My favorite aspect of Gen Con more and more is the relationships. Each year I attend, I find I purchase fewer items and spend more time hanging out with friends and family. I really enjoy having my wife and daughters with me at the convention. My daughters worked the Stronghold booth with me each day, which is such a fun experience to share with them. I get to share what goes on behind the scenes with them and spend hours sharing a hobby together we are all passionate about. As in previous years, I got to meet face-to-face for the first time people I have only known online. Now I have a face and a voice to associate with all those messages we bounce around. 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, many of which stopped by the booth while we were working to say hello. 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.

This was our first year working the Stronghold Games booth and events. We did stop by the Modiphius booth to say hello and spend some time chatting with our friends we worked with in previous years. My daughters and I were heartily welcomed by the Stronghold Games and IBC staff and volunteers, and quickly found our new groove. We set up the booth on Tuesday, practiced demos on Wednesday, demoed and worked retail afternoons Thursday through Sunday, helped run the Thursday night Rock and Roll and Write Launch Party, then dismantled the booth on Sunday. We had so much fun working the Stronghold Games booth. Also came to realize how much lighter boxes of board games are compared to boxes of RPG books. So much easier to move around! Demoing board games was also a lot of fun. In previous years with Modiphius, I helped with retail and talking to fans. Those were quicker conversations, more about marketing. Demoing games for Stronghold gave me a chance to sit with a few people at a time for a longer period. I had more time to chat with them, find out how their convention is going, and get to know their friends and family with them. I found that more personal time demoing a wonderful experience, and added to the relational aspects of Gen Con I like so much.

On Wednesday this year, we attended the academic sessions of Trade Day for the first time. My daughters are studying to be a high school teacher and a librarian, and I teach courses in Game Studies and Game Writing/Editing at the college level, so Trade Day has interested us for years. Working with Stronghold Games freed up our schedule to attend Trade Day. We attended some great sessions on accessible gaming, rpgs in the classroom, science education using games, and a forum on the future of Trade Day. We also made contacts with many others who use games in the classroom and in libraries. We will definitely be attending Trade Day sessions next year. I am even thinking of submitting a workshop related to the game studies classes I have been teaching.

At the ENnies this year (which I didn’t get a chance to attend), two projects I worked on as a proofreader with Chaosium won awards: Miskatonic University: The Restricted Collection won Silver for Best RPG-Related Product and The Glorantha Sourcebook won Gold for Best Supplement. Even more exciting, my former Writing & Editing for Gaming student Olivia “Lauritzen” Mitchem had a Chaosium project she was proofreader on win two ENnies: Terror Australis won Gold for Best Cover and Silver for Best Setting. So proud to see my former students succeeding in the industry!

The Gen Con and SpringHill Suites staff once again outdid themselves to make this an amazing experience for my family. The Gen Con Special Services desk and staff really made my wife feel welcome and assisted so much without accessibility needs. And the hotel staff, especially Annie this year, really treated us like cherished guests. Gen Con has over 70,000 unique attendees now, yet we felt personally cared for throughout the event. Huge thanks to all the staff and volunteers who make that happen.

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 at Gen Con. As a way to say thank you for our years of good experiences at Gen Con and an understanding of the challenges of accessibility, this year I had Wheelchair Charioteer badge ribbons printed. I handed them out as I had opportunity to speak to others in wheelchairs or power chairs. I took the time to thank them and their caregivers for attending Gen Con and encouraged them, as we empathize and understand the challenges they are facing when they attend Gen Con. I met so many amazing people while handing out those ribbons and will do it next year again.

Gen Con 2019 was an incredible experience. Each year I cannot imagine how the next year can be even better, but it is. Here is a photo essay of my experiences at Gen Con 2019. Sorting through my photos always helps me remember the moments and solidify them in my memory. Enjoy a glimpse of the fun my family and I had at Gen Con this year.

