Second day of GenCon. The crowds were amazing, and this was the first day.

Got up, skipped breakfast, did a bit of prep, and then headed over to the con. With the Exhibitor’s Badge courtesy of the IGDN, I got to go in early. It was amazing the transformation of the place, all the boxes gone, carpet laid in place, and row on row of stuff I love.

The Steve Jackson Games booth is more or less on the way to 2437, and who did I happen to run into but Sean Punch. A big hug and a quick chat later, I continued on. I walked the floor until bout 11am, bought a copy of Symbaroum, talked a lot about grappling, art, game design, and printers (including one that several folks used to make beautiful books based in Lithuania), and generally said Hi to folks I’ve interviewed. David Kenzer, Benjamin Loomes (Syrinscape), Ken Hite, and others. A lovely chat with an Irish lass from Pelgrane, who was great fun. Many others.

Then lunch, where I was joined with an avid Pathfinder dad and his son. They’d packed 7 people into a rented van and drove 16 hours cheek to jowl to get here. We talked about all sorts of stuff, I pitched both Dungeon Grappling and Dragon Heresy, and dad told son that this is networking, a soft-sell, and why it’s important. They took fliers.

Then booth day. Five hours in the IGDN booth, putting the sales pitch and Q&A on folks. Got to know the product in the booth better and better as the day went on. Moved some DG (maybe five copies, which is better than all of Origins; if that happens for 4 days or picks up it’s not crazy that the 20-30 copies here could sell out). Lots of other stuff moved, but it was interesting to see what. Some folks just bypass the booth; the Indie crowd isn’t their cup of tea, by definition. Others couldn’t be arsed to even mention 5e or Pathfinder.

In truth, there’s something for everyone in that booth somewhere, but definitely skewed to “not mainstream.” Mine and The Book of the Tarrasque were the only 5e products there. No Pathfinder. A few Powered by the Apocalypse. Maybe a Fate or two. Lots of new systems, lots of story games. Christopher Rice would bring folks by so I could say hi, since I couldn’t go to them. Met J Edward Tremlett for the first time. Introduced Christopher to some of the indie guys, which seemed fruitful.

Five hours of that and my injured heel was ready to kill me. Nonetheless, I walked over to the Munchkin Tavern and had dinner with Christopher and Joeseph Bravo. Then back, had a drink and finished up my prep for the Grappling Smackdown tomorrow.

Room 239, Table 10. 10am.

Here we go . . .

Travel

The trip in, other than being exhausted from (a) being up until two freaking out about being prepared for my two Grappling Smackdown games (I still need to make the rules for swimming and climbing, but I’ve got a good model in my head) was substantially uneventful. Got to the airport with a minimum of stress, short direct full flight. Was overbooks, and if the gate attendant weren’t visibly one of the most surly and dour folks I’ve ever seen, was sort of expecting to hear:

“This flight is in an overbooked situation. Consult the Frequent Flier table for your bonus, but otherwise roll for initiative…”

The trip from airport to Downtown Indianapolis was by taxi; I would have rather taken a shuttle, but they seemed to be few, far between, and indifferently labeled.

16,000 Steps

I’m here with the IDGN – the Indie Games Designer Network, as a booth worker. They’ve got Dungeon Grappling on display and on sale, along with a huge amount of nifty other games. Some are more straight-up fare, and others . . . not so much.

But it’s incredibly arduous work to set up a booth with lots of product in it. Those neat even rows of product don’t just arrange themselves.

But setting up these booths is absolutely no joke. Lifting, walking, stress, and “Even More Boxes.”

Look at the Size of that Thing!

GenCon 50 is just huge. My recent convention experiences have all been Minneapolis Wizard World Comic Cons. These have been dwindling in size for several years. I don’t know if GenCon 2016 was full-on as awesome as this year seems to be, but wow. Just wow. So much stuff, so many companies, so much swag. The quality of the graphical presentation of both the booths and the games is impressive as hell.

Old Friends, New Friends

I got to meet Hunter S face-to-face at the Steve Jackson Games booth. And James Loomes from Syrinscape! I saw his (gorgeous!) booth and came up and said hi. He had this look like “I know you,” and I reminded him I interviewed him on the firing squad. We chatted, but of course, everyone was frantic with setup. I saw but didn’t visit Kenzer and Company, so I’ll do that tomorrow.

Can’t wait. Tomorrow morning I’ll go for a hard run first thing, then get over there and wander. I’ll be at the IGDN booth (2437) from 1-5pm. Come say hi.