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Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:53 pm

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Yeah, The Publisher Guy

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2015 Open House Part Five

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Disclaimer: I can really only present the 2015 Open House from my own perspective and personal experience. I know I missed a lot of it. I’m sure EVERYBODY who attended the POH had their own unique experiences and highlights. I invite you to post them on the Palladium website and Facebook page.

Game design and writing Panel

While the last day of gaming events were in full force, I had one last panel talk. For this panel, I had Greg Diaczyk and Glen Evans with me to talk about writing RPGs. It was good, with everyone contributing to the discussion and providing valuable viewpoints and personal experience. As always, we opened the panel up to questions and answers, and got a lot of good questions asked and answered.

All of the panels were a lot of fun for me, especially those with one or two other people on the panel with me. It’s fun and easy when you enjoy the people you are speaking with and love the guys on the panel with you.

Playing the Rifts® Board Game

Scott Gibbons has been a man possessed working on a Rifts® board game for something like four or five years now! He’s been pleading with me to play in a demo since the 2012 Open House. Well, my schedule on Sunday was pretty open so I sat down for a game. Holy Cats! The game is awesome. It truly captures the feel of Rifts® and even has elements of role-playing. Scott, you have outdone yourself. This is excellent work. Wow. I was blown away. And I could not believe Scott left us the prototype for continued play. We will definitely be playing more on our own so we can see how different games play out. I will be definitely talking to Scott in the future and exploring the possibility of manufacturing this game for the mass market.

Fond farewells

The Closing Ceremony went great. I introduced and thanked people, answered questions and had the audience rolling with laughter. It just felt good. Really good. A nice way to end the 2015 POH and to end the Palladium Open House as a tradition.

People were disappointed to hear me confirm that this was probably the last Palladium Open House. They were kind, but persistent all four days about how much they love the POH, how it is too awesome to stop doing, too special to end, and how they would do anything to help us keep the tradition going. I must have heard a hundred people tell me they would be back for the next Open House. Matthew Balent, Jolly, Hendrik, Mumah, the freelancers and many, many others expressed how much the POH meant to them, that they would be back (schedules and finances permitting), and that we must do another one in 2-3 years. Both Jolly and Matt said they had never experienced anything quite like it. Jake and Victor told me how special the POH is. Many people refused to believe this is the last POH, saying they’d see us at the “next Open House” when they said goodbye. There were smiles, hugs, plenty of photograph taken, and tears. It was very touching and very appreciated.

Everyone also helped take down tables and chairs. What would be an hour of strenuous work for 4-6 of us, took like 10 minutes when there were 30-40 people on the job. Awesome.

During the Q&A part of the Closing Ceremony, one gentleman suggested doing a Kickstarter to help support the next Open House. I have to admit, that was not something any of us had considered. Moreover, everyone present said they would support a POH Kickstarter if it meant having another one. It most definitely is food for thought. It opens up a bunch of possibilities that could make the Open House less strenuous on Kathy and the Palladium crew.

Events like this costs a heck of a lot more than people realize. Just to attend Gen Con Indy costs Palladium around twenty-grand. And to host the POH in a hotel is likely to be that amount or more. When I looked into hosting the POH at a hotel four years ago, the cost was $15,000; a price that is likely to be higher nowadays or 2-3 years from now. And that does not include a banquet/food service for VIP night. A hotel would have a different vibe too. There would be no concessions, and the dealers room, conference/panel talk rooms and gaming areas would be all separate and away from each other, giving the event an entirely different vibe. Not necessarily a bad one, but a different one. We’ll weigh your comments, desires and the various options, and think about it. No promises, but we're thinking about it.

The Sunday night after party, sorta

It has become something of a tradition to pick a restaurant and go out to dinner with the Palladium crew and whatever helpers and some of the gamers who are not leaving till Monday. Its not really a party, because everyone is usually pretty tired by Sunday night, but is a nice get together. This year there were 19 of us. We went to a local, mom and pop Polish restaurant named Three Brothers. We were the last group to be seated a half an hour before closing. The restaurant people were very accommodating, the food was good, service was excellent and it was a quiet, pleasant way to close out the POH.

