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. I worked at a portrait studio for 4 years, we all had epic sicknesses run through us over the Christmas season due to the high volume of people we had to interact with, regardless of how careful we were, and how often we sprayed down the door knobs with lysol. You get that high volume of people, it’s germ city.
    You probably already do this, but bring hand sanitizer and use it often.
    Oh, and at ECCC this past April when you took a photo with me and my daughter, standing up and leaning over the table rather than walking around it was entirely cool – and probably saved time for the people in line behind us. There’s no reason for you to get huggy buggy with the crowd. You already interact with fans a great deal from behind the table, and it is appreciated. Do whatever you need to stay healthy – that’s my vote.

  2. I can understand not wanting to get sick again, that really sucks! What also sucks is everyone giving you crap about it. Have you thought about doing the Howie greeting? You know, Howie Mandel fist bumps everyone, so as to limit germ contact. Anyway, I won’t be there, and ultimately it is your decsion, as you would be the one who would have to deal with any illnesses. If you choose not to make any contact, I totally support that. Wasn’t sure if you’d want a possible alternative. I wouldn’t go the sanitizer route, due to the increasing prevelance of superbugs. Most importantly, stay healthy and have fun!

  3. I don’t know why people are so mad about this whole ‘touching’ thing. I’ve met you 3 times at Phoenix Comicon and while I believe I never shook your hand they were all great experiences. The reason being is because you actually remember me and my wife (more my wife though, Karen, who sang ‘You Ougtha Know’). I don’t know why physical contact would be such a big deal.

  4. If you really mean no disrespect, than you should at least try to spell his name properly. It appears on this page at least 10 times, including right in the URL. To spell it wrong like that is disrespectful.

  5. Totally understand not wanting to touch people and get sick at a Con. I got Mono in college on a flight back from an expo. Yayz. It’s been 3 years and I still occasionally have symptoms so I don’t particularly like being around sick people either.
    So wish I could be at GenCon, tho. Or any con. Meh. Work.

  6. Wait- won’t you contaminate yourself by touching dice given to you from other gamer’s chivas regal bags, or worse yet, from the depths of a pocket?
    Might be wise to get some bacta in a bowl for pre-transfer dipping

  7. I’m very disappointed to hear that you won’t even offer a handshake. Buy a few bottles of Purell and suck it up for the fans, Wil. People are entertained by what you do. People wait in lines to see you live, to get a tiny personal memory of you. Some of your fans have been following you since TNG or even Stand By Me, and this may be the first opportunity to see you in person. People are bringing cash with the intent of buying things from you, to support what you do so we can continue to be entertained. I sincerely hope you change your stance. I’m still a fan of you and your work, but not nearly as much as I was yesterday.

  8. i’m going to get alot of flack for this, but i could really care less.
    you people are unreal. do you not keep your distance from people when YOU get sick? how is it that he can’t do the same? just because he’s a celebrity? you think he is not a human being just like the rest of us. it makes me sick to see people complaining over a simple hug or handshake. get real people, seriously.
    he’s a human being just like the rest of us. treat him with the respect he deserves and stop giving him flack for not hugging you or giving you a handshake. better yet, think about it this way, if you wouldn’t want people touching you who could get you sick, what makes wil any different?
    Wil, i think your awesome, and sorry if this is way out there. i’ve got your back :D

  9. I can honestly understand not wanting to shake hands with someone out of concern for catching something. Having gone to conventions for 20 years now as a fan I’ve seen all kinds of uncleanliness (its gotten alot better at least in the last 5 years though). Me personally I have never met you in person but having been a reader of your blog and books has been a great inspiration for me to return to gaming and writing and to just have a chance to see you speak in person will be an honor into itself. *Iron Guard Salute*

  10. And I thought the good thing about being a geek is the ability to be as weird as you want without repercussions. *shrugs* What is with the shaking-hands-pressure?
    Hope a good time is had by all with minimal disease transmission. (I have 2 small kids, one who recently licked a train handrail. I get it.)

  11. Wil… here all this time I thought you were really afraid that I might steal your Katra…
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/laptopbob/1229768690/sizes/s/in/photostream/
    But seriously folks, the man has a physiological conditon that makes it dangerous for him to go around touching people all day-the fact that part of his job(and passion, I might add)puts him in situations where great throngs of people want to touch him and easy access to do so is totally moot. In this case the needs of the few-or the one-outweigh the needs of the many.

  12. Wil – If you stop by booth 614 – Blood and Cardstock Games, We have some free games for you and the required dice.
    I personally agree with your request not to be touched. You are being upfront and honest. Risking your health for anyone should not be required for you and us to enjoy a con.

  13. For future cons maybe you could get Grant Imahara to build a hugging/hand-shaking robot to keep at your table for those in dire need of physical contact. Embrace-atron, Wheaton Edition.

  14. I tried it once with my group and they fell in love with the process. Everyone was excited to play the characters they created (discovered?). Good stuff. Though you have to use a different questionnaire, or at least change the last question since, if I had to guess, everyone in your game doesn’t have memory loss. A possible alternative could be “How do you know the person to your left?”

