There’s one show I never miss: Gen Con. It’s the largest tabletop gaming convention in the world, and it just gets better every year. I absolutely love the show and the people who run it, from my wonderful pals Peter Adkison and Adrian Swartout all the way down to the newest volunteers. If you enjoy games, there is no better place to be.
I’ve been going since Gen Con XV in 1982, and I haven’t skipped it once. That makes this my 35th Gen Con in a row. Better yet, my birthday is on the show’s opening day, so there’s sure to be plenty of celebrating.
For me, Gen Con has become the show where my career crosses many of its streams, particularly with writing and game design. I always take part in the excellent Writer’s Symposium put on by Marc Tassin, and I’m on the advisory panel that sets up the Industry Insiders Featured Speakers track, which is better this year than ever. Be sure to check them both out.
Here’s my public schedule for the show. You might notice that I’m scheduled to be in roughly three places at once on Friday night. Such is Gen Con. Hilarity is sure to ensue.
If you see me at the show, be sure to say hi. One of the greatest parts of the show is being able to catch up with old friends and to make new ones too.
You might also note that I have light duties during the day on Saturday and Sunday. During much of that time, I’ll be gaming with my kids. I’ve been bringing them all to the show for years now, and they absolutely love it. It’s the highlight of their summer—and mine too.
Hope to see you among the 60,000 gamers there!
- 9 PM: The Diana Jones Award ceremony and party. This is a pre-show, private event, at which the Diana Jones Award committee gives out its 16th annual award for excellence in gaming. If you’re a creative professional at the show, ping me for an invitation. This year, the shortlist includes:
- 12–1 PM: Short Fiction: Story vs Vignette. (Westin: Chamber) Explore the difference between a true short story and a simple vignette, and learn why it’s so important to understand the distinction. Plus, get tips that will help you to avoid getting it wrong! With Gail Z. Martin, Michael Underwood, and Richard White, moderated by Kerrie Hughes.
- 2–3 PM: Worldbuilding for Writers 101. (Westin: Capitol 1) Find out everything you need to know about building a world from scratch. Learn about where to start, pitfalls to avoid, and tricks for creating a world that feels real. With Robin Hobb, James Sutter, and Daryl Gregory, moderated by Susan J. Morris.
- 3–4 PM: Research & Game Writing. (ICC Room 241) How much research is too much? How much is too little, or too sloppy? How can you present the best & most interesting results to gamers without drowning them in detail? With Kenneth Hite.
- 5–6 PM: Writer’s Round Table: Batman vs Superman. (Westin: Capitol 1) Everyone is talking about Batman vs Superman. Is it a triumph? Or a disaster? Our authors explore the controversy from a writer’s point of view (and geek out a little along the way!) With Robin Hobb and Jim Zub, moderated by Marc Tassin.
- 9 PM: The Gen Con VIG Mixer
- 10–11 AM: Writing Novels: Crafting Chapters. (Westin: Causus) Discover the art of crafting chapters that enhance the reader experience rather than arbitrarily breaking up the story. Learn to leverage chapters as a tool in your story telling toolbox. With Kelley Armstrong, Aaron Rosenberg, and Daryl Gregory, moderated by Karen Bovenmyer.
- 1–2 PM: Writing Novels: Story Arcs that Drive the Reader. (Westin: Causus) Look at ways to make sure that those distinct, exciting moments in your novel are working to deliver a powerful story arc that will carry the reader through your novel. With Jody Lynn Nye, Lawrence M. Schoen, and Aaron Rosenberg, moderated by John Helfers.
- 3–4 PM: Signing at the Authors Avenue table in the back of the Exhibit Hall. I will have free bookplates for my upcoming book Dungeonology, available for the first time ever.
- 8–10 PM: Concert Against Humanity. A comedy show & concert hosted that you would be a dingus to miss. Tickets include a bag of exclusive branded garbage from Cards Against Humanity and other, better games. (I donated something for the swag bag!)
- 9 PM–2 AM: The Reactor 88 Afterparty. (Tiki Bob’s) My pals at Reactor 88 Studios always put on a great, late-night party at Gen Con, featuring music by DJ M4RC3L0 and DJ Matt Raven.
- 10–11:30 PM: Sh*tfaced Game Designers. (Westin: Capitol II) Enjoy an uproarious evening with some of the best game designers around. They start out drunk, and you get them drunker. Support some of the best designers in the world as they quest to regale you with stories from the industry that shouldn’t be told and game design ideas not ready for prime time. Four lucky audience members will have the chance to win a round-on-demand when the panel will be strongly encouraged to take a shot to help homelessness. All proceeds go to The PourHouse, a local charity targeted advocating for and assisting the homeless. With Elisa Teague, Mike Elliott, Paul Peterson, Mike Selinker, Ryan Miller, Luke Peterschmidt and James Ernest, moderated by Brian Lewis. (This is the result of a conversation at last year’s VIG mixer. I’m on some new meds that preclude me from drinking alcohol, though, so I’ll be sober for this.)