Have you seen me?
I went to GenCon for the first time ever this year. I have been playing games for nearly 20 years and had never been to a convention, so I was excited. My friend Jay and I went on Wednesday and came back Sunday.
We arrived in Indy Wednesday night. For future reference - do not stay at the Econolodge on Meridian if you can avoid it.
I plan to do a Geeklist of games that I tried, so this will just be a journal of my wanderings and general impressions.
We went to the Convention Hall at 7 AM. We were not pre-registered or anything like that, so we had to stand in line for 2 hours to get our badges. For future reference, if you can't pre-register, show up at about noon the first day and there is only a short line or no line at all.
The actual convention didn't open until 10, so we thought about standing in line for event registration. This line was much longer and was moving very slowly. Another 3 hours in line was not what I had in mind, so we just waited for the floor to open.
Wizkids had the catbird seat. Front and center, front door. They were showing Pirates of the Spanish Main among many others. It showed well, and looked cool, as all of their games do. Of course, it was Wizkids, so it's all collectible crap, so we moved on.
As expected, Wizards of the Coast had a massive booth. They were showing a new Star Wars game that looked really good. Kind of a tactical miniatures game that Games Workshop might have done 10 years ago. They had all of their mainstay products, and a couple of other new games that didn't interest me much.
I then bee-lined over to the Fantasy Flight Games booth. They have been doing some of my favorite new games, and I'm a bit biased, as they're from my home state and all . . .
That said, they had my favorite display at the show. They were demonstrating a beautiful mockup of the new Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition. They had a playable mockup of the spectacular looking Doom: The Boardgame with designer Kevin Wilson doing the demo. They had the released version of War of the Ring, which they were selling at the show. (I bought one.) They were showing the release of Colossal Arena. Cthulu CCG. A Game of Thrones CCG. Runebound. Citadels. And they were selling the A Game of Thrones: A Clash of Kings expansion, which I purchased, but have not yet played. Strangely, it seemed to me, they did not have a table for A Game of Thrones: The Boardgame. Other than the Bang: High Noon expansion, these were my only purchases at the show.
Elsewhere, Out of the Box had a great display with lots of new demos. My favorite was Snorta! It was a derivative party game that many will recognize, but exquisitely produced and yet inexpensive. They sold out of them, however. I will pick it up eventually.
Ban Dai had one of the show hits with their new Navia Dratp. This was a game to take note of. A collectible game of miniatures ala Mage Knight, but played on a modified chess board. It was a chess variant that had pieces with two possible moves. Their base move and their Dratp move. Don't ask me how to pronounce that, or any of the names of the moves or pieces or characters. Crazy names, maybe in Japanese or something. Each collectible piece has their two moves which are some variant on standard chess moves. Interesting and simple, it may get a lot of attention. But not from me, as I won't do collectibles.
Steve Jackson had a fairly plain display with very little demo space. We called it the Steve Jackson Store.
There was a fairly impressive-looking independent game called BattleStations being demonstrated by the designers.
DragonLords, Inc. showed up in fine style with a nice looking booth and great game display for their flagship product Quest for the DragonLords.
Asmodee rang in with Jungle Speed, which was strangely similar to Snorta! but will work better than Snorta! when more alcohol is involved. It's on my list, too.
Slugfest had a smart booth setup for demonstrations of Kung Fu Fighting and Fishing for Terrorists. Sadly, I wasn't really into the games.
Rio Grande and Mayfair had nice big booths with lots of demonstrations of their many new products. I'm not sure how they picked which ones to demostrate. I tried Maharaja and Goa, which were my two favorites. As well as Fifth Avenue, Marco Polo, and four or five others that I'll have to figure out so I can do my Geeklist.
My friend and I got separated about half way through the day, and didn't really have a plan to meet, so we ended up back at the hotel at different times. The hotel was miserable, so we decided that after sleeping in, we would strive to spend as little time in the hotel as possible. Tomorrow, we would explore outside of the Main Floor, and see what GenCon really had to offer.
Battlestations was interesting, especially if you're a Star Trek fan. It's basically a light RPG. The whole premise is that you are a crew member on a starship that has adventures in spece. The game consists of two maps, one shows what the starship is doing and the other is the interior of the starship. Your character has a set of unique skills which may mean that you are the science officer, engineer, doctor, etc... There is a big book of adventures and a GM selects one and you play through it to reach a victory condition as a team. You may have to fight, make contact with an alien race, or repair the ship, etc. As the game progresses you make lots of skill checks by rolling dice whenever you want your character to do something. I watched some people play it for almost an hour and it could be fun I suppose but that type of game isn't my cup of tea.