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What I Did On My Summer Vacation 2011

I am likely the last blogger on the Internet to get their Gen Con recap posted, but a combination of work deadlines, Con Crud, generating some spousal karma, and my regularly scheduled game conspired against me. Overall it was a very good Gen Con, and I had a great time seeing old friends, meeting new friends, and doing some needed shopping. So here is my 2011 Gen Con recap.

The Year of Seconds

This year was marked by repeats of two very special events from last year…

Second Silver ENnie!

For the second year in a row, Gnome Stew was awarded the Silver ENnie for Best Blog (yea!). Once again it was a great honor to have been awarded a Silver ENnie, and we thank all of you who voted.


Martin was not in attendance, so yours truly gave the acceptance speech with backup from Patrick and John. I would like to tell you what I said, but I don’t remember. When I got to the stage and looked down, the stage lights made it so that I could not see much of the crowd. All I saw was Monte Cook and Margaret Weis. To say I was a tad intimidated at that moment was an understatement. I did manage to say something, and my friends in the audience said I did not sound crazy, so that is a plus. To find out what I said, we will have to wait for the streaming broadcast that NEONCON [2] will be posting.  (As of posting, no word when it will be up keep an eye on twitter for details.)

As cool as it was winning the Silver (again), it was equally exciting seeing the guys from Critical Hits [3] win their first ENnie, and a gold to boot. We Gnomes are great friends with the Critical Hits guys and it was great to see them take the stage.


Second Book!

Masks made its debut out on the vendor’s floor, getting top shelf treatment at the Studio 2 [5] booth, with Eureka right underneath. Seeing two books that I have co-authored, and as project manager shepherded from concept to b [6]ook, is still full of awe. I stopped in mid-stride on the floor when I saw the books on the shelf and went right to them.

A number of people mentioned to me how much they have enjoyed Masks, which feels great. It’s a bit strange hearing that, and still strange being asked to sign books. Up to two years ago (and I still do it today) I was the one asking for signatures.

Bigger Digs

[7]The Dealers Floor was quite nice and while I think it was bigger than the old one, it still felt as crowded walking from vendor to vendor. I take that to be a very good sign in terms of the record breaking attendance. The areas outside of the dealers floor were equally nice, with some places to sit, some tables to game at, and even some food and drink. Having been at Gen Con every year that it has been in Indy, I can say that its grown nicely over the years, without losing the things that make it the Best Four Days In Gaming.

Gnome Time

As in years past, we Gnomes hosted a seminar to discuss Engine Publishing, Gnome Stew, and to hand out GM advice. This year Patrick, John, Walt, and I hosted. We had a great group in attendance. We got some great feedback about things that we can do here at the Stew (e.g writer profiles).

My favorite part of the seminar, was when one participant told us that he was a player thinking of being a GM and asked for our advice on how to get started. We Gnomes gave our advice, and then we opened it up for all the other GM’s in the room to share some advice. If our fledgling GM took 1/10th of the advice given, he will be rocking behind the screen in no time.

Highlight Reel

One of the things I love about Gen Con is the ability to meet the designers of the games I love as well as meet many people I only know from Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. This year was no different, are here are some highlights (forgive me if I did not put you on the list, you still rock):

A Bag Full Of Goodness

I will not lie, one of my favorite parts of Gen Con is the shopping. I typically save most of my hard cover game purchases until August. This year was no different, and I had a great time walking the floor and shopping. Here is a picture of my haul.


Most of the things in the pile were things I was planning on getting, but one item caught my eye when Patrick was looking at it, and that is the 4×6, multi-panel GM’s screen from Hammerdog Games [15]. Take note readers, that in the pile is Vornheim, which I will begin to read shortly and write up my You Pick It, I Review It article.

Until Next Year

So that’s it in a whirlwind. It was another incredible year, and I am already looking forward to going next year. Until then its back to work on providing all of you the best GMing advice possible. If you attended Gen Con this year, what were some of your highlights? Or tell us about what what games you picked up? If you did not go to Gen Con, ask me some questions about anything I did not cover.

4 Comments (Open | Close)

4 Comments To "What I Did On My Summer Vacation 2011"

#1 Comment By Patrick Benson On August 19, 2011 @ 6:48 am

My Top Secret /S.I. game made your highlight reel? That, sir, is an honor!

Of course, having 3 gnomes and their trusty warrior badger (sorry Bob, but that stuck with me for some reason) in the game might have had something to do with it too. 🙂

#2 Comment By DarthKrzysztof On August 19, 2011 @ 7:09 am

Maybe Monte Cook brings that out in all of us. He was kind enough to indulge me, as well, in spite of how hard I was spazzing out / dorking it up. 😉

#3 Comment By spenser On August 19, 2011 @ 9:12 am

[16] – Ha! No worries, I am honored to be considered badger to such a fine group!

#4 Comment By Erland On August 19, 2011 @ 10:19 am

You forgot the most important second of them all, my second trip with the Green-shirts!