Player Perspectives: The Happiest Place On Earth for Four Days

Player Perspectives is a regular feature here on the Monte Cook Games website, penned by guest writers—players of Numenera, The Strange, and the Cypher System.

People often refer to Disney World as the happiest place on earth, but if you like roleplaying games of any sort, the happiest place on earth is Gen Con in Indianapolis, IN, for four days in August (or sometimes late July) each year.

This will be my 10th year traveling to Gen Con, and my experience there has changed significantly over the years. I used to play games there that I didn’t play at home, and spend a lot of time in the dealer hall playing demos. In the last few years my focus has shifted to GMing games; specifically Cypher System games.

Now that I’ve started GMing games at Gen Con, I can’t imagine going back. For years, I’ve run campaigns of various lengths, and a few one-off adventures at home. I wasn’t prepared for how rewarding convention games would be. Prior to running games for MCG, I considered running games a job—Gen Con is a vacation; why work on my vacation? It was the GM friendliness of the Cypher System that convinced me to try running games at Gen Con. I found the system really fit my style, and GMing no longer felt like work. So I signed on to run official MCG games at Gen Con!

I didn’t know what to expect. This is where MCG really shines. A few weeks before Gen Con, they send you the adventure you will run, to become familiar with. MCG also has you covered when you arrive, giving you everything you need: a copy of the adventure, character sheets, pencils, dice, and more. There was so little work in preparing to run games for MCG at Gen Con, that the first year, I “over-prepared” by printing my own copies of the adventure and characters!

For all the great support we get from MCG, there might be even more support from the MCG community. Prior to Gen Con several members of the Asset Team who were going to be GMing there get together to discuss their thoughts on the games. This was very helpful in getting new ideas, or looking at an adventure in a new light. Also, some people created awesome player aids to go with the adventures. There are so many great GMs running games for MCG, it’s a great time to bounce ideas off of people and gain new insights into how to run particular adventures.

GMing MCG games at Gen Con was my gateway to the MCG community. The people I’ve met at MCG events have been some of the best friends I’ve made. Many, I only get to see once a year in person at Gen Con, but our sense of community is so strong that we try to get together in the offseason. Either by meeting up at local conventions, or in the case of Grand Rapids Intrusion (GR Intrusion) by creating a small convention as a pretense to hang out with our Cypher System friends.

Running a game is very rewarding. The energy of the event gets you pumped up. There are several other tables around you running Cypher System games, and you can feel the positive energy in the room. It is a great experience to introduce the Cypher System to someone, and then see that same person at the MCG booth later buying the game. At Gen Con 2015 I had a young woman in one of my games, who during a break mentioned that all her previous experiences with roleplaying games had been boring, but the game of The Strange we were playing was the best RPG experience she had ever had. A comment like this, a thank you and a handshake, or an occasional round of applause for a game well done are the only reward a GM needs (but not the only reward MCG offers!) After years of playing games at Gen Con I wanted to give back, like so many GMs had given to me, and I have received more from that experience than I thought possible.

[Editor’s note: Interested in joining Troy and the community in running MCG games at Gen Con? You can find more information here!]
Troy Pichelman
Troy Pichelman

Troy Pichelman is a father of two gamer padawans. He has played role playing games since AD&D, and enjoys games of all types and flavors. He also enjoys all sorts of board and card games. When not playing games Troy works as an IT Professional in the insurance industry. You can find Troy on Twitter at @TroyP23.