Back from Gen Con and it was amazing. I’ve been to the show a few times before, mainly as a way to network — which is nearly impossible at the show for people new to the industry — and as part of a company. Now that I have several works published (and was there as a part of a company’s booth staff), network is so much easier.

I spoke with Tracy Barnett about this ((If you only know of him from my blog as the guy whose questions about gaming were what I used in last year’s #RPGaDAY posts, he’s also the person behind Iron Edda, Karthun, and other cool games though Exploding Rogue Studios.)) and we’re certain Origins is where new to the field people should go to make contacts within the industry. A follow-up conversation with Robin Laws reiterated this. Origins is a gaming convention that’s connected to a large hotel, so you can walk about twenty-five feet and there’s everyone. At Gen Con, hotels are scattered throughout the downtown area. Want to run into someone you would like to work with? You’ll actually be able to chat with them at Origins.

But back to Gen Con.

I was busy the entire show. My flights in were slightly delayed — the Diana Jones Award was announced as I was picking up my luggage — and my flight out required me to leave during the last few hours of the convention. In between, I was boothing and attending industry events. And walking. And walking. And walking.

I dropped a few business cards off with non-roleplaying people this year, looking to get into book or magazine layout, although the two book/magazine prospects are longshots — one said they weren’t thinking about doing one as a project, but did seem interested, the other took the card, so inroads were made at least.

I also pitched the Deckbuilding Mechfighting Game to publishers. One said it was a good pitch and sounded positive, the other sounded somewhat interested.

At the John Wick Presents dinner, I saw Mike Stackpole at the bar and we invited him over. ((Mike is one of my heroes in the gaming industry for writing the Pulling Report, which debunked nearly all the claims behind the driving force of the Satanic Panic in the 1980’s. Although Mike told me we’d still be here in the gaming industry now, it just would have been slower to reach this point, it’s my contention that he saved gaming.)) I wound up hearing some fun gamer stories involving Names In The Business.

Oh, and I won a few ENnies. Four, in fact. Silver for Best Production Values (Unknown Armies), Gold for Best Free Product (7th Sea Basic Rules) in which John Wick pulled me up to the stage and gave me the gold medal, Silver for Best Game (7th Sea), and Silver for Product of the Year (7th Sea Core Rulebook). ((7th Sea also won Silver for Best Rules, which I’m not a part of, and Silver for Best Supplement — Pirate Nations, which Hal Mangold laid out.)) ((The image over there is my total ENnie haul, including the bronze Judge Spotlight awards from 2015 for Posthuman Pathways and Firefly.))

Immediately afterwards, people started handing me business cards.

Again, it was amazing. People would introduce me to others in the field with compliments like “This is Thomas. You should hire him.” and talking about how I hit deadlines and do great work.

Gifts were purchased, games for the family gotten, people were hugged.

And then I had to leave.

…it felt like this was my first real Gen Con as a professional. This was the first one where I didn’t feel alone in a crowd of strangers who share the same interests as I. This was the best Gen Con I experienced.

I hope to return.

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