I remember very clearly, around the age of 13, having the thought, “Who is this Gary Gygax guy and how the hell did he get the job of writing these books?” Turns out, he invented the job of being an RPG designer. I never met Gary but I’ve gamed with some of his friends and colleagues at various conventions and heard many tales of what kind of gamer he was. Here is a little video of Luke Gygax. Luke is the founder and head cheese of Gary Con, a convention that honors his Dad each year in Lake Geneva. I’ve been a few times and if you can go, it really is a special event unilke any other.
One of the best moments of my life was at Gary Con III. A good friend and I were playing Metamorphosis Alpha, the first science fiction RPG, with its creator the legendary Jim Ward. It was Friday night and Luke Gygax was walking around with a pitcher of Spotted Cow Farmhouse Ale filling up cups. Luke stopped by and filled everyone’s cup, made sure everyone was having a good time like we were guests at a house party. It was a delightful moment. Our characters, of course, died horribly but we had a great time and it was a really special moment that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
Gary Con was still a small convention at that time, 500 people tops. Since the event was so small then, the people who knew Gary had more time answer questions and just hang out. It was pretty cool to be able to interact with Luke and his siblings, old timers from TSR and the early days of RPG’s. It’s still a great convention and I highly recommend it. You have a whole year to plan for it since it just happened last weekend. My social media feeds were full of people I met at Gary Con in years past having a great time and sharing photos of games they were playing. I hope to get back again next year.