Saturday, January 2, 2016

Ending 2015, Beginning 2016 - Observations and Changes

The old Dell, about to be replaced with the new Mac laptop.

It's the very bottom of the old year, and the very top of the new. I do have some news as to where I'm going this year, and I thought that sharing it with you all might not be a bad idea. I have been very quiet, this past year, as a lot of real-life stuff  has taken me away from gaming and blogging.

My department at my work is being very reorganized, with a lot of changes in both people and schedules. The process is continuing, but there's light at the end of the tunnel.

The Missus is still cancer-free, for which we are grateful; she'd like to thank all of you for your very kind thoughts and wishes over this past year.

As I reported earlier this year, I was asked by Luke Gygax to come down to Lake Geneva to run a room full of Tekumel-based programming for Gary Con, to be held at the beginning of March this year. I submitted a proposal for this to Luke, and he accepted it. I formed a working group of Tekumel fans to help me put this together, and got a great response from Tekumel fans from all over the United States. I really appreciated this, as while I'm very good at running miniatures games and Braunsteins, I think I'm more then a little weak on the RPG side of the house.

(Some players may feel differently; thank you for your compliments!)

Luke's concept for the room, which I thought was a really great idea, was to continue his dad's high regard for Tekumel by providing a space where Tekumel's fans could run games and present programming to introduce and explain Phil's creation to all kinds of gamers, old and new. This would build on what I did at Gary Con this past year, and take advantage of the much larger hotel space that Gary Con was moving into for this year's convention. My brief was to provide four full days of programming, on four tables, and to have something running at all times. I put together two RPG tables, one miniatures table, one 'multi-use' table that could be used for board games and RPGs, and an 'events screen' to show videos about Prof. Barker and his world. (I was also asked, by Paul Stormberg of 'Collectors' Trove, to provide a display in the "Legends of Wargaming"area about Dave Sutherland.) As I posted earlier this past year here on this blog, this is the draft schedule that the working group of fans came up with, as shown on my magnetic display boards:

Each table has a different color;
each GM or event has a different color and symbol as well.

The daily 'black bar' bar is the video display,
with the various video programs indicated below it.
One of the cornerstones of Luke's planning for this event was asking me to contact the Tekumel Foundation and extend his specific invitation to be a part of this event; Luke thought that this invitation would be good for the event, and get the Foundation some good exposure for Tekumel and for their efforts. I duly contacted the Tekumel Foundation with this invitation, and got an e-mail back saying that they would get back to me.

I had had issues with using an LCD projector at Gary Con this past year, due to the lighting conditions, and so for this event I wanted to have active displays that would not suffer from ambient lighting issues. The Missus, Queen of the Internet, found me some very good bargains, and I allocated the various screens to the different areas: the 42" screen that had the most power (in lumens) would show the Dave Sutherland PowerPoint display throughout the convention in the "Legends of Wargaming" area; the 40" LCD screen would provide the display for the various videos in the room; and the 32" screen would be used as needed for the 'multi-use' table. I also got all of the 'convention trade show booth' equipment and decor items that I'd built up over the years all sorted out and prepped for the event.

I also contacted several companies that had had historical connections with Tekumel, and invited them to participate in the events in the Tekumel room; I got a tremendous response from all of them, with offers of events and assistance. I made sure to keep Gary Con informed of what I was doing, to make sure that I was not exceeding what Luke had asked me to do.

All of this was moving along very nicely when I got a phone call from Gary Con, stating that Dr. Victor Raymond, the President of the Tekumel Foundation, was raising very serious objections to this event. As I understood it, Dr. Raymond was stating that only the Tekumel Foundation had the legal right to run events such as this one at conventions, and that if the event was to take place he and only he was to be the sole coordinator for the event. I took this information back to the working group, and everyone emphatically stated that if this was to be the case, then they would not participate in the event and would not be attending Gary Con. I thus lost all of the event and logistical support that was needed to make this event happen.

Over the next few months, Luke Gygax attempted to negotiate some sort of compromise with Dr. Raymond, and I attempted to see what was 'the art of the possible' in the working group. Lawyers got involved, and I had to spend a lot more time on this matter then I had expected to - and the expenses for running the event were also increasing dramatically, with all the requirements and conditions being placed on Gary Con by the Tekumel Foundation.

(What I did not know about at the time was the ongoing legal disputes between various members of the Gygax family, and how this affected the situation. I hope that these matters get resolved, and soon; I would not like to say any more about this, out of respect to the people involved and to Gary himself.)

After we'd all put so much time and effort into this event, I finally had to draw the line and cut our losses; I won't be going to Gary Con this year, and neither will quite a number of the people in the working group. I'm in the process of scrapping and disposing of a lot of materials that we'd bought for this event; The Missus got the 32" for the living room, I got the 40" for the game room, and we're donating the 42" to someone as we don't have a use for it. Most of the 'trade show' stuff will get sold as well, as I don't have a use for it here at the house.

Now, I think there are some positive aspects to this affair; Gary Con gets a room back for their programming, the Tekumel Foundation gets total and absolute control of their 'brand identity' (as Dr. Raymond puts it), and I get my all of my disposable vacation time (two weeks) and disposable income (about $2,500) for 2016 back. I also don't have to maintain and store all of the resources and assets that I had been holding for this event, which will clear out both the garage and the basement of a lot of stuff.

(Some Tekumel fans, such as the ones who so enjoyed my game and talks last March might be disappointed, but I can't control that - sorry.)

So, for this coming year, I will be concentrating on my writing, and my model work. It's what I enjoy, and I am looking forward to some 'quality' time. I am looking forward to getting my play-by-(e)mail miniatures campaign up and running, as this was swept aside in the fracas. And I can always be e-mailed, of course...