August 22, 2014

The obligatory post-Gen Con Post

Well, Gen Con 2014 is a wrap, and one 14-hour car ride later I’m back in civilization unscathed except for an improving case of Con Crud. (I vow no handshakes next time, I’ll never learn…)

Give this guy whatever game he wants.

The New 

Lots of cell phones. And tweeting.

And everywhere was talk of Kickstarter or crowd-funded projects, which also led to more than one incident of disappointment when a vendor had limited stock of a game and only distributed copies to backers (which is I guess as it should be).

Lots more people.

The Good

I participated in more events than usual, and the folks I gamed with were awesome. I would happily play with any of these groups again. Gamers are, despite the stories, pretty awesome people. How nice to walk into those large rooms and see so many people passionately playing games—no odd questions or looks, just mutual love of the act of playing.

Met with connections & old friends. The nice thing is that my "connections" and "friends" are largely getting to be the same thing. Some were old RPG designer comrades, met new folks, missing meeting new folks (sorry Len!), and—most importantly—rekindled that creative fire. The passion for the hobby this convention represents is the reason I write game material, period.

Indy has improved. After some 5 years away—Gen Con 2009 was my last visit—I noticed new skywalks and other downtown improvements. And the local restaurants, especially that gamer-staple the RAM, were as welcoming as ever. According to Forbes, Gen Con 2013 brought more than $47 million to the city, so the welcoming attitude is perhaps to be expected, but it’s still nice. And the locals are cool folk.

Lots of new, cool games! Alas, some of my "targeted" games—see my last post—were sold out. Dead of Winter was sold out, and when I inquired with the good folks at Plaid Hat Games, they told me they had sold all 450 copies! Likewise, the Walking Dead version of Bang! Was completely sold out by 10:30 Saturday morning! (Damn!) But many other tempting offerings were to be seen, some of which I purchased.

That's a whole lot 'o zombies games right there.
The costumes were as great as ever. I hesitate to post some of the great photos I took without the permission of those involved, but the Gen Con crowd is a clever bunch, as and always, they didn’t disappoint.
RAM Hot wings!

Beer and the RAM! Nuff said! 

The Bad

Lots more people. This isn’t really bad, as more people makes for Con longevity, but navigating the ICC hallways and dealer hall on Saturday afternoon became a tiring exercise after a while. And a half-hour wait to get into the Fantasy Flight booth was an unwelcome surprise (and I heard of waits for the Paizo booth of over an hour, which is insane). Again, a double-edged sword—I’d rather them feed folks into the retail space gradually so you can breathe while you shop, but it was something new for me.

The Ugly

There honestly was no ugly, monster costumes aside. It was a great con.

The Swag/Goods

My favorite, easiest free score—available to anyone—was a free Legendary card from Upper Deck. The card was a “Wound” card, and you got to pose, be photographed, and have your picture printed on a card. Most people got solo shots, sometimes holding their head or neck, and the Photoshop artist would add a blood smear in (a Wound card, remember?). Luckily for me, an eerily good Wolverine cosplayer was in line right in front of me. He did a shot with a friend, and, with his permission, the artist merged his image with mine to have me getting the old SNIKT!

Purchases included the following:

Random d20s
Coup game (Indie Boards and Cards)
Level 7 Escape game (Privateer Press)
Level 7 Invasion game (Privateer Press)

My First Carcassonne aka The Kids of Carcassonne (Z-Man Games)
Shadows of Brimstone: Swamp of Death (Flying Frog productions)

Ticket to Ride Europe (Days of Wonder)
The Strangecorebook (Monte Cook Games)
And, of course, Dungeons & Dragons (5e) Players Handbook (Wizards of the Coast)

A good haul, I’d say. Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne were presents for my young son.

Yet another great Gen Con. Big thanks to my driving buddy and great conversation partner, Ken. Can't wait for the next one!
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