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Subject: Gen Con roundup! What was great? What stunk? rss

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Pete Lane
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This year was my 5th or 6th year at Gen Con, but my first going "alone" just for my own enjoyment. I've spent the other years as a demo lackey and working the dealer's room from the inside. I was looking forward to actually getting to enjoy my trip rather than taking time off of work to work! It had also been about 3-4 years since my last Gen Con, so some of the things I enjoyed might have been new to me, but not to people who had gone last year.

YAY!

- I love the new Convention Center layout. It helped make everything feel so much more homogenous, and I loved that True Dungeon has a huge space to expand creativity. It also felt more as "part of the convention" as opposed to being shoved into a hotel space. Everything was super easy to find and "made" sense" in where things were. No more going down long hallways to find the CCG hall, and the large central hallway was a fantastic place for cosplayers to strut their stuff.
- Food trucks! The public area out on Capital St was a nice change of pace and a great place to get some fresh air. While I didn't enjoy the food trucks that I tried, the whole idea that there were more options than $7 hot dog and pop from the CC food court made me happy. I was expecting more, but I think we're pretty spoiled in Minneapolis with our trucks.
- Dealers Hall was packed and full of great deals. Kudos to Cool Stuff for offering some of their website prices at the convention, and having some titles even cheaper! The walkways were pretty tight for the most part, but the layout helped keep the flow pretty logical and it was easy to find the booths you wanted to see. Being a Magic player, I was thrilled that most of the card dealers were all really close to the CCG hall and you just had to pop out the door if you needed something.
- The CCG hall was huge and exciting, and getting Generic Tickets was a snap.

BOO!
- VIG. I know it's important to offer a special package for some of your attendees to maximize their experience. However, I don't want to feel like I NEED to become one to have the experience I want to have. Going into Gen Con, there were a couple of titles that were raved about consistently both on BGG and on blogs/podcasts/video previews. These titles may or may not have been exclusive to the Con, but were used as things to get people excited about going, and made you want to plan to buy them so you could play it with your friends all weekend. An hour before the hall opened on Thursday, the VIG and media attendees were allowed to go in and buy what they wanted. Unfortunately, this meant that certain people bought multiple copies of the hottest and most limited items with no restrictions. Some of these items ended up on ebay within hours. I know this isn't always the fault of the company that advertises "we only are bringing X copies," but I view it as more Gen Con's fault for creating this weird VIG culture of "money will get you perks." For me, I wanted to demo and pick up a copy of Seasons. I was first in line to demo, helped the demo person set up the game, and only played through half the game (enough to verify I wanted it). I stand up and find out that the VIGs had bought all the copies. Had I known this, I wouldn't have waited in line to fight the crowd, wouldn't have blocked time out in my day, and could have taken my time to demo at my own leisure. When you're told you can buy something at Gen Con, you expect to be able to have a fighting chance. If I had been told "the game will only be available to demo at the con, but VIGers will be given an advance copy for $50" then I surely wouldn't have had been disappointed. Heck I might have even tried to track down someone to pick me up one instead. The same problem happened with NetRunner, when it was rumored VIGers were buying 5-6 copies of the game at a time. Props to FFG for bringing down more copies for Saturday, but boo on them for not limiting the purchase from the start.
- On a similar train, one booth made a VERY big deal about how one of their titles was a Gen Con exclusive and they would only be bringing a limited number of items. Not only did we see a copy on the shelf of a board game that we stopped at on the way to the convention, but on Sunday that booth had a large stack of the title still for sale. It's possible that they could have gotten in an early shipment and brought more and shipped to shops faster than expected, but it felt a bit like manipulation of hype to drive sales being that only 3 days prior we were being told opposite.
- Creepers gonna creep, but it seemed pretty bad this year. Many times I would see a reasonably dressed cosplayer walk down the hall, only to have a wave of head turns and sly camera snaps as they walked by. One guy actually told his buddy to stop so he could "get a picture of her ass."
- Pastimes Games. These guys were running the Magic events, and there was rarely a time I wouldn't sit at a table to play and hear someone complaining about the way they were running things. Late starts, one line for multiple ticketed "side events," poor prize support, expensive tournaments, and events that ran so late that they literally ran all night long. For the most part, the Magic area was really hoping and full of energy. However when you feel like you can't play a certain format because they are charging too much for the ticket, that's a disappointment.

