Today’s image is a draft of a picture I eventually intend to use for my tabletop card game.  The card will be called “Dragon’s Lair.”  I always like the idea of this image:  a bunch of characters focused on a chest full of treasure, unaware of the angry dragon behind them.

Gen Con is this weekend, and I am really looking forward to the show.  Before I go into that, however, I’d like to talk about my experience with Origins.

In my first year at Origins I think I was seeing the show on a surface level.  I would play in the Magic tournaments, buy some products at the booths, sit in on a few seminars, etc., but I didn’t really gain that much from them.  Outside of my experience with the artists of the show (I volunteered during my first two years), I felt like I was on the outside looking in.  You could say that, at that time, I was one of the characters in the picture above; I was seeing the glow of a few baubles in my swag bag, but missing the point of the situation around me.

On the last day, however, a friend attended the show with me, and it was my experience with him that changed the way I looked at the show.  As we walked from booth to booth, he would sit down with the vendors and say “OK, tell me about your product.”  As they did, we learned about several new games, but we also had the opportunity to see their faces light up as they taked up their games.

That was a normative experience for me.  I began to see that the joy of these conventions was not in seeing the games; it was in sharing in the joy of gaming with other people.  People generally like to talk about themselves or their products, and giving them a receptive audience really brightened up their days.

This year, I went to the show with a camera, and found it to be a happiness amplifier.  When someone is interested in their product, they respond; when someone is willing to give them free advertising, they respond enthusiastically.

With that in mind, I am ready for GenCon, with the camera in tow.  I can’t wait to hear people “sell the soap” about their products.  In addition, I’m looking forward to seeing Wil Wheaton, The cast of “The Guild,” and the Mech Warrior guys.  I also hope to see Evan Erwin and/or some of the Magic: the Gathering designers, and I would love to see Kevin Nagle or Alexis Janson to discuss the Great Designer Search.  I want gamers to tell their stories, and I want this site to be that venue.