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Two days after the conclusion of Geekway to the West, I think the feeling that I’m about to die is finally passing. It’s not necessarily a bad sort of “I’m going to die” feeling. More of a happy, thank-for-all-the-memories sort of “I’m going to die” feeling.

It’s the sort of feeling you get after you drive for 5 hours both ways and only get 4 hours of sleep each night, but it’s all worth it because you met a bunch of awesome people and played a bunch of cool games.

Originally I didn’t even think I’d be able to come at all, but now I couldn’t be happier that I did.

It all started because I wanted to donate some copies of Forge War to Geekway’s Play and Win event, which is a huge library open all weekend where people can go play any of the available games and by doing so enter to win a drawing at the end of the weekend to win any of the games they played.

It’s a pretty cool system because it incentivized people to demo the game and once they do, they’re anticipating owning the game, so that if they don’t win the drawing, they are more likely to go out and buy the game if they enjoyed playing it.

So I realized it would be a good idea to not only donate games, but to also go down there and teach people to play the game in the Play and Win library so they didn’t have to plod their way through a rule book.

In the back of my mind, I thought I had already registered to go, but after I donated the games, I realized I had not and the con was sold out. This made me very sad, but luckily the wonderful people running the con were nice enough to give me an “emergency pass” because of the donated games. So I was on my way to Geekway!

My only other problem was that I didn’t really know anyone who was going. I know cons are generally very friendly environments, but, as an introvert, it’s still pretty terrifying to go to some big event all by yourself. If you can’t make any friends, you may end up spending a lot of time by yourself or playing games with people you hardly know, which is less fun.

gloomhaven demo

My first surprise upon arriving, however, was seeing Travis Chance and Nick Little of Action Phase Games hanging out at their booth right outside the main game hall. Action Phase and I go way back, and they were very influential in not only making the mechanics of Forge War better at our monthly Indianapolis game design group, but also giving me valuable advice throughout the Forge War Kickstarter campaign.

I sort of became the Fonzie of their booth, dropping in multiple times a day to chat and see what was going on. And in the evenings once they closed their booth, we also got to hang out and play lots of interesting games like Elysium and a new game of theirs that should be coming out on Kickstarter soon, Scoundrel Society (spoiler alert: you should back it).

I also ended up running into Aaron Belmer and Charlie Theel, who created A Fistful of Dinero. I met them last year at Origins last year because their game was running on Kickstarter the same time as Forge War. We ended up playing a lot of games together, but I felt bad because I ended up winning most of them (except Homeland – I was a terrible terrorist in Homeland).

I did end up spending a lot of time in the Play and Win area, meeting people and teaching them to play Forge War, but another major highlight was attending the Kickstarter round table discussion Saturday evening. I got to hang out and talk with a bunch of cool, creative independent designers like John Coveyou, Marcus Ross and, of course, Jamey Stegmaier, whose Kickstarter Lessons blog and personal advice was incredibly helpful launching the Forge War Kickstarter.

I also met and subsequently hung out quite a bit with Jason Kingsley, co-designer of Ophir (another Kickstarter that launched around the time of Forge War). Jason is a super-nice guy and I was really impressed with his latest game, currently called Tinker Tailor, which is a simple 2-player card game with a lot of depth and interesting decisions.

I also ended up spending some time demoing Gloomhaven for Jason and Jamey. Jamey actually said it was the game he was most anticipating at the moment, which surprised me, but also made me really happy. Everyone seemed to be really excited about its potential.

I also got to check out a prototype of Jamey’s upcoming game Scythe, which was pretty cool. He was still working out some issues, and I think we had a good design conversation about directions it could head.

Also probably the coolest thing to happen to me all weekend was when a woman approached me and wanted my signature on her copy of Forge War.

Is that vain? I’ve never been asked to sign anything before. I created something. It was in my head and then it became reality and now it is out there in the world and people find it important enough to seek out my signature on it. Or at least one person does.

That feels like an accomplishment, and that makes me happy. The whole convention made me happy. It was a blast, and thanks for all the memories.