Steve Jackson's Previous Appearances
Want to meet Steve? Check the appearances page for a list of conventions he's attending, as well as other events where you can find him and say hello.
Here are trip reports from Steve's previous appearances.
June 26-28, 2015
I liked my first visit to LibertyCon so much that I was happy to be invited back. And Chattanooga is such a great city that on a previous visit I actually looked at real estate magazines. So this one will be fun. LibertyCon is a very comfortable, companionable event, gamer-friendly but definitely a full-spectrum SF convention.
The guest list is excellent. It's headlined by David Weber, best known for the Honor Harrington series (though he's done a lot of other great stuff). The toastmaster is none other than Howard Tayler of Schlock Mercenary.
(And it will be held in the Chattanooga Choo Choo, a hotel that not only has its own model train layout*, but is right on the city's electric-bus line that runs straight to the Aquarium and the good restaurants. A great choice.)
*News flash: they're remodeling, and it is anybody's guess whether or where the trains will be at the time of the con. Ah, well, more time to play games.
June 17-21, 2015
While I am primarily at this marvelous event to admire awesome Lego and to hold Seekrit Meetings ////////////////////// consult with Guy Himber (Munchkin Bricks, www.crazybricks.com) I will be doing a signing at the Crazybricks booth at 1pm Friday, lasting till a bit after 2 so the people getting out of 1pm events will have a chance. Come by and say hi! I will deface your games for you.
Look for the banner.
Or look for me at the PennLUG / TBRR table, or at the Great Ball Contraption. Or at the charity auction. Or the mixers :)
Or at the big Munchkin game that Guy and I will do for charity, using the amazing board that he built.
And yes, we do in fact have a copy of Munchkin Steampunk
May 8-10, 2015
(UPDATE: I am already in Columbus. Beautiful weather. I went to the Museum of Art and the Franklin Park Conservatory today. So come see me at the con!)
It's amazing when a con makes it to #50, and I felt very honored when Marcon invited me back for their fiftieth year. I've been there twice before, and both times it was great.
In 1989 I got to meet Hal Clement! And the convention took all the guests on a museum tour to see the traveling exhibit of ancient Chinese sculpture and artifacts. I still have posters on my wall from that show.
In 2005 we took the Chaos Machine, and John Kovalic was there, and Dr. Demento was the DJ for the dance and I did the Macarena, and all in all it could hardly have been more awesome.
So we'll see what happens this time. Among the returning guests are Barry and Sally Childs-Helton. I liked their music in 1989, and since they're still rocking, I'll still be liking.
February 20-22, 2015
This was a surprise appearance. TO ME, TOO! I flew to Seattle, all by my lonesome, for REDACTED and some quick meetings with Not Available At Your Clearance. It was a seven-hour trip from Austin; I left the house about 5 in the morning. Much of the flight has already mercifully slipped from my mind. It's better that way. (I can report that the Sekret Meetingz went swimmingly.)
I wanted to put a gamer meet-and-greet on the schedule, but dropped it, because this was thrown together rather quickly and everybody who would normally help set up an event is recovering from Toy Fair. Yet . . .
As I was walking to my hotel room, I saw a big shiny banner and some people who looked very much like they were, well, OUR people. As in, US. I said “You're putting on a con?” They said that indeed they were. We talked. So: Mythicworlds is a new event with a heavy focus on music, art, and fantastic masquerade, and the chairman, Robert Gould, was kind enough to invite me to check out his show. I did!
Impressive guest list, including Brom and Laurie Lee Brom . . . which makes me happy because I'm a Brom fan and wish we had more chances to use his wonderful stuff. (Darn it, I never actually caught up with Brom. Life is rough.)
I was grossly underdressed. I did not even pack my bowler hat. But all the very beautifully-dressed faerie folk and steampunks were completely kind to the guy in the polo shirt. And the music was awesome. I bought three CDs before the weekend was over.
See . . . not only can I not escape geekdom, but it somehow knows where I will be and gets there before I do. What could be cooler?
February 13-15, 2015
New York City
It was amazing.
John, Andrew, and I all did signings. Many games were played. Fun things happened. Prizes were given. Sunday night after closing we held a party for distributors, partners, and other cool biz friends.
