As the week of distilled geekery known as Gen Con comes to an end, I am sleep-deprived, mentally exhausted, and exhilarated. Much was achieved, much was learned, and much fun was had.

The Good

Happy Gnomes As probably know by now, Gnome Stew won a silver ENnie (and I jumped off the  stage wearing a kilt — not one of my brighter moments). We’re honored to have been among the excellent blogs nominated, and are proud to have taken the silver. Kobold Quarterly (despite the horrible choice of mascot) took the gold, which gives us a goal: Gnomes vs. Kobolds — a classic matchup.

Eureka sold out! It’s a bit surreal to see your name in print at a convention. It’s downright moving to see the book sell out on Saturday. And it’s head-swellingly flattering to have complete strangers request autographs and give compliments. I’m glad I came home, where I get to change diapers and clean toilets…

I successfully ran my very first convention game, “A Stitch In Time”. I’ll have more in a lessons learned article, but a full table of novice to experienced players had fun while their brave characters managed to go back in time (twice!) and fix the past.

We Gnomes gave our own seminar. From my perspective, the most interesting aspect of the seminar was the disparate view of the Gnomes on various topics. We do not always agree, yet we are not disagreeable with each other.

Meeting other gamers. Not Big Names in the industry, but meeting some of our readers and some who’ve never heard of us. Gen Con is a rare time when we gamers don’t have to explain our peculiar hobby, but can instead just ask, “What’s your game?” Lifelong friendships have started with a chance meeting at Gen Con.

Scotty’s Brewhouse. Where else can you eat a jalapeño bacon cheeseburger with peanut butter (the “Paladin’s Reprieve”), listen to live nerdcore, and watch Ice Pirates with members of the 501st Legion? I just about had a nerdgasm…

The Bad

The biggest failing in this year’s Gen Con was my own fault. Despite my own experience and the advice of wiser gamers, I overscheduled myself, and ended up ditching two games on Saturday to hang out with my friends. This is the secret curse of Gen Con — There are just too danged many shiny toys to play with!

Another sour note — One of the four elevators at the Embassy Suites was out of order. In fact, it was entirely missing. One of the remaining three was extremely slow, sometimes taking ten seconds at a floor before the doors opened, and then there was occasionally a step up or down to the floor. Luckily, our floor was low enough that we could walk to the lobby.

The Ugly

There wasn’t much ugliness at Gen Con this year. Frankly, everything went smoothly for me, and for those I ran into.

Event Registration was frustrating this year, especially when compared to last year’s Great Success. In hindsight, it was still better than the years before, when it had to be rebooted, and a future Gnome wrote a certain someone a famous letter and got a solid response. (Holy Hyperlinks!) I did get confirmation from Someone Who Should Know that RUBI is already getting tweaked and tested, and should be in good form next year. Time will tell…

I played in a convention game (which will not be identified). The plot was fun, the GM was good, and the other players were really into it. But the gaming system did not fit the scenario. There are few bad systems, but each one has strengths and weaknesses. GMs should match the right system with the right scenario in order to maximize the amount of fun at the table.

What’s your story?

Did you attend Gen Con this year? What was your view of the elephant? Got a good or bad story to share? Sound off in the comments and let us know!