Cancon 2019 – Aftermath!

Okay, that’s CanCon over!

The short story is we went to Cancon this weekend, and there, we sold games and bookmarks and postcards and other neat things and we stayed in a nice dorm with our friend, and we all had a Pretty Good Weekend and came home. We ate some pizza, we played some games, we talked to people and we had a bunch of fun. Then we came home.

Now, some other stuff, while the experience is fresh in my mind.

First of all, I slept better this time around. The absolutely horrible heat of the first two days didn’t impact me too bad and I don’t know why. I just got a bit more sleep. Previous CanCons I’ve had sometimes as few as three hours of sleep, which really messes with me – if you’ve seen me pattering on day 3 of a Cancon, you have witnessed me probably trying to hide that I’m so tired I can’t read. This weekend, no such problem.

I’m reluctant at the best of times to talk about money. I’m holding back on telling you how much money I did or did not make (and hey, it’s not just mine to say). What I can do is tell you how many games I sold, over the course of the three days of Cancon, and any trends there.

In total, we sold fifty one games over three days. Our games range from $10 to $30, but the take included some discounts. Also, I gave away six copies of games we have on clearance. Some of these sales were really surprising. Particularly, I sold multiple copies of Escape Code and Jiangju. Neither of these games are big sellers. Also, some standard strong peformances from Good Cop, Bear Cop, from LFG and we even sold some copies of Cafe Romantica, one of our bigger games.

Day two was pretty quiet, which is surprising. I don’t know if Day 2s are always a lull, but this year we were in a new location, so we’re analysing everything, seeing what we can do to maximise our results.

There was one other thing: there were some people who wanted to talk about making games. If you’re one of those people, if you’re one of the people who wanted to get into it, and you’re thinking hey, he doesn’t really want me to bother him, yes I do. I do want you to bother me. I want you to have access to this kind of stuff.

There’s always something weird about convention conversations though. I struggle through this pattern because many times what I’m doing is Trying To Keep Things Moving. I don’t want to manipulate anyone, I don’t want to coerce, and I don’t want to exploit. At the same time, when I have the room to do so I want to push against people being the kind of gamers I don’t want to feel comfortable. I routinely introduced my games with the phrase We want our games to be for everyone, except nazis and terfs. Yet at the same time, when talking to a couple of ministers who want to try and stake out well we’re the reasonable ones, and young atheists are the problem… and it’s a technique. I know it’s a technique. I know it because they’re saying the same stories that I hear from my father and from others and it’s all the same stuff, all the same lines, all the same examples, all the same patter.

And so it washed over me.

It washed over me as they tried to drag the conversation back onto their talking points, which yes, came up at a gaming convention. This was not a terrible problem, but I wish I’d had a little more in me to be a tiny bit ruder, and maybe instead of continuing the conversation, shrugging and going Yeah oh well.

There’s also this other guy who kept saying ret*rded, while bubbling with enthusiasm, and while I kept guiding him away from it, I have the suspicion he wasn’t listening. Which is a shame, because those points aside, the conversation was fun and he clearly cared about the topics he was talking about.

Still, these moments bug me. Like I couldn’t do more to fix them. I spent three days repeating no nazis, no terfs, and these two times I just found myself petering out. The times you mess up stand out in the mind more than the times you succeed, I guess.

Another thing, which is more of a game design thing, is I feel the overwhelming need to redo all the gameboxes I’ve made. A weekend of looking at kickstartered and small-end indie games and their box copy just has me thinking about the repeated tropes and phrases and how cutthroat and exciting just ache when they’re overused.

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