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 Post subject: Gen Con 2009 Recap
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 8:38 pm 
Cold-Hearted Immortal

Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 12:41 pm
Posts: 2701
Location: San Jose, CA
Another Gen Con come and gone! Finally getting caught up on things after returning from Indy, I figured it was time to start jotting down some thoughts from the show.

First of all, it was a good show. I think a lot of vendors were nervous about the economy coming into the big event, but traffic was strong and sales were good.

The "elephant in the room" was Pathfinder, and there were gamers running at top speed when the hall opened Thursday to claim their copy. Things went well for Paizo, which I'm glad to see on a couple levels. First, for all those claiming "RPG's are dead or dying" -- touche. If you design it, they will come. Secondly, let's make this real clear: The Edition Wars Are Over. Period. Play the game you love, and move on.

I personally experienced a Gen Con First this year: getting trapped in an elevator. And don't listen to Dave Kenzer when he tells you about the pregnant woman! It was me, my wife, and 10 other gamers stuck in the Westin between floors 2 and 3. This is one of those events where going in you have no idea if it will be a 5-minute laugh or an hours-long nightmare. Fortunately the Westin was quick to respond as well as the Indianapolis fire department. They opened the top of the elevator like a sardine can and we climbed up a narrow ladder, women and children first, then balanced between scaffolding and firemens' hands to escape. Climbing out through the elevator shaft was my "Die Hard" moment, but the 90 minutes that came before were very, very long.

So, what else? Here are some random thoughts in no particular order:
  • The trade-in offer. It went over great. We took in several hundred 3E books and gave out credit to our other titles in return. Most people were trading in for 4E books. If you're a gamer who missed Gen Con, be aware that your local game store may offer a similar trade-in offer. I know this because we had a slew of offers from retailers to buy the 3E books off us. In the end the 3E books went back to a retailer to re-enter circulation among the gaming community.
  • Ed Greenwood's Fantastic Worlds. We announced this at the show, coming in 2010. This is gonna be FUN. Ed's a great guy to work with and this series is something gamers can really use. Get ready for a new level of inspiration in your games. More at our site:
  • How To Write Adventure Modules That Don’t Suck. This thing’s a hit – who knew? We printed up some booklets of advice based on our Gen Con seminar series and sold through the whole print run at the show. I think this subject matter has earned its way into broader distribution.
  • 1E modules. Both our own con special and the first Black Blade adaptation sold well. There were a few extra copies of the DCC #36 1E edition left over, which will be available from the Black Blade Publishing web site after the show –
  • Level Up #2. Wow, talk about popular. Looks great and sold out by Saturday. Need to bring more next year.
  • Eladrin and Tiefling. The next two books in the Hero’s Handbook series, which is starting to shape up well. Both great reads with a lot of new options for PCs.
  • Friends, old and new. One thing about Gen Con, it keeps getting better with age; you get to know more people the longer you go, and it’s great to see them again.
  • The 2009 Dungeon Crawl Classics Open Tournament. Biggest ever – 200 people signed up – and went extremely well. This may have been our smoothest ever, too. Kudos to Adrian and the judges for another job well done. This year the adventure differed from the traditional format, and allow me to throw a tidbit to the wind when I say this may be the beginning of some fun changes to format for future years. Hint hint.
  • DCC #63: The Warbringer’s Son. When we ran the first DCC tournament a pattern started, one that I enjoy seeing repeated. Each year at Gen Con, participants in the previous year’s tournament swing by to pick the newly released publication of the last year’s tournament. DCC #63 was no exception, and I enjoyed watching the past players read it at the booth, re-living their experiences from last year, checking their scores, reading about what lay beyond the rooms they reached.
  • Gaming. Believe it or not, this is the first Gen Con at which I’ve had the chance to game in – years? As long as I can remember. I played several good games of Carcassonne and got the chance to play in an Xcrawl game DJ’d by Brendan. We fought off the beer golem and beat the bumper car room using Brendan’s new Xcrawl rules, which will be published next year. I made a new resolution to make sure to get in more gaming at Gen Con next year.
  • BeerCon. BEERCON!!! Why does Xcrawl make me think of Beer? Anyway, we threw our sixth annual Gen Con industry party, affectionately called BeerCon, and it was fun as always. I was late to my own party because I was stuck in that damn elevator, but our partners in beer, the Trolls and RPGNow, got the party started and I stuck around to help it close.
  • Erol Otus’s new cover. Man, it looks good. It’s on Dungeon Crawl Classics #C9: Tomb of the Blind God, our 2009 convention module. Soon I’ll get around to posting a picture. It turned out great.
  • The $1,000 Module. Our other con announcement. Think you’re smart enough to beat a dungeon? Beat the riddles in this dungeon and you’ll win $1,000. Visit our web site for the full scoop:
  • The Ultimate Unofficial Collector’s Guide to D&D. My pick for the coolest non-Goodman product I saw at the show. Right now this is only available at cons, but don’t despair, as I intend to help bring it to a larger audience.
  • Talking about games, games, and more games. Whether it was the drive down or at the booth or at dinner or at BeerCon or somewhere else, Gen Con spawns more great game conversation and gaming ideas than anything else I do.
  • Fun podcasts. Had some great sessions with RPGBomb (see ... an-part-1/ and ... an-part-2/ ). Recorded several others that I haven’t seen posted yet – will post links when I see them.
  • What am I forgetting? Something, I’m sure. When it comes to mind I’ll post it here.

Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games

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