The Grand-Con Report

This is quickly going to break down into a list of games I bought, but I do have some actual stuff to say first. I went to a 9am panel called “Publishing the Game” with Boyan Radakovich (The Game Smith, producer of TableTop), Christopher Badell (Greater Than Games), Colby Dauch (Plaid Hat Games), Frank DiLorenzo (R&R Games), and Uwe Eickert (Academy Games), which was super informative.

The big take away, for me, is that being a publisher involves a ton of work that isn’t designing games, especially if you’re doing everything, or most things, by yourself, which I kind of expect will be my position at first. This has given me some things to think of, like, first and foremost, whether I want to be a publisher or “just” a designer. If I can find people to help me, that can mitigate some of the insane, not-design workload. I enjoy graphic design, so I’m happy to lay out my own game, even if I won’t be doing the art itself, and I like social media so the press side of things might not be too bad. The actual, you know, business stuff, like sales and dealing with distributors and marketing and such, that I’m not too keen on. I do have a friend with an MBA, but I can’t possibly pay him to work for me unless I’m crazy successful right off the bat.

So this is a lot to think about, and with my current schedule (what with the thesis and all) I have pretty much no time to think about it, so for now I’m not going to, I’m just going to play-test GMEB when I get the chance and worry about this stuff in 2014, when I might have the time.

Speaking of GMEB, I didn’t get a chance to playtest it, but admittedly, I was pretty distracted by Sentinels of the Multiverse, and Grand-Con was pretty crowded. It was very busy (which is good) but there wasn’t quite enough space (which was less good), but the plan for next year is to expand it significantly, and hopefully they’ll find a larger space. I didn’t get to talk to Boyan after his panel, which is a bummer, but I did get to chat with Uwe and Chris, which was great, although it did hit my wallet.

Academy Games makes historical board games, so you can imagine that interests me. They mostly do war-games, which as a gamer I enjoy, but as a historian has never really been in my wheelhouse, I’ve always been much more focused on social society and such things. But, they do have a forthcoming game called Freedom – The Underground Railroad, a co-operative game where the players are abolitionists helping slaves escape to Canada, which I pre-ordered in a heartbeat. They also have a pretty open submissions policy, which I may take advantage of in the future, since historical games are a thing I would really, really like to make.

Greater Than Games makes an amazing cooperative superhero card game called Sentinels of the Multiverse. While chatting with Chris after the panel, I said the game sounded like exactly what I wanted in life, and he directed me to the demo space (conveniently located right next to us) so I played a game. Then I bought everything they had at the con (except the big vinyl playmat, and the two out-of-print expansions) and played six more games at the demo table. Suffice to say, Sentinels is pretty much my favorite game right now, it’s fast, and fun, and it has a ton of theme (all things I like in my games).

In addition to all this, I also picked up Pandemic, King of Tokyo (and the first expansion), Munchkin, Forbidden Island, and Level 7 [Escape]. It was very “productive” in a consumer sense, which I’m okay with.

I also discovered the Building the Game podcast, which I plan to start listening to ASAP.