The GAMA Report (aka letting out my inner Buffy)

OOPS, I did it again.  I went westward to a game trade show and left my husband at home. (Don’t worry, next year I might consider letting him tag along). I know what you are thinking and I’m right there with you. “Sam, you traveled all the way to Nevada, alone, to be surrounded by a thousand strangers for 5 days? Weren’t you a little anxious?” You bet your bippy.  With some herbal aides (legal…. I’m not that kinda girl!) I did it.  In fact, I not only did it, I SLAYED!  Who was that girl?


I arrived late Sunday night (1am East Coast time, after suffering less sleep via daylight savings).  I even talked to people while waiting for the hotel bus (see, SLAYED), one was a marketing manager from one of our fave game companies (full new game report coming next) I recognized from last year. Once I got to the hotel and in the room I ordered room service… nothing like a hotel burger at 2am!  Living that casino life already.

Monday morning I met other women game shop owners for brunch before the meetings began. I ate at a table of 12+ strangers.  (Excuse me, Mr. Pointy, but it’s time to SLAY again!).  Some of the ladies I’d do other things with and have other meals with throughout the week.  (BOOYAH!)

Then there were 2 1/2 days of educational sessions and presentations.  Fellow shop owners presented on a wide variety of topics, many of which don’t pertain to us as a small shop inside a bookstore (lots of talk of Magic and other CCG’s, things we don’t even dabble in). I went to a few sessions on customer service, RPGs, staffing, store design. Publishers were also doing presentations, mostly focusing on what they had coming out this year or special programs they were offering stores. (again, more of that in next bloggity- blog blog)

The first night was a game night, where designers and publishers were showing off new games. I tested out a few, some that will work in our shop and some that won’t. The one I will “muppet flail” about right here, right now, is that I got to do a one hour test of Pathfinder 2.0 Playtest coming out in August with the lead designer (he also ran me through Starfinder last year). LOVED IT! IMG_20180312_201045


So Day 1= Sam was social and sat with strangers for meals and playtesting

Day 2 ended with at annual awards dinner (retailers can nominate themselves or other stores in several categories like “marketing” and “store design”.) Then after that, I headed upstairs to the hottest “party” of the week . Steve Jackson Games was teaching shops how to play their new CCG (Card Collecting Game).  It’s Munchkin meets Pokemon/Magic. Fun.  I chatted with other owners while waiting for a spot to open up, AND I let people take pictures of me.  A highlight was meeting BeBo, a gaming reporter/reviewer who recently started her own social media company (BeBoldGames).  I’ve been following her on Twitter and the such for over a year, so getting to meet a fellow short uber-liberal gaming feminist was wonderful.

picture of the Steve Jackson Games party, courtesy of BeBoldGames.


Day three was more sessions, then the TradeShow Expo Hall opened.  I learned about all sorts of games and picked up lots of free goodies (teasing you here, gotta tune in for the next installment to hear about the actual games!)  But I did meet the designer of my favorite dice game of 2017 (reviewed HERE), Dice Throne.  I did not make it down for the Game Night on Wednesday, I was busy trying to not die in Barovia with “The Hot Messes”, my new D&D group/family via the interwebs (PS- I LOVE DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS!).

publisher presentation, picture courtesy of BeBoldGames.

Thursday was a rinse and repeat, morning of sessions & afternoon of expo floor.  I was due to fly out at 8 that night, hoping to sleep on the two planes heading Eastward.  Well, Mother Nature reared her ugly head (we are SO not speaking terms this year, in fact I have a special Mr. Pointy ready for her if she dares screw with weather again this year!) and brought snow to Reno that night. My plane did eventually take off, 80 minutes late. I had a 70-minute layover in Phoenix planned. Plenty of time.  NOPE.  Insert image of pre-murdering OJ impersonation here. I did literally step (not leap) over suitcases and small kids as I dodged the two gates full of weary travelers to get to my connection, which had already boarded.  They got me on right as they closed the plane doors!  It really was a scene from a bad romance movie… only some hunky nerd wasn’t waiting on the plane for me (no, he was sleeping at home, but I’d get to see him in 12 hours at his bookstore!)

Made it home full of ideas and a renewed faith in myself.  I *can* be places where I don’t know anyone and not feel the weight of massive anxiety and low self-worth. I just needed to find my tribe. It was great not being the fattest, the shortest, the only one with multi-colored hair and middle-aged with tattoos.  Did I mention, I SLAYED?


Now it’s back to business, implementing the 7 pages of typed notes I spent days editing.  Next up – new games.  Our first of many boxes of goodies from the show are arriving today. (sorry, staff!)