Gen Con Recap

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

We made it through the Best 4 Days in Gaming™ (whew) and are making our way back to Paizo home offices. Most of the team will be back at work on scenarios soon, but I’ve got a few more days out of the office as I visit friends and family in around the Great Lakes.

Each of our team had a different favorite memory of Gen Con and I asked everyone to send me theirs. Unfortunately, Linda was out today and didn’t send one in, so we will have to include hers in a later blog. To keep this blog from growing too long, we’re putting them behind spoiler tags. Please take a moment to share our memories and experiences and consider adding yours to the comments. We hope to see you at a convention soon, where we can make these types of memories with you.


My favorites revolve around handing out campaign coins and spending time with the fabulous group of volunteers. These experiences bring me back, convention after convention, and Gen Con 2019 was no different. This year, it seemed like there were more smiles, more happy faces, more enjoyment of games then I had seen before. It is a joy to sit on the stage in the Sagamore and look out over the tables, watching everyone play. I noticed a change in our demographics this year. There were more female GMs, more youth players than ever before. This speaks to the welcoming nature of our communities and to those organizing games, thank you for making our hobby accessible to all.

To everyone I met, for everyone I interacted with, to all those that played or GMed, thank you for supporting our programs and our games. I hope to see you soon!


2019 marks my 9th Gen Con representing Paizo and my 7th working for the company as an employee. In many ways, the show had all of the beloved touchstones I’ve come to expect, such as the tremendous multi-table interactive specials, the many appreciative fans, the on-the-ground problem-solving, the enthusiastic volunteers, the late-night discussions, the crush of eager customers on the opening day, the launch of new adventures (like Pathfinder Society Scenario #1-00: Origin of the Open Road, whose debut I oversaw on Thursday night), and the opportunity to show off our products to all comers—including the last Starfinder Beginner Box sold just a minute before the dealers hall closed. On the other hand, this convention was bittersweet, for just before traveling to Indianapolis I had accepted a new position at Paizo: senior developer. In that capacity, I’ll be consulting occasionally on organized play story arcs as needed, yet the majority of my energy will go toward Starfinder’s print products. Although we broke the news to various parties earlier at Gen Con, the formal announcement happened on Saturday night—fittingly as the last multi-table interactive event of Pathfinder Society in the first edition was kicking into gear.

Organized play will always be special to me. It’s how I learned some of my best lessons in GMing (ask me about The Kortos Envoy). It’s where I’ve met some of my best friends and closest collaborators. It’s what’s helped launch the writing careers of dozens of talented authors for Paizo and beyond. And it will continue to be a passion of mine at the office, at the gaming table, and at many conventions I’ll attend going forward. Little exemplifies those feelings quite like Gen Con, which so lives up to its title: “Best Four Days in Gaming.” I’ll catch you at the next one!


Wow, GenCon 2019, what a year! I spent most of the convention working alongside Tonya in the Sagamore Ballroom, where I got to see thousands of players enjoying our many games. Every year, without fail, GenCon gives me the opportunity to speak with our GMs and players from across the world, and hear what their thoughts on our games. It’s a perfect chance to realize the impact of what we do here on the Organized Play Team and to get some valuable feedback to incorporate into future work. Thanks to everyone who stopped by, said hi, gave feedback, or told a fun story about their tables. As always, I’m looking forward to next year!


Let me just say: what an amazing GenCon! It was absolutely incredible to see the energy and excitement as thousands and thousands of people picked up the new edition, played the demos, participated in organized play up in the Sagamore Ballroom, and just generally had a blast playing the products we’ve all been working so hard on. There wasn’t a single of the convention that I didn’t enjoy, and I had so many opportunities to interact with many of the amazing members of our community.

I want to take a moment to specifically thank the wonderful Org Play GMs who came out ready to give our players an enjoyable and memorable experience. It’s the GMs who go the extra mile to make their games fun and exciting, and to create positive memories and experiences, that really make GenCon such an awesome convention. It’s the folks who go above and beyond to keep players excited to sit at our tables that keep our community strong and vibrant.

Word has probably gotten around by this point that this was John Compton’s last GenCon as a member of the organized play team. I want to thank John for all of the wisdom and guidance (not to mention countless hours and words!) that he’s shared with me and everyone who’s participated in the organized play program for the better part of the last decade. Best of luck in your new role with the Starfinder team John, I’m excited to see what you’ve got in store for us!

Come back later today for our first of the month Spotlight blog!

Tonya Woldridge
Organized Play Manager

John Compton
Senior Developer, Starfinder

Michael Sayre

Thurston Hillman
Starfinder Society Developer

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Tags: Organized Play Pathfinder Society Starfinder Society
The Exchange 1/5 5/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

GENCON was awesome! My oldest Son GM'd his first Society game this year and his first interactive special! It was a very proud parent moment when I over heard compliments from players at his table. It was my second oldest Sons first GENCON and he loved it and loved playing 2e. My youngest was higher than a kite when he rolled a natural 20 and got a Core Rule Book for free! Unexpected icing on the cake, came Saturday night when Tonya presented me with my campaign coin!

