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Unread postPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 12:24 pm

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Yeah, The Publisher Guy

Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2004 5:18 pm
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2015 Open House Report - Part One

Thought I’d start posting the Open House Report sooner, but between a heavy work week after the Open House and the Memorial Day holiday weekend, I’m only finishing it now. I will post Part Two later today and more every day. Enjoy.

For me, Kathy and all of us at Palladium Books, the 2015 Open House started in earnest two weeks before the actual event. There was a warehouse to reorganize, cleaning to be done, supplies to purchase, plumbing issues to be addressed, name badges to design, stuffing name badges into their plastic holders, arranging them alphabetically, folding and bagging 700+ T-shirts, hotel details to confirm (and unexpected issues to be resolved), parking space to be arranged, signs to be made, artwork to be matted, auction items to be selected and priced, our specific game events to plot, a few tables of terrain to build for the Robotech® RPG Tactics tournament, concessions to be planned out, emails to be sent, people to call (or calling us), prints to be dropped off and picked up, follow up on the delivery of products, tables and chairs to be ordered, delivery times and dates to be arranged, the purchase of food, soda and supplies, picking up the Robotech® RPG Tactics tournament trophies, last minute problems to deal with (the hotel’s new management left much to be desired), and lots and lots of planning and coordination. :P

That’s all on top of our other commitments, daily business demands, prep for Gen Con Indy, working on new product releases and unexpected things to deal with. And there are only six of us to do it all. Thank goodness we had Victor Peterson helping to coordinate gaming events and making the schedule, but we had to be involved in bits of that as well. And thanks again to the dozen gamers and friends who came in a day or two early to help with final set up, and especially those who helped throughout the Open House, like Joe, Chris, Victor, Rex, Shawn, Lisa, Doug L, and many others.

A couple of weeks before the Open House, Wayne Smith and I finished designing the RRT tournament trophies and our new range of products to debut at the POH, including four new T-shirts, six new prints, two types of dog tags, and other products and odds and ends. (All available in the online store.)

The Open House is a tremendous amount of work and was particularly demanding of Julius, Kathy, Wayne and myself. None of us are spring chickens anymore, and there was a constant stream of things to deal with for the Open House and our regular business. Kathy Simmons was a dynamo, as usual. She completely handled all aspects of the V.I.P. dinner, concessions, free coffee and related. She peeled and prepared 30 pounds (13.5 kg) of potatoes for just the potato salad for the event alone. She started getting all her supplies weeks before the event and began prep work that Monday, all while handling her daily work responsibilities and helping in many other aspects of the POH. That was true of everyone from me and Wayne to Julius and Alex.

Enter Federico Franceschi. A welcomed surprise. We knew Federico was coming in from Uruguay early to help us set up for the Open House. That’s cool, but it made me nervous. You never know what you’re going to get from a volunteer. Well, Federico arrived on Monday, May 11, 2015, and he was awesome. A nice guy, hard worker, very organized and very helpful. We all hit it off with him instantly, and he proved himself to be an excellent helper. All he wanted in return was to be named the “Employee of the Month.” Well, you earned that title, my friend. I hope you had fun seeing the inner workings of Palladium and giving us a hand. I also hope your visit with family in Michigan was fun and that you enjoyed a safe trip home. Your presence, help and kindness was one of my personal POH highlights.

Federico is a great example of what makes the Palladium Open House special for me and the guys: Meeting yet another incredible Palladium fan and making a new friendship. A friend from a distant place in the world, Uruguay. We’ve had fans from South America – namely Brazil (Hey, Eduardo! Glad you could make it again this year!) and Argentina visit us in the past, but somehow it's always exciting for us to have people from faraway places make an appearance. In the past that has included gents from Australia and Spain. This year we had friends/fans from England, Germany, Brazil, and Uruguay. As well as people from almost every state in the union. I don’t think we had anyone from Hawaii, but they came from everywhere else.

I try to make a point of asking where people live and I’m always surprised by the wide range. Again, distant places in the USA or States that I’ve never been to myself seem the most exotic and fun. This year, I know we had gamers from Alaska, California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. To me, even Delaware, Maine, Rhode Island, and the Carolinas seem exotic for some reason. I’ve been to Florida, but that still feels like a long distance to travel and I appreciate the gamers who make the trek. And though I have friends and relatives in places like Pennsylvania, New York, Milwaukee, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana, that I’ve visited many times so they don’t seem “exotic” or distant, I’m just as thrilled to have people from them join our little shindig in Lower Michigan. As always, there was a small army of gamers from Missouri, and there are always folks from Texas (big gaming communities in both of those states) as well as people from . . . well . . . everywhere. Oh, and let’s not forget our neighbors to the north, Canada. We had a fair number of gamers from Canada, and not just from across the Detroit River in Windsor, but from Ottawa and elsewhere.

