Interviews

Crazy Eights: Jon Gilmour and the disappearing Dinosaur Island prototype

This year’s Gen Con was one of busiest ever since it was the 50th Anniversary and completely sold out for the entire show.  While most people are there to have a fun time, it’s unfortunate to say that some unscrupulous activities occurred.  One of those happened to Jon Gilmour when a prototype of Dinosaur Island.  I asked him eight questions to find out more about what happened.

How many Gen Con conferences have you been to?

This year was my 6th year attending GenCon.

Can you tell me a little bit about what happened to the Dinosaur Island demo copy?

We first heard about the copy being missing on Friday when one of the members of our demo team asked where the copy of Dinosaur Island was.

How long did it take to realize that it had disappeared?

For the first half hour we thought that it might have been taken by another publisher who was nearby in open gaming or maybe someone took it to play overnight but would return the games in the morning, but it started becoming pretty clear it had grown legs.

Did this year’s Gen Con feel busier because it was the 50th Anniversary of Gen Con?

Definitely! This year was insane, but every year feels busier and more crowded than the last.

Does Gen Con have any kind of security camera set up in the exhibition hall?

Not that we have been able to find out about. I know Pandasaurus has talked to several people from GenCon.

What did the loss of the demo copy mean to you as far as promotion and exposure?

That’s really hard to gauge. One of the biggest things, is that we had people who bought tickets for events that we were not able to fulfill. People who were really excited to see the game that we had to turn away because of this persons actions. I also had 5 more conventions lined up for the remainder of the year where I had events scheduled to promote the game. Showing games and connecting with fans is really the lifeblood of what we do, so having that taken away was awful. Luckily it has resulted in some exposure in the form of media attention, and people wanting to discuss it.

Did you get a break recently in who might have done this?

We did get a report that someone was selling the copy on ebay, but they pulled it down before we had time to do anything about it. I know Pandasaurus is in the process of talking to police, etc.

Do you have any advice for other small publishers to try to prevent something like this from happening?

Definitely don’t leave a game sitting out where people can grab it. Make sure things are stowed in a secure area after hours. Have someone staying with the booth until the hall clears out at the end of each day.

Even with the recent expansions, Gen Con can still be crowded in the exhibition halls.  It’s always a good idea to make sure that you keep track of your belongings while there.  If you haven’t yet, I recommend checking out Jon’s games including Dinosaur Island, Wasteland Express Delivery Service, and Path of Light and Shadow.

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