A big thank you to all the employees, writers, developers, GMs and players that create, produce, and bring life to all things Organized Play and Pathfinder have to offer!

1/5 Venture-Agent, Online—PbP aka numbat1

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I have always been somewhat of a mouse, hanging around in the edges of society in whichever group I was participating. Sometimes I would have the opportunity to stand in the shadow of someone who was greeted by many as we moved through the crowds. I think it speaks volumes to the diverse and accepting community that is Organized Play that from arriving at the Westin on Wednesday morning to departing for the airport on Monday morning I was greeted and remembered by many from around the country who had shared tables, conventions and sometimes even rooms during the past (nearly) two years. This was a new and amazing experience for me.

I thoroughly enjoyed GMing several tables of PFS2 plus the evenings' specials; the opportunity to celebrate the well-deserved recognition of the campaign coin recipients; the comradery and cooperation as we set up and packed up the Sagamore; the opportunity to attend a few seminars during breaks, made easier by having a dedicated room that was close to the ballroom; the rousing affirmation during a certain vote; watching Paizo staff and other OP leaders actively participating and facilitating, inspiring the membership; and most of all, the sounds of laughter and glee, the looks of joy, and the general atmosphere of great fun.

1/5 5/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber


I am sorry I was such a zombie when you were talking to me towards the end of the Con. The ability to be coherent was rapidly fading due to extended 'up-time' and my voice was going.

To everyone who volunteered to help make Gen Con this year awesome, thank you!

Personal Programming note:
...I'd mentioned it to some folks, but next year is going to be some significant change -- my folks are having their 50th wedding anniversary and it falls on the same weekend as GenCon. There is no logistical or reasonable way for me to do both, and it'll be the first time in over 26 years that I won't be going to Gen Con. Thank you to everyone that put up with my zombie-mode towards the end of the convention, and for allowing me to help with the setup on Tuesday and the takedown on Sunday! It helped take some of the edge off a very bittersweet development.

1/5 Venture-Agent, Online—PbP aka numbat1

No apologies needed, Wei Ji. Also, no zombie state noted but that may have been more a reflection of my own condition. :-)

Silver Crusade 2/5 RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 aka cartmanbeck

I'd like to congratulate both John and Linda on their promotions! However, it's also bittersweet for me... For a brief few months, we had a dedicated ACG org play developer who has been absolutely fantastic! I very much look forward to working with her replacement in that position as we continue to expand the player base for my favorite game of all time, the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game!

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Maryland— Baltimore aka Qstor

What were the overall player numbers? Just curious.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Lead Developer

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I was out sick last week. Now that I'm back and feeling better, here are my thoughts in the comments instead :)

Gen Con Recap:
Gen Con is always a delightful whirlwind of energy and excitement, this year even more so than usual. Down in the Paizo booth, copies of Pathfinder Second Edition were flying off the stacks, particularly on Thursday. If you bought something from Paizo this year, you may have noticed that our registers were working way faster than ever before. Props to the tech team for all the hard work they put in on that, and props as well to everyone who was on register duty this past weekend. I had a chance to chat with quite a few people about Second Edition in the booth, though my efforts were more focused on promoting the recently-released Core Set of the Pathfinder Adventure Card game. I was glad to have the chance to do interviews with several board game podcasts this year to promote the game.

And speaking of props, thank you to all of the volunteers, both GMs and HQ staff, who made Gen Con this year such a success. I heard plenty of positive feedback about people's experiences at the show, with Pathfinder Second Edition and with all of Paizo's organized play programs. It was the tireless efforts of these volunteers that brought me into the Pathfinder Society community nine years ago, and it's wonderful to see so many other people being welcomed into our hobby in the same spirit.

This year is a time of transition in many ways. The Pathfinder Society is moving in to Pathfinder Second Edition and the Pathfinder Adventure Card Society has officially transitioned to the updated Core Set rules. But beyond the products, this Gen Con marks John Compton's move to the Starfinder team. John has been a fixture of Organized Play for years. His experience, innovation, creativity, and dedication to the campaign have fundamentally changed Organized play for the better, in ways both large and small. All of us on the Organized Play team have learned so much from him, and I'm sure he's going to continue to do amazing things. With John's departure, I'm stepping up into the role of Organized Play Lead Developer. While I have big shoes to fill, I'm confident that our team will continue to thrive, and I'm excited to journey into this next chapter with all of you.

Linda Zayas-Palmer
Organized Play Lead Developer

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Sick after a con? *gasp*

The Exchange 1/5 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Glad you are feeling better Linda! Looking forward to PFS2e!

Scarab Sages 5/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

Con crud! Unclean! Unclean!

joking, joking

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