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GenCon '96 In Review

Lewis Nicolls

GenCon '96 was a great success. There's no way I can relate everything that happened there, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway. After a long drive and a short nap we headed to the convention center to set up. We knew this was going to be a lot more than a local gaming/fandom convention, but we were all a little shocked at the size of the exhibitor's hall. Attendance was projected to be about 30,000. I don't know if they all made it, but I do know the place was wall to wall with humanity.

While the Pharaoh Games staff began to set up for our demos in the open gaming area, Jason and Heather (Ivory and Steel) began sending people our way. By noon Dj was running our first pick-up game. By mid-afternoon Head, John and Darren had shown over a dozen people the basics of the system by walking them through a character generation. We finally had books for sale, so Ivory and Steel, our publishers, were able to make a little money back on there expenses. Also, Pharaoh Games will finally see a little profit for all our work.

Actually our biggest profit has already come. Everybody seems to loves it; I thought I was going to loose it the first time someone wanted me to sign their book. Many people said Pelicar is the first new game to come out in years to show some potential. About 30 to 40 people played in our demo's, and we talked to (sometimes including a character roll up) to about 40 more. We quickly picked up a few loyal fans along the way, and made some friends we look forward to seeing at future cons.

17 Players at one time! The climax of the weekend came Saturday night, when Dj ran a session that grew to around seventeen player at one time. The spectacle stirred up a lot of interest and it kind of grew of its own design. Someone would come over to see what was going on and before they knew what had happened Darren was showing them how to roll up a character so they could play. We had been pushing how smooth our system ran all week, so Saturday night put an exclamation mark at the end of the pitch.

Although we were hoping for bigger sales, we laid a lot of groundwork for future sales. One distributor in England is definitely going to carry us, and another (the country's biggest) probably will. We also talked to distributors from New Zealand (they handle a lot of the Australian market) and Italy. A major (possibly the best) miniatures company, is interested in doing a line of Pelicar miniatures, and we may have picked up some people interested in writing Pelicar novels. We also talked to a lot of U.S. retailers and distributors. Most, I think, will carry the game. Even if they don't immediately, they know our name when our market picks up. Many representatives of various gaming magazines were there, so in the next few months we will be getting some free exposure in reviews. I am very confident the reviews will be good, everybody else has liked it.

Most importantly, Head had a date.