Game on: GenCon info, chapbooks, and dice. Lots and lots of dice.

I leave for GenCon in about 3d12 hours. While I'm not thrilled about getting up at 4am on Thursday, knowing that the reward for dragging myself out of bed at areyoufuckingserious o'clock is three days of gaming and geeking makes it all worthwhile.

I'm blessing dice, taking pictures, and signing books, pictures, bodies and other interesting things for about 3 6 hours each day. I'm trying to set it up so I have a 2 3 hour session in the morning and a 1 3 hour session in the afternoon, but I won't know precise times until I'm on site, and I get a sense of how many people want to get stuff signed and whatever. I'll announce times on Twitter once I'm at the con.

I don't have any books, because I ran out and wasn't able to order new ones in time for GenCon. However, I'm bringing a limited-edition Chapbook in the style of Wil Wheaton's Limited Edition Chapbooks. This one is entirely gaming-related stories, and I'm really, really happy with how it has turned out. Here's the introduction:

Of all the things that make me a geek, nothing brings me more joy, or is more important to me, than gaming. I am the person I am today because of the games I played and the people I played them with as I came of age in the 80s.
This is a small collection of stories about gaming in its various forms, from cards to dice to computers to our beloved tabletop RPGs. Most of these stories were originally published in 2009, when my son Ryan was away at college, and my son Nolan was 17.

Keep playing games. Games are important. Games matter. When you play a game – any game – you’re using your imagination to bring a world to life, and that’s truly special, because while all destruction is essentially the same, when you create something, it’s different every single time. When you create something together, you’re building bonds with your fellow gamers that could last for your entire lives. The Venn Diagram of my best friends, my gaming group, and people from high school I still hang out with is one perfect circle. I suspect that for many gamers of my generation, that’s equally true … and I know that my kids will be saying the same thing in 20 years about people they’ve never met face to face, but interact with almost every day in an online game that will make Call of Duty look then like Pong looks today.

Roll 20s,
Wil Wheaton
August 3, 2010

I'm bringing 200 chapbooks. When I did this at PAX Prime last year, I sold out in about 5 hours, so plan accordingly if you really want one.

Oh, this is really important: I got the Swine Flu at PAX Prime, and it was the worst two weeks of my life. When we went to PAX East, all of us (Jerry, Mike, Kurtz, Straub, Paul and Storm, The Professor and Mary Ann) all agreed that we wouldn't shake hands, give hugs, or engage in human contact with people, to limit the introduction of infection vectors. Most people understood, and we gave each other the old Iron Guard Salute (not the fascist thing, the gaming thing that looks like like "love" in ASL). The result: a few people were cheesed off, but none of us were too upset about that, because none of us got sick. It was the first con I've gone to in my whole life where I didn't get some form of Con Crud, and I'd like to repeat that until we turn out the lights on Planet Earth. So, tl;dr: I'm not going to touch people at the con. I know it seems weird, but I hope you understand why. I'm not trying to be a dick, I'm trying not to get sick. (Edited to add: in comments, a non-zero number of readers seem to have a real problem with this, and people on the rest of the Internets are already giving me a hard time about it in very unkind terms. This makes me really sad; I hoped for a little more empathy and understanding. Not that it should matter, but I have Epstein-Barr, so my immune system isn't as robust as a normal person's; it is very easy for me to catch viruses and other nasty things. I'm not going to apologize for not wanting to get sick, especially after two weeks of Swine Flu. If you can't understand that, it's your problem, not mine.)

My panel is called I'm Wil Wheaton, and I'm a Gamer. It is on Friday morning, at 11. If you have one of my T-shirts from Jinx or shirt.woot, and you wear it to the panel, you can be in a group picture either just before or just after the panel.

The rest of the con, I plan to find and play as many games as I can, because holy shit I'm finally coming to GenCon!

Games I want to play while I'm there:

  • Savage Worlds
  • Dragon Age RPG
  • Magic: The Gathering
  • Zombie Dice
  • Cthulhu Dice
  • Button Men
  • Munchkin
  • A Penny For My Thoughts

I have one request, which I hope isn't unreasonable: I'd like to test the theory that you can't have too many dice. If I see you at GenCon, would you give me one gaming die? I'll bring home as many as I get, dump them all on my office floor, and take a picture. I think it could be pretty cool … or very, very sad. Either way, it will be something, you can be sure of that.

113 thoughts on “Game on: GenCon info, chapbooks, and dice. Lots and lots of dice.”

  1. OMG I am so sad I can’t be there. I may have to bug a friend to DM a game in your honor. And I’ll send you a picture of our game dice. Maybe you can Photoshop them in. ;)

  2. I get off work at 7am on Friday and I sleep during the nights all week due to having to work 3rd, so I can’t really attend despite only living 40 mins away from Indianapolis. :/
    If you wanna do dinner, imokwiththis.jpg

  3. Zombie Dice and Cthulhu Dice are both awesome beer and pretzel games. My group uses it as a warm up game while we wait for everyone to arrive. Good stuff.