Monday – May 18 – Shadows of the Open House

Another tradition is for people who are not leaving till Monday afternoon or evening to swing by to help with whatever remains to be done, and for one last goodbye. That means sitting around for an hour or three chatting. It’s a nice way to keep the Open House going for a little bit longer. This year, Matthew Balent and his family came by, and the delightful Brown Family, Joe Bergmans, Greg Diaczyk, Paul and Ian Herbert, Matt Treme, Hendrick, Federico and a few other folks along with the Palladium crew were present. As the day wore on, people would leave for home and fewer and fewer people were left.

When all our guests were gone and it was only us, the warehouse becomes strangely quiet. The din of voices and roar of laughter left only to our memories. Around 5:00 PM we all went home to crash.

Your impassioned pleas for us to do another Open House have been heard, but it is much to soon for us too seriously think about. The 2015 Open House is likely the last. HOWEVER, we will keep all your kind comments and requests for another one in our minds. There have already been a few conversations starting with, “Okay, IF we do another one . . .” But let’s wait and see.

Thank you for another beautiful experience that will live in our hearts forever. I hope everyone had a blast. Game on and keep those imaginations burning bright.

Some of the Palladium crew’s favorite moments:

Charles Walton: “I think I have four.” said Chuck. They are as follows, in no particular order.
One was seeing the Robotech® RPG Tactics Tournament and the artfully painted miniatures and large spaceships.
Two, gaming with some of the fellow artists.
Three, the Future of Splicers® panel talk with Brandon Aten. Btw, this game world may have a bigger, brighter future than anyone anticipates.
Lastly, the Splicers® game he and Brandon Aten played in. The G.M. was new to running at events, but did an excellent job, and the game left both Chuck and Brandon inspired with new ideas for Splicers®.
“Oh, and meeting Federico.” added Chuck. “Since he arrived on Monday to help us set up the warehouse, I almost don’t connect him to the Open House. What a nice guy.”
Actually, the more Chuck thought about it, the more details and favorite moments he had, so he’s writing them up as a separate Murmur to be posted later today. :)

Alex Marciniszyn: “I have five favorite moments.” said Alex, though technically, he had more like ten if you count each individual person he chatted with.
One, seeing Matthew Balent after many years. He looked great.
Two, meeting Jolly Blackburn and his wife, Barbara. “It was a real treat to finally meet the legendary Jolly I had heard so much about.” said Alex.
Three, seeing the beautiful models of the large Zentraedi warships and the two ARMDs. “I was really wowed by them.”
Four, “Of course, I also enjoyed chatting with people, especially Rex Barkdoll, Federico Franceschi, Chase Murphy, Chadd Leeth, Mark Oberle and Matt Lemke from Through Gamer Goggles.” Though Alex enjoyed chatting with Matt, it’s ironic that he did NOT make an actual video interview with him. I know, I (Kevin Siembieda) am disappointed to hear that.
“And I really enjoyed meeting Victor Peterson,” said Alex. “A very pleasant, high-energy guy. He was such a big help and he was nice to talk with. It's nice to have a complete image to go with the voice on the other end of the telephone.”

Julius Rosenstein: “There are many, many, favorite moments, but there are five that really stand out for me.” said Julius.
One is, as always,” said Julius, “when Kathy Simmons announces dinner is ready on VIP Thursday. Her cooking is always a highlight.”
Two was his Dead Reign® game. The overall game was a blast and everyone played well, but two of his players were especially memorable in the way they played off each other. One was a homicidal Half-Living and another played his character as laid-back stoner even in the Zombie Apocalypse.
A third was the time he was able to spend with Jolly Blackburn. Julius owns ever issue of KoDT.
Four was Julius' Rifts® game. He especially enjoyed the players of the Juicer and the Crazy who had Jules cracking up with laughter throughout the game.
Last, was seeing Hendrik Harterich, and one moment in particular when Hendrik arrived late for his game and everyone was shouting the table number to him. “Nine. Nine. Nine.” was the refrain. To which Julius shouted, “Stop saying nine. Hendrik is German, he’ll think you’re shouting No. No. No.” His comment made everyone laugh.

