GenCon, one of the oldest, and largest collection of gaming geeks in the world. This year was the 50th anniversary, and the event was amazing! This was also my first time attending, but I do plan on returning again soon! Here are my 5 best moments from the convention.
I got the chance to meet Sean, Quinn, Jessica, and a few others who do not yet write for High Level Games at GenCon. On Friday night, we made time to play a game of Dread. Dread is a fantastic game, and the Jenga tower makes for an exciting mechanic. The game we played was space horror; we were a recovery crew, salvaging a large colony ship. Quinn tells me this story is in the main Dread book so I won’t spoil things, but the plot was pretty darn heavy, which was amazing. We were playing in the hotel room, lights dim, window open so we could see the stars. Music, sound effects, and atmospheric sounds were playing over speakers. In particular, the sound of our re-breathers reverberated through the room. I played the Captain, and it was a struggle. This game gave me shivers, and it came close to actually scaring me. I was honestly disturbed at the end. This is my top moment at GenCon. Thank you Quinn for doing what you do.
2) Liz Danforth and Tunnels and Trolls
I was at GenCon on a press pass. Most of that press was audio recordings, but I picked up a few other cool things and talked to a few other people I didn’t record. Talking to Liz was one of the highlights for me. I’d stopped by the Flying Buffalo games booth for a short interview and playtest of the new video game and app for Tunnels and Trolls (excellent, full review coming in a few days). I had hoped to talk to Liz then, as well, but she was super busy and I wanted to make sure she got a chance to sell her work. Later on I swung back by, introduced myself, and we talked niceties for a little bit. I then asked her a really tough question about the games industry. She asked me to sit down, and we talked for another 30 minutes about the industry as she’s seen it over her time. This was amazing. She was fantastic, and I really enjoyed talking with her. Check out the links above to learn more about her career.
3) Running Vampire 5th Edition Alpha Playtests
The Wrecking Crew invited me to run games for them at GenCon 50. Moreover, they invited me to run playtests of the 5th Edition Alpha rules that White Wolf developed for Vampire the Masquerade. I wrote a review of that on my personal blog. I ran five sessions, each four hours long. That was, to say the least, a shit ton of storytelling. I have never run so many games in such a short amount of time. I ran two sessions on Friday, though I’d originally been scheduled to run three. Every session went really well and my players were very happy leaving the table. All of my survey comments were really positive and I am thankful that all of my players were really engaged in every session I ran.
4) The Museum
For the 50th anniversary of GenCon, there was a museum created to show off items of historical value to RPG aficionados. My highlight was seeing the first draft of Ars Magica. There were also copies of the first versions of Chainmail, a first edition of Diplomacy, and a series of other excellent games that have come out over the years. VP Quinn was particularly excited to see a copy of the first Red Box D&D set he’d started playing all those years ago. It was really amazing to see all of this history in one place, and to see the progression of game design and development. We’ve come a long way folks.
5) The Friends
Meeting and gaming with other members of High Level Games in person was amazing. I’ve likely spent hundreds of hours talking to Quinn since we started working with one another, but GenCon was the first chance we had to meet in person. Which was awesome! You never know when you build friendships over the internet if they will stay strong in person, but I would say we are clearly a good team for a reason. Meeting some of the other staff writers and their friends was great too. On top of that, I met up with The Wrecking Crew demo team. All of them are great, and I recommend you check out their games if you get the chance. They attend a lot of conventions.
This was an amazing convention folks. I hope to see you at GenCon 51!
Photo is me, on the Dized Throne: Dized is currently running an Indigogo! Check it out!
With 19 years of playing rpgs, Josh started with Mind's Eye Theater LARPs and loves the World of Darkness. He runs, www.keepontheheathlands.com to support his gaming projects. Josh is the administrator of the Inclusive Gaming Network on Facebook. He’s a player in Underground Theatre LARPs and is running a D&D 5th Edition campaign and preparing a Changing Breeds game. He’s a serious advocate for inclusive gaming spaces, a father, and a graduate from the International Peace and Conflict Resolution graduate program at American University in Washington, D.C.
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