GenCon for this year is done, and as promised, here is this year’s break down on how things went and what we’ve got to look forward to.
Firstly, a big thank you to everyone who played in one of our demos, showed up to our panel, came to talk to us at the booth, and especially those who decided to pick up one or more of our products. As I’ve said many times before, things like this can’t happen without your support, and it means the world to us to see people enjoying and excited about the games we put so much effort into. I was especially pleased and gratified to hear from several people who have been following 1879, and all the positive feedback with how the line has been progressing since I took over as line developer. I was also quite happy to see a lot of new players at our demos, and that a fair number of them were interested in coming by the booth to pick up books for themselves. It’s fantastic to see the line growing, and I hope all of the newcomers stick around and add their feedback on our continued development.
As a quick aside on that note, thank you to everyone who has given their feedback so far (including a few who did so at GenCon) regarding last week’s post and my discussion on wanting to update the character sheets. There have been a few points and ideas presented, and I think I have a general direction to go in for what will be most useful, but by all means, please continue to share your ideas. This won’t be a simple project, and I’ll be sharing prototypes from time to time as I get the sheet put together, so watch this space for further updates.
Before jumping off of thank yous, I want to give a special shout out to Kelly’s Heroes, who ran some 1879 demos of their own, and have done so for us in the past. It’s always helpful having a street team wanting to run demos on their own, but it was especially helpful this year since I didn’t have anyone else from my team at GenCon this year to help with running company demos. This game would not have had anywhere near as much of a presence in the demo rooms if not for them, and their work is truly appreciated.
For my general thoughts on the convention: this year seemed much more subdued than previous, but I actually liked that more. The general vibe of the convention seemed more relaxed, it felt like we had some more elbow room in the dealer’s hall and on the street. Part of that I’m sure is because I’m comparing to the 50 year anniversary in my recent memory, and Covid likely also played a large part in that. Things were definitely still busy (and I especially was moving constantly given that I didn’t have anyone else from the company to run games for me this year), but even with the business I felt like I had space between events to just breathe and take a moment before charging back into the fray.
The vest worked out quite well, as did having all my books and demo materials in a rolling case. I was able to keep everything I needed on me without putting extra strain on my back, and the case was much easier to manage behind the booth than a backpack. I did have some issues with a few of my pins not wanting to stay on; I’ve gotten some better backs for those that use a set screw to hold them on rather than just tension, and I think that will hold up much better. I tracked down a few patches as well as ordering some in post, so I can fill it in more once I have some time to sew. One issue I do need to work on is ventilation; the vest has absolutely no breatheability, which isn’t a problem on the front since that hangs loose, but even without a backpack, my back was quite hot all weekend. I’ve already made plans to pick up a few PC fans that I can power with a battery bank (and possibly some solar panels). I used a neck mounted fan this year, which helped immensely in the very hot weather we had, so I think building this sort of setup into the vest will help improve things over all. The vest will definitely make a comeback next con.
The demos went very well. Despite giving myself only two hours, I was able to get everyone through the demo successfully in that time (except for one group who were particularly interested in looking through the books, but there weren’t any schedule conflicts after the time slot, so I let them have at it and ran that one a bit long). Even so, two hours was cutting it fairly tight, so I do want to set future demos at a minimum of three hours. This will mean that I can’t run as many demos myself, though I’m hoping I can get some help next year to alleviate that issue. This was the first year writing the convention scenario entirely myself, and while everyone enjoyed it and I didn’t run into any major hurdles, I do have a few improvements I want to make to both the current writing for it and for future demos. Given that the Saurids Sourcebook should be completed and in print by next year, I think next year’s demo is going to focus on them. It’s been a while since we did a Saurids scenario anyway.
Last but certainly not least, Sunny, our emotional support officer, while he definitely had a fun time staying with my mother, was quite happy to see me and to return home.
I believe that should just about cover everything I wanted to touch on. Now it’s back to finishing Saurids on the Grosvenor Express and getting both it and Fort Alice printed. Look forward to previews as we get it completed!