That time is almost here: when gaming geeks of all kinds extricate ourselves from the rest of the world and head to Indianapolis for that mecha of nerd fun, GenCon! GenCon stands as my favorite of the big conventions. It is huge, noisy and full of people, all of whom are coming together to bask in the glow of the gaming things we love. If you’ve never been, it’s a jam-packed experience full of panels, demos, games to play, merch to buy, and people to meet. There are parties, awards ceremonies, and after-hours fun to be had too, then you get up in the morning bright and early to do it again!

This will be my fifth year attending GenCon but it is my privilege to be going this year not as an attendee but as a speaker. On top of attending great events like the Diana Jones Awards and the Ennies (go Night’s Black Agent! Win!) I’ll be behind a microphone at the following:

Thursday August 15 @ 2PM – Getting Started In The Industry – Crowne Plaza Ballroom C – Have questions about how to get started in the industry? Want to know how freelancers got their beginnings? What about self-publishing, is that really for you? Come and ask questions and listen to people who have gone through the process answer you back. I’m pleased as hell to be on this panel with the likes of Brian A Liberge (Beer Star Games), Tracy Hurley (Sand and Steam Productions), Eloy Lastana (Third Eye Games), and Matt James (Vorpal Games) and can’t wait to speak to folks about my experiences thus far.

Thursday August 15 @ 4PM – Depression, Anxiety, Treatment and the Gamer – Crown Plaza Victoria Station C/D – John Adamus will be leading more of a conversation about how to be a game developer (or just a gamer) when facing issues of mental illness. It’s my privilege to be involved in this discussion, as this topic is near and dear to my heart and my experience as a designer struggling with bi-polar disorder. This talk is meant to be a supportive environment to discuss how to keep creating and working in the industry while still dealing with the monsters you have to face. Come to share if you feel comfortable, or just listen.

Friday August 16 @ 5PM – Religious Representation In Role-Playing GamesCrown Plaza Victoria Station A/B – Come join me as I sit down with Lillian Cohen-Moore and Jaym Gates to discuss how religions are represented in role-playing games. How are real-world religions such as Islam, Christianity and Judaism treated by mainstream gaming? What are the tropes, trends and territories explored by gaming when it comes to religious characters? And what about the issue of religious appropriation of icons, traditions and mythologies integrated into gaming works? Can it be and has it been done respectfully? We’ll pick apart this difficult question together.

So that’s my schedule! In between I’ll be attending lots of other panels, getting down with the awesome D20 Burlesque crew as they show off their best to the GenCon crowd, and celebrating the awards at the Ennies. I’m also super excited to hear Patrick Rothfuss speak – he is one of my favorite fantasy authors! It’s going to be a busy GenCon. To those who will be attending, I look forward to seeing you there!

Interested in getting together with me at the convention to talk shop? Hit me up @ShoshanaKessock on Twitter and we can see about setting up a time.

On the heels of my last post about being super busy comes news of some awesomeness soon to come. I’ve been graced with the chance to attend several conventions in the next six months to either run games or contribute on panels. And good news, some of that involves needing some help from awesome game designers and LARPers and women in the game world — hey, I might mean you! So check it out:

Dreamation 2013 –

That’s right folks! The Double Exposure convention season for 2013 has begun and Dreamation 2013 is only a few weeks away. I will be hosting my third Dresden Files LARP at the con entitled “Dog Days”. It’s a sequel of the previous two games and will focus on the aftermath of the craziness from last time. Queen Mab mad at you? Rogue Denarians afoot? New York’s supernatural community has to come together, and the wereforms in town are trying to do just that. Too bad someone’s got other plans of course…

On top of that, I’ll also be hosting two panels at the convention. And this is the part where I’d love to hear from folks!

The first panel will be a LARP Roundtable, where we bring together LARP staffers and organizers from around the area to talk about the challenges and rewards of running their games. Whether you do theater style games or boffer, long term campaigns or experimental, nordic or American, you’ve got a seat at the table. Let’s come together and share techniques and learn from each other. If folks are interested, please hit me up on Twitter or my email – I can’t guarantee everyone will be a speaker, but I’d love to hear from you.

The second panel is on a topic near and dear to my heart – Women in Gaming. I’ve spoken with the wonderful Avonelle Wing of the Double Exposure staff and we’d love this to follow up the panels at both DexCon last year and at Metatopia in continuing to unpack the issues of women in gaming and in game design. So if you’re a game designer interested in sitting on the panel with me to talk about the state of women in the gaming world, let’s talk! As above, can’t guarantee everyone can be a speaker but get in touch so we can start a dialogue about it.

Intercon 2013-

Following on the heels of that will be Intercon 2013 up in Boston. I’m super excited to be attending my first Intercon in years, and my first of the Boston conventions. I’m pleased to say I’ll be attending the Pre-Convention on Thursday to be a guest on several panels, including Sexuality in LARP, Gender and LARP, How to Run a Game Briefing/Wrap and What Boffer LARP can Teach Intercon. There are some amazing folks from all corners of the LARP world coming to the con to run games, but the panel track is just as interesting so come by Thursday and Friday to hear some smart folk speak. Oh yeah, and I’ll be there too!

IndieCade East-

This is a brand new convention for me too! I’ll be joining my NYU Game Center brethren to explore the game design landscape of the New York area in IndieCade east. Moreover, I’m going to be on Team NYU in the Iron Game Design Challenge where the NYU Game Center is taking on Parsons! Lead by our glorious leader, Eric Zimmerman, I am sure we will go on to victory!

Pax East-

That’s right folks, another East Con and this time it’s Pax! This one is another first for me as I’m attending PaxEast as a panelist! I will be sitting a panel on the dreaded Fake Geek Girls dilemma alongside such awesome women as Anja Keister, Stella Chu and Iris Explosion of D20 Burlesque. It’s my pleasure to be in such illustrious company and I’m looking forward to the discussions we’re going to have.

And coming soon: GenCon 2013!

That’s right, the plans are already in the works for attending GenCon 2013. I’ll be wending my way out to GenCon and hope to work alongside the always fantastic John Stavropolis to run some games for Games on Demand. I also have plans to do full play tests of my game Wanderlust there, as well as at…

DexCon 2013!

Looking forward to this summer, I’m already planning my next Dresden LARP which will be the finale of the cycle of games and bring the chronicle to a close. I’ll also be bringing more play tests of Wanderlust along, hoping to culminate in having the game ready for Metatopia in November.

So that’s my schedule. I’m already exhausted just thinking about it. Plus I’ve got plans for New York Comic Con and San Diego Comic Con in there, and maybe running something at Recess in NYC. So this year is going to be a lot of running around. But why not? When you’ve got a chance to go great places and game, why not take it? As updates happen, I’ll give more of them. In the meantime, I gotta remember to pack my dice and get ready for a LONG season.