It's all over, now, but for the flight home.
I really don't like endings. Our Dresden Files RPG game ended a few weeks ago, and I kept trying to write about it - but I couldn't find words that did it justice. Because I really loved that game - even though we'd hit the point that we'd intended to hit, I wanted to go on.
And now GenCon has ended for the year. We had the best crew ever in the history of ever. With tons of new people whose names I still don't know (but I'm sure I'll get some names when the photo appears on Facebook and people start the tagging process).
I saw friends from home (Bruce and Barbara and Andrew and Katie). I saw friends from Indianapolis (Nate and Todd and Chris). We saw some regulars (Eric and Sabrina and the Kids and a few others). I chatted with game designers and artists and illustrators (Bruno Faidutti, Bruno Cathala, Antoine Bauza and several others).
And then there are the team members who are there every year. Christophe, Stefan, Carol, Jules, Choukri, Giancarlo, and Aidan just to list the full time Asmodee people. And I know I'm forgetting people, too, which makes me feel bad later ...
GenCon for me is the biggest social event of the year. It's like weddings and Christmas and the good parts of my birthday all rolled up into one four-day package of awesome.
Every year, I go home not wanting to go home.
There were some real highlights this year:
Remember a few years ago when Asmodee turned me into a contest? It was because they were apparently having trouble getting photos of me smiling while demoing games. Barbara inadvertantly made me laugh really hard this weekend with one simple question: "Why don't you smile this much at home?"
Watching Bruno Cathala playing Win, Lose, or Banana at the post-convention team dinner was an absolute joy. He's one of those people who loves to have fun and will let the fun show through every fiber of his being. It made a funny game even more entertaining.
Giancarlo is one of my favorite people to just hang out with. Stephanie likes hanging with him too, because he makes her feel tall. Or, at least, closer to average. He and I love exchanging insults as a sign of respect. Any time spent with Giancarlo is generally a good time.
We were setting up when I heard my name being called by someone with a British accent. It was Aidan. "I just want to thank you for turning me on to Brandon Sanderson," he told me, before raving about the books he'd been reading. I really love it when my recommendations are on-target for someone.
There was the shocking realization that "the kids" are - some of them - now old enough to vote. They've been coming to our booth for demos for the last seven years. Since we were demoing Senji.
I love it when I can learn someone's kryptonite, too. Apparently Elizabeth's kryptonite is Peanut M&M's. Now we can add that to the list. Washington Wine for Christophe, Seattle-area chocolates for Gil, and now Peanut M&M's for Elizabeth.
Seeing Nate and his wife and daughter was a real joy on Sunday, too. The little one is a crazy-hardcore Whovian, and has been dressed like one of the Doctor's companions every time she's been to GenCon. And that's not all Nate's influence, either.
I had someone bow out of a Cyclades: Titans demo because he had an event to get to, "And I'm not going to win with this setup." I stepped in and won on the next turn. Apparently I know Cyclades a bit too well. I need to be careful to only use this power for good.
I was able to teach Concept to a ton of folks. The best thing about teaching that game is watching for the light bulb. Because you can see when it clicks for people, based on how they fumble for the markers.
Ben, who worked on tournaments with me last year, is now the North American Champion for Netrunner.
At one point, I had started a Cyclades demo. There were people stacked three and four deep waiting for an Abyss demo, and I talked them into a Splendor demo while they waited. "You won't lose your spot in line for Abyss," I reassured them. They ended up buying Splendor and Abyss.
I realized after the dinner this evening just how much some of the team appreciates me. And Steph. Just based on how they reacted as we said our good-byes.
Christophe: Thank you for inviting me on this ride so many years ago. We started small, but the sky's not limit, and you have taught me every single year that there is more and better yet to come.
I may not have a post up this Wednesday, but I now have a ton of new games to play and write about, so I doubt I'll take more than one week off. I'll see you when I'm back. And thank you for continuing to read.