In the sweltering, sweaty American Midwest is where, and Origins is just the tip of the iceburg this year. Coming up in rapid succession I've got a brief trip with the family and bbcaddict to Whistler, a trip to Denver for my first ever World Con (I'm on some panels!), then off to Gen Con Indy (the mothership of gaming cons) and THEN I'm going to Gen Con UK to be a featured guest. That's all by the end of next month, so while I get a nice little break here I feel like I've been through the ringer with only more ahead.
Don't get me wrong. I'm looking forward to all of that (especially the UK part!), but it is grueling.
I love Origins because it is not as frantic as Gen Con and I get a chance to actually _talk_ to some of the folks in the fairly tightly knit professional game publisher community. Green Ronin's art director and co-owner Hal Mangold is always good for some fun chats, and this year Ed Greenwood proved a true delight on numerous occasions.
Thanks for picking up several volumes of Planet Stories, Ed, and for being such a crazy, perverted lunatic.
I also had a chance to reconnect (even if briefly) with my old RPGA buddies Rick Brill and Joe Cirillo and company. I really miss gaming with those guys.
So Origins is great for catching up with old friends. Unfortunately, one reason it is so easy to do so is that business at Origins is really slow, and from our perspective it's been getting slower year by year.
I hear that some gaming companies did well at the show, particularly family style board game companies like Loony Labs and "built for Origins" quirky boardgame companies like Rio Grande. For us, the financial picture at the show is getting worse and worse, even while the retail and direct sales business for Paizo is getting better and better.
It's gotten to a point that all of the "big" gaming companies (Wizards of the Coast, Wiz Kids, Upper Deck, Fantasy Flight) have already given up on the show, and suddenly we're one of the "big guys" still there. It costs a huge ton of money to get the booth and product to the show, not to mention to staff the show with six full-time employees (covering their meals and hotel and flights, of course) for a whole week (during which almost none of those employees' duties back at the office get done), and the sales just art not there, and have not really been there for the last five or so years.
I can see why a lot of these other companies no longer attend the show, and despite my personal fondness for the convention (and the fact that I've attended 14 of the last 15 years) as a business matter I find it very difficult to justify as an expense.
To add insult to injury, daily sales at Paizo.com (travel, food, freight budget = 0) exceeded direct sales at the convention on both Saturday and Sunday.
The world changes beneath our feet.
I managed to polish off two novels on the trip, Robert E. Howard's SWORD WOMAN and the Centaur Time-Lost Series edition of Arthur D. Howden Smith's GREY MAIDEN. Sadly, this edition lacks at least five of the stories in a 1929 hardcover edition, which I have subsequently ordered.
Still listening to Megadeth. Still wish I had more time to read.