Daily Illuminator

December 18, 2011: Phil's 2011 Travels

2011 was a year loaded with travel. I traveled every month. So where did I go? 

January - Hong Kong! This was a vacation because I had so much fun there in 2010. This time, I created a Guide to Hong Kong Toy Shopping. I'd love to go again this year, but it isn't looking realistic. Another time!

February - Each February I go to the New York Toy Fair. It's a great place to meet with major buyers and an even better place for incredible food. This tripwas extremely productive . . . another step toward an increased Munchkin presence in Target and Barnes & Noble. I'll be back for 2012!

Phil has tentacle armsMarch - PAX East! A truly fun convention and a great place to teach our games to a new audience. PAX in any form is fantastic but the Boston location is my favorite for two reasons: 1. We can make a side trip to our printer, GPI -- and 2. My friends at Onell Design are nearby, so I took a little vacation time to play with toys, discuss toy manufacturing, and even go to an incredible arcade (see the March 29, 2011 Daily Illuminator for pics).

April - Steve and I attended the GTS Come and Play Day in Atlanta. We unveiled the Plush Tentacle, showed off Zombie Dice 2, and even found time to visit our distribution partners at PSI. This was my first time in Atlanta since 2002. I'm happy to report that it was more fun than I'd expected. It helped that Steve and I both went. We always brainstorm on trips and have far, far too many fun ideas. We need more hands!

May - Andrew was supposed to be involved in The Guild filming, but he got sick and I was elected to take his place. I'm glad that I did; my day on set was a fascinating experience. Lesson learned? I am not meant to be involved in "acting" as an extra or in any other capacity. But I took advantage of being in the LA area to sit down with our friends at Paradox Entertainment to discuss Munchkin Conan the Barbarian . . . and something else we're not yet ready to reveal.

June - Two trips in June, and both of them were entirely for fun. I visited Howard Days in Cross Plains, TX (mentioned here). Then I went to Cancun, where I saw crabs, ancient ruins, and lots of sand. Maybe I can make this coming June just as much fun by trying to visit those same places again. Next time I go to Cancun, I'm taking an extra suitcase so that I can load up on cheap toys and weird art objects.

PAX demosJuly - The month started with an unexpected trip to Madison, WI to deliver the Munchkin Discworld cards (read about my trip in the July 29 Daily Illuminator). The Madison trip may have been unplanned, but I did have fun (huge thanks to both John Kovalic and Christopher Shy for making the visit a lot easier) and it was great to meet Sir Terry Pratchett and talk about the "Luggage" promo card he let us create. That led directly into San Diego Comic Con, which was as large and crazy as ever; read my thoughts in the July 30 Daily Illuminator.

August - GenCon and PAX in one month? Okay, who is trying to kill me? These were both very important shows and we took a large staff to each one. Very expensive, but very, very productive. We taught games, answered questions, showed off upcoming releases and prototypes -- the Castellan prototypes first appeared at GenCon -- and we didn't lose anyone to the shuttles or roving bands of gamers. It looks like I'll be attending both of these "must" shows again in 2012.

September - I was joined in Madison (hello, again, Madison!) by Steve, Andrew, and Ross for the ACD distributor show. This show has been very good to us -- it was here a few years ago that Steve and I first discussed concepts that eventually turned into Zombie Dice and Cthulhu Dice -- and this year we came up with another one. ACD has changed dates, and it makes me sad to have to say that I won't be able to make it in 2012. But we'll have people there, and maybe I'll be back myself in 2013.

Phil never stops movingOctober - A packed month, with three trips. I started by attending the Dallas Fall Toy Preview, where I showed off Castellan, as well as two dice games: the one that Steve designed after the ACD show, and another one that we'll probably release whether or not the mass market folks place an advance order From there I went to the New York Comic Con, which meant a return to the Big Apple (yes!), where we announced Munchkin Skullkickers. I even squeezed in a licensing meeting that just might go somewhere. The last day of the month I flew to Boston with Sam. We met with GPI again and reviewed a lot of projects and ideas.

November - Back to New York City! I do love NYC, and this visit was the most enjoyable one of the year since I only had two commitments. I had an entire day to explore. I walked about 30,000 steps each day, visiting comic stores, toy stores, game stores, and just walking around and staring at the buildings. There are days that I wish our offices were in New York . . . but then I think about costs and remind myself that I get a lot more house for my money right where I'm at. The final trip for the month was to BGGCon. I owe you guys a report on that one, and I'll try to get that posted in the next few weeks.

December - Today I'm in Boston where I'm spending time with Matt Doughty of Onell Design. Why am I doing this? Both because it's fun to spend time with Matt and because we're working through developing a few ideas. It's very likely that something cool will come out of this trip . . . but with design and production times we won't know just how everything works out until late next year.

Whew, no wonder I feel tired. Where will I go next year? Steve and I will start the year with a non-game convention in January. Why would we attend a non-gaming show? That's still a secret . . .

-- Phil Reed


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