Gen Con 2019 - Picture of Family in Van
The van is loaded and the Knights are excited to head to Gen Con!
Gen Con 2019 - Setting up Stronghold Games Booth
On Tuesday, we helped set up the Stronghold Games booth (with the help of some IBC staff).
Gen Con 2019 - Stronghold Games booth all set up.
Once the booth floor and furnishings are set up, we put up the banners and prep stock. SO MUCH easier moving boxes of board games than rpgs.
Gen Con 2019 - Feng Shui 2 Kit
I have compiled a portable Feng Shui 2 One Shot Kit for when I travel. Wednesday evening I ran a one shot for my daughter, Emily, set in the world of Harry Potter.
Gen Con 2019 - T.R. and Tony McRee of RTDN.
Much of Gen Con is spending time with friends. Tony McRee of Rolling Dice and Taking Names and I have been getting to know each other over the years at events like this and through social media. I always look him up at Gen Con.
Gen Con 2019 - T.R. and Suzanne Sheldon
Suzanne Sheldon has been a guest speaker in my Writing & Editing Class and a great friend online. Was wonderful to finally get to spend some time with her in person.
Gen Con 2019 - Steve and Maren Oksienik with Knight Family
The past couple of Gen Cons we have met with Steve and Maren Oksienik in passing and keep wanting to get to know each other better. This year, we had breakfast most mornings together getting to know each other and played games Saturday night. A true friendship has formed and we are hoping to get together outside of Gen Con soon.
Gen Con 2019 - Analog Game Studies book covers
Angie and I attended a workshop on Analog Games in Academia that was fascinating and has led to information and contacts for the Game Studies courses I teach.
Gen Con 2019 - Stronghold Games booth active during con
The Stronghold Games booth was almost always full of people demoing games. I spent most of the week demoing Dizzle while my daughters worked retail or demoed Amul, Second Chance, or Brikks.
Gen Con 2019 - Michael Riddle and T.R.
Michael Riddle represented InnRoads Ministries at Gen Con this year as the Honorary Dwarf Bard. He also helped me host an InnRoads The Tavern meetup Saturday evening that was very well attended. So great to get to know fellow Christian gamers and industry people.
Gen Con 2019 - Emily demoing games
I find it a blessing that I can share Gen Con and my gaming hobby with my daughters. Fun to see Emily here demoing games.
Gen Con 2019 - Rachel working the booth
Rachel prefers running the retail side of the booth, but she does a wonderful job demoing games as well.
Gen Con 2019 - Thursday night Stronghold Games Event
Thursday evening, Bill Bricker and I helped run the Stronghold Games’ Rock and Roll and Write Launch Party. He and I dressed like rock concert roadies with custom shirts I had made. My daughters dressed up and helped demo the roll & write games while I managed the demo teams and filled in as needed. Stephen Buonocore came as Elton John, even singing songs multiple times. I love working for this publisher. So much fun!
Gen Con 2019 - Knight family demoing Letter Jam
An unexpected highlight for my family was finding a time slot open to demo Letter Jam with Paul Grogan. We loved the game and picked it up. Paul is a fellow game rules editor and friend, so it was extra special to have him demo the game for my family.
Gen Con 2019 - T.R. and Travis Hill
Travis Hill is a fellow rulebook editor that I have gotten to know over the years. We always seem to randomly bump into each other at Gen Con and have a few minutes to chat and catch up on each other’s projects.
Gen Con 2019 - T.R. and Chaosium
This fall I am teaching a new course called Tabletop Game Writing Lab at Taylor University and Chaosium is collaborating with me to help the students write a Call of Cthulhu Adventure Module. Michael O’Brien and Mike Mason met with me during Gen Con to finalize the class schedule and to discuss our collaboration.
Gen Con 2019 - Angie and Andy Looney
My wife and I love Fluxx games, so each Gen Con we try to pick up their newest game and Angie likes to meet Andy Looney to get him to sign our new game. This year, we picked up Star Trek DS9 Fluxx.
Gen Con 2019 - T.R. and Crystal Pisano
Crystal Pisano of Board Game Blitz attended Gen Con this year and was nervous. So Emily and I made it a point to keep encouraging her, waving at her in the nearby Dice Tower Booth, and running over for random hugs when we had short breaks. It made for a fun adventure!
Gen Con 2019 - Knight family at hotel
Each morning at breakfast at the SpringHill Suites there was this jubilant gatekeeper checking to be sure people were registered in the hotel. She adopted my family and helped us out to make our stay a wonderful one. She even went and got decaf tea for Emily and called her My Tea Girl the rest of the week. We had to get a picture together.
Gen Con 2019 - Knight family at Christian Worship Service
A highlight every year of Gen Con for us is the Christian Worship Service, hosted by the Christian Gamers Guild. Sitting in room full of geeks, cosplayers, gamers, etc and singing worship songs, praising God, and fellowshipping together is so heartwarming and a great opening to the final day of Gen Con.
Gen Con 2019 - Tearing down Stronghold Games booth
Sunday after the Exhibit Hall closes we tear down the booth. But, that is also time for some Exhibitor trading and saying goodbye to friends we likely won’t see until next year. Hard work but a fun time of fellowship as well.
Gen Con 2019 - Final farewells
Once the booth was torn down and packed up, we said our final farewells to Bill Bricker and Stephen Buonocore. We had an amazing time working the booth with them this year and look forward to years to come.
Gen Con 2019 - Haul
The obligatory Gen Con haul picture. Most of these things were free items, gifts, or trades from working the booth. I find the more I attend the less stuff I purchase and the more time I spend with people building relationships.

What were your Gen Con 2019 highlights?

NOTE: I will keep recommending to any Gen Con attendees. Purchase high quality shoes that you break in ahead of the show. They will save your feet and back. Also, follow 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 before evening events). Drink LOTS of water, not just coffee/energy drinks/soft drinks/alcohol. I know many people who do the late night partying/drinking/gaming and eat all the fun rich and greasy 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 find I have way more energy all week. This year we brought a cooler and bin of food and ate quite a few meals and snacks in our hotel room. The bananas and peaches were wonderful mid day energy boosts. Feeling better meant I was friendlier and more emotionally strong throughout the convention.

My Gen Con 2019

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