GenCon, There and Back Again a Designers Story: Part 1

GenCon is THE tabletop game convention in the states, or at least that is what I have been told. I figured it was time that I went to a big board game convention to show off Robit Riddle to the world, well, to the 50 or so people that I got to show it to.

This will be a three part series on my preparations, experiences, and reflections of GenCon 2015 as a first time attendee and game designer.


Part 1: On the Subject of Game Designers

Game designers are an interesting breed. Some are slick and some are scruffy, most are somewhere in-between.

After tinkering away at game design for about 3 years I finally had an idea that had some good legs. It filled a gap in the market and could also expand the market. But idea’s are cheap and I needed to kick it into overdrive to get ready for GenCon.

I worked hard for two months straight on my game. I got it to a point where I thought it was showable to the public. This included art and the cleanest mechanics and game play I could come up with/borrow.

I printed the game at a local printer since I was pressed for time, along with some collateral pieces like:

I tried to prepare myself for the unknown best as I could. I talked to friends who had been before, trying to get an idea of the scope of GenCon. We compare it to other conventions we had been to and help me wrap my head around the grandeur of GenCon.

I was sure that I was going the self publishing route, so I didn’t bother contacting publishing companies in advance or doing research in regards to it. This is the only thing that I regret about the experience.

I found out about the First Exposure Playtest Hall and signed up. It was late so I didn’t get included in the program guides, but it was still worth it. With the FEPH you get two game master badges, and several two hour playtest slots. I tried to find someone else to take, but it was too late and I thought I would just go it alone this time.

I couldn’t find a hotel close to the convention center so I used Airbnb instead. I also couldn’t find a decent direct flight, and booked a layover in Phillie and prayed to the travel gods that I get there okay.

With a clear head and the security of knowing that I had done everything I could, I headed off to Indiana and to GenCon.