In the Industry: Ed Healy (Dragon’s Bay)

The Dragon’s Bay site, where this interview originally appeared, is no longer online. I’m posting it here so that it doesn’t get ‘lost’.

When I first heard of Ed Healy and his Gamerati tour I was extremely jealous. Here was a guy touring the country to talk about gaming. How cool is that? It’s a promotional tool but not for any specific game. It’s a promotional tour for gaming in general. He’s making the community a stronger place and by doing so, he’s strengthening the hobby.

When I reached out to Ed for the interview he was glad to take some time out to answer a few questions.

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First off, what can you tell us about Ed Healy. What started you on your path to Role Playing?

My mother bought me the D&D Red Box (the Elmore / Mentzer one) when I was a tween. She was my first DM, but quickly tired of my constant prodding to play, so I went hunting for gamers my age. In 4th grade, I’d get out of school and spend my afternoons watching WWF, listening to Maiden, and searching for the Lost Island of Castanamir.

Your mother was your first GM? What was that like?

Exciting, at first. It really didn’t matter who she was. I just wanted to play. I bugged her to play every day until she informed me I needed to find another DM. :)

What’s your favorite game?

When I’m GMing at home, I use the 3.5/OGL system. At conventions, I dig Savage Worlds. I’ll play anything, though, and not just RPGs. Lately, I’ve enjoyed learning new board and card games. Just today, I learned Seven Dragons (Looney Labs) and 7 Wonders (Asmodee).

Do you have an all time favorite character?

Nah. I really enjoy mixing it up as a player. As a GM, I don’t get too attached to my red shirts.

As a gm, what’s your number one pet peeve?

People who are rude to other players. I’m not too concerned about myself. I can always not invite someone back. But, if players stop coming because another player doesn’t know how to play well with others… Well, it erodes my group and therefore my fun.

As a player, what’s your number one pet peeve?

Having fun. I know, it’s not a peeve. Everything about games should be fun, though. Once it’s about proving a point or winning an argument or something that breaks the magical zone of enjoyment, I get agitated. As long as people have a desire to have fun and enjoy the company of the rest of the group, I’m a happy camper.

Let’s chat about the tour. What is a “Gamerati?”

If you play games, you are the Gamerati.

When and how did you come up with the idea for the Gamerati tour?

I had this idea that I’d leave Seattle in July and head down to San Diego ComiCon International (10 days on the road) and then head to Gen Con Indy (10 days on the road) after SDCI was over. The original idea was to just meet people and store owners and have fun. I floated the idea on my Facebook page and people started asking me to come see them and their store as well, so I decided to make it a bit more of an event.

The idea is still the same: we want to meet the local Gamerati and celebrate games and the gamers that play them. Instead of just showing up, we’re now making a bunch of videos – even making 2-3 minute ‘commercials’ for each store. But, since this is a huge undertaking, and not an inexpensive one, I reached out to a few companies to help pay part of the cost.

Is it just you on this tour or do you have a team?

I’ve asked Erik Frankhouse, who is the sales manager for my advertising network and Loot to come along.

So, you’re driving this whole tour? What’s that like?

Yep. 15,000 miles in 60 days.

It’s exciting to be on the road, but it’s also very tiring. We had one day to recover from Gen Con before we kicked off the Tour in Cincinnati. Since then, we’ve hit at least one store every day. You get a little shagged out, but then you walk into a store and there are all these great people having a good time with each other. The only thought in your mind is “who can I meet and what new game can they teach me?”

In your mission statement you mention it is, in part, to promote a sense of community. Why do you feel that this is important?

Without a doubt. We’re all busy with our lives. Sometimes we need a reminder about those special things that make games special – the fact that games bring people together and act as catalysts for great stories. Those stories can be in-game, but more often that not they involve the real life characters – the gamers themselves. Once you know a person – once you know who they are and where they’re from – once you know their story, it’s easy to identify with them. That forms bonds of friendship and community.

That’s what we’re after.

You also mention this to be a trove of best practices for game shops. If a store was not a participant in your tour for one reason or another, would they be given an opportunity to glean knowledge of these best practices?

Sure. The exact nature of how I’ll publish the findings is a little up in the air at this time, to be honest. I’m focused on executing the Tour at the moment. Summarizing our findings will likely take a bit of doing after the dust has settled. Once I’ve had time to compile everything, though, I’ll make it available in some form or another.

How have you found the turnout to be on the tour so far?

It depends. When we can give people ample warning, the turnout is great. The owner of Gateway Games & More (Cincinnati) told me we had more people in the store than the fire code allowed. I asked if we should leave. Three hours later, we were still gaming!

Have you had any surprises so far?

One of the guys at the event in DC (at Labyrinth Puzzles & Games) had written a song that I grabbed a video of.

I’m not shocked that gamers are talented and creative. I am pleasantly surprised when I find something cool like this, though.

I noticed a lot of the dates are To Be Determined. Does this mean the tour has no fixed end yet?

We’ll be done by the middle of October. Erik and I both have families we have to return to. The reason there are TBD events is that we aren’t 100% sure how long it’ll take us to get to each one, yet. I’m working to nail that all down right now. I hope to have the next few weeks done today or tomorrow.

I look forward to hearing more about your tour. If someone were interested in helping how could they assist?

  1. Come to any event in your area.
  2. Bring as many people as possible.
  3. Have fun!

If they want to help us foot the bill (which is quite large), there’s also the gas fund

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Do you have any parting words?

My name is Ed Healy, and I am the Gamerati!

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A big thanks again to Ed for sitting down with us. If you’d like to catch Ed when he comes to your town, here are the stops for the rest of the tour.

[snip]

You can also find out more about Ed, the Tour and other gamers like you by visiting the tour sight here.

This is Rico, see ya next time!

I want more!

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