  4. If you are interested in Savage Worlds RPG, my near-future mystic cyberpunk RPG book–demigod level, Shanghai Vampocalypse by Savage Mojo, is out and at GenCon this year at Cubicle 7. You might really like it. The tagline is “If one vampire is a monster, eight million is an apocalypse.”

  5. Funny thing is I’m pretty sure I shook your hand at Phoenix Comicon last month. LOL I didn’t think much about it until today I remembered about the PAXidemic. You’ll be happy to know I didn’t contact any diseases. But on a serious note, I totally understand the no touching thing and if I meet you again in the future, I’ll try and remember the iron cross gesture.

  6. I’ll see what dice I can dig up for you, and maybe get my bro to give you some, too, because it’s totally true, you can’t have too many dice!

  7. If you can manage it, you can probably still touch people and get through a con without getting sick. You just need to wash your hands frequently and not touch your hands to your face (this is the hard part). Hands to nose/mouth/eyes is the number one vector bacteria and viruses use to get into your body.
    Stay healthy!

  8. I just rolled 3d12 and they came up 5. You better hurry. ;)
    You are so going to pay for excess baggage weight on your way home, too.
    You know what would be even cooler than taking a photo of all those dice on your office floor? If you donated them to Child’s Play. Just a thought. You might even be able to get some of the dice manufacturers and traders at the con to chip in.

  9. I can’t wait to see the Friday seminar and have my fingers and toes crossed to be able to get at least a pic with you. But in case I can’t catch you in the auto-g line, thanks for taking the time to come out to GC, not just as a GoH but as a gamer too.

  10. You know a pretty good book about dice, too, don’t you? It’ll be for sale at the IPR and Adventure Retail booths at Gen Con, as a matter of fact. :)

  11. Hey Wil, for those of us who won’t be attending GenCon, can we contribute to your “You can’t have too many dice” project at PAX? (of either the Prime or East flavor) I won’t be able to make it to GenCon or Prime due to physical therapy (I’m getting my prosthetic foot, whooo Cyber-me!), but I’ll be happy to make up for it by bringing you several dice at PAX East. :) (Also, just as a side note, you signed my wife’s life long dice bag at PAX East, and I thought you’d like to know that she’s been TEARING up the dice in our game sessions. I credit the Wheaton Effect.)

  12. You're getting a CYBERFOOT?! Dude! That rules.
    Oh, yes, I'll accept dice at PAX Prime and East, of course. This is a test that I imagine will go on for many years.

  13. Not just a cyberfoot…a K3 Type Carbon Fiber prosthetic! …ok, so it’s really just a prosthetic foot, but I can’t even tell you how much it’s going to mean to me. After getting the PAX celebs to sign my wheelchair at the first PAX East, maybe I’ll ask you all to sign my prosthetic at the second one!

  14. 1. Savage Worlds! Diana used that system to run a Deadlands campaign for our gaming group. We are hot geeks! ;)
    2. Hopefully you’ll come back to Phoenix Comicon so we can give you some dice there.

  15. Lost my right leg below the knee three years ago. No insurance and not a clue how to pay for a prosthetic. Been told to call a few places, like the Diabetes Association for help but all were dead ends and Soc Security hasn’t been any help since they don’t count you as disabled if the amputation is below the knee joint. Now, were I to win the lottery, I’d kill for a T-800 leg just to scare the kiddies, though having to polish it daily would be a chore!

  16. *giggle* When you mentioned blessing dice, a lightbulb went off over my head. My priest’s sons used to game with us, and if a whole gaming group brought dice to him to be blessed, I’m sure he would (whole group so that nobody gets an unfair advantage).
    Hmmm. *non-existent-beard stroke*

  17. I’ll try to make it Friday morning for signing madness. Originally I figured you’d be there the main two days,but if you’re there the whole time, that’s awesome =). If anyone is coming to Indy, or needs help getting around the city, questions about food, beer, cool places to go/ etc, you can hit me up.
    [email protected]

  18. Waiiiit a minute. You’re not touching people, but you’re collecting their dice? But dice are polyhedral *just like viruses*!
    We’ll have to start up a Wil Wheaton Moist Towelette Fund so that you can sanitize all your new dice before you touch them.

  19. Hey, I’m hoping to stop by say what’s up and get one of those nifty chapbooks! I’m going to be bringing along a die from my local game store to add to your collection.
    Would be great to see you swing by the Magic hall and jump into some booster draft games.
    See ya there!

