Gen Con 2017: Day 2

This little guy was remote controlled and played the cantina music.
Wednesday and Sunday at Gen Con don't entirely count for various reasons, so Friday is really the juicy center of the convention. This year, it was my big day for industry related activities, so let's see how that went.

The day began with a stroll to Au Bon Pain for breakfast, where I managed to burn the tip of my middle finger with scalding oatmeal. So that was a good start. It was pretty good oatmeal, though.

Then it was off to the exhibit hall to wind our way through the second half of the aisles. (My roommate had finished his circuit of the first set on day one.) Remember how I said Thursday felt like Saturday? Well, Friday felt even busier. By the time we hit the 3000s, I was seriously itching to get away from the crowds. Hunger was certainly a factor, but I swear those rows get narrower the farther you get from Paizo and Fantasy Flight.

To escape, I headed to the Crown Plaza for Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Live. I won't spoil Ken's Nerd-Trope for future listeners, but it was a good one. I'm glad they took my question early, because I had to duck out halfway through and head back to the convention center because I had two panels in the afternoon.

The first was about setting reasonable goals, and it was a lively discussion with Liz Courts, Lyz Liddell, and John Adamus. We talked about breaking your goals down into small, actionable parts so as not to get overwhelmed, about finding tools that work for you to track and organize your goals, and  how to get over the hurdle of your own doubt or your distaste for necessary but unpleasant tasks. In all, it was a good panel, and I hope the audience came away from it with information they could use.

My second panel of the day immediately after that was How to Teach Games. I was surprised by how many people showed up for this one, and especially by the huge proportion of board gamers. In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have been surprised by this. Intellectually I know that the board game market is so much bigger than RPGs. But emotionally, Gen Con is an roleplaying show first for me.

My fellow panelists were Jake Alley, Joseph Carriker, and Paul Peterson. We covered things like starting with the goal of the game first and then working backward to the actual procedure, getting players actually playing as quickly as possible, and when you should hold their hand and personally walk them through gameplay. There were a lot of great questions from the audience, and it ended up being a very lively discussion.

Dinner followed at the RAM, which was satisfying working through my afternoon on just a granola bar, although the dinner rush hit all at once and our food took quite a while to arrive. We went back to the hotel room after that to decompress before +Jamie Stefko headed to a meetup for fellow SFWA writers and I made my way to the Ennie Awards.

The awards were excellent this year. However, if you weren't 7th Sea, Tales from the Loop, or Chaosium, you probably could have just gone home. (There was the occasional exception for the OSR crowd repped primarily by Lamentations of the Flame Princess, who had a very enthusiastic bloc of supporters in the audience.) I was very proud of +Mark Richardson who won Silver for Best Cartography for his work on 7th Sea.

THE Mark Richardson...

After the Ennies was time for chatting with industry folks I hadn't managed to see yet. +Kevin Kulp and I discussed the honor of TimeWatch being merely nominated in categories with such amazing products as 7th Sea and Tales from the Loop. And I got to talk to +Cat Tobin, who I don't think I had even glimpsed so far at the show. Always lovely to talk with her.

But then it was time to return to the room and bed down for another night. Saturday promises to be the craziest day yet, so let's see how it turns out.


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