Gen Con 2017 Schedule Update

My schedule for Gen Con is filling up fast. Since I posted about it last, I’ve added a slew of new events.

This is the show I never miss. It’s Gen Con 50—and my 36th time going in a row—so it’s sure to be even bigger than ever.

If you’re a gamer, there’s no better place to be, but Gen Con’s also a haven for readers and writers. The Writer’s Symposium features dozens of amazing writers chatting about their books and their craft, and I always appear on three or four panels with them. On top of that, there’s the Industry Insiders program, which stars dozens of the top game industry professionals talking about their craft. I’m on the advisory panel that selects these pros from a slew of applicants every year, and this year’s packed full of amazing talent.

Anyhow, here’s what’s on my public slate. (The rest of the time, I’m hanging out with friends, having business meetings, and playing games with my kids. Not necessarily in that order.)

Wednesday, August 16

  • The Diana Jones Award party. (This is a private affair I host every year for industry professionals. If you’re one and don’t know about it, ping me for details.)

Thursday, August 17

Friday, August 18

Saturday, August 19

The 2017 Diana Jones Award Shortlist Is Here

The shortlist for the 2017 Diana Jones Award was announced earlier today. Head on over to the award’s website for all the details. To sum up, the shortlist includes:

Plus, it features a brand-new logo (seen above) designed by my pal Jeff Mackintosh, who died last fall, way too young.

Congrats to all the people behind those things that made the shortlist! The winner will be announced the Wednesday night before Gen Con.

The Hack Is Back!

Sometime last year, Lindsey Priestly of the Black Library informed me that they were going to be publishing some short fiction set in the world of Games Workshop’s Blood Bowl game, and she asked me if I’d like to contribute. At that time, I was the only person who’d ever written any fiction for the game — a fantasy football contest in which the fantasy consists of pitting elves, dwarves, orcs, ogres, vampires, skeletons, and so on against each other on the football field. To that point, my work included four novels and a five comic books that had been collected into a graphic novel, the last of which had appeared in 2009.

I wanted to turn it down. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have a lot of time for short fiction these days, but hey, the chance to return to a setting and characters I’d written so much about so long ago was too tempting for me to pass up. So I wrote “The Hack Attack,” in which Jim Johnson and Bob Bifford of Cabalvision fame interview Dirk Hoffnung for a special live edition of their show Where Are They Now? As it says on the tin:

The top-ranked Cabalvision show Where are They Now? is turning its attention to one of the greatest Blood Bowl teams of the past – the Bad Bay Hackers. What are the players up to now – did Dunk and Spinne ever tie the knot, did Edgar ever put down roots, and what possible employment could the ogre M’Grash K’Thragsh find after retiring from the game? As for Dirk, now team captain and co-coach, what are his plans once he retires and how will these impact on Jim and Bob, the eternally cheerful Cabalvision co-presenters?

Catch up with the stars of the Bad Bay Hackers in this wonderful retrospective by Blood Bowl novels author Matt Forbeck.

The story, which debuts today, is on sale now for $4.99. It’s a great way to catch up with the characters from the novels and comics and learn what they’ve been up to since we last saw them. And, as you should know if you love Blood Bowl like I do, it’s full of bad jokes and over-the-top violence as well. I hope you enjoy!



My Gen Con Schedule

If you know me, you know how much I’m looking forward to Gen Con 50. My schedule for it is already filling up. It’s not all been announced yet, but here’s what’s on the slate so far:

Wednesday, August 16

  • The Diana Jones Award party. (This is a private affair I host every year for industry professionals. If you’re one and don’t know about it, ping me for details.)

Thursday, August 17

Friday, August 18

Saturday, August 19

Sunday, August 20

  • Playing games with my kids.
  • Heading home!

Registration starts on Sunday, so get your wish list filled fast. I’ll see you there!

Go See Of Dice and Men!

This week, I’m heading to the Nexus Game Fair, and I hope to see you there. Either way, if you can make it over to Madison, Wisconsin, this weekend or the next, do yourself a grand favor and go see Of Dice and Men at the Bartlett Theatre. I went to see it with my daughter, Helen, on Saturday night, and it was fantastic.

It’s the story of a long-time gaming group hitting a crisis point that’s gong to determine the fate of both its players and their characters. If you’re a gamer, you’ll love all the references and in-jokes, but you don’t need to have ever rolled a d20 to appreciate the great job the cast and crew do with the damn fine script. While gaming makes the framework for the story, it touches on universal themes like love, loyalty, and friendship, making it the kind of play that anyone can appreciate.

And hey, it includes pretty stunning cardboard-box dragon as part of the set too.

Helen and I loved it.

Producer Justin Schober had asked me to do a talkback after the show, and about a third of the audience stuck around to chat while I sat on stage with Justin and the cast. I had a wonderful time cheering on gaming and explaining some of its history, and Justin and the cast were warm, funny, and fun.

The show continues this weekend, May 25 through 28, and then it concludes next weekend, June 1 through 3. 

Tomorrow night, May 25, and my friend Skip Williams of Dungeons & Dragons fame is hosting the talkback. My pal John Kovalic (of Dork Tower, Munchkin, and Apples to Apples renown) steps up to help after the May 26 show. The playwright himself, Cameron McNary, will be there after the performance on May 27.

If you can manage it, find some time to see it. You’ll love it too.


