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Jul 18

Gen Con is Coming…

Those are the ancient words of House Hamm, and while in no way as ominous as the words of House Stark in “The Game of Thrones”, most assuredly as powerful and worthy of heeding!

That is right people!  We are officially under the 30 day mark until the happiest time of the year; Gen Con Indy!  Given that this is a gaming blog, and that I am as rabid a gamer as any, I felt it would only be appropriate to discuss my past adventures at Gen Con, as well as plans for this and future years.  I would also love to hear any stories and/or plans that you have regarding your past/present/future Gen Cons.  As such, for the next few weeks leading up to the big show I will be posting Gen Con is coming articles that take a page from Dickens, and discuss all three phases of my Gen Con time line.

Ghost of Gen Con Past…

As a nerdy boy of 11, I first heard of this mysterious and magical sounding event called Gen Con, that was being held in the far away land of Wisconsin.  I read about it in the back of a “Lone Wolf” game book.  The bio described how the author, Joe Dever, had won a Dungeons and Dragons World Championship at something called Gen Con.  I remember thinking how I love dungeons and I love dragons, so I bet any place that has both must be awesome!

While I was already into board games like Axis and Allies, that bio led me to start playing Dungeons and Dragons, which led to Battletech, which led to Magic the Gathering, which led to Settlers of Cataan and a return to my board gaming roots, but sadly never led me to Gen Con while it was being held in Wisconsin.

Then it happened…GEN CON CAME TO ME!!!  Like the fulfillment of some ancient prophecy, my attendance at Gen Con could not be denied!  In 2003 Gen Con was relocated to my home town of Indianapolis, IN and has remained there ever since.  2003 and the couple of years preceding it had been pretty rough for me financially.  I was only able to attend for one day and even that was done by hook and by crook, but that one day was a glorious experience!  I had zero money for events, food, parking, or anything at all.  I only played in demos, took in the sights, and watched some free movies.  Big Trouble in Little China was the midnight movie, and who can resist a little Jack Burton?  So when you ask me if I have paid my Gen Con dues I will reply, “Yes sir, the check is in the mail.”

I knew from that one day I had found my new home.  It was like a bubble universe where everything that I loved lives for four days.  I vowed to never miss a single day of any future Gen Con as long as it was humanly possible, and so far I have been able to keep that pledge!

Ghost of Gen Con Present…

A lot has changed since that first year I spent that eye-opening day in my own personal heaven.  I have gone from a broke, unattached, marauding, game playing barbarian to a married, stepfather of two, reasonably comfortable, game playing barbarian.

The kids will be joining my wife and I on Friday this year.  It will be their first full day at the con.  Last year they were only able to attend on Sunday, the saddest day of Gen Con.  They are both big fans of video games and although their taste differ somewhat, I have no doubt they will be spending some time in the electronic gaming area.  My stepson, Jarrett, really enjoys Ascension:  Chronicle of the God Slayer, Go, RoboRally, and I am quite sure we can add to the list this year.  My stepdaughter loves Settlers of Cataan, Aquarretto, and Mall Madness, but I think her and my wife may also try to mix in some crafting or photography seminars.  I am looking forward to further sharing the joy I feel at Gen Con with the entire family.

Ghost of Gen Con Future…

The one guarantee of future Gen Cons will be the attendance of my wife and I!  However, there are already changes on the horizon for next year’s show.  Whether it is through traditional publishing methods, funding via Kickstarter, or merely as polished prototypes, I intend run events for “The Realm” at Gen Con next year.  I also have several other games that I am in the process of developing and any of those that I feel are ready for that level of scrutiny may have events next year as well.It would be a huge change for me to mix business and pleasure in such a fashion at Gen Con, but given that it has always been a dream of mine to be a game designer, it would be more goal fulfillment than any sort of inconvenience.  Sure it is a little scary to think of spending precious Gen Con time engaging in any form of work, but after all the ghost of the future is always the most frightening one!

3 comments

  1. Heather

    Not that you weren’t there, but my first Gen Con was like a kid in a candy store experience! Between getting my face painted like a fairy, getting held at “gun point” by a storm trooper, and laughing so hard at Redneck Life that my fairy paint ran, I had the best time of my life!
    For the first time ever I was free to let my nerd flag fly, and NO ONE was going to point and laugh. It was a great feeling… actually one I had never had before, even around the people who were suppose to be my support group.

    Then my 2nd year… again a BLAST, but this time I had to stand in the middle of the hall in front of 50 other people playing the same WITS AND WAGERS game (not to mention all of the passers by) and sing “A few of my Favorite Things” shamelessly. **I didn’t sound too bad, but the creators of the game – yeah, they needed to keep their day jobs!

    This past year was probably the best because no matter how many times my kids go kicking and screaming into “family events” once at Gen Con too, I could see their happiness also. Yes, I have passed on the Geek gene, and I am sooo very happy.
    Thank you Chris Hamm (my Hammy) for showing me/us the wonder that is the best four days in gaming.

  2. Welcome as always dear! Just remember the next time that you are upset with me for anything, that I showed you the glory, truth, and light that is Gen Con! ;-p

  3. Heather

    that my dear, is NOT a get out of jail free card.

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