  15. By the by, I completely understand the moratorium on handshaking and hugs. While I would love to shake your hand or hug you (as both a geek and aspiring writer, you’re something of hero to me), your health, well-being, and enjoyment takes precedence.
    What I don’t think people fully understand is that if con-going becomes too much of a burden, the physical toll will come to out-weigh the monetary boost/enjoyment you receive in payment, and these folks won’t be able to meet you at all.
    I do understand their disappointment, but you’re totally in your rights, my friend. Here’s hoping it serves you in good stead and you walk away from another convention sans the ick.

  16. While we’re on the subject of game cons, any chance you’ll be making it to Strategicon-Gateway in LA the 1st weekend in Sep? If so, I’d love to pick up one of the aforementioned Chapbooks. And if you’re up for it, we can work together to cure some diseases in a game of Pandemic (while avoiding physical-contact-transmitted real plagues at the same time!).

  17. Man, I wish I could go to GenCon, but travel is hard for one with no monies.
    That said, you should totally come up to Minnesota for CONvergence next year! It’s a really big Con we have up here in early July. It’s a 4 day CON that involves just about every geek thing imaginable – it’s sci-fi, fantasy, gaming, anime, comics… everything. You should come – it’ll be awesome. Here’s the link to their website: http://www.convergence-con.org/
    And out of my vaguely morbid curiosity – in regards to MTG, what kind of deck do you play?
    ~TheFaceGuy
    http://thefaceguy.blogspot.com

  18. Jesus Christ, people. The man doesn’t want to get your creeping crud so he won’t do any PDA. “Suck it up” as some dope said above… but he should have been looking in the mirror. Wil isn’t charging you anything for anything unless you want to buy one of his books. Having met him a couple of times at non-trek events I can assure you that he is approachable, happy to take a pic with you and exchange a few words and sign something (at the appropriate time, of course, if you get barked at interrupting a game, meal or conversation you deserve to get slapped down, but he’s probably too much of a gentleman to put the smackdown down as hard as you might deserve).
    Now… I specified non-trek events as I’d have a little sympathy for the “You owe us” attitude at a Creation con or some such since they have become such money sucking rackets limiting what can be signed, charging for sigs and sometimes for the signature materials. But at a game con where the man is there to throw dice and mingle with fellow gamers? Sorry, but again “suck it up.”

  19. I’m going to PAXPrime Pregnant. I’m terrified of what could happen being in a massive group of people let alone the germs and viruses. And I doubt I will come into a situation where I would have the desire let alone opportunity to shake as many hands as you would.
    People don’t need to touch someone to have a personal memory. I used to tell my nanny kids that you look with your eyes not your hands. I can’t believe this is still an issue for adults to comprehend. And I’m appalled that anyone would give you flack or lose respect for you!
    Game on dude, I’ll be the one saluting from behind the surgeon’s mask. :)

  20. I always read this blog but never comment, but was moved to do so tonight because I too got the swine flu, and it was the sickest I’ve ever, ever been. It was awful in a way that “flu” can’t describe. Wil, It’s just fine that you don’t shake hands with an army of people! In fact, it’s good for your health, and the health of everyone else. Thanks for not being another disease vector. Here’s to another disease-free con!

  21. Hey Will, after reading through some of the comments that followed, i really hope that mine did not come across as unkind. That was not my intention, i was trying to be constructive in my own little way, not make you sad :(

  22. I don’t blame you Wil, I was amazed I didn’t get sick at pax east as well. That was prime stomach flu season too lots of people had it and when a guy ran into the bathroom stall next to me and got sick I was sure it was going to happen to me too. The Iron Guard Salute is really the way to go at any Con, as much as people don’t like it there is always someone that comes to a Con sick and passes it around.

  23. You should consider getting a hazmat suit – that way you are protected and the peeps get their contact – and it’s funny in an ironic sort of way (though likely a bit warm). Beat them at their own game – plus you get to sound like Darth Vader with the respirator!

  24. I understand your concern. The bottom line is a convention is a bad place to be in terms of viral contagions. Still rather than an announced no contact plan, you might have done better by planning, controlling contact and using hand sanitizers when you do. Signing autographs, exchanging money and many social situations are going to involve contact. Just being in a confined area with so many people is high risk. As a celebrity, fans will want to meet you and shake your hand and some people will be put off by your contact ban. Also anyone not knowing about this ban might think your an ass jumping back from handshakes. Your ban is really going to suck when Megan Fox shows up for her smooch.
    It’s your call though… I’m cool with it. We really needed to cut down on all the kissing and hugging anyway, the wives get jealous.
    D6 maneuver!

  25. I’ve been up at areyoufuckingserious o’clock a LOT lately. My little girl arrived August 1, and totally by coincidence daddy even wore his dice shirt to the hospital. : )
    Say hi to little Claire:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbecker70/4866833046/
    http://gallery.me.com/damon.becker
    And I will make everyone wash hands before touching anything in my house, especially baby. I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all to not want to get sick. People should be more understanding.
    Have fun at GenCon!