All thanks to Sam Mitschke for spearheading, for everybody who helped, and for all the munchkins who came out and had a good time. We are seriously thinking we'll do this again next year, and maybe at some other big events too.
January 31-February 8, 2015
I was the Gaming Guest at JoCo Cruise Crazy 5! My first cruise ever. It was a wonderful event, we want to go back, JCCC wants us to come back, we'll be back. (I say "us" because I was ably assisted by Andrew Hackard and Monica Stephens, without whom it would not have been possible to bring nearly so much of the awesome. Next year the team may very well be larger.)
-- Below is unedited material from the original announcement. I'll come back and replace it with more about the things that happened, but I wanted to get in NOW, start the update, and tell you that if you are any two of a geek, a gamer, and a music lover, you should come next year. --
JoCo Cruise Crazy is the Jonathan Coulton cruise. This year will be the fifth, and they keep on doing it, so obviously something is going right. It runs eight nights in the Western Caribbean on Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas, with music, comedy and performances from Coulton and friends. It departs from Ft. Lauderdale, FL on January 31st and returns February 8th, with ports of call at Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Basseterre, St. Kitts; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Labadee, Haiti.
And because this is a geek event, and because many of us geeks kind of like games, the ship will have a game room. We're sponsoring it. There will be Munchkin. There will be Zombie Dice and Castellan and Revolution. Heck, there will even be Ogre. It's a big ship; we're pretty sure it can carry the box.
Not to mention a great number of games that we did not publish ourselves, because face it, some of those are pretty good too.
This whole thing is exciting to me for several reasons:
• I have been a Coulton fan for years, seen him in concert, spent a lot of time (but not enough yet) listening to the music . . . but I've never met him.
• Time spent around Paul and Storm is never wasted. Well, actually, it probably is, but it sure is fun.
• And Andrew is coming, and when he gets together with Paul and Storm the repartee is competely repickulous.
• I have never in my life been on a cruise.
November 21-23, 2014
San Antonio, TX
This was my first dedicated "neo-Victorian" convention, but I've had a great time at the steampunk tracks of events like Comicpalooza. So I wanted to try a pure steampunk weekend. I don't usually call out an event in public after I attend as a guest, but on the whole this was not a good representation of geekdom to the public.
There were some great moments. The hotel was excellent and pretty darn near Victorian, and the staff tried very hard to be accommodating. I saw some wonderful outfits and met some nice people. I learned a lot from a presentation on steampunk in comics. The guest of honor was Michael Moorcock, and I got some books signed!
But on the whole, this guest did not have a good time. Things that were promised did not happen, the schedule wasn't taken seriously by the organizers, and a late-night event that was billed as "introduction for newbies" turned out to be more like "spooky Camarilla-style improv." It was probably a real hoot if you were part of the in-crowd. For the captive audience, it was tedious, then embarrassing, then tedious again.
I have to give the whole event about one star out of five. Come on, folks . . . we can do better, and if we can't do better, we shouldn't be doing this at all.
October 11, 2014
Munchkin Panic Release Party
I joined my friends Anne-Marie and Justin De Witt, aka Fireside Games, at the release party for Munchkin Panic! It was at Wonko's Toys and Games in northwest Austin from 6-9 pm. And it was busy! Andrew Hackard was there, making awful puns. There were games, prizes, and swag. I played one game. And I won, though it was hard fought. Munchkin Steve ftw! (Yes, in the "More Munchkin" rules of Munchkin Panic, there's a winner. What you want to do is make sure to be the one with the most kills when the castle finally falls down. Which translates to "Stop fighting the monsters and help the castle fall – while you are ahead.)
And there was indeed cake – a chocolate Spyke with Rice Krispy horns, and a lemon Duck of Doom. Plus cookies in the shape of monster counters. Fireside really knows how to throw a party.
September 26-28, 2014
Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
I was the Special Gaming Guest at FenCon XI. Other guests included Eric Flint, Rich Sternbach, Timothy Zahn, and Ookla the Mok. I managed to carry a copy of Flint's 1632 with me throughout most of the con without ever remembering it at a good time to get it signed. I got to talk to Sternbach, whose work I have admired forever; I got to catch up with Tim; and I got to hear two Ookla concerts and spend some quality time in the bar with Rand and Adam!
