Best GenCon Ever

Wandering around the con, I heard a lot of people saying “Best GenCon ever.” I assume they say that every year, although I’ve never really noticed. It stood out to me this year, though, because for me it’s totally true. And I can’t honestly ever imagine it being topped. I don’t say this out of some defeatist “I’ve reached my pinnacle and it’s all downhill from here” attitude but because in life things seldom align so perfectly, and I’m going remember GenCon 2011 for the rest of my life. My wedding day, the births of my children, the Friday of GenCon 2011—these will always be in the top ten days of my entire life.

The whole con was incredible. I could wax poetic for a long time about the games I played and the many cool people I talked to, and maybe (hopefully) I actually will do that soon. But for this post I want to record the things that made Friday, August 5, 2011 one of the best days ever.

Any day that starts out with playing Apocalypse World with Jason Morningstar, Tiara and Adrian Agresta, and Clark Valentine and only goes up from there has to be pretty incredible. We found this awesome nook on the second floor of the Downtown Marriott which was just perfectly designed for a small group game—private, quiet, and comfy. We had lots of fun and it was a good introduction for me to a game I’ve heard so much about but never had a chance to play.

After that, Clark and I went down to Margaret Weis Productions’ Capes, Capers, and Cannons seminar. To prepare, I needed to change into a Marvel T-shirt in a hurry. Not sure where the restrooms were, I wandered down a deadend hallway until I found a sheltered doorway. Seconds later I emerged in true superhero fashion, my secret identity as the Managing Editor of the Marvel RPG safely hidden beneath a snap front shirt. The big reveal was exciting—some of us have been sitting on this info for awhile, and it’s great to finally get to share. The buzz from this extended through the rest of the convention, too, which was really fun. Getting to meet some of the team I hadn’t met before and getting to hang out again with those I had was also cool. Man, there’s a great team on this project!

I also got to talk about the Smallville High School Yearbook, which was a thrill for me. This was the first book I was the project manager for, and I have never been more anxious about how a book would be received. The team on that book was incredible, but all of the final decisions were mine (a new experience for me)—thus everything good is thanks to my team and everything bad is due to me. This isn’t “feel sorry for me and tell me my book is awesome” pouting—it’s just the reality of project management and it made me completely neurotic as I waited to hear what people thought of the book (ask Cam Banks—he had to put up with my neurosis!). Of course, as a supplement, it debuted rather quietly. What I did hear was really good, but I guess I was hoping it would garner a bit more buzz. At GenCon, where I got to see it hard copy for the first time in all its puffy-cover yearbook glory, people were almost as excited as I was. It’s always such a relief to know that your pride in something you’ve worked on isn’t misplaced!

And speaking of that…Friday evening was the ENnie Awards. Wow. Just…wow. The Dresden Files RPG was up for 6 awards, and it took home 2 silver (Best Production Values, Product of the Year) and 4 gold (Best Writing, Best Rules, Best New Game, Best Game). We figured we’d bring home a few, but…wow. This was beyond our wildest dreams. I think the best part about all of the awards for Dresden is the validation that the work we put in was worth it. We probably could have gotten the game out a bit sooner than we did, but we decided we were really going to do this right, and people seem to recognize and appreciate that. I’m glad that what we made was worth waiting for. And of course, sharing the experience with Fred Hicks, Ryan Macklin, and Clark was really amazing. We also had a dream date for the evening, Keaton (I’m afraid I forget his last name), who was a lot of fun and a really good sport.

The Smallville RPG wasn’t nominated for an ENnie this year, which even people less biased than I am thought was an oversight. A wonderful surprise of the evening was that ENnies judge CW Richeson gave the Smallville RPG his Judges’ Spotlight Award!

The rest of the evening is a blur of congratulations and conversations and the realization that I’ve really made it in my chosen field. It was an incredible validation of my decision to start editing full time. If only all major life choices had such obvious endorsements!

So, anyway, yeah. Best GenCon ever. It’s hard to see how events could ever again conspire to be so perfect. I called my mom Friday evening, giddy and rambling about everything that had happened that day. With the joy obvious in her voice, she said, “Oh, sweetheart, I don’t really understand what you’re telling me, but I’m so happy for you!” That means the world to me, Mom.

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