What about you guys?!
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fightcitymayor
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stagger lee wrote:
...One guy actually told his buddy to stop so he could "get a picture of her ass."
DAMMIT PETE, DON'T YOU JUDGE ME!

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Bryan Fischer
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We were at GenCon demoing our games Chicken Caesar and Mars Needs Mechanics both in the Exhibit Hall and the big gaming room. The crowds were huge and the space often tight around popular booths, but we had a great time. From our perspective, here are a couple pros and cons...

Pros
- Awesome convention center layout: lots of room to walk around, see the sights, take pictures, buy stuff, and if you needed a few minutes of silence you could escape to the second floor.

- Food opportunities outside of the con: there are lots of places to eat in downtown Indianapolis, plus the food carts. You could eat healthy or unhealthy, fast or slow.

- Publishers/Designers everywhere: if you wanted to meet a game's designer or publisher, play a game with them, or just chat GenCon had you covered. You might have had to know where to look, but once you found one or two designers/publishers the rest weren't far behind. It's great for networking or getting things signed.

Cons
- Cosplay Hangups: This was a common complaint at the convention. While cosplay is fun to look at and it's really not a big con without it, the slowdowns these cosplayers would cause while stopping to be photographed was utterly vexing by Saturday.

- Credit Card Problems: Several booths and also snack areas ran by the convention center would have segments of the day where their credit card capabilities had failed. Several booths wouldn't be able to take cards for the first couple hours of the day, which meant some customers would wait in line only to find out they couldn't pay for their merchandise.
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Lee Fisher
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fightcitymayor wrote:
stagger lee wrote:
...One guy actually told his buddy to stop so he could "get a picture of her ass."
DAMMIT PETE, DON'T YOU JUDGE ME!



catfight!
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Scott M.
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Quote:
- On a similar train, one booth made a VERY big deal about how one of their titles was a Gen Con exclusive and they would only be bringing a limited number of items. Not only did we see a copy on the shelf of a board game that we stopped at on the way to the convention, but on Sunday that booth had a large stack of the title still for sale. It's possible that they could have gotten in an early shipment and brought more and shipped to shops faster than expected, but it felt a bit like manipulation of hype to drive sales being that only 3 days prior we were being told opposite.



I want to know who this was?
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Jeremy Fridy
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As usual the Auction Hall was fantastic for me, allowing me a chance to finally snag a Copy of Wooden Ships and Iron Men for only 4 bucks. It's a trashed box, but the game is what I wanted. Also the Auction store allowed me to pick up several 2 hour wargames and some minis cheap.

The Dealer's room remains huge. The problem I have with it is that I can't always find things I saw before. I was left making notes of addresses.

The new layout seemed a plus to me, and the food options were better than ever, but still not matching the North Market across from Origins.

As for the new game selling out, it wasn't a concern to me, since paying full price is against my religion. At least they seemed to ration some of the limited supplies, offering say 50 or 100 copies a day, so you weren't out of luck if you came only for the weekend.
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Sean Ahern
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Pete, is VIG an official designation of GenCon or just a category you're using to describe an unofficial status given to members of the gaming "media"?
 
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BookandGame wrote:
Pete, is VIG an official designation of GenCon or just a category you're using to describe an unofficial status given to members of the gaming "media"?

http://www.gencon.com/2012/indy/cs/vig/default.aspx
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Sean Ahern
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Genghis wrote:
BookandGame wrote:
Pete, is VIG an official designation of GenCon or just a category you're using to describe an unofficial status given to members of the gaming "media"?

http://www.gencon.com/2012/indy/cs/vig/default.aspx


Thanks!
 
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Pete Lane
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BookandGame wrote:
Pete, is VIG an official designation of GenCon or just a category you're using to describe an unofficial status given to members of the gaming "media"?


EDIT - Link above!