  26. I think the no physical contact rule is perfectly understandable. I highly suggest you get some sort of infographic sign made to put near the head of line for the few people who do not read you blog regularly.
    Does no physical contact rule out sharing of drinks? What about collecting hair samples?
    What? Too soon?

  27. Dude?
    You dont own a piece of Wil, hes not under any obligation to meet your expectations he doesnt even have to go to cons. Im sure that he and his partner would love a quiet weekend away from the horde of nerds.
    At a con you only deal with your group of friends or guildies or whatever. Wil has to deal with everyone. The problem with events like cons is the recycled air, and the dangerous lack of hygiene demonstrated by an alarming majority of attendees.
    Just chill out.

  28. Im a happy citizen of a British penal colony and stand no chance of getting to the con. Is there a mail address I can send dice to that you wont be afraid of it exploding, containing some ones head, cut out pictures of you etc etc. To be clearer I don’t want to pull a Scalzi so a business address would cool.
    Cheers Wil

  29. I can now say I bought Wil Wheaton a beer. I am very pleased by this. It was great meeting you today. Hope you’re having a wonderful con!

  30. The Iron Guard salute is better than shaking hands with someone wearing gloves and a surgical mask. Maybe you could bring a mannequin made to look like you, that people could hug or shake hands with. Just like the Progressive Commercial where the family poses besides the cardboard cutout of Flo as the real Flo takes their picture. “Everyone say: Awkward!”
    On the other hand, there’s Marc Singer. At a Comicon, I was ambushed and found my hand suddenly and without warning being shaken by his. The Beastmaster laughs at the idea of catching creeping crud from connies.

  31. It was great to meet you, Wil. I really hope you enjoy the copy of String Theory For Dummies. Your reaction upon reading the title is now one of the high points of my life. I’m pretty sure that your eyes almost popped out of your head.
    However, I do wish that I’d read this posting beforehand … because I think I shook your hand before leaving the line. Sorry about that.
    Looking forward to seeing you on Eureka over the next few weeks.

  32. I totally understand not wanting to touch people, being a person who hates physical contact in general. However, I have the perfect solution for you. At a prior conference I had attended, I received a ‘hand’ pointer that my children love to use for pointing and such. Originally intended to be used for Smartboards, these hands are perfect for shaking with those who insist on shaking hands, allowing one to keep a 12-inch distance as well.
    Or maybe that’s just too weird?
    Unfortunately I can’t make GenCon, having just returned from a business trip to California, but would you consider making your chapbook (and prior ones) available for sale for those of us who can’t make it? I’d gladly pay for it, either print or electronic copy.

  33. Was busy gaming and that line to see you was insane. Dropped off dice for myself and one of my friends. The bear and cub d6.
    Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip. Post some distant pics of you out on flickr (Justchuck).

  34. Ooops, it happened again. My room mate took too long in the bathroom. Didn’t make it to the line in time. Did send more dice up for ya. This time math equation dice.

  35. I wish I would have read this before we met today! I would have brought dice. On the subject of germs, you’re not alone. Lots of celebrities, businessmen, and more are realizing that it’s just not a good idea to shake a bunch of hands everyday. And you shouldn’t have to apologize for looking after yourself. Hope you enjoy the book I gave you! (Lord of the Films) And thanks for coming to Gen Con.

  36. I think the “no touching” rule is a great one, especially since you’ve gone out of your way to announce it ahead of time so regular readers know in advance what they’re going to getting.
    The sheer amount of Raging Entitlement Syndrome in fandom never ceases to amaze me.
    Maybe it’s time to propose this to PAX and other cons as a general guideline for GoHs. If more people take that stance and are supported by the con guidelines, maybe the dicks will shut the hell up.

  37. Yo, Wil….
    I’m totally with you on NOT shaking hands. I don’t have immune system issues and am normally a “hand shake” kind of person, but, it’s your right to shake or not to shake, and swine flu’s a bitch, so I get not wanting to go through that. Your true fans will understand. Those who rip you….well, as my dad always told me, they’re the ones who don’t really get you.
    BTW…great list of games to play. Hope you get a chance to play them all.

  38. Aww, man! We left for GenCon before I saw this – I totally would have give you a die! Had I not been so shy and worried about bursting into tears when I met you, I would have asked about the super-tall glass of dice on the counter in front of you, and then would have know to give you one! Blast!
    And, seriously, with how many illnesses are passed around at cons, I so don’t blame you for the no handshaking. Hope you didn’t get too much flak in person from it.

  39. Wil,
    I just watched The Guild 4-3, and I have to say that I LOVE your acting as Fawkes.
    He’s such a DICK!! You’re really very good. We appreciate it.

  40. It was nice to meet you in person after reading the blog for a long time.
    Thank you for your time.
    You handled the plague avoidance like a total class act.

  41. I, for one, always encourage protecting your health – I heard you coughing while I waited in the autograph line, so it looks like the swine flu may have found you anyway. I hope you’re feeling better! (I am also glad to know my Emergency Replacement Dice (TM) went to a good cause!)

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