  20. I’ll be there starting Wednesday evening with my 8 month pregnant belly leading me on! I’ll definitely have a die for you, and I’ll bring along my “How I Roll” shirt for one of the photos at your panel, although it’s too small for me to wear at the moment. I’ll have my w00tstock shirt on from Chicago, though, so maybe they’ll cancel each other out. Looking forward to seeing you and The Guild there! And, playing all the wonderful games, of course! :)

  21. I can’t decide which I want more, to bring you some dice at PAX Prime or to give Anne some “I feel your pain” gaming-geek-wife solidarity cupcakes. :)

  22. I can completely understand your desire not to be passed all those nasty germs. But I know if I came all the way from England to meet you, I’d be gutted if I couldn’t at least shake your hand! You could keep one of those hand sterilizing dispensers on your signing bench?… The ones they use in hospital wards? I’m sure people would be more than happy to go through ‘decontamination’ before touching you. Plus you could have a little hand rub yourself every now and then for good measure! Just thought it might be a good way to protect you guys while still keeping some of the fans happy.

  23. Although having said all that… my thinking may be flawed. I’m not sure how effective those hand sanitizers are against viruses? Damn! Guess Bio-Hazard suits are the only way forward.. although they would make dice throwing a little awkward!

  24. Let me simply say I cannot recommend A Penny for My Thoughts highly enough. As a gaming experience it’s powerful. I’ve never created characters before with a game where I had such a deep understanding, not of what they’ve done or what’s happened to them, but who they were.
    Almost every time I run a game of anything that isn’t just a sword-and-spell slinging hackfest, I’ll get the players to run a game of A Penny for My Thoughts to generate their characters before they even commit one dot to paper.
    I think you’ll get the same kick out of it, especially as someone who is familiar with acting and improv techniques (it’s all about Accept and Build/Yes And…)

  25. Concerned about your dice load we are on a mission to get you a Dragon Chow dice bag at GenCon.
    In other news, your intro made me cry. At work. Thankfully my workplace is geek friendly. Well, or at least geek tolerant.

  26. My roommate is heading there with friends, and I believe he will be dressed up as Dr. McNinja. Anyways, he’s got a large green d20 for your stash.
    Wish I could make it!
    Oh, side note: Wil, have you considered doing the Spaceball salute in addition to the Iron Guard salute?

  27. There are very few things that can make me more excited about GenCon. Your attendance this year is one of them.
    It should be a great weekend!

  28. Thanks for using ASL to describe the Iron Guard Salute. As a CODA (Child Of Deaf Adults) and Sign Language Interpreter it is refreshing to encounter someone outside of the Deaf community using my native language to expand on a concept.

  29. I am sad that I will not be able to go to Gencon (i spent all my con funds at SDCC) but I did have a thought about your “Can have enough dice” project.
    So you’re going to spill all these dice our on your floor for an awesome picture when you get home, right? You know the following WILL happen: One will be forgotten when you pick them all up and most likly your poor wife will find it late one night when she is getting a glass of water from the kitchen because, as you have quoted her saying before, “they are so awesome to step on.”
    Just a thought.

  30. Hi Will,
    I never met you and I am not really into being touched in general anyway, *however* I am sure if you wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer you will be fine. Doctors touch really sick people all the time and by adding a few precautions are okay (i.e. never rub your eyes with the tip of your fingers). I know, people take massive dumps and without washing their hands, dig into an A&W burger or bag of Doritos. It is really too bad that you think you cannot shake hands or pat a back without getting sick. You totally can and I don’t want you to get sick–but you may be eliminating a vital way to connect for some people. You touch what these people touch anyway, door knobs, faucets, etc.. Besides, these are geeks we are talking about…
    No disrespect, just please think it over. I have no problem if you were to just wave to me but for some it is important.

  31. You don’t want to get sick. I get that. Who would? A celebrity shakes a lot more hands than a regular attendee, so I can totally understand your attitude. But it’s still a little weird. Is that how you want to be remembered? As “the guy who wouldn’t shake hands?” Are you concerned about becoming the next celebrity germophobe? (I would be.) It’s a no-win scenario. Good luck. Have fun at GenCon!

  32. No touching restricts human proximity for infection control, but what if a babe wants you to sign her breasts Wil! C’mon, you gotta’ think about these things man!!
    Also, I that Iron Cross salute needs to be renamed to something a bit more contemporary :)

  33. Yeah, I've only played Penny once, and I LOVED it. I hadn't thought of using it to develop characters for a different game … that's a really interesting idea.

  34. Yes, it should become the “Pax” salute. Both because it’s supported by Penny Arcade, and because “Pax” is Latin for “peace” (which ties in with the the Roman roots). My only problem with this salute at a game con is how to determine if somebody is saluting you, or merely obfuscating… am I supposed to salute back, or pretend I don’t see them? So confusing…

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