Over the years, many of these people have become friends. Not, “let’s chat on the phone several times a week friends,” but friends you see a few times a year, or even every few years, yet you are always happy to see them and glad to spend time in their company. In most cases, it’s like we saw each other just last week, not last year or last Open House. Crazy, but very cool.

When tables and chairs arrived on Wednesday, we could get to really setting the place up. Tables and chairs were arranged, tabletops covered. Again, Federico was right there working away on the front-line. Kathy started covering and skirting the last of the tables we needed for the artists and store areas, and I could do the final layout of the store and put out items. Prior to that, Wayne had been moving around pallets (we would process and ship orders right up to Thursday), when he wasn’t printing out badges and taking care of other details.

I had been feeling rather bummed out even just before the Open House. Certain events had conspired to bring me down. But by Wednesday, when a small army of volunteers and friends began to arrive, my mood improved considerably. In fact, that evening with the Palladium crew working away at final set up and another dozen people pitching in, I was overcome with a sense of joy and wonderment. I just stood for a moment and thought to myself, “I’m the luckiest guy in the world. Everyone has trouble and strife in their life. Few people have something like this. So many friends. All meeting through gaming and all pretty damn awesome." It was a nice moment. The Open House is just as special to me and the Palladium crew, as it to you. We make you feel special, and you return the favor. The thing is, you are special. I mean that. And I thank you -- all our fans -- for making my life so rich.

I overbooked myself, of course. I wanted to game with 80+ people and be available to everyone attending as much as possible. Ironically, that meant I spent very little time with the friends I was so happy to see present. I was filled with joy to see my pal Shawn Hall arrive from Indiana (Lisa Hall the next day), then Joe Bergmans from California, followed by James, Diane and Connor Brown from Kentucky, Mark Oberle and Mike Leonard from Missouri, Matt from England, Brandon Aten, and a host of other friends, fans and volunteers like Doug and Jessica, amongst others who arrived early and swung on by to see if they could lend a hand. Like I said, it warmed my heart to see these folks arriving and I was happy just knowing they were all here. Maybe I was feeling a bit more sentimental with this being the last Open House. I don’t know, but it was a great feeling to have these wonderful people present along with Federico and the Palladium crew. And knowing my pal Doug Lamberson from Ohio and a couple hundred more friends/fans would arrive be arriving the next day felt humbling and good. More friends like Chris Guertin would pitch in to help, along with Palladium’s awesome array of freelancers. I was so looking forward to chatting with, and maybe buying some artwork from Amy Ashbaugh, Allen and Brian Manning, and hanging with Glen Evans, Greg Diaczyk, Brandon Aten, Taylor White, Jolly and others, but somehow it never happened. One minute the Open House was about to start, the next minute it was over. I mean, I spent moments and shared panel talks with some of these folks, but definitely not as much time as I had hoped. It's my only disappointment of the Open House, but I still had a blast.

I was giving many of these fine people instructions on what needed to be done while Chuck Walton and I worked at finishing one of the Robotech® RPG Tactics tables for use in the tournament.

Building terrain is fun! Chuck and I understand the appeal of war games and miniature gaming. Even under the deadline pressure of the Open House, we had a blast painting and building our forest terrain environment. I had spent part of Wednesday helping to set up, before running errands and then stopping to work on making this terrain. Part of the terrain building process for us was checking out videos online, and running around buying supplies, paint, moss, etc. Tuesday, we had scoped out Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Jo-Ann Fabric, Lowes and Home Depot to see what each place had to offer, so we knew which places had what we wanted. When we returned with our glues, paints, moss and building materials, we immediately started spray painting our surfaces, making trees, hills and boulders on the terrain. It turned out really well, too. A lot of people were surprised to learn it was our first time making terrain. Chuck and I took that as a big compliment. I think it helped that we are both artists and work well together. At 11:00 PM that night, I called it a day and dragged myself home.

That was Wednesday, the day before the Open House. There's a lot more to come.

Kevin Siembieda
Publisher, Writer and Game Designer

© Copyright May 27, 2015 Palladium Books Inc. All rights reserved.

Rifts®, The Rifter®, RECON®, Splicers®, Palladium Books®, The Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game®, Phase World®, Powers Unlimited®, Nightbane®, Megaverse®, The Mechanoids®, The Mechanoid Invasion®, Dead Reign®, Chaos Earth®, Coalition Wars® and After the Bomb® are Registered Trademarks of Palladium Books Inc. RPG Tactics™, Beyond the Supernatural, Coalition States, Heroes Unlimited, Ninjas & Superspies, Minion War, Mysteries of Magic, SAMAS, Thundercloud Galaxy, Three Galaxies, Vampire Kingdoms, and other published book titles, names, slogans and likenesses are trademarks of Palladium Books Inc., and Kevin Siembieda.

Robotech® and Robotech® The Shadow Chronicles® are Registered Trademarks of Harmony Gold USA, Inc.

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