Ronin Round Table: Missing Gen Con

Imagine, if you will, that today is Friday, August 16, 2013. Some of us are busy on the floor at Gen Con, and some of us are wishing, a lot or a little, that we were at the show. And Steve Kenson is waiting in a security line or is strapped into a tube blasting across the ocean. And while you’re imagining that today is that day, please imagine that we remembered to post this for Steve…

I am not at GenCon as you read this. In fact, I’m not at GenCon this August for the first time since 1990. Although my first big game convention was GenCon/Origins in 1988, I skipped ’89 (a pity, too, as it was a banner year, with the release of both Shadowrun and the fourth edition of Champions). Since ’90, however, I haven’t missed a GenCon until now: Twenty-three consecutive GenCons (twenty-four in total) and it looks like I’m not going to make that consecutive silver anniversary (although I no doubt will make it to twenty-five total GenCons).

Where am I right now? At Logan Airport about to board a flight to the UK, most likely, or on-board said flight. You see, it had to happen eventually that the difficulties of scheduling would catch up with me and, sooner or later, something would conflict with going to GenCon. This year it’s a once-in-a-lifetime weeklong trip to Wales to visit a series of sites with my pagan spiritual community. It necessitated leaving in the midst of GenCon weekend, so only one could happen. While I certainly don’t regret the decision, I know that I will miss "The Best Four Days in Gaming!™" that has been such a big part of my life.

I appreciate the understanding Green Ronin (my GenCon "home base" for nearly half the time I’ve been attending) has extended over this. It seems like circumstances have conspired to leave them short-handed this year, so please be kind and patient when you drop by their booth. I apologize to all those whom I won’t be able to see to sign your books, answer questions, or run games. I’ll miss seeing and chatting with you, but I hope to see many (if not all) of you next year!

I’ll miss the fledgling "Queer as a Three-Sided Die" seminar and get-together I helped start last year. It was such a rousing success and a heartwarming part of my convention, and I feel responsible to help keep it going. I know it is in very good hands with Wes Schneider, Jeremy Crawford, and new panelists Judy Bauer and Renee Knipe, I just wish I could be there to join in the discussion! Hopefully, a YouTube video of it will be awaiting me upon my return.

I’ll miss rooting with my coworkers and colleagues at the EN World Awards, mingling and talking before and after. There are a lot of worthy nominees this year, and I wish the best to all of them.

Most of all, I’ll miss spending time with my colleagues: Green Ronin is a far-flung company, the game industry even more so. For those of us who don’t live in Seattle, events like GenCon are rare opportunities to meet face-to-face, catch up, chat over drinks or dinner and, yes, play some games. I’m kind of glad I’ll be largely out of touch with my Facebook and Twitter feeds on the UK trip, since I’d rather read all the "live from GenCon" posts after the fact, rather than while they’re happening.

Still, one of the things about GenCon is its dependable place at the heart of the gaming calendar each year. Although I’ll miss it (and I like to think parts of GenCon will miss me), summer is almost over, then Fall will be upon us (and I’ll get to visit Green Ronin and Seattle in October), then the holidays, the New Year … and, before we know it, that time will draw near once again when we’ll all converge on Indianapolis for the four days of games and geekery that is GenCon.

I don’t know about you, but I’m already looking forward to it.

Steve Kenson