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Gen Con 2006, Day 3

The tale of August 11, 2006, continues.


Although I got to sleep at 5:30 in the morning, it’s still Gen Con when I wake up at 9 AM. I have an early lunch meeting with Carl Klutzke, an aspiring game designer and all-around great guy I met at Protospiel back in July. He takes me to the Indian Garden, which I remember fondly from previous years, and we eat and chat about games and life.

Afterward, Carl walks with me back to the Hyatt for my next seminar, “Designing Licensed Games,” a subject I know more than a little bit about. The crowd is friendly and curious, and it’s over before I know it. James Ernest tries to shanghai me into hanging around for the next slot, which he’s running alone, but I have a second lunch meeting, so I beg off, knowing the audience there is in fine hands.

I charge off to the Ram Restaurant & Brewery for a lunch to which RPG Young Turk Luke Johnson invited me. I met Luke last year at Goodman Games’ Beer Con, and I was thrilled to see a young man taking a shot at making a full-time living at writing RPGs freelance. I’d explained to Luke that the seminar would make me late, so everyone else has been there for twenty minutes already. Since I was still full of Indian food, I just grabbed a drink and enjoyed the company.

I had to depart first as well, to meet another group of friends for a third lunch. After I left, though, Luke had a photo taken of the rest of the crew to immortalize the moment. This included Russell Bailey, Kelley, Phil Thompson, Jason Scott, Amber Scott, John Ling, and David Schwartz.

Back in the exhibit hall at the Days of Wonder booth, I meet up with Martin Stever and Jill Doil, who both went to the University of Michigan with me, although a few years ahead. I met Martin twenty-five years ago at the Dawn Patrol event for Fight in the Skies, at my first Gen Con. He’s worked for many companies in the industry )(notably Wizard Press and WizKids) and now is heading up a real-estate development company.

Jill is an accountant who’s worked for Mayfair Games and Steve Jackson Games, but long ago ran off to Germany to start a family with another friend of mine. She’s on her own now, but has a wonderful son and still lives near Frankfurt, where she’s in charge of much of the German internet, I’m told.

Our long lunch last until near 4 PM, at which point we return to the exhibit hall and go our separate ways. I head over to the Black Library booth to corner publisher Marc Gascoigne. We find a quiet spot with a pair of chairs in the outer hallway, and he breaks my heart with the news that his new imprint Solaris is not interested in the novel I’d been pitching to them. However, he cheers me by confirming that I’ll be writing a fourth Blood Bowl novel—just as soon as I finish my outline.

After that, we catch up for the next 90 minutes or so. I’ve known Marco since I worked at Games Workshop back in 1989–90. It’s great just to sit and catch up with him and chew the fat. He encourages me to keep pitching ideas, and I’m reassured that we’ll continue working together for many years to come.

Marco has to roll out early to catch a quick dinner before the ENnies. I don’t plan to attend, so I wander the hall for the last thirty minutes, then head back to my room. I have no dinner plans, so I grab my cell phone and start dialing. I wind up getting a hold of Cindi Rice, Ryan Dancey, and Luke Peterschmidt, who are heading to Bucca di Beppo’s.

We meet with meet with David Blankley and Andre (whose last name escapes me at the moment). The wait is over an hour, so we head to the Hyatt to grab a drink or two and then mosey on back. We have a wonderful meal with great conversation. As we head in, I bump into Luke Johnson again, who grabs the opportunity to have our photo taken this year too.

Afterward, we head back to Shula’s in the Westin to continue the chat. There, we bump into folks from AEG, the Dead Gentlemen, White Wolf, Wizards of the Coast, Malhavoc Press, Sabertooth Games, the Black Library, and more. We stay there until the bar closes sometime around midnight.

There’s a bit of excitement when we get reports that the pool on the floor is leaking through the lobby’s ceiling, and a quick look shows this seems true. I later hear that this disrupts the latest screening of The Gamers: Dorkness Rising. The following night, a dance party brings ceiling tiles down into the screening instead. The film seems cursed, but as good as it is these are just speed bumps.