And Saturday, Tom Smith and I presented a preview (pre-listen?) of the long-awaited Ogre Suite. The audience listened, and overall seemed to like it, and made some suggestions that Tom and I thought were VERY MUCH worth the effort of setting up the event. Unfortunately, Tom was taken sick the next morning, and as of this writing, as far as I know, has not left the hospital in Dallas. So the next iteration of the music won't happen right away. But it will happen . . .
I really enjoyed FenCon. From my point of view, the committee did everything right, except for the things they did excellently.
August 14-18, 2014
Worldcon gave me a chance to visit London again, a thing which does not happen often enough.
Monica and I had a good time, playing tourist until our feet hurt. We used the Underground a lot, and we like it. The convention itself was excellent. For once, I got to attend a lot of programming and filk concerts, rather than just doing my own events and collapsing. Among the most interesting: a multi-session attempt to recreate the Game of Azad, from Iain M. Banks' Player of Games. In the final session we actually tried to play what had been created. Fruit, Lego, and children were involved, and many bemused spectators.
I did three signing sessions, participated in three panels, and met a lot of people.
I also came back with a cold (again). So it goes. Perhaps I should have myself coated with plastic before the next event.
June 11-15, 2014
I wore both my pro and fan hats at Brickworld. With my fan hat on, I marveled at the amazing LEGO exhibits and helped at the combined PennLUG/TBRR train layout. With my pro hat on, I supported the Crazy Bricks "Munchkin Bricks" project. (Check out the Crazy Bricks Kickstarter site here – it ended at nearly 400% of its original goal, and hit lots of stretch goals!) I did Q&As, signed things (for an amazing number of gamers!) and generally had a good time.
April 5, 2014
Like last year, I celebrated TableTop Day at Wonko's in Austin. Games were played. I got to walk a couple of really nice kids through the basic Ogre scenario. We had a lot of spectators, and the Ogre ended up destroying absolutely everything. There was some serious killer instinct at work. Also, hilariously, the Ogre player kept thinking out loud about what he would do next, and the defense kept believing what he said, and then the Ogre would look at the board and change his mind. Ogres are sneaky! And Ogres are very bad news even after you shoot their guns off. But, full disclosure: during the endgame, the defender was NOT getting the die rolls he needed, and he was a great sport about it and fought to the bitter end. We had a lot of spectators for that game, and everyone had a good time.
That wasn't our only TableTop Day goodness. Our MIBs held events all over the place. The link is to a forum that (as I write this) is nine pages long, full of event listings, and not just in the US – we were gaming in Brazil, Korea, Russia, UK, Mexico . . .
March 29-30, 2014
Irving, TX (near Dallas)
This was a local event created by Tiffany Franzoni and her Roll2Play troupe. It was launched as a Kickstarter project and succeeded. It succeeded as an event, too! By Sunday, a lot of the attendees were twisting Tiffany's arm to make it a continuing thing. Being a businesswoman as welll as a fangirl, Tiffany replied "Let me crunch the numbers first." But this is the kind of convention that the hobby needs – strong local roots, friendly management, and huge amounts of open gaming!
There were also a lot of guests for an event that size! They included Kevin Nunn (who is the man to blame for Duck! Duck! Go!), Keith Baker (prolific designer in several genres, and most recently responsible for Gloom), and my friends Justin and Anne-Marie De Witt, also known as Fireside Games. I got to play their Munchkin Panic for the first time. SO MUCH FUN. And we did many, many rounds of Munchkin Loot Letter, the upcoming Love Letter reskin from Alderac.
And at the last minute Rick Loomis of Flying Buffalo was added to the guest list. Rick's probably my oldest friend in the whole hobby, and it was great to see him.
March 7-9, 2014
We had a booth, and I did an hour of signing. I wandered around the hall beforehand; the game that impressed me most was Mushroom 11. Look it up, starting with this YouTube video. I enjoyed talking with designer Itay Keren, and I really want this game to make it to release.
