96 hours of Gen Con

Well, I didn’t game all those hours, but I managed to get in more than any of my previous five GenCon trips. The difference was this was the first time I was attending in a semi-civilian role — where in past years, I’d had a booth to work, this time, I was there as a freelancer promoting a book — and otherwise, to enjoy the show.

Both were done — the first, by appearing at the Star Wars Role-Playing panel along with Sterling Hershey, my coauthor on the Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide, and Rob Watkins, designer of the KOTOR miniatures supplement. Both products released at the show, and we took a good hour-plus of questions from the audience. That’s Rob, Sterling, and me below, during the slideshow. (And, no, I didn’t make the joke “Rob. Sterling. I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone.” Thankfully, it did not come to me until now!)

Anyway, over to the gaming side of things, this was a special event because two members of my high school gaming group, Robert and Mike, were able to make it in for the weekend, making it the first time the three of us had been at GenCon. (That’s them at the end of the table at center, below, playing Lunch Money, which was just about the only thing I won — apart from making the Monopoly finals again. I eventually went out in one of the strangest cash-poor games I’ve ever seen.)

I fared far more poorly at the Diplomacy tournament — there’s the rest of the players carving up what was left of my meager holdings, below — as it had been many years since I’d looked at the openings. I don’t know if I’ll do it again, in any event; while I was obsessed with the game in graduate school, somehow, after doing a dozen-plus years working at a corporation, the whole backstabbing theme is a little less enjoyable. (By contrast, I got in a couple of games of Illuminati, the original, which I enjoyed very much; at least in that, you know there’s no such thing as an alliance that lasts more than a minute!)

We did come in a close-second in a Wits and Wagers event — a pretty interesting mix of trivia and gambling, that — not quite a substitute for the cancelled poker tournament, but fun enough. And I was disappointed that the couple that bring the giant Kingmaker board couldn’t make it, but we did manage to get a pick-up game of Supremacy going late one night — possibly the only such appearance of the game there, from what I heard from onlookers.

And not having gotten to the con in four years it was good to see some of the game community folks I don’t normally see — and it was good to catch up with Michael Stackpole again, whom I hadn’t seen since early 2006, just before Knights launched. He’s got a new novel trilogy in the works — as well as the Conan movie novelization coming up.