I'm sorry about not writing my con report before now, but I've had severe writer's block this week.
Last weekend was Gen Con 2006. Brian, DVO and I drove down to the show Friday morning. We went to the hotel, checked in and dropped off our bags, then we went on to the show. The dealer's hall had already opened so we missed the crush of goobers. We stopped for a quick snack from the concession stand and then pressed on through our dealer's hall trek. I tried to call John B. but the cell phone reception in the convention center was lousy (it's partially my phone provider's fault too, I'm sure).
We met up with Bob along the way, then we had the annual on-the-dealer's-floor meetup with Mr. H.G. Walls. Gen Con is usually the only time that I run into him, although I also saw him at the local Game Con this spring.
The four of us (Bob, DVO, Brian and myself) had our customary dinner at Alcatraz, then I went on to the ENnie Awards Ceremony. DVO went to a poker tournament while Brian stayed back at the room to relax. We all met up later and had drinks in the hotel bar before calling it a night.
After breakfast at the Red Eye Saturday morning, we went back to the con. I met up with the 20b20l crew and went back into the dealers room. DVO got to play in a really great game of 40K while Brian went to a seminar by Golden Daemon award-winning miniature painter Jennifer Haley on basing figures. I went to the seminar Mastering Your GM-Fu and after that went to a seminar on Robert E. Howard game licenses and creators. Shortly after that the three of us met up in the dealer's room and stayed until they closed it up. We left right after and headed for home.
The freebie goodie bag was really great this year -- the customary d6 from Crystal Caste, a d6 from customdice.com, a pack of Pirates of the Revolution, a free CD of City of Heroes, a Guild Wars trial CD, a metal Deck Vault from Ultra-Pro, the Orcs of the High Mountains module for Legends of the Ancient World, and Inquest Gamer #137. I got three more Pirates packs from the guys, along with an extra Deck Vault from Bob.
Here's the rest of my swag:
A factory-second Chessex MegaMat
Film Frenzy: Action Movie Edition card game ($2 from Comic Images)
A Green Ronin t-shirt
Six loose D&D minis for $5 and two loose Mage Knight minis for $1
Free Exalted 2nd Edition quick-start rules, adventure and map
Two Reaper Dark Heaven minis for $2.50 in the Auction Shop
Free Sir Hawthorne Heroscape promo figure
GURPS Egypt, Age of Napoleon, and Low-Tech (seems like there's a Rosetta Stone adventure in there somewhere... SJG 3 for $10 rack)
Conan RPG: Pirate Isles (50% off)
Nyambe: African Adventures (finally!), Rune: Enter the Viking, Kingdoms of Kalamar Villain Design Handbook, and a Starship Troopers Mobile Infantry squad box (Titan Games Buy 1, Get 3 Free table)
The Fantasy Role Playing Game: A New Performing Art (50% off from McFarland Publishing)
Again this year I didn't have much time to explore the Forge booth, although I did get a look at Burning Empires. Wow, is that a gorgeous little book! Incredibly well done for a small-press RPG.
The show didn't seem as crowded on Saturday as it has been in past years, but I heard that the other days, even Sunday, were very strong for sales and traffic. Maybe it seemed less crowded because things were more spread out. It will be interesting to see how things go in the next few years when the Convention Center is under renovation and the new stadium is under construction. We'll have to see.
I got to meet several industry folks whose work I admire -- Martin Ralya from treasuretables.org, Robin Laws, Matt Forbeck, Mike Stackpole, and Shane Lacy Hensley (Solomon Kane RPG...oh yeah!). Too bad Ken Hite wasn't there this year...
The big news, at least for me, is that next year's show will have a Robert E. Howard Day. The creative panel this year was a precursor for that. According to the on-site program guide, REH Day will include a museum, special guests, panels, seminars, film screenings, and of course, games. I can't wait to see Two-Gun Bob get the recognition due to him from the gaming community.
Dreamblade was possibly the big mainstream release of the show, with RuneQuest 4th Edition close behind. We'll be discussing the new releases, the ENnie Awards and other things, including interviews, on the 20b20l podcast over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!