Worldbuilders at Gen Con

My friend Pat Rothfuss is a top-notch, best-selling fantasy author, but he’s also the man in charge of Worldbuilders, a charity that gathers geeks together to do some good in the world by raising money for Heifer International, Mercy Corps, and First Book. On Friday afternoon at Gen Con (August 18), Pat and his crew are putting on a gaming party with 18 different gaming and fantasy luminaries running a variety of games.

You can find the full list here (although you’ll need to be signed into your Gen Con account to read it). It includes games with Dan Wells, Mike Selinker, Mike Underwood, Brian McClellan, Steve Drew, Mike Mearls, Bruce Cordell, Brad Beaulieu, Max Temkin, Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Maxwell Alexander Drake, Susan Morris, Karen Bovenmyer, Kelly Swails, James Ernest, and (of course) Pat Rothfuss. Plus me.

Most of the guests are playing various board and card games, although Mearls will be running Dungeons & Dragons, of course. Selinker will be running Apocrypha, which I wrote the original story bible for. Pat and I also helped out on it writing the flavor text for the base set.

I’ll be playing Exploding Kittens by Matthew Inman (the Oatmeal) and Elan Lee. It’s a great little game that was funded by the most-backed Kickstarter of all time. My kids and I have played it loads of time, and I’m sure we’ll all have a blast (HA!) with it at the party too.

Seats at these tables are pricey, at $130 each, but all proceeds go toward Worldbuilders. If you can afford it, it’s your chance to have some fun and do some good at the same time.

Tickets go on sale on Sunday, and I suspect they’ll go fast. Go get your events added to your Gen Con wish list, so you can be first in line when registration opens.

Nexus Game Fair 2017

This weekend, come see me in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the Nexus Game Fair. I’ll be a guest of honor there again, along with a fantastic list of other gaming luminaries. My schedule looks like this:

  • Saturday, 2 PM: Crowdfunding (a seminar about how to get it done)
  • Saturday, 4 PM: Writing for Worlds: Navigating IPs (a seminar with Rob Weiland)
  • Saturday, 6 PM: Pitching: Getting a Publisher’s Attention (a seminar on how to pitch your ideas to publishers)
  • Sunday, 12 PM: Brave New Worlds demo.
  • Sunday, 2 PM: Brave New Worlds demo.

For those last two, you might have heard that I’m planning to run a Kickstarter for a second edition of my Brave New World RPG, which was first published back in 1999. Those two events will be me getting my feet wet in real time with the game system once again as I prepare for the new edition. Expect to watch me flounder my way through the old rules as I get ready for the next version. It’ll be fun either way — I hope!

Anyhow, if you’re anywhere near Milwaukee, come on out and play some games!

Gaming on Stage: Of Dice and Men

Tomorrow night (May 20), join me at the Mercury Players Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin, for a performance of Of Dice and Men. I don’t have anything to do with the play itself, which was written by Cameron McNary and directed by Suzan Curry, but I’ll be there after the show for a talkback segment about games, gamers, and gaming.

There’s a great article by Aaron Conklin about the play over at Madison Magazine.

If you’re not able to make it tomorrow, you have lots of great options still. Opening night is tonight, which is always fun. Skip Williams (of D&D fame) tackles the talkback after the May 25th show. John Kovalic (of Dork Tower, Munchkin, and many other things) stands up for the chat on May 26. And Cameron himself handles that duty the night of May 27th.

With my son Marty going off to the University of Wisconsin—Madison in the fall, you can probably expect to see a bit more of me up in Madison over the next few years. Next up after Of Dice and Men, though, is the Nexus Game Fair in Milwaukee next weekend. Hope to see you there too!

Halo Signing at C2E2!

This weekend is C2E2, the biggest comic and geek convention in Chicago. I don’t make it down there every year, but this year, I’m blasting in on Saturday to sign Halo: New Blood and Halo: Fractures at the Simon & Schuster booth (#518).

The signing starts at 5 PM. I won’t be around too long, so if you want my signature on that book—or anything else—don’t be shy. Grab me and put me to work!

Whether you have a book for me or not, I hope to see you there. It’s always a fun show

Aliens: Bug Hunt Out Now

I’ve pretty much given up on writing short stories. I love writing them, but they just take too long to work on, especially compared to the kind of progress I can make on a novel instead. Just think of all the groundwork that goes into writing a story: coming up with characters, doing research, and so on. And then you have the choice between writing a 5,000-word short story or a 90,000-word novel. The novel makes a lot more sense.

Sometimes, though, an offer comes along that’s too good to refuse. When bestselling author Jonathan Maberry asked me if I’d be interested in writing a short story set in the Aliens universe for an upcoming anthology he was editing, my heart shouted out “Hell, yes!” long before my brain could cut me off.

Sometimes, you gotta listen to your heart instead. So, yesterday the anthology finally came out. It’s called Aliens: Bug Hunt, and it features stories from a fantastic platoon of writers, including Brian Keene, Christopher Golden, Dan Abnett, David Farland, Heather Graham, James A. Moore, Jonathan Maberry, Keith R. A. DeCandido, Larry Correia, Marina Lostetter and Mike Resnick, Paul Kupperberg, Rachel Caine, Ray Garton, Scott Sigler, Tim Lebbon, Weston Ochse, and Yvonne Navarro. If you need something to warm yourself up for Aliens: Covenant, this is the book for you. Go grab it!