To Madison (WI) and Beyond!

19 September, 2011

So, this last week my wife and I traveled to Madison (WI) for ACD Distribution‘s Game Day, which is actually two days of seminars, meet and greet and companies showing off their new products.   The story of our trip follows for those interested:

Nike at the Chazen

Nike at the Chazen

We flew out of Atlanta Airport, always fun, and into Madison on Wednesday on a CRJ200 which is a small jet, seating about 50 people.  Quite a nice flight overall.  After getting to our hotel, we set off for a local yarn shop, as Laura is a knitter, and from there we made our way across the city, walking along Monona Bay which was quite bracing with the chill winds off the lake.  We were heading towards the University of Wisconsin and found a lovely bakery, Lane’s Bakery and Gifts where we had some amazing donuts bought from nice staff.  If you are in the area and like donuts, drop in and try the jam horn and chocolate-frosted (and the pumpkin donuts in season).   Making our way through the lovely and bicycle filled UW campus to the Chazen Museum.   The Chazen is in the middle of extensive expansion and remodeling adding a new building which will be great when it is done in mid-October, however currently it makes the museum almost inaccessible and about a third of the galleries are closed.  Still, an interesting collection ranging from antiquities (including coins) through medieval religious art to Renaissance and 19th century.  With a good collection of American furniture and an eccentric collection of modern art on the top floor.  Worth seeing, especially if you wait for the new galleries to open.  Then back to hotel by bus to rest for a bit before the meet and greet.

Met and greeted mostly fellow retailers.  But also learned to play Ascension, a deck building game, from the creator which was cool and fun.  Then back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.  The next morning featured a superb breakfast by the Capitol Chophouse in the Hilton where we talked with Kristin Looney of Looney Labs.  Then off to seminars at the Monona Terrace (which was original suggested and designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) including: Bandai, who are releasing a neat looking Star Trek deck building game.  Wizards of the Coast, still pushing 4e like mad are branching out into more D&D-themed board games as well.  Calliope Games, on how to sell to families.  And Steve Jackson -a gamer’s gamer- talking about SJG‘s new Munchkin products, oh, and a few other games as well.

Then lunch and the dealers’ hall!  A fun chance to look over new and upcoming games and such.  The Wyrd Miniatures guys were really nice and happy to show off their new Puppet Wars game.  Lots of interesting things but nothing that was mind-bogglingly cool.  Honestly, it is all a blur at this point.  But I will post or update as I remember new and cool things.

Then dinner, with some really good conversation with other retailers, and then demo night which I only managed until 10:30 when I heading back to the hotel.  Many interesting games being demoed and I only had time for a few and to watch a few others.  Relearned Tsuro and almost managed to pull off a win in High Noon Saloon and saw some very nice Warmachine armies.

Next day started with checking out of the hotel followed by another lovely breakfast at the Capitol Chophouse followed by more seminars, where I leraned how to play some fine games by Mayfair -including Settlers of the Stone Age– and got to try the pre-production version of Lords of Waterdeep, a D&D-themed, Euro-styled board game coming from WotC in 2012.  Then off to ACD’s warehouse for a cookout, tour and some shopping.  Interesting, fun and a bit weird to be wandering around a warehouse filled with gaming material.  Found some good things for Tyche’s Games and then back to hotel, grabbed our bags and off to the airport via taxi which we shared with the rep from Osprey books and later shared a meal with at the Wurst, a restaurant-bar at the airport which was amazing, try their ruben if you are passing through the Madison/Dane County Regional Airport.

A slightly delayed flight back on the same sort of jet got us to Atlanta safely.  Our trip back from the airport was a total mess, but that is a story for another time.  Overall, an enjoyable and successful trip and we hope to make it back to Madison some time in the future.

Edit: Photos are up in my Picasa album.

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