If the Worldbuilders Party is going to be a recurring part of Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, it will be one of my yearly must-do events. Where else can I spend the evening playing games with half of Acquisitions Incorporated while helping Heifer International feed the hungry?
New York Times Bestselling Author Patrick Rothfuss founded Worldbuilders, a non-profit organization benefiting Heifer International. Heifer International is a charity organization working to end hunger and poverty around the world by providing livestock and training to struggling communities.
“If we raise a couple thousand dollars for them, it will make peoples’ lives better. A couple thousand dollars means little kids get milk to drink. It means families get sheep, which means wool for warm blankets and clothes. It means better wells, so moms with babies can have clean water to drink.” – Worldbuilders site
With the room donated by ECCC, and so many honored guests donating their time, all proceeds from the party, totaling an amazing $13,500, went to Heifer. The party consisted of two multiple-table sessions where participants could select from a range of fantasy or science fiction authors, game designers, or performers to game with. Participants also received a swag bag with novels from Del Rey and DAW books and free appetizers with drinks available for purchase at a bar. Door prizes, raffle tickets, and a silent auction also meant that more money was being raised for Heifer, while many participants were leaving with some outstanding loot.
About a week before the event, participants prioritized which guests of honor they most wanted to play with, and listed in order which games they would most like to play. Then, through some voodoo magic, people were assigned to tables. The guest of honor list is rife with awesomeness, so there was really no going wrong. When I sat down for the first game of the evening I was shocked to be playing with Worldbuilders founder Patrick Rothfuss! We played Betrayal At House On The Hill for a two-hour session. Professor Longfellow eventually turned on us releasing a dragon haunt, but after a nail-biting battle with the serpent, Ox Bellows slew the beast. Patrick, as well as the other attendees, were a joy to play with. Mr. Rothfuss was funny, welcoming, and personable. My second session was Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition with none other than Scott Kurtz of PvP and Table Titans fame! Both Scott and Patrick are members of the infamous Acquisitions Incorporated live D&D game played at various Penny Arcade Expos. I eagerly anticipate each session of Acquisitions Incorporated, and not only got to play with half the crew, but in the second gaming session of the night, Scott Kurtz took us on a quest to reclaim the Bronzebottom Brewery for Binwin Bronzebottom himself, Scott’s character in the Acquisitions Incorporated games. Much hilarity ensued.
It’s an excellent experience to be in a room full of industry greats. In what other situation could you be playing a game, have a question come up and have Patrick Rothfuss say, “I am just going to go ask Mike Selinker because he made the game,” because Mike was across the room, or be playing a game of D&D with Scott Kurtz and have him lean over to a nearby table and whisper, “Hey, Chris Perkins, how do you…”
Between games, a wealth of goods were given as door prizes and raffle winnings, and the silent auction wrapped up about half-way through the four-hour event. Even though the guests of honor and other volunteers were at least a couple of days into the grueling Emerald City Comicon, all were welcoming, and on top of their game.
The event was a great experience, and I was happy to know that the money for my ticket, raffle tickets, and auctions were all going to help Heifer. This was a great way to spend quality time hanging out with industry celebrities in a relaxed way. Whether or not I go to ECCC, if the WorldBuilder Party happens again, I am certain I will buy another ticket. It was a small group of between 100-200 guests, so seats are truly limited.
Patrick Rothfuss made it clear that all the credit for the concept and the footwork for this particular event should go to the organizers Greg Bilsland and Elyssa Grant, both members of the Dungeons & Dragons team at Wizards of the Coast. They did an excellent job putting together an event that is sure to please.
To quote Patrick Rothfuss from that night, who was quoting Steve Martin, “I would rather be with the people in this room than with the finest people in the world.” I love a room full of gamers enjoying themselves while making the world a better place.