Totally a great idea, but it's also quite spendy. If you're willing to spend that money, you obviously appreciate the perks. However I think either companies need to stop bringing in limited copies of games, or bring them in specifically for VIGs so people who aren't "off the street" don't get their hopes up. I was looking forward to Seasons for a while, and I would have been perfectly happy just to demo... but I had my heart set on getting a copy because I thought I'd be able to based on the fact it WAS for sale. Just the VIGs beat me to it. I would hope anyone who wanted one would have at least been able to get one even during the first half day of the convention.
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This my first GenCon, and so I don't have any previous years to compare it to. It was an absolute blast, but I was overwhelmed by the ambient awesomeness within a few hours -- with so many loud and colorful things vying for my attention, I eventually had to start tuning out or go insane. zombie

I wish that the aisles in the exhibitors' hall had been a bit wider. Anyone stopping to look at the stuff on display caused a traffic jam within seconds. It was almost impossible to maneuver out of the flow of traffic in many places. There were just too many bodies pressed into too little space to really give people the opportunity to shop and learn comfortably. Cosplayers, as Bryan pointed out, did not help in this regard, though they were fun to watch.

My only other major disappointment was that my one planned purchase, City of Horror, was not available for me to buy. But hats off to Asmodee/Repos for doing the right thing and pulling it, rather than selling games they knew were substandard and making excuses later.
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KRAMPUS
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And how much does the VIG star treatment cost?
 
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atraangelis wrote:
Quote:
- On a similar train, one booth made a VERY big deal about how one of their titles was a Gen Con exclusive and they would only be bringing a limited number of items. Not only did we see a copy on the shelf of a board game that we stopped at on the way to the convention, but on Sunday that booth had a large stack of the title still for sale. It's possible that they could have gotten in an early shipment and brought more and shipped to shops faster than expected, but it felt a bit like manipulation of hype to drive sales being that only 3 days prior we were being told opposite.


I want to know who this was?


I had heard D-Day Dice was only supposed to be there in limited quantities. It was available in several different places and quantities weren't limited. Not sure if this is what the OP was referencing.
 
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Jon Schultz
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stagger lee wrote:
However I think either companies need to stop bringing in limited copies of games, or bring them in specifically for VIGs so people who aren't "off the street" don't get their hopes up. I was looking forward to Seasons for a while, and I would have been perfectly happy just to demo... but I had my heart set on getting a copy because I thought I'd be able to based on the fact it WAS for sale. Just the VIGs beat me to it. I would hope anyone who wanted one would have at least been able to get one even during the first half day of the convention.


The VIGs may have gobbled up much of their stock, but I wasn't a VIG and I got a copy of Seasons. Full disclosure, we were near the front of the line going into the hall when it opened, made a beeline for Asmodee, and grabbed a copy out of the stack before doing anything else. There WAS stock available when the hall opened to the public at 10 am on Thursday.
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BookandGame wrote:
Pete, is VIG an official designation of GenCon or just a category you're using to describe an unofficial status given to members of the gaming "media"?

Before I checked the GenCon Web site, I had assumed that VIG = Very Important Guest (meaning exhibitors, game designers, some press, and high-ranking GenCon staff, among others). No thanks - IMHO, it's certainly not worth an extra $500 (actually, $470 plus 6% county admissions tax = $498.20) for those perks (although they are nice ones).

No, I wasn't at GenCon (and haven't been since 1990). I'll add one CON to the list though: The convention does not accept checks or money orders. That would be fine if they would accept PayPal as a method of payment. Unfortunately, according to the Web Site, they don't. That makes it difficult for the gamer without a credit card to pay in advance (they'd have to get a pre-paid card with its hefty surcharges).
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Brandon Kempf
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fightcitymayor wrote:
stagger lee wrote:
...One guy actually told his buddy to stop so he could "get a picture of her ass."
DAMMIT PETE, DON'T YOU JUDGE ME!



lol, I'm going to assume that was the Poison Ivy that was walking around with her uncomfortable looking boyfriend who was getting annoyed at people asking to take pictures.
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$500 for the VIG package?!?!?!

SERIOUSLY?!?!

Are the perks (1 hr early admission to the dealers room, exclusive lounge, special swag bag, etc.) really worth $500?

Did anyone here get a VIG package? I'd really like to hear from someone who got the VIG package if they thought it was worth it. Did it make the Gen Con experience significantly better for them?