Here's what stank with this event: SXSW put a music stage in the gaming expo hall. When the band started up, the rest of the hall started to empty, because nobody could hear the game audio or talk to the creators. That was a massively thoughtless move on the organizers' part. I know SXSW started as a music festival. I could care less how it started. If they're going to add a "game expo," they have to provide an environment where the fans can hear the games. A lot of the game developers there were struggling startups who thought the bucks they paid out for a booth were a good investment in promo. In my opinion, they were ripped off.
Note that I'm NOT calling out the musicians on the stage. Like any band at SXSW, they must have thought they were being given a great opportunity to show their stuff. They had no way of knowing that a lot of the people in that hall would consider them nuisance noise. So they were ripped off too.
Clean up your act, SXSW.
February 22, 2014
OwlCon, the Rice University game con, is always fun for me, and I always get great support from the Houston-area MIBs. To be honest, I should say that *I* support *them* – they did all the organizing, and I just showed up, talked, and played. Of the new stuff we played, the biggest hit was Mars Attacks, which kept drawing new players to the table to destroy cities and have their photos taken at the Washington Monument. Those wacky Martians . . .
November 20-24, 2013
This was only my second BGGcon. It was better than the first, and the first was pretty amazing. Lots of talk with old friends, lots of playing new games, lots and lots and LOTS of kibitzing on new games, Toward the end I followed the example of the late lamented Bob Asprin and just declared a table in the bar to be my office. Some good meetings were held and at least one deal was done. And they make an excellent brandy Alexander!
One day of the event was mostly taken up by Andrew, Ross, Phil, and me just hiding out in one of the nice hotel meeting rooms and having a no-kidding Munchkin summit meeting. That was probably the most important thing we did. But the most FUN thing we did was go downstairs and play games. OMG, do they ever have a game library. I intend to go back this year.
October 19-20, 2013
Ogre Launch Party
Soooo much fun. Plans for this started as a one-day event, but it soon grew into two days. Big thanks go to everyone who helped turn our temporary Ogre Logistics Facility (which used to be a furniture store) into an events venue. Especially Eric Dow, who spearheaded the project, and Jimmie and Brandon, who provided the necessary tech support, and the graphics team that made the giant Ogre blueprint and the cool signs. And I have to say that we got the classiest sets of convention attendees EVAR.
After all the time the game was in development, it was huge fun to watch so many sets of Ogre getting punched, and assembled, and played. Scenarios got tried, too. In some cases, they got broken. Oh, well, take them back and fix them. Other things got tested, as well: Zombie Dice 3 got its final playtest there. (Thanks, Al Griego, for useful comments!)
Of note: Mike Hall bid $300 for charity (The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund) to win a copy of the game . . . and then donated his new game to Wonko's Comics as a store copy.
Putting on our own convention was a whole lot of work, but looking back afterward . . . it was SO worth it, and one day we will do it again.
October 4-6, 2013
With my other geek hat on, I went to play with LEGO trains at the Galveston Railroad Museum. I did give out a few "Adventure Time" bookmarks to the lucky people who knew what they were.
Full report here: www.texasbrickrr.com/past_events.html
August 29-September 2, 2013
San Antonio, Texas
This was apparently a big con with a lot going on. I say "apparently," because I spent almost all of my time at the Chaos Machine . . . which went over very well. That was not . . . actually . . . my plan. But that was how it worked out. I only got to one program item besides my own, and that was a Leslie Fish concert. Wasn't going to miss that, no matter what!
It turned out that the game area was right next to the Machine, so at least I got to move back and forth some. Al Griego and the MIBs ran a lot of Munchkin and Zombie Dice, and showed off the production copy of Ogre. MTV Geek interviewed me; a link will be posted when it's up.
I moderated a panel on the Vorkosigan universe, with Lois in the audience. No pressure, folks!
A Hugo Award that made me particularly happy this year was the Best Related Work, which went to Writing Excuses, a podcast by Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and my friend Howard Tayler. This is a fun, useful program that gives back to the community by helping us write better, and I'm very glad it was honored.
And I can unconditionally recommend the Texas de Brazil restaurant in downtown San Antonio to my fellow carnivores.
August 15-18, 2013
We showed off the ever-closer Ogre game and let people try to pick up the box. Fun was had!
