We’ve successfully completed our first event in the Northeast! Last weekend I went to a convention in Washington, DC. It was my first time in DC and it was amazing! It was an excellent event, and a beautiful event. I love when I can do a convention in a new place and explore the surrounding area while at it.
At this particular event, I was scheduled for two panels and a handful of game sessions. The games were specifically added to the educational track because of the nature of their mechanics. Personally, I love that the mechanics can be used in that way. I was able to bring along Justin, who volunteered film both of the panels.
The event was located in the heart of Georgetown University. I was coming from 3 hours away, so had to drive in that morning. It was actually a very pretty drive which helped it not be as tiring. Once I got to the location, it took some walking from the street to reach the specific building it was located in. It was fortunately a beautiful campus so the walk was nice. The weather that time of year and changing leaves made it relaxing.
When I showed up on Day One, I went straight to the panel room. It was a four person panel organized by another woman I hadn’t met. I came in the room, met the other three panelists for the first time, and we began. It was a Kickstarter Successes and Failures panel. The woman who organized it, Leslie, was friendly, and served both as the moderator and panel speaker. All four of us had run Kickstarters before and were discussing the pitfalls, challenges, and things that we learned from our experiences. It was excellent and you can check it out here.
After that Justin and I meandered a bit, checking out the variety of games. There was a prominent DC game store, Labyrinth, there. I setup an arrangement with them to sell the Battle Gnomes game for me throughout the weekend. The tables were in rows, and clearly marked. There were promotional industry tables and demo tables for scheduled games. In the hall was an area set for free form impromptu games. The impromptu games were also next to the educational games, where we were stationed. Finally, we made sure to demo and discuss with those who visited the section our games.
We left the event a little before it ended around 6pm so that we could check out the White House before sunset. I wanted as many pictures as possible, and didn’t know my next chance to get them. So we drove about 20 minutes to that area and got there with plenty of time to take a lot of pictures of the White House and several other monuments. It was a picturesque 1.5hrs because we arrived just before dusk, and stayed until after it got dark. I wouldn’t have personally stayed much longer anyway, so to see the day to night transition was perfect.
Day Two was also excellent. With plenty of sleep the night before, and not having to drive nearly as far, I arrived with a spring in my step. Once again Justin came along to film my Day 2 panel. Before the panel I mostly mingled and chatted with random attendees, explaining to them the games I brought and what I do. I talked to one lovely woman who was working on a genetics based learning game. Unfortunately, it relied on more random, or luck based, mechanics. To the extent that can be avoided, it should be. Especially in learning games where another layer is the strategy component.
The highlight of the day revolved around my solo polo. I was nervous, especially when the small room was filled with people eager to hear what I had to say. The topic was on how to have a game go from being an idea to being a tangible, possibly sellable, product. I had it in my mind the most important discussion points. Instead of sitting behind the table, which is meant for 4-5 people, I pulled a chair in front of the table and made it more of a discussion environment. The way I did this panel was discussing a talking point then opening up to questions, and then going into the next talking point. The attendees were very enthusiastic, had lots of questions, and seemed to appreciate the knowledge presented. You can see what we recorded here.
After the panel, I talked with several still enthusiastic burgeoning designers who had questions. We had to end because the next panel group was coming, but I felt the discussion could have proceeded for awhile longer easily. I was happy to feel as valued for what I have learned in the industry so far. Afterward I went to a couple of other panels before heading home. It was a rather short event, but packed and worth both the drive and effort.