kieron's Gencon Diary Blog

I know I promised a running Dev Blog like the one we had going for E3, but it has been absolutely crazy with the show. I apologize for being late with this, but I'm going to ensure a number of entries before the end. So, with no further ado, here we go.

Gencon day minus 2, Travel
Today started out with an early morning, 90 minutes of traffic to get to the airport followed by 2 hours time to check in. From the recent news, it sounds like we left with a day to spare. An uneventful flight led to Indianapolis, home city of Gencon Indy. I arrived at 1700 local and had enough time to unpack before having dinner with the volunteers and players assisting with the demo of the CCG.

In an attempt to greet the Devs coming out from Iceland, we stayed in the hotel bar until it closed and went to bed. It wasn't until Wednesday that I discovered the Devs missed their connecting flight in Boston and stayed the night.

Gencon day minus one, Set-Up
The day started early and we got our first look at the booth. Some history in the making, CCP has the first 2-level booth at Gencon and the first booth with a bar. We assisted the assembly crew with decorating, arranging the tables, setting up the demo stations, stuffed a thousand attendee bags amd unloaded 4 pallets of starter decks and booster packs. The Icelandic contingent arrived around 1300, we finished set-up, went to the hotel for food and drinks, then called it a night.

Gencon, day one, Opening Day
Today was a busy day with a large number of attendees dropping by to check out the CCG, play it, grab some swag and chat with the Devs. The booth is the talk of the convention and the bar is causing a bit of envy. We started with demo stations running 2 players through the day and had a 20-30 minute line for demos.

We met with some of the staff from White Wolf Games , the company handling the distribution of the CCG and they are a great group of people. Personally, I am looking forward to working with them in the future. After an evening of dinner and drinks, it was time to sleep. 0100 is a late night when you have a long day following.

I took some pictures of the booth before the hall opened, but forgot the data cable. I will post pictures on Tuesday when I have the proper cable for my camera. Sorry!

Gencon, day two
It's Friday and the team is geared up for another busy day. Did I mention we were busy? We have 10 tables downstairs to run the demonstrations and 2 upstairs for media appointments. We had to double the number of demonstrations at the tables, running 20 at a time instead of 10. Even aftger doing this, there is still a 10-15 minute wait to sit in. The EVE Online demo station always had a small crowd gathered around and continues to impress people who have never seen the game before.

I closed the evening having more food and beer with some of the Community Managers from other MMOGs in attendance. A bit earlier to bed tonight, as Saturday is supposed to be the biggest day of the con.

Gencon, day three, The Tournament
The staff trickled into the hotel restaurant for breakfast before the day's events. While I was with my peers the night before, other Devs came back with stories of a pool party the night before at another hotel.

We had to close the demonstrations down while the tournament was running. Next year, we are going to have a larger booth and much more staff manning the tables so we won't have to close things down.

The tournament was a 128 participant, swiss double elimination format with a $2,000 Grand Prize. In total, $10,000 in cash will be given out to the top 40 players and at least half that again in cards, decks and other swag, including signed pieces of artwork.

The tournament was an 11 hour marathon, and Minmatar decks took the day. 122 players took part and Pierre Mahrlebaud won the inaugural EVE TSG tournament, 2,000 USD and 96 booster packs. Eric Mathis was the runner-up, putting 1,400 USD in his wallet and 96 booster packs as well. Feedback from the tournament has been excellent (a continued theme throughout the entire run of the convention).

Continuing the trend of nightly entertainment, CCP and White Wolf were the hosts for the party to attend for Gencon exhibitors and guests. From 2200 to 0300, about 600 people were drinking and dancing at one of the local clubs. Yes, some ladies were dancing in 4 cages at the corners of the dance floor. There were a lot of tired and hung over people the following day, but that's another entry.

Gencon, day 4, Cloaing Day
It is easy to see who went to the CCP/White Wolf party last night, some of the exhibitors have a shocking resemblance to some of George Romero's walking dead. Tournament winners dropped by the booth to pick up some prizes and some of them even helped us out by holding some demos.

We closed the booth about an hour before the end of the show and the guys went out on the floor to swap swag with booths that interested them. A few minutes were spent tearing down the booth before the staff met back at the hotel for one last dinner. I do believe this was the only night in the past week that everyone made it back to the hotel before 2300.

Gencon, day five, Travel
Breakfast at 0830 before hanging out in the hotel lobby for a while. Later in the day we all scatter to different corners of the globe, some back to Iceland, others to Leipzig for a convention there, others to different parts of the US. I'm taking this time to catch up and complete the blog before heading to the airport.

Epilogue
It has been a long, tiring but exciting week. Once again, EVE stole the show with our booth, the CCG, the online game, the tournament and professionalism of the staff. As we expected, the CCG has received critical acclaim and extremely high feedback. All in all, the launch has been a complete success.

Thanks to everyone that dropped by the booth for a demo or chat, that participated in the tournament or interacted with us along the way. More thanks to everyone that plays either version of EVE, and has supported us along the way. A special thanks to White Wolf for their efforts in distributing the CCG and for being an awesome group of people. The list of people deserving of gratitude is too long, so an apology and big thank you to anyone I missed.

With that, I'm done. I've got a plane to catch in 4 hours and with the heightened travel restrictions, I want to beat the crunch. Back to the routine tomorrow.