How does it feel to be the only black person in the room?

Business as usual, actually, but that was how I was greeted at the Eighth Annual Diana Jones Awards by my friends the lovely and talented Jesse Scoble and Lucien Soulban. The Diana Jones Award is an annual award created to publicly acknowledge excellence in gaming, from a game system or supplement, a magazine, a company, a designer, a convention, or a web site. The event itself is like trying to have the Academy Awards in the middle of the party.

Held in the Jillian’s bar, bars typically being where the business of conventions get done, I got to hang out with Matt Forbeck and founder of Wizards of the Coast (who launched Magic: the Gathering) and owner of Gen Con LLC, Peter Adkison (the conversation went something along these lines: me: “I’ve donated thousands of dollars to your cause.” Peter: “And I’ve gladly spent it.”) The announced winners were a tie between:

-Grey Ranks by Jason Morningstar from Bully Pulpit Games
-Wolfgang Baur and his Open Design projects

I spent the bulk of the evening trying to work out the various factions represented at GenCon. Card games. Role-playing games. Video games. Board games. Miniatures (after all, GenCon was originally a war-gaming convention). Massively multi-player online, the crack of the game industry (where a moderately successful game would have 150-200 thousand players, World of Warcraft has around 10 million players). Fluff vs. crunch writing. For that matter, trying to figure out the difference between game designers (rules and systems) and game writers (story and character) – though apparently there’s not much of a difference since there’s a lot of cross over between their roles.

This was the Gen Con pre-party, btw. Gen Con proper begins on Thursday. But it’s important to get acclimated early.

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