By balanced, I mean that the convention manages to make roleplaying gamers, miniatures gamers, board gamers, and digital gamers feel that the convention is about them. Throw in a well-thought-out emphasis on diversity and a slate of fun panels and it's a convention I'm headed back to next year.
I said "yes" to attending as a guest before my current March Deadline-March for the 13th Age in Glorantha book became clear to me. I've had to turn down other convention appearances because I need these weekends for work.
But I've got no regrets about GottaCon other than that Lisa couldn't come along to enjoy the boardgaming and the great room at the Empress. I made new friends, had some great talks with Seattle people I haven't seen much in Seattle, got a demonstration of Ryan Macklin's upcoming Backstory cards, ran a hugely fun session of 13th Age in Glorantha, and for maybe the first time in two years got to play a new boardgame without being the person who already knew the rules.
The boardgame was King of New York. I'd played the early and final versions of King of Tokyo but wasn't entirely happy with the mechanical disincentives for doing the things that should have been the coolest monster stunts to pull off. I'm thrilled that King of New York fixes my qualms about gameplay in King of Tokyo. King of New York is a great game I'm looking forward to picking up soon.
I'm not saying much about the 13th Age in Glorantha playtest session because it was the playtest scenario, and we're not talking much about the playtest in public while it's running. But I will mention one of the early scenes, when the character who was the greatest poet in the world wanted to try out his new poem at the toughest tavern in Alda-Chur. Alda-Chur is pretty much a war zone, and it's not the typical fantasy world with taverns everywhere, so the toughest spot in town turned out to be a Storm Bull bonfire where they'd unearthed a hidden cache of Lunar wine. The poet did his best (failing forward quite memorably), the trickster got the snot kicked out of him, and the players who were new to Glorantha (which was to say, nearly all of them) lamented that it would be extremely hard to be a successful poet in a world in which you couldn't write romantic lines about the moonlight (what with the moonlight being Red and Chaotic).
A few pieces of GottaCon were recorded. I'm not sure yet about the Kickstarter panel Jonathan Tweet and I were on. Judged by how much I learned from the other panelists, Jordan Stratford (of the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency), Joanna Gaskell (of Standard Action), and Kyle Elliott (of too many successful Kickstarters to name), the Kickstarter panel was good. The earlier Creating Hooks 101 panel/workshop was also ton of fun and that recording is already available for your ear buds.