Day Trip to Dice Tower
Last week on the 4th of July I decided to take a day trip to Orlando, FL to go to the Dice Tower Convention for the first time. This decision was made a week in advance when I found out I got a spot in the Publisher Speed Dating event and was scheduled for the 4th. At this point plane tickets weren’t cheap, and neither were the Convention tickets. It was the first convention that you couldn’t buy a day pass. I had to buy the full week pass even though I only ended up being there half a day. This was annoying but I decided the possibility of getting my game published was worth the trip. Plus, my fiancé was sweet enough to buy the convention ticket for me.
I woke up early to get to the airport on the 4th of July and found that all the parking lots were packed. I ended up parking along the side with some other cars hoping I wouldn’t get a ticket after 20 minutes of searching for a spot. Thankfully I didn’t get a ticket! The lines to get through security were insane. They were worse then when I visit Arizona during Thanksgiving or Christmas from Chicago. It took 40 minutes to get through security and to my gate. I was very thankful I got to the airport 2 hours before my flight. They were getting ready to board by the time I was at the gate. The flight was quick, and I spent the time playing the Splendor, Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne apps on my phone. I highly recommend them all. The only bad thing about them is you need to know how to play the game already otherwise you need to look up the rule book.
Orlando’s airport was a mess to get through and find the pick-up for Ubers. I didn’t get to the hotel the Con was at until 1pm Florida time. I planned to stay one night with a girl I met through a Facebook group. Dnice turned out to be from Chicago as well and knew my cousin from a Karaoke team. Small world! I got checked in to the hotel and convention then hit the exhibitor floor. It was much smaller then any Con I had been to. Most of the game companies were large companies and had a lot of casual family-friendly games out. Which worked well for me since I design light to medium games anyways. I had a chance to test a ton of new games, talk with publishers/booth volunteers and buy a new Blue Orange game Slide Quest. Once the room closed at 5pm I wandered the game library, the main floor and a few rooms talking to new people and playing games. I even ended up on twitch.tv playing Smirk and Dagger’s game Roll for Your Life Candyman! Eventually I had to leave playing a game of Thanos Rising – Avengers: Infinity War to make my way to the Publisher Speed Dating event.
The event had the wrong time posted online so I showed up early. It gave me plenty of time to set up near the entrance. This was the second night of the event and a holiday, so half the number of publishers showed up. Also, it was completely unorganized. I expected to only have 5 minutes with a publisher, but I ended up getting more like 20 minutes for the publishers interested in Nut Stash and Curbside. Also, I was allowed to show multiple games. This came in handy because every publisher was interested in only one of the two games I showed them. The event was long and I didn’t get a chance to talk to everyone because many publishers left early to attend the Dice Tower Awards. I also had a random couple sit down at my table that I didn’t realize wasn’t a publisher until it was too late. For some reason no one had closed the doors or checked them out before letting them in the room. This wasted 20 minutes in the beginning that could have been used to make actual leads. At the end the person running the show apologized for the small turnout but gave suggestions to each person on who they should reach out to that might like their game.
Overall, it was a good experience but not one I would jump on a plane last second for again. Talking in the exhibitor hall was probably the most useful thing I did next to the speed dating. I also got to see the end of the Dice Tower Awards with Dnice and played a few games before heading to bed so I could wake up at 5am to fly back home the next day. The trip was a whirlwind but a great experience. I could see myself coming to the Dice Tower Con again sometime for the full week with my fiancé and breaking it up with trips to the theme parks and enjoying the beautiful hotel that the Con was held at. If I had more time, I would have gone swimming in that pool. Hopefully I will get some meetings set up for GenCon from the connections made at Dice Tower and eventually get a game published!