What Van Ryder Game are YOU playing?
A.J. here and I am back from GenCon. I want to use this space to give a little recap, but not of the games played, no. I want to recap the people I met, some of whom I have been online friends with for a long time! I went to GenCon thinking the best thing would be the games, but it turned out it was the people and it wasn't even close!
So here comes a list of people and my "review" of them
Grant Rodiek - Twitter: @herrohgrant So Grant and I knew we'd be rooming together for several months before the Con, and it felt like meeting an old friend when I walked up and identified him by his neon orange shoes. I couldn't have asked for a better roommate, and I consider Grant a really good friend.
Grant is the designer of the Kickstarter success Farmageddon and he was there to demo the game for the publisher 5th Street Games.
Now it doesn't take long for you to follow Grant's activities to learn that he is extremely calculating, deliberate, and a perfectionist designer. And his ability to execute on his ideas is what allows him to do this so successfully. I have not met anyone that is his match in this regard. That coupled with his charisma and ability to influence people makes him one of the hardest working and successful game designers I know.
I'm very glad to finally have met Grant in person and am sure it will not be the last time we cross paths.
Jeremy Southard - twitter: @wastexgames another game designer friend and a high level backer of If I'm Going Down.... Jeremy runs Wastex Games and has produced great print-on-demand games such as Arena of Heroes and Reversal of Fortune just to name a few.
Jeremy might just be the nicest person you will ever meet. I enjoyed getting to spend some time with him and especially getting to play and then purchase his newest and just released game: Robot Repair Crew (https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/robot-repair-crew)
Jeremy is also responsible for enlightening me about the Food Trucks at Gencon! Wow we had some great Pizza from one of those trucks!
I hope to hang with Jeremy again, perhaps next time I return home to Houston to visit family and friends.
Matt Worden - perhaps the most prolific designer in our "night time hangout group" Matt Worden is the designer of the 2011 Game of the Year Jump Gate!
Matt gives Jeremy a run for his money for the nicest guy you'll ever meet. His game Dicey Curves hit the table Saturday night on all of our last nights together and was a blast! I narrowly edged out Matt in a photo finish!
Matt was testing a couple of his new games you will definitely want to check out when they become available. Magistrate and Colonies of the Jump Gate (the sequel to Jump Gate!)
Chevee Dodd - twitter: @cheveedodd are you kidding me with this guy? He pulls off the fedora hat like no one has in decades. The guy is just smooth. Oh yeah, did I mention he has a design published by Gamewright? Well he does and it is called Scallywags.
I wanted to play this one badly at the con, but time and circumstance did not allow. Chevee was kind enough to give me a copy to take home! I know my boys and I are going to have a blast with it, such a beautiful game too.
I was fascinated by Chevee's story of how he got into game design, so if you see him, be sure to ask him to tell you about it. We also got to play one of Chevee's prototypes called Hexploration. I had a brainstorm surge that ended with some feedback that maybe there should be a mechanic to "blow shit up!" Oh yeah it is an abstract game Luckily, Chevee is savvy enough to ignore such non-sense, though he graciously accepted all the ideas I spewed out after the game. Great guy!
"Games and Grub" aka...
This too shall pass...
was another in our night crew. He successfully provided us with one of the most awkward moments in the history of the world and it was hilarious! I'll leave it to him whether he wants to share that story or not... (probably not)
Eric runs the site http://gamesandgrub.blogspot.com/ and produces high quality board and card game reviews. He has a great perspective and really knows his games.
Not to mention he has a really cool abstract game in development called Gyre. It makes use of circle cards with gears on them and it looks REALLY good. Grant, Matt, and Chevee were fortunate enough to try it out, though I think Eric wiped the floor with each of them. Eric left with a copy of If I'm Going Down... so look for his thoughts on that soon. I know Eric will give you a true and honest opinion and it is one of the reasons I really respect his opinions.
Jeff Gracia - twitter: @greenbriergames is the designer of Zpocalypse and helps run Greenbrier Games
Believe me when I tell you... this... game... is... AWESOME! This may just be the new king of the Zombie board games.
Jeff and crew were demoing Zpocalypse nonstop the whole con and it was great meeting Todd, Jule, and some of the others. Todd, Julie, and Jeff all got to try If I'm Going Down... and seemed to really like it. It was really cool demoing our games side by side and having so many zombie lovers around. Keep an eye on us as you may see something special in the future!
Larry Fettinger - twitter: @InD20_Group
If I had only one word to describe this guy, it would be: classy. What a great soul Larry has. Larry lives locally to the con and unselfishly had several out of towners staying with him as his guests including Eric.
He is also a reviewer and a good one at that. He is nothing but kind to everyone he meets. He helped support If I'm Going Down... and of course I am grateful for that. I definitely look forward to his thoughts.
Larry called me the last day of the con for no other reason than to tell me he was happy to have met me. The way I see it, I am the lucky one to have met him. My only regret is we didn't get to game together, but I'm confident another chance will come along.
Ok I met so many great people that this is going to have to be broken into at least 2 parts if not more. I will try to get more thoughts out on the people I met very soon.