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Dungeons & Dragons, a game that changed the world.
Dungeons & Dragons, a game that changed the world.
3,584 backers pledged $195,480 to help bring this project to life.

Lake Geneva Re-Cap (Part 2)

The day before Gary Con officially got started, Luke Gygax was able to break away from his duties and gave us an early interview and a glimpse of what it takes to run Gary Con. We were also able to convince Ernie Gygax to give us a tour of the original basement at 330 Center Street, where the war-gamers came together for a little fun with Gary. Oh and this was also the humble beginnings of a little-known game called Dungeons & Dragons.

Later that day, we took a trip to the University of Milwaukee Wisconsin to view archival materials of early Gen Cons, but first we had plans to visit the Safe House a classic haunt of ex-TSR employees during the Milwaukee days of Gen Con.

By the time we returned to the Lodge, Gary Con V was all set to kick off. Banners, posters, and gaming tables were all poised to receive the multitudes of enthusiastic gamers and collectors. We couldn’t wait to see our friends from last year’s Gary Con. It was great to see Michael Mornard, Dave Megarry, Paul Stormberg and Kevin Maurice at the Sand Table, and Stephan Pokorny, Mike Carr, Tim Kask, and Ernie Gygax running their games. Jeff Easley and Tom Wham were seen roaming the Con and many others.

Not far from the Con, Margaret Weis invited us to her home for an interview. She gave us a quick tour of her multi-level, converted barn home and spoke to us from a woman’s perspective of the Dungeons and Dragons brand and her time working at TSR. We loved her meeting her dogs too!

We also had the honor to meet Elise and Heidi Gygax at the Con and they shared with us what it was like growing up in the Gygax home, and helping Gary assemble the white box sets as TSR operated out of the basement of their first home. Afterwards, the Gygax sisters graciously invited us to their villa for a home-cooked meal and a private reunion between the Gygax family members. We can't thank them enough for their goodwill and generosity.

Diesel Laforce was also there to unveil the two prints he has spent many hours working on. They look amazing. He is now looking for the right printers to make sure these prints remain collectibles.

We also had the privilege of meeting Bill Hoyer, Bill Hoyt, and Rob Kuntz, some of the original members of the Lake Geneva/Milwaukee war-gaming clubs in the early days. Rob Kuntz gave us an amazing interview. He told us of how he first met Gary by hearing of a gaming group playing “Afrika Corps” down the road from where he lived. He shared memories of Gary, and Mary who invited him to be part of their family and spoke volumes of their kindness. He shared his experiences with Gary designing games, participating in the IFW, and the joy of gaming with friends.

And finally, on the last day of Gary Con, we were fortunate to have Bruce Nesmith sit with us for an interview about his TSR days. What a great guy. We then packed up and said our goodbyes to Matt and Mayor Mike as we headed to Chicago for our final interview with Professor Gary A. Fine, Director of Graduate Student Affairs at Northwestern University. He’s an author of several books and publications on topics of Social Psychology, Cultural Sociology, and Qualitative Methodology Science. His knowledge of social interaction and gaming as a means of communication was very impressive, and not to mention his interviews with Dave and Gary for his research as a graduate student.

Alas, it was time to conclude our Mid-West tour. Seeing past friends and making new ones left us with lots of memories. Anthony, Andrew, and I can’t wait to return next year and we’re hopeful to have a movie to show everyone and maybe even a little bit of time to experience the many games Gary Con has to offer.

Lots of work still ahead of us. Next up, my hometown of Los Angeles, CA. We’ll keep you updated with our plans for Tinseltown and who’d be of interest to be interviewed for the film.

Thank you Mike and Matt! Thank you Mary, Luke, Ernie, Heidi, Elise and Cindy. Thank you, Frank, Sir James, Tim, Rob, Bruce, Jim Lowder, Margaret, Major Wesely, Brad, Edward, Harold, Diesel, Stuart Rosenberg, and everyone else at Gary Con! See you next March (if not sooner)

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    1. Iconoscope Films/Westpaw Films Creator on March 30, 2013

      thanks, james...we appreciate you letting us off the hook. we of course want to meet every single one of the people who have supported us and thank them personally for their efforts. our efforts at lake geneva and the great lakes area were fruitful, to say the least. we got some amazing footage that we can't wait to show. and though we still have a few bits and pieces left to capture, we are nearing the end of our production phase and will soon be entering post production.

      thanks for the words of encouragement. every bit helps. hopefully the next time we get a chance to see each other will be at the screening of this puppy at lake geneva next year at gary con.

      all the best,

      - andrew

    2. James H. Lewis on March 29, 2013

      Well, though I did get a brief chance to say hi and shake hands with one of you by the fireplace at the Lodge, my reading of this two-parter definitely verified my impression that you guys were hella-busy, thus legitimizing my decision to not impose myself on you - I'm exhausted just from READING about all you had going on!
      So despite our mutual intentions to say hey and hang out a bit, you are collectively TOTALLY off the hook due to the whirlwind of stuff you had going on, and I'm glad I opted to "leave you to it" (you're welcome, hahaha)!
      Hopefully next year will leave a bit more time. I've no doubt whatsoever that your team is doing a phenomenal, and most enviable job at what must amount to "cat corralling (on crack)!" Very best of wishes to each and all of you - here's to what I'm certain will be an iconic film! Cheers!

    3. Iconoscope Films/Westpaw Films Creator on March 28, 2013

      - We missed you, Matt.

      - Thanks, Alex and Tony. We are speaking with Diesel next week about the best place to get them printed. They look amazing and we want to make sure they retain that look when it goes to print. We're very excited about these prints and we can't wait to get our grubby little hands on them. Oh, and Tony, save a spot for James and me for the Orc Stomp at Gary Con.

      - Andrew

    4. Tony Digaetano
      on March 28, 2013

      What a cool series of events!

      I'm pleased I went to GaryCon and I'm really glad to have bumped into you guys, and of course to show up just in time to get to see Diesels work unveiled!. I'm eager to get mine! (But there's no hurry!)

    5. Alex Kammer on March 28, 2013

      It was great to meet you guys! Thanks for taking a few minutes to speak with me and fill me in on what is coming next with your project. Like so many, I am very much looking forward to seeing the finished product. It was great to see Diesel's prints as well.

      Alex Kammer

    6. Matt Forbeck on March 28, 2013

      Sounds like a great time, and I cannot wait to see the results, even though I'm now even sorrier I had to skip Gary Con this year.