Less than a week ago, I was in the Netherlands attending ICCM Europe 2017. This trip and conference the past six years has broadened my global perspective while growing me spiritually, professionally, and personally. I was on the leadership team for the conference, moderated a panel on “Growing as a Leader,” and co-emceed the What’s Hot/What’s Not session.
The conference this year was bittersweet for me. I announced this year would be my last in attendance for the foreseeable future. With my daughters starting University this fall, our finances will be much tighter and I will be taking on the full responsibility of being caregiver for my wife. I felt it best that I focus on home and family for the coming years, so I let the ICCM Europe leadership team and attendees know this was my last conference for now. I will remain on the leadership team, but will not be traveling to Europe. Thus, much of the conference had me saying goodbye to friends I had grown very close to over the years. I feel very blessed to have been able to travel to Europe and attend ICCM Europe these past six years. It has given me the opportunity to visit the Netherlands and Germany multiple times, and this year I added small side trips to Mulhouse, France and Lucern, Switzerland (where I got to see the Alps!).
The trip and conference were not all bittersweet. I also got to spend some wonderful time visiting GEM eDOT and Black Forest Academy, and do some touring in the area, as I mentioned above. Great fellowship with friends, incredible scenery, amazing food and beverages, and evenings of gaming. That’s right, like I have mentioned in the past, one of the side joys of ICCM and why I mentioned it here on the blog is the gaming community that attend ICCM Europe each year.
Before ICCM Europe started, I did some traveling around the region with friends, including some great game stores. So much fun visiting game stores in other cities. You just feel at home as a gamer. In France, we visited Fairplay in Mulhouse, where I picked up POW!, an Essen release not yet available in the US. Wonderful little store that packs a lot in a small space. Then we visited Spellenwinkel de Betovering in Doetinchem, Netherlands. We found this store two years ago and knew we had to go back. The two ladies who own the store are amazing and so much fun to visit with. A group of us traveled into the town the day before the conference to do some game shopping. I picked up Nederland, a locally themed variant of the Alhambra card game. Then I got a surprise gift for my work with ICCM Europe. The leadership gifted me Ekö, which my friend secretly picked up at Fairplay after we were there. I had mentioned I was interested in this game after watching Pair of Dice Paradise review it, discussing how it was a wonderful abstract game but was not available in the US. When I saw it in the store, I wanted it but decided to pass because I wasn’t sure about fitting it into my luggage. Then I got it as a surprise gift, so I left some things behind in Europe to bring this wonderful game home. Thanks to my friend Jacob Coon for hearing my comments and sneakily purchasing the game without me noticing.
Many evenings before the conference and most evenings of the event, I got to do some gaming including playing Adrenaline, POW!, Fabled Fruit, Puerto Rico, La Granja: No Siesta, Discoveries, Broom Service: The Card Game, and Beardsmith. I was most excited to finally get to play Puerto Rico, as it is a classic I had not yet played. Not sure Puerto Rico is my type of game, but I will need another play or two before I finalize my thoughts on that. I almost got to play Dice Town but got called away to a meeting. Oh well, someday.
So, farewell for now to my ICCM Europe friends and fellow gamers. We will meet again either at a far future ICCM Europe that I hope to attend, at another event, or online. Thanks for years of professional development, personal growth, friendships, and joyful gaming,
Beyond game conventions, what side trips have you taken recently that relate to your gaming hobby or your freelancing? Do you blend your gaming with your other passions in life?