Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wrap up of Gary Con

Phew, finally I can take a minute and fill you in on all things Gary Con.  We got back and hit the ground running on making books, answering emails, etc. and only now can I start to digest all that happened and put it down in words.

First off, the trip up was great, we held a few contests with some trivia and Michael Garcia and John Wright both won a free PDF.  Things like that always help pass the time on a long drive.  Plus we had good weather, sandwich stuff and a cooler full of Dr Pepper.  Unlike last Con, we arrived in plenty of time.  We got in late Thursday evening, unloaded our personal gear and the books we were selling and then decided it was time to have a beer.  So like any good techno geek, I tweeted about it.  And this is why I love technology and our fans: Within a few minutes of that, we had some folks drinking with us that I had been dying to meet since I started working for TLG.  Scott and Heather Johnson, Charley Phipps, and a few others came by to greet us.

The next day we sat up in the Exhibition Hall and people came by and looked at our books and collections.  One of the bestselling items was Towers of Adventure, which is in part why I have it on sale for 3 hour Thursday.  TLG has had a great relationship with Jim Ward for years and have been lucky enough to publish a bunch of his work.  Being new, I had never had the chance to meet him, though I certainly knew of his work.  He would come by the booth when he wasn't running games and just talk.  What a great guy!  Very nice, gracious, humble and just an all around good person.

I think that was the highlight of this Con for me, meeting new people and people I have talked to for a long time on the forums, on facebook, on twitter, etc.  I got to put faces to names -- Rigon, Bloodymage, Sir Osis, Sajflorida, Treebore, Jaybird, Lord Seskis just to name a few.  And I met countless new people, some great new C&C fans and friends, Sean, Patrick, Brooke, Arrow, Mona, Joe, Doug, Roz, Mark, Jennifer, Tim, Kevin, really too many to relist here but the main theme at this Con was how happy everyone was to be there.  They gamed and gamed and we worked and worked until finally Steve had to get in there and game.  It's hard to keep him from gaming at a Con for too long, despite being busy at the booth.  He ran an afternoon game and someone had to man the booth, so I didn't get to see it.

After that, we closed down the booth because we were getting ready to go have dinner with Bill Cousino and Elise Gygax.  They've been close friends of Steve's ever since her father worked with TLG.  They took us out to a place by the lake and we had a great time.  Thanks guys, the next dinner is on us, I insist!

After dinner we all went back to the lodge for drinks and to talk.  Tim Kask came by with his dice tower, trying to put it together, then some guy named Bryan came over with some very funny stories, then Joe Goodman and Doug Kovacs came by.  It was a great time; then Joe convinced us to go play a game called Nuclear War. We went into the open gaming room and played until the wee hours of the night, sharing beers and listening to Steve and Joe trade stories and we all tried to "one up" each other with jokes.

Saturday brought another full day at the booth for me, Steve went to have lunch with Gail Gygax and I sold books, and met more people.  I got to meet GeekPreacher and Manny from Norway, Griz Burnside, all of these people.  Some knew of TLG and some didn't but it didn't matter much, people who love games just love to game.  They would come up to me and talk about the game they were just in, ask about our books, talk to Steve or Jim.  At some point early in the day, someone asked Steve if he was going to run another game.  This turned out to a momentous question...

Because we had so many of our fans there and so many new people interested in the game, Steve decided to run an impromptu game at 6pm.  Well, new people interested in the game would stop by the booth and we'd tell them if they were interested in a new game, Steve was running one at 6.  And of course some of our longtime fans wanted in too.  To make a long story short, by the time the game was rolling, Steve had 18 players all setting up and getting ready to play.  18 players at an RPG table is a LOT of people, but Steve never batted and eye, he just got in there and started laying out the rules and helping the people new to C&C.  In no time the game was up and running. And my main job was to make sure people had what they needed, make sure they were happy, but really all I had to do was bring Steve a Dr Pepper every half hour because they were plenty happy without me.  They had Steve, a great storyteller and master of this game (he is the Troll Lord after all) running the show.  And really, it was a show.  He had them laughing, had people coming from other tables and the halls to check out what was going on.  It was something to watch.  If you come to a Con where we are going to be, I suggest you get in on a game with Steve; it's something you don't want to miss.  The game lasted approximately 5 hours!

After that, we ran out for some food (of course by now it's midnight) and then made it back for a midnight meeting with some potential clients and after that it was a late night party with Luke, Brandon, Alex, Ken, Dale, Chris, a whole slew of people that ran Gary Con. By the way, I can't say enough nice things about the crew running Gary Con.  Dale and Chris helped get us a great table in the exhibition hall and everyone was just very welcoming and helpful.  Thanks to all of you.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, the party.  Well, I'm not going to go much into that here, but suffice it to say there was war hooch, the nastiest thing on earth (I had nightmares about it for days), fire, dancing, people lifting people, and well, you get the idea.  People in Wisconsin know how to PARTY.

After getting to sleep around 4am, we got up early to go have breakfast with Joe and his crew, and John and Jim.  Then we opened the booth for a few hours before we had to make the 12 hour trek back home.  It was truly a very wonderful experience and I can't wait to go back next year.  Thanks to everyone who made it such a good time.  Tim

P.S.  Pictures of this event are at the bottom of this page and some are on Facebook as well.


Heather said...

I agree that the game with Steve was great. Tim you are incorrect we were not happy without you, we had a great time with you as much as Steve. It was again great meeting you both.

Tim Burns said...

Thank you, Heather! That was awfully nice of you to say. It really was a great time.

jen said...

I have to agree with Heather, your presence was indeed desirable and that was an awesome game! I'm not sayin' I'm going to be stalkin' Steve or anything like that, I'm just sayin' that if I'm at a con and he's CK at a game, I'm going to be all over it!

Tim Burns said...

Thanks, Jen! It was a pleasure meeting you and Mark; I hope we see you at another Con soon. I'll post up here where we are going next, but Origins and Gen Con for sure and of course our own Troll Con. Date for that is still in question, probably second week in July.