Wayne Smith: The following were among Wayne’s favorite moments.
1. Judging the RRT painting competition. It was awesome seeing what those guys had done with their game pieces, and made me realize how much I need to step up my own painting game.
2. Seeing old friends like Jolly, Hendrik, Brandon and others. Some of them I get to see about once a year, but with others the visits are far too infrequent.
3. Meeting new friends like Victor, Chase, Federico and many others.
4. Seeing the things Rex Barkdoll has been cooking up for the website and then some. I don’t think I can talk about some of those...
5. Monday cleanup and catching our breaths. It’s so quiet in the warehouse on the Monday after the Open House, and nice to hang out with the handful of folks who stayed an extra day to visit just a bit more, and help us put things back in order.

Kathy Simmons: “Favorite moments? You worked me like a mule, I didn’t see anything!" Laughs. "Making the last cup of coffee, I guess. :) It all went by in such a blur. It’s always nice seeing everyone so happy. I certainly appreciate the people who help me with the food and cash registers like, Joe, Chris, Tina, Lisa and Shawn. Diane was a big help too.”

Kevin Siembieda: For me the whole event is a treat. Sure, it’s a lot of work, but the whole thing is so special. I don’t even know how to quantify the magic of each Open House. If I have to pinpoint a few personal highlights, I think they are as follows (listed in no particular order).
- Meeting, hanging and working with Federico Franceschi. This gentleman is another intelligent, generous Palladium fan, whose company before the POH was a pleasure. He helped reaffirm my faith in people when I was in a negative place before the Open House. Thanks Federico.
- Meeting Victor Peterson in person and having him wrangle me all weekend. What a guy.
- The panel talk with Jolly Blackburn and having him and Barbara finally at the Open House.
- The panel talk with Matthew Balent and reminiscing about the Detroit Gaming Center and the early days of Palladium Books. It was good to see Matt so happy.
- The panel talk with Mark Dudley. I love that guy.
- The panel talk with Greg Diaczyk and Glen Evans; always a pleasure chatting with these two gents.
- Gaming with and hanging out with Paul and Ian Herbert. These guys are awesome role-players. I hope that doesn’t slight any of the 80+ players I gamed with because there were plenty of outstanding players that I loved gaming with throughout the weekend.
- Speaking of which, Will Erwin leaping into my lap while role-playing, and the huge laugh it brought during that last De Silca game was a great moment. Everyone in the game will remember it for years.
- Seeing the amazing ships and painted miniatures in the Robotech® RPG Tactics tournament. All so impressive. I felt honored handing out the trophies and prizes. And seeing how much everyone enjoyed the tournament. Not just the players, but the spectators as well.
- Eric, the kind soul who purchased my Glitter Boy artwork. He was kind enough to tell me how pleased he was to get the two pieces and that he planned to frame and hang them. Made me feel good about selling them.
- Playing in Scott Gibbons’ wonderful Rifts® board game! Loved it. We will have to look into manufacturing this game.
- The POH being the first public appearance of artist Mike Mumah after his stroke. Mike looked fabulous, was all smiles and the same boisterous hooligan he has always been. It was fantastic to see him, and see him doing so well.
- Chatting ever so briefly with Hendrik Härterich on Monday and having so many friends attend the 2015 Open House. I may not have been able to hang out with most of them, but as I said earlier, it was great just having them present and seeing everyone smiling and laughing. Heartwarming.
- The new T-shirts and mouse pads! I know it sounds silly, but I love the designs of the new T-shirts, and the mouse pads are cool. As fans of this stuff ourselves, me, Kathy and the guys have really been enjoying wearing the new T-shirts. I suspect, wearing them also helps us to hold and keep close all the fond memories of this past Open House.
- And of course, spending time with the many wonderful fans from around the world. Nothing beats the love you all bring to the Open House. Your energy helps to inspire us.

Note: The overview of my six part De Silca game to follow later this week.

Kevin Siembieda
Publisher, Writer and Game Designer

© Copyright June 1, 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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