“FUTURE T.R., DON’T GO TO WORK THE DAY AFTER GEN CON! REST AND RECOVER.” I listened to PAST T.R. and took Monday after Gen Con off, and it was wonderful. All the unpacking, laundry, and chores are caught up at home and I am back on track at work already as well. I also managed to forgo con crud and foot pain this year. I vowed to stay healthier this year to better enjoy the con and recover more quickly afterwards. I purchased a nicer pair of walking shoes than I ever had and they were worth every penny. My feet were stiff (what do you expect after 30 miles of walking and hours upon hours standing in the booth) but not in pain or numb after the show like previous years. As of today (Wednesday), my feet feel great again. So, I highly recommend quality shoes that you break in ahead of the show. I also followed a 6+/3/1 model for each day getting at least six hours of sleep, three healthier meals, and one shower (many times a second after working the booth). I know many people who do the late night partying/gaming and eat all the fun foods, but as I get older I find I have to pace myself better. Sleeping well and eating more fruits and vegetables with less heavy foods and desserts, I found I had way more energy all week, I was friendlier and more emotionally strong, enjoyed my time in the booth more than previous years, and recovered so quickly upon returning home. If you are a con goer, then find the pace that works for you. You might not get to do everything, but what you do participate in you will enjoy more if you stay healthy and energetic.
And with that greater health and energy, 2018 once again managed to exceed my expectations! Like previous years, my favorite aspect of Gen Con is spending time with people. I really enjoy having my family with me at the convention. My daughters are now 19 and wander the convention on their own. They also worked the Modiphius booth with me each day, which is such a fun experience to share with them. Once again this year, I got to meet face-to-face for the first time people I have only known online. Many of these are publishers and designers are work with on freelance projects. Now I have a face and a voice to associate with all those emails we bound around. It was especially fun meeting all the people from the Innroads Ministries‘ Tavern Facebook Group and the Girls’ Game Shelf Slack Channel. We would seek out each other at booths we were working or at various meetups. Then there is all the game industry and community friends I only get to see once a year at Gen Con. Working in the Exhibit Hall provides wonderful opportunities to meet with publishers, designers, fellow freelancers, personalities, and other booth workers. We are like a big family that look forward to catching up with each other every year. Also enjoyed spending time with friends from college, former students, local friends, and family who stopped by the Modiphius booth to say hello while I was working. Even with all those hours of meeting people, I still missed spending time with some people I wanted to. So much Gen Con, never enough time to see everyone.
We once again put Gen Con, its staff, our hotel, and Indy to the test with regards to accessibility and navigating with a wheelchair. We did so much better this year after everything we learned last year. First off, we have to praise Gen Con and its staff for doing an incredible job with accessibility support. The Special Services desk is there to help with tickets and access to events, the staff greet us kindly and often open doors for us, and the hotel they recommended to us years ago continues to be wonderful for my family. SpringHill Suites has a very accessible facility, with skywalk access, and a staff that really embrace Gen Con. The staff at the hotel also go out of their way to help us enjoy our time and make wheelchair access very comfortable. The convention center continues to be very crowded and only has one Family Bathroom. That said, with patience and scheduling, we have had no issues waiting for the bathroom to become available in time, and we managed over four days to wander every row of the Exhibit Hall and visit many of the publisher-specific rooms as well. We can’t stop at every booth, but we did at least glimpse at every one and stop at many to demo games or purchase items. So many publishers and vendors were so helpful as well. We really want to give shoutouts to Floodgate Games for adjusting their demo of Sagrada so my wife could see it from her wheelchair by bringing it down from the higher table, to Looney Labs for squeezing our wheelchair into their small booth so Angie could play her favorite game (Fluxx) with Andy Looney who designed the game, to Onyx Path having their booth arranged and short enough tables that a wheelchair can roll right up for a demo of a game of Fetch Quest, to Rogue Maille for being patient with us as we stopped by four separate times to shop for and purchase jewelry. Special thank you to all those unknown attendees who paused in the crowds to make a gap for us to move through, opened doors for us to get in and out of the convention center and restaurants, and patiently walked behind us as we slowly made our way through the crowds. Those unnamed people are who have made Gen Con work so well for my family. We also make sure to thank them as we pass and offer our own assistance to others later to pass on the goodwill. We realize others in wheelchairs or with walkers have not always had wonderful experiences as Gen Con. We find that with lots of patience, me pushing the wheelchair acting as a spotter with a very careful eye to our surroundings such as backpacks and fast moving crowds, and our willingness slide out of the way occasionally has worked for us and allowed others around us to not be frustrated by our wheelchair. Thanks to everyone who helped make this a great Gen Con for my wife especially.
Each year Gen Con is so full of wonderful experiences, great gaming, freelance meetings, and more relationship-building. There was a bittersweet element to all the joy at Gen Con this year. With Angie’s changing health, our daughters’ unknown summer schedules in college, and my freelance work heading in other directions, we decided this was the best time for us to step away from the time commitment of booth management for Modiphius. Chris Birch, owner of Modiphius, is a great friend and has been wonderful to work alongside at Gen Con each year. I will miss the close work managing the booth with him each year, but I am also excited to see what new opportunities are ahead of us. We still plan to attend Gen Con in the future and work for some publisher, as we really enjoy the experience of being in a booth, working with others in the game industry, and meeting the fans. We just realized we need to reduce our responsibilities and time commitment, and managing a booth is a huge responsibility and time commitment. We would also like to look into attending Trade Day in the future which occurs on Wednesday, the normal day for booth setup. With my teaching of Game Studies and Writing and Editing for Gaming, one daughter planning to be a librarian, and the other daughter planning to be a high school teacher, the educational use of game sessions during Trade Day interest us so we are looking to attend that if possible in future years. Amazing to look back on the booths I have helped manage five of the past seven Gen Cons. So many fond memories, great people I have worked with, and people I have met who came by the booths. Each year I have had the crew that helped tear down the booth sign the Gen Con official booth sign, and I have each of them in my library. Some of my favorite souvenirs over the years.
For those that attended Gen Con, what are your favorite memories? If you have a blog post or social feed about your experiences please share it. I would love to read about Gen Con from your perspective.