Then I got home dead tired, and promptly came down with the con crud. I'm sure there is a moral there somewhere.
July 19-21, 2013
I wore both my LEGO fan hat and my train fan hat here. The Texas Brick Railroad was part of a multi-club LEGO layout at the National Train Show. I spent my time – what else? – running trains. But I got to talk to some other gamers who are also train fans!
July 3-7, 2013
Morristown, New Jersey
Dexcon is a really big, busy game convention, with a fantastic staff, in a part of the country that I don't visit as often as I should. I made it in 2013 as part of the promise to take Ogre to some big summer conventions. And, yea verily, we had Ogre events with both me and Ogre Line Editor Daniel Jew. I did a 12-player "simultaneous exhibition" (won 10, lost 2). Daniel spoke about the upcoming Designer's Edition and showed off our actual factory sample, and Dexcon's famous Arena featured Bill Refsland's Ogre macrotures with a pair of two-foot-long Ogres!
We also had a charity Munchkin game! We raised $480 for Child's Play.
And I had a great time with outside appearances: a visit to Peachstate Hobby Distribution, and three very-well-attended retailer events: The Only Game In Town (Somerville), The Fallout Shelter (Highland Park), and Gamer's Gambit (Saddle Brook). Big thanks to Vinny and the whole concom; to MIB Sean Ferris, who organized the outside events and chauffered me all over the Eastern seaboard, and to David Neuschulz, who drove me to NYC one morning to see the Lego "Art of the Brick" exhibition!
June 13-16, 2013
Schaumburg, Illinois (near Chicago)
Massive fun, This is one of the biggest LEGO conventions in North America. I went this year because I went last year and had a great time. I missed the first day of Brickworld; not many events could drag that compromise out of me, but . . . Origins is one of them! So I went to Origins first.
And I did a presentation on track ballasting for LEGO model railroads. (Woot! I got to do a Brickworld presentation!) This has the potential to be intensely interesting **IF** you happen to be a model railroader who likes LEGO, or a LEGO fanatic who likes building big train/town exhibits. The slide show will be posted on the TBRR page soon, and I'll update this report.
June 12, 2013
I made it it to Origins this year! It was a multi-day event, but I was only there for Wednesday, the first day. I did a Q&A session, playing Munchkin and Ogre, signing some games, and generally walking around having fun
On Wednesday, June 12, 2pm, I did a simultaneous exhibition, playing Ogre against multiple opponents. Won eight, lost two, and two had to leave early.
The next morning, VERY early, I was off for Brickworld.
April 6, 2013
San Antonio, Texas
Chimaeracon is a full weekend gaming/anime con, but I was only able to be there for an hour on Saturday the 6th to say hi to my old friend Al Griego, check things out, and do a "What's New at SJ Games" talk. Daniel Jew was also there running Ogre.
High point of the event was absolutely, without a question, meeting the Sparkly Good Fairy! This is Jessica Dye. She's amazing – she had all the Fairy's weapons and magic items, and most of them were handmade. Last year she was the female Munchkin. I wonder what happens next year . . .
March 30, 2013
International TableTop Day
I celebrated the day at Wonko's in Austin. At times, we had more than 60 people playing! To the right you see me and clan Dow, proprietors of Wonko's.
Big thanks to our friends at TableTop for making this happen. There are rumors it will happen again. Cross your fingers.
Through the magic of video, I was also able to drop in at Lofty Pursuits in Tallahassee. It was fun to hear the crowds at the two stores cheering each other! To the left, I am in two places at once!
I also had the pleasure of giving some rides in the FNORD Model S, and even allowing a few guest drivers . . . The car is quiet. The "Whooooooaaaas" were loud.
March 22-24, 2013
I was Gaming Guest of Honor at this long-running Southern convention. It was fun! I got snowed on! I did not drink the Blue Stuff, but I put it on a card! And everyone was amazingly nice. Okay, that's not amazing at a Southern con, but it's amazing anyway. Thank you!
