In any retrospective, it is important to assess every aspect of the game. This includes the players. I will not single anyone out, but try to find the common points and draw lessons to improve myself, my process and my products. It is an exercise I take extremely seriously.
Players were either completely new to my games (no return customer from last year). This annoyed me a little before I realized that this year, I was operating under another banner. I plan to return with my Saggakar banner next year and hopefully have more repeat customers. Something I hope to get a second GM for! Start getting ready guys!
Throughout the con, I got to play with a number of parent/child attendees, some as young as 8 or 9, some from as far as Germany. The Saggakar material is mature in its theme, but I can, and have seen that it can be presented in such a way that everyone can have a good time. Even young children are able to grasp the basic ideas and theme, while having them focus on what they are doing rather than the bad stuff in the setting.
I have to admit that this is a phenomenon I hadn't seen last year as much. I will have to account for it in my preparations. Lucky for me, I had four adventures with me and was able to avoid the darkest one (which is IMO "Wilderness of the Mind") and play the others.
One table had young players from Germany. They were a blast. I thought it was particularly funny to have to wait for the translation to complete sometimes. After the game, we chatted briefly outside and I was told them that the first RPG I played was the French version of Das Schwarze Auge (L'Oeil Noir) and they told me a number of stories about the game. Love it still.
This is not a surprise, but there is a huge Pathfinder community out there. Many sought out my game because it was Pathfinder but it was not PFS. I tried to get from them what they liked/disliked about PFS. The answers were quite varied: ranging from rabid hate of PFS to boredom to looking for more play opportunities. I have a rant that's been bubbling for the longest time about PFS and Gencon which I will post shortly. Still having options in game players love is a good thing.
One of the things I got was the players' openness and willingness to go with the flow of things and explore the world(s) and setting presented to them. This is not a new thing, but every time I am both amazed and excited about this fact. Of all the things we may complain or which to change about the gaming community, this is one of those things we need to keep (and I need to practice more myself).
It is important to assume that all the games will be run for new players. Gencon players are there to try new things. This year, I hit the mark, with all four of my adventures (ToS1-00 through 03) getting the players into the story and presenting through experience the concepts of the campaign and setting. Last year's experience was invaluable in this regard.
A lot of people took pictures of the banner of Lucrezia. I did not see or hear anyone wondering how she could use the facilities...