(The next morning, I also learn that the pool didn’t leak, but a water pipe below it did. I hear this from a group of gaming professionals who claimed to have bribed a security guard into letting them watch the pool drain—which didn’t.)

Once we’re booted out of Shula’s, we hike back to the Pub. That night, I get full confirmation that this is a good locals’ joint: the two bartenders from Shula’s show up there after we do, eager for a drink of their own. We stick around until 4 AM or so, when one of my friends starts to feel the self-inflicted rigors of the evening a bit too sharply. I and a crew that includes Cindi Rice, Jesse Scoble, and Dan Tibbles, escort the man back to his room, then head to the Red Eye for an early breakfast.

Dan starts to nod off at the table, and after a point that seems like a good idea to me. We rouse when the food comes, then tromp back to our respective rooms. When my head hits the pillow, the clock reads 6:30 AM.

Comments 14

  1. Not too often these days, sadly. I played lots of games at Protospiel, and I often play games at smaller shows. The larger shows, though, I come to for business, not fun, although the two blend well for me. I’m hoping to start taking my eldest to some of the local cons this year, and we’ll go just to play.

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    Not too often these days, sadly. I played lots of games at Protospiel, and I often play games at smaller shows. The larger shows, though, I come to for business, not fun, although the two blend well for me. I’m hoping to start taking my eldest to some of the local cons this year, and we’ll go just to play.

  3. So, as a kind of ironic aside to this part of the story…I got into town this night around 11 pm, and decided it was probably too late to call up Matt and see if he was up to anything…little did I know that at 11 pm he had essentially A WHOLE WORKING DAY’S worth of fun ahead of him still. 🙂

  4. So, as a kind of ironic aside to this part of the story…I got into town this night around 11 pm, and decided it was probably too late to call up Matt and see if he was up to anything…little did I know that at 11 pm he had essentially A WHOLE WORKING DAY’S worth of fun ahead of him still. 🙂

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  6. Matt, I honestly think you should start your own game company. The road seems well traveled for you and you definately have the network to help support you in such an endeavour.

    I am personally hoping to make it to Protospiel, Origins, and Gen Con next year. Will be at SoCal this year and seriously wished our small game convention here in San Antonio http://www.chimaeracon.com/ was big enough to make a trip down here worthwhile for you.

  7. Matt, I honestly think you should start your own game company. The road seems well traveled for you and you definately have the network to help support you in such an endeavour.

    I am personally hoping to make it to Protospiel, Origins, and Gen Con next year. Will be at SoCal this year and seriously wished our small game convention here in San Antonio http://www.chimaeracon.com/ was big enough to make a trip down here worthwhile for you.

  8. Thanks for the kind words, Brian. As for starting a game company, I’ve been down that path before, and I hesitate to travel it again. Founding and running Pinnacle with Shane Hensley was an incredible experience, but it also taught me that I’d rather be a game designer than a game publisher. I make more money and have less stress. If the right idea or opportunity came along, I’d jump at it, but it would have to be stunningly good.

    For Chimaeracon, I’d love to visit Texas again, and I’ve never been to San Antonio. Taking off in the middle of the school year isn’t easy for me, but I’m happy to talk with any con that can fund the travel and lodging expenses for me as a special guest.

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    Author

    Thanks for the kind words, Brian. As for starting a game company, I’ve been down that path before, and I hesitate to travel it again. Founding and running Pinnacle with Shane Hensley was an incredible experience, but it also taught me that I’d rather be a game designer than a game publisher. I make more money and have less stress. If the right idea or opportunity came along, I’d jump at it, but it would have to be stunningly good.

    For Chimaeracon, I’d love to visit Texas again, and I’ve never been to San Antonio. Taking off in the middle of the school year isn’t easy for me, but I’m happy to talk with any con that can fund the travel and lodging expenses for me as a special guest.

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