Mar 092020

3/8   Layton, UT – Evanston, WY 101 miles

To see the entire road trip visit

I have a number of topics I want to chat about today, but as the title says, let’s start with the convention.

SaltCon is a great little show for family and hardcore gamers. While I didn’t count, I’d estimate a door of 2000. I will say that I have never seen so many infants, toddlers, and frankly children of all ages at any convention I’ve ever attended. On the plus side; YEA! The next generation will have that many more folks added to our otherwise rather aging boardgame population. On the minus; oh, what a racket / ruckus. I will say that on the whole the parents were exceptional at keeping their kids under control, but it only takes a couple to color the judgement of this old fart.

With so many gamers, one might theorize I must have done quite well from a business perspective, right? <BUZzzzz> Thanks for playing. I lost money doing this convention. I didn’t even cover the cost of the table let alone any other costs (state taxes, cost of print books, gas, food, etc). Now two caveats come to mind as I say that. First, I was ill. Day one I only put in half a day. I never really got into my full charismatic engagement of potential customers until day three. Second, I don’t want anyone to think it was a bad convention. The folks who ran it were helpful and superbly organized. The convention itself had a positive and friendly vibe. The venue was exceptional. The only negative thing I can say is that it didn’t work for my business.

Along those lines, I thought back. I’ve been to SLC twice before this (different conventions each time). Each vending opportunity I’ve lost money. It looks like this is NOT the demographic for my work.

I am interjecting here about one of the ‘games’ that was at SaltCon. I got to play twice. It is called Artemis: Bridge Simulator. They had an entire room set up as the bridge of a ship with seven bridge officer stations: Captain, helmsman, fighter Ops, Engineer, Comms, Science Officer, Tactical, each with its unique requirements and skillsets. Amazingly well done. I highly recommend it to anyone who gets the chance to play. As it is a ‘game’ the server and client software can be bought. I’m sure they have set it up at more conventions than just SaltCon.

I played Engineering first. Lots of fun coordinating different power requirements of the ship vs the moment by moment needs. Anticipating the needs based on what took place at that moment was quite fun. I intended to play the Helm second but someone wanted that and they were minus a Captain. I decided why not. Trying to think big picture and communicate CLEARLY your orders to each officer was a fun challenge. I think I did that well even if we actually didn’t succeed in our mission. Which brings me to a minor segue here. The mission we were doing while I was captain was based off of a ST: Voyager show that my writing mentor actually wrote – The Omega Directive! Steve, if you are watching, your vision lives on. It tickled me that it had come full circle like that.

Artemis… play it if you get the opportunity. Any of the scenarios was a great deal of fun.

To sum up: SaltCon is great for gamers. SLC area is not good for vending for me.

Getting ill: I will admit that I didn’t fully think of this while I was planning this trip. Oh, I made some hand waving and brought a few items that definitely helped, but I didn’t think it all the way through. As most us know, the Con Crud® is a real thing. It happens when you cram thousands of bodies into a small space. Germs from person <n> get passed around to person <n+m> in many permutations. I’m sure there is some mathematical formula for just how likely someone is to get sick based on the number of people, etc. Even if you don’t get ill, there is still talking yourself hoarse, sore feet/back from standing all day, sore joints and muscles from loading in/out. There will be a reckoning. Bottom line that unless you have the constitution of a Rigelian ox, or are an automaton, you will get ill in some way. Think about beforehand. What do you do when something ‘attacks’ you? Not attend the show? Soldier on? What about medicines? Food while you are sick? Can you put up with your small enclosed space for multiple days at a time (in a bad but not worst case)? What about not having a caregiver? All of these things you need to think about in advance.

Now I’m not saying drag around an iron lung, a full pharmacy, or even tie a doctor onto your hitch. I’m only saying to think about what you can get easily on the road and what might be more difficult (ex: I’m prone to nasal infections so I brought along my nettie pot. Not something you will find at your local truck stop nor in a small-town pharmacy). Thinking about it BEFORE you get ill/injured allows you to make difficult decisions BEFORE you are in a bad way. The example for me is that thinking back on this last show, I probably should not have been there for the first two days at all. I should have hung up a sign “Sick and staying away for YOUR protection.” When I was there on day 1-2 I wasn’t effectively marketing anyway. My mind was too focused on what my body was/wasn’t doing to focus on the attendees. But, and here is the rub, I wasn’t in my best decision making mind because of my head cold. I kept thinking more about the sales/revenue/engagement than realizing that all of them were compromised. Just think of multiple scenarios BEFORE they happen. And don’t forget the most critical decision of all: what would make me call off the rest of the shows and go home?

After the show, I packed up and hit the road. My original plan had been to not leave until the morning following the convention but I couldn’t see losing the daylight. I went off to eat up miles before my next stop. Probably a bad thing in retrospect. I hadn’t slept long enough the night before (only 5+ hrs) so I got drowsy VERY quickly. By Evanston I could barely keep myself awake and said, “I’m done.”

Next: Long Haul to Amarillo

 March 9, 2020  Uncategorized  Add comments