Despite the weather, we held a special Munchkin game in . . . a gazebo. That is the Official Truth, and anyone who thinks they saw us finishing the game inside is simply not with the program. This game also marked the first public view of the new Munchkin Dragons supplement. There were six of us playing, everyone reached Level 9 at least once, and I did not win. Though I got to make the Maul Rat "Draconic" and laugh insanely.
And there were three separate sessions of Ogre demonstration, for a total of 20 players and I-don't-know-how-many spectators.
Monica and I got in a lot of Memphis sightseeing, including the Botanic Gardens, the locomotive and cars at Collierville, and the Memphis Railroad and Trolley Museum (thank you, Brian, for the great tour of the catacombs – photo to right!). Then we rode on an antique trolley car that went past a pyramid. It doesn't get much better than that.
February 23, 2013
And I got to learn a new game. Here we see Paul Chapman, a SJ Games alumnus now with PSI, teaching me and Alliance's Frank Penc to play a new dice game, Skyline. Okay, actually all we see of Paul is his finger. Fame is like that, Paul! We enjoyed the game. The "15 minutes" estimate on the box is off by about a factor of four, even for only three players, but it was a happily spent hour and I'd play it again. Attractive components, simple rules.
Thanks, Alliance, for putting the show together, and Paul, thank you for teaching me the game!
February 15, 2013
This is the annual game convention at Rice, my alma mater. So I go when I can, and I always have a good time. This year, the big deal was showing off some Ogre components that hadn't yet been seen outside the office, and playing on, not actual Ogre boards, but full-size printouts using full-sized counters and real Ogre Mark IIIs.
High points: A really good shawarma at the RMC. Catching up with some old friends and MIBs. Seeing a really active convention with a dealer room that was open, and busy, past 8pm!
Special thanks to John Lach, who did his usual great job running our room, and Matt McDonough, who transported the (somewhat bulky!) Ogre material from Austin to Houston and back.
February 9-10, 2013
A model train show. I was here as part of a new LEGO train club, the Texas Brick Railroad; this was my first shot at organizing this kind of exhibit. We looked good! The showpiece was TJ Avery’s giant all-LEGO Pennybacker Bridge (the Loop 360 bridge in Austin). There was a lot of other wonderful stuff, but the bridge was the thing you could see from across the room. Biggest single model at the whole show. Awesome.
November 9-11, 2012
Lombard, Illinois (near Chicago)
A SF/fantasy con of great antiquity. I was gobsmacked to be invited as Gaming GoH, and Windycon absolutely lived up to its reputation. Someday I am going to get back there . . . watch me and see.
Highlights: dinner and the new James Bond flick with ESR and Cathy Raymond. Going slightly fanboy on Seanan McGuire. Lurching around the halls in undead makeup and full Slow Shaky Zombie mode (thanks to Barb VanTilburg of Offworld Designs for the pic). Drinking with the Klingons (again). Seeing Tom Smith again. Hearing Tom Smith again!
John Ickes spearheaded a great MIB presence, and there were many mighty Castellan demos.
November 2-4, 2012
Highlights: Hanging out with Howard Tayler, and buying an original Tayler not by Howard. Talking to Steve Brust again after way too many years. Enjoying some good performances at fan karaoke and NOT being pushed onto the stage myself. Meeting the polymath Lee Moyers (and I wish I could have talked to him more).
More highlights: the Klingon Black Hole party. A fantastic meal at Boboquivari’s with some old friends and veteran MIBs. Post-con tourism in San Francisco.
Huge thanks to everyone who helped with Chaos breakdown, and double thanks to Andrew Walters, who also brought his own big Ogre demo set.
August 10-12, 2012
A general media-SF-fantasy-gaming con. I took a lot of questions about Kickstarter, gave the best answers that I could, and met other people organizing KS projects.
Highlights: Playing a game that used rubber-band trebuchets to knock down enemy units and walls; lunch with Tracy and Laura Hickman and Bob Salvatore. Seeing people use the Munchkin QR code sign live.
John Lach and the MIBs did a great job running demos. And after the con I got to test-drive a Tesla Model S . . .
Low point (at the beginning of the show, so everything got better after that): I couldn’t check in to my room because the Westin Galleria had a plumbing problem and was flooding from the top down. Space City Con intelligently chose a different hotel for 2013!