Last year was my first time attending GenCon. I was the Geekdad rookie, mouth wide open in awe as I first entered the Exhibit Hall. Those four days flew by so fast, and when I caught my breath and sat down and began thinking over all the games I’d played, the people I’d met, and the fun and interesting activities I’d watched or participated in… it hit me that other than a handful of photos and purchased games and a stack of business cards, I really didn’t have a record of all the craziness I’d experienced at Gen Con 2015.
I’m not a journaler, but I do try to keep documents and notes about events in which I participate. Which is why I was so surprised that I’d let my first Gen Con go by with very little in terms of notes taken. I met some great folks and never got their e-mail addresses. I played so many games, but forgot the names of many. I met artists and game designers galore and never asked for autographs. *BAM BAM BAM* (That’s the sound of me smacking my head on my desk.) I missed out on a number of activities because I didn’t keep accurate records of times and places where demos were to be given or giveaways were happening. I misplaced the convention maps (yes, plural!) and had to find new ones more than once. I had lunch at some great food trucks but can’t remember the names; hopefully they’ll be back this year! I had a stack of notecards in my backpack that I kept and a couple of pens, but the pens got lost on Day 1, I believe. The notecards got crumpled and mixed up with brochures and business cards at the bottom of the pack. My wish-list schedule was nowhere to be found. I even lost a few of my generic tickets. I guess what I’m saying is this — if you attend Gen Con, there is just SO MUCH to remember and document and find during this four-day experience.
This year… THIS YEAR… things are going to be different.
This year, I’m taking my Gen Con Gamer’s Yearbook from the folks at Con*Quest Adventure Journal. As soon as I saw the amazing and ultra-creative cover, I did an instant-buy. I bought the Junior version of the journal figuring if I liked it, I could graduate to the full-size version for next year. Wouldn’t you know it, the day after I bought the Junior version, Con*Quest Adventure Journal reached out to GeekDad and offered to let us take a look at the journals as well as some additional licensed Gen Con merchandise.
Well, my Jr. Gamer’s Yearbook just arrived, a few weeks before I leave for Indy. And tucked into that box were some other surprises that Gen Con attendees are absolutely going to love.
Let me start with the Gamer’s Yearbooks. The full-size and junior versions of the yearbooks look identical on the outside… it’s just the scale that’s different. I cannot take my eyes off the covers. Big GEN CON letters drawn on graph paper as a dungeon, complete with entrance, stairs, secret door, and a trap. The yearbook covers are rugged. Very sturdy. The spine naturally curls, making it easier to hold in your hand… not kidding. The full-size Gamer’s Yearbook measures 10″ x 12″ while the junior version is 7.5″ x 9.25″. Both contain a 3-ring binder inside for 3/4″ capacity. A black elastic strap helps keep the yearbooks closed. The full-sized yearbook is $32 and junior is $25, and inside you’ll find:
24 (12-double-sided) – 9″ x 11″ printed pages
2 – 9″ x 12″ plastic sleeves
2 – Business card sleeves
24 (12 double-sided) – 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″printed pages
1- Business card sleeve
And those printed pages that come inside each yearbook? Here’s the product description:
Includes 24 new pages with exhibit hall and convention center maps, new plan of attack schedule pages, promo pages to mark what booths to get to first, demo pages to grade your games, dungeon crawl pages to grade your beer and more!
That product description, however, doesn’t really do the yearbooks justice until you actually examine the pages (with artwork by Tracey Gurney). The Plan of Attack pages, for example, are broken into four days, with lined sections super-imposed over two large Gs and a map legend in the bottom right corner. All the pages have been created to follow the dungeon theme, with GEN CON’s individual letters in the background as hand-drawn maps and various graphics placed to add flavor. The Promos page offers a place to write down booth #s and times for events you don’t want to miss, and a Demo Time page offers places to write down notes about the games you play. There are pages for artists to sign or draw sketches or simply to jot down notes, and I especially like the Loot page where you can write down notes about who provided what — a nice way to document those folks you’ll want to send a big THANK YOU note to when Gen Con is over. A page for documenting the food and drink and parties attended is right next to the Next Year page where you can add thoughts about Gen Con 2017. Really the only difference between the junior and full-sized yearbook pages is size… just more space for signatures, notes, etc. on each of the larger pages.
In addition to the two yearbooks, you can buy extra packs of these 24 pages for $8.00 (junior) and $10 (full-sized). A packet of 25 graph paper pages (3-hole punched) is $6.00 (junior) and $8.00 (full-sized). And if you’d like to keep using your junior yearbook as a Daily Planner throughout the year, you can also buy a Gen Con calendar pack (24 sheets, each month displayed on two facing pages) for $5.00.
You can buy the yearbooks by themselves or buy them with a Con Pack that includes a nice totebag (see photo below) that has two stitched pockets on the inside and a LePen permanent marker.
I’m loving these yearbooks, and I know the yearbook is going to be great for helping me to stay organized. Being a maker, I’m going to obviously mod mine somehow to include a pen holder and maybe some pockets for brochures and such, but as it stands, the yearbook is pretty well ready to go. The yearbook is definitely going to be something I grab and look through when Gen Con 2016 is done and I wait for Gen Con 2017… and as I wait to see what Con*Quest Adventure Journal comes up with for its 2017 yearbook.
You can find Con*Quest Adventure Journal at Booth #2655. All of their products are made in the USA, and another interesting bit — they changed the name from journal to yearbook based on customers telling them how they used the book for signatures and photos and such. Go by the booth and say hello and check out all their stuff, not just the Gamer’s Yearbooks!
Note: I’d like to thank Shelley with Con*Quest Adventure Journal for not only getting me the Junior Gamer’s Yearbook in time for Gen Con 2016, but also for the extras to examine for this review.