuff.  I also talked about Battletech and Mechwarrior.  I want to do some gaming, but its hard to find people who do the same thing.  I meet with some more designers to talk about that.   After the RPG stuff, I moved on to trying The Duke.  It’s like chess, magic, and roborally had a baby.  Tile movement that changes, random tile drawing, and critical thinking.   Great game, I plan to buy it.  It was a lot of fun.

Indie Boards and Cards-I’ve always wanted to try Flash Point, so I flagged down a person and asked how to play.  Its simple enough and now I think I’ll buy it sooner then later.  I love co-op games that my wife and I can play when we’re home on a week night, and this fits the bill!

Indie game hall-Across from the exhibitor hall was the playtest hall.  I walked in and grabbed all the business cards I could, and guess what I saw…paper copy of RPG rules quickstart for Mazaki no Fantaji.  Since I don’t turn those down I grabbed it and now I’ve got another RPG to try.  Heck they have a kickstarter right now and they follow my rules for a cheep PDF level so they even got my money without a try of the game.  Good job guys!

Cubical 7-I talked with the guys over at Cubical 7.   These guys recently released World War Cthulhu.  For the con, they had cheaper copies with a  free PDF.  They followed my rule of a con price as well as a free pdf, so as a Lovecraft nut, I bought it.  I also was very happy when I talked with a developer of the game and he told me they didn’t kickstart because kickstarter is for companies that need it, not just need cheep publicity.  That made me happy so I felt that was a good purchase.

Margaret Weiss Production-These Guys made the award winning Marvel game that was recently shut down.  To help them break the curse of stopping an awesome idea before its time, they now made the Firefly RPG…..oh boy…. Well, I wanted to help so I bought a copy and they gave me a free PDF (AS IT SHOULD BE!).  I even was able to get it signed by Margaret Weiss herself.

Minion Games-The makers of The Manhattan Project.  This place was like if I ran a game company.  I got to talk to the creator.  He’s a hard swearing guy who is pretty friendly.  Funny guy.  He and I sat for half an hour discussing making ipad games from board games and if it will drive sales.  Good times.  I did get my copy of Manhattan Project.

Game Salute-These guys sponsor The Secret Gaming Cabal, so I felt it was my job to stop by and say I heard about them on the podcast.  While there, they had Sunrise City for 50% OFF!  So that happened without hesitation.

All and all a great con.  I met lot of good people, discussed the industry, spent WAY too much money, and played 30+ hours of DnD Next.  I couldn’t ask for a better weekend.

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