Hey hey. Geekway to the West 2018 wrapped up today and I want to get my thoughts on the event written down before they slip away (also I have a ridiculously long layover, so…)
A few weeks ago the president of Double Exposure’s Envoy Program (one of several demo programs in which I am involved – I’ll take a Closer Look later this year) called me and asked if there was any way I could come out to Missouri and help him run tournaments at Geekway to the West 2018. We discussed it and decided that he would get me a badge and roomshare and he and I would split the cost of a plane ticket, in exchange for me coming out to run demos and tournaments. I flew into Missouri on Wednesday, the day before the convention opened to the public. In addition to helping with booth setup I also learned several of the games I was to demo the next day. Then I went swimming. The next day I worked in the Mayday Games booth during vendor hall hours (10 am – 6 pm) running demos of games like Macroscope and Click Clack Lumberjack. I didn’t particularly enjoy this; a lot of attendees refused demos, feeling pressured to see everything in the limited time they felt they had. Normally this wouldn’t bother me as I understand that convention stress, however, many people were rude and/or cold and my interactions with most of them felt unnecessarily unpleasant. I try not to compare conventions but just a week ago I was wrapping up CMON Expo and, as you may have read in my Looking Back article for that convention (found HERE), I noted the particular friendliness and warmth of attendees of CMON Expo…this only made the unfriendliness of Geekway attendees stand out all the more. As the convention wore on I felt the aggression fade some and I did interact with some friendly people throughout the event, but this initial experience left a bad taste in my mouth. Friday – Sunday I ran demos for Double Exposure. The Missouri State Championships for several games were held throughout the weekend and I helped run these events as well.
In addition to the aforementioned support I was also promised copies of each game that I demoed or for which I assisted with a tournament, and brand new copies of these games will be shipped directly to my house so I don’t have to worry about lugging them through the airport. When I receive these I’ll add a picture – I think its some 6-8ish games. I’m going to take a second here to praise the Envoy Program because its well-deserved – working a convention does not often feel relaxed, but the light requirements and expectations of me at this convention gave me a sense of freedom and ease. While I was working there was a sense of informality and relaxedness which made the event feel laid-back while still exciting. When I wasn’t working I had plenty of time to myself, to walk the (small) vendor hall, go swimming, or play games.
In my off time I got to demo or play several games, my favorite of which was Tower of Madness (available later this year from Smirk and Dagger Games). Curt Covert, the owner of Smirk and Dagger, and the creator of the game, showed me how to play and then I beat him at his own game. Honorable mention: Fae is beautiful and interesting (thanks for pointing me in its direction, my love).
The last thing I’d like to discuss before I wrap this up is the accessibility to food/water. If you’re familiar with my coverage of conventions you may have noticed this is almost always something I talk about – I like food. Like, a lot. Maybe I’m spoiled but I felt like the options at Geekway were extremely pricey and were mostly underwhelming. A couple of cafes were situated around (in) the convention center and there was a grill serving up convention staples like cheeseburgers, fries, nachos, soft pretzels, and candy, but the only options outside of the convention center were not easily accessible without a vehicle. Water was positioned around the play spaces and I appreciated this however bottled water was $3+ anywhere inside the building. Side note – I ate at PF Changs for the first time on this trip and was very pleasantly surprised by the quality and tastiness. Yummy!
I’ll leave you with this – a video of some attendees playing WeyKick – a fun and simple game that caught my attention and gave joy to both those who played and those who watched it played. More info and future con dates here: https://geekwaytothewest.com/
Thanks for reading my review; I hope you enjoyed it!