Gen Con 2018: The Tall One

We’re actually kind of lucky we’re so close to Gen Con–it’s about an 8-hour drive from our office to the convention center, and Brett seems okay driving a U-Haul each year, so we’re able to go all-out with our booth display and the number of Worldbuilders Market items we can take with us. It’s also a good place for us to try out not just new displays and products, but new ways of streamlining our process.

Brett & Rachel got the truck into Indianapolis on Tuesday evening, then had dinner and crashed pretty hard. Wednesday morning as soon as Anne and Jenny arrived, everyone attacked the booth! We had it all set up in a couple hours, thanks to Jenny’s troubleshooting the week before in our office. We knew exactly what went where and how it all came together. We have yet to beat Badali Jewelry, who go to way more cons and who we also suspect may have made a deal at a crossroads somewhere. They get their booth set up in like five minutes.

But isn’t is pretty??

Anyway, Thursday rolled around and we all descended upon the booth, tweaking our setup and getting our card readers paired to various devices. And the doors opened. And Gen Con started!

There were some hiccups with our card readers, for which we thank all our patient supporters and customers, but otherwise we got to spend the day talking with all sorts of cool people (you know who you are), helping folks navigate the hall, and explaining to a few people that the Draccus plushie is called the Draccus, not “Fat T-Rex”–though in defense of everyone who referred to him that way, “Fat T-Rex” absolutely delights us every time we hear it.

We also had a unique workaround for how tall the bookshelves were: Brett kept our step ladder open behind the corner of the booth, and he and Jenny took turns standing at the top of it and answering questions, talking about products, and handling transactions when our cashier (usually Anne because she knows the store) was busy.

Jenny did enjoy the extra height.

Friday we had to split up at about 3pm so Jenny and Anne could set up for the Worldbuilders Party! We had some lovely volunteers helping us out, including Jake, Rick, Amanda & Nate (who even loaned us their car for a last-minute supply run), and Krispy, all of whom were fantastic and mega-helpful (thank you!!). Everyone arrived and settled in for an awesome night of gaming and conversation. We tried to keep a low profile, since it looked like everyone was having plenty of fun already, so instead of a block of text, how about a few photos from the party?

This is what the entire room looked like during the Worldbuilders Party! We had a full house, and everyone was chatting easily within the first few minutes.

While Brad Beaulieu (lower left) made tough choices in King of Tokyo, Travis McElroy (behind Brad) talked with a supporter while Cards Against Humanity’s Tom Dyke (in the plaid shirt) got a team together for a thrilling game of Secret Hitler.

Howard & Sandra Tayler’s game of Exploding Kittens did not go well for Sandra, though she wasn’t in the Cone of Shame for long.

Our Silent Auction table had some great items, including a lovely Tak set and Dragoon board from Wyrmwood Gaming, some games from Cheapass Games, jewelry from Badali Jewelry, a Gold Edition Dragoon and Dragoon Expansion from Lay Waste Games, Richard Kadrey’s original notes from his latest Sandman Slim novel Hollywood Dead, a handmade embroidered dice bag from @jibbi_ on Twitter, and a treasure chest of cool stuff from r/fantasy’s Steve Drew, which included a deck of tarot cards illustrated by a whole bunch of fantasy authors, and so much more!

Again, thank you to everyone who joined us for the Worldbuilders Party and bid on our silent auction–together we raised over $11,000!

Saturday in the hall, we started running out of merchandise!┬áSome of our bestselling items included Tak, Pat’s Princess books, Rat Queens, Bitch Planet, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles (Oberon in particular was a big hit), and Sex Criminals, with a lot of folks identifying strongly with Jon’s “Don’t Worry Be Worry” and “Running is BS” shirts.

We were even visited by Good Janet and Bad Janet from The Good Place.

Sunday we sold our last Draccus in the morning, but he went to a good home, so we were happy. Business was still booming most of the day, and we got the chance to talk to even more people about not only our favorite books, games, and comics, but about what we do as a charity, how we help Heifer International, Mercy Corps, and First Book, and what sort of cool stuff we have planned for the future.

Booth teardown took a bit longer than setup, since there were big lines for the loading docks, but by the time we got to dinner (8:30 pm!) everything tasted super good. We sat up in the hotel lobby and talked about what went well and how we can make it even better, both for the next con, and the next Worldbuilders Party.

There may also have been wine, though we did not let the wine make any decisions.

We just want to say thank you to everyone who stopped by the booth–including a lot of you who deliberately sought us out!–and took the time to chat with us and brighten our day. We came home tired, but strangely energized. It may have something to do with the high-quality folks we met over the weekend.