Not being critical of anyone who ponied up half a grand for VIG status. If you got that kind of spare scratch, more power to you. I'm just curious if you feel you got your monies worth.
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VAXT wrote:
$500 for the VIG package?!?!?!

SERIOUSLY?!?!

Are the perks (1 hr early admission to the dealers room, exclusive lounge, special swag bag, etc.) really worth $500?

Did anyone here get a VIG package? I'd really like to hear from someone who got the VIG package if they thought it was worth it. Did it make the Gen Con experience significantly better for them?

Not being critical of anyone who ponied up half a grand for VIG status. If you got that kind of spare scratch, more power to you. I'm just curious if you feel you got your monies worth.


That's what I said about the price of going to GenCon itself.
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bootylactin wrote:
stagger lee wrote:
However I think either companies need to stop bringing in limited copies of games, or bring them in specifically for VIGs so people who aren't "off the street" don't get their hopes up. I was looking forward to Seasons for a while, and I would have been perfectly happy just to demo... but I had my heart set on getting a copy because I thought I'd be able to based on the fact it WAS for sale. Just the VIGs beat me to it. I would hope anyone who wanted one would have at least been able to get one even during the first half day of the convention.


The VIGs may have gobbled up much of their stock, but I wasn't a VIG and I got a copy of Seasons. Full disclosure, we were near the front of the line going into the hall when it opened, made a beeline for Asmodee, and grabbed a copy out of the stack before doing anything else. There WAS stock available when the hall opened to the public at 10 am on Thursday.


Well Eric from Asmodee himself said they brought 60 copies and that the bulk was gobbled up by VIG's. I was able to get quickly to the booth from where I was standing and was first in line to demo. I do remember seeing a person with one in hand while I approached the booth, but wanted to get into a demo before I bought in case I didn't like it. I had been under the assumption that they'd have more than 60 copies, but had I known I would have likely bought first and sold it off later here if I didn't enjoy it. But having worked in booths myself plenty of times, I certainly hadn't seen that sort of thing happen before. Even the hottest titles took a couple hours to sell out. I was hoping even if this game was going to be hot, it would still be sitting there for the whole 15 mins I took to learn the game. I do feel better knowing it'll be in shops soon. Some of these titles though won't. Smash Up hits stores in Oct, and I bought that with plenty in the stack left.

As for the game that was going to be "50 copies only" that they seemed to have tons of, it was Village. I certainly don't want to accuse anyone of anything shady, but we were a bit confused because of all the "OMG LIMITED COPIES" the week before con, and here there were stacks of it left on Sunday.
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He's looking real sharp in his 1940's fedora. He's got nerves of steel, an iron will, and several other metal-themed attributes. His fur is water tight and he's always up for a fight.
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Maybe they meant 50 copies per gamer at the Con?

Or maybe they just didn't sell any?
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Jythier wrote:
Maybe they meant 50 copies per gamer at the Con?

Or maybe they just didn't sell any?


I would say they likely just got the shipment in they hadn't expected to see in time. It was a hyped enough release, I'd be shocked if they didn't sell.
 
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Vacabck wrote:
lol, I'm going to assume that was the Poison Ivy that was walking around with her uncomfortable looking boyfriend who was getting annoyed at people asking to take pictures.


I remember the Poison Ivy you mean... yeah.

I can't say that I feel a lot of sympathy for the young ladies involved, and I have to believe that for many of them this was (more or less) the desired effect. One girl I only saw once -- maybe they asked her to leave -- was wearing little more than thong panties and an Ace bandage. Yeah, guys shouldn't gawk, but they're not the only ones to blame under the circumstances. As Omar Little so eloquently pointed out, "Fish gotta swim."
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skipsizemore wrote:
Vacabck wrote:
lol, I'm going to assume that was the Poison Ivy that was walking around with her uncomfortable looking boyfriend who was getting annoyed at people asking to take pictures.


I remember the Poison Ivy you mean... yeah.

I can't say that I feel a lot of sympathy for the young ladies involved, and I have to believe that for many of them this was (more or less) the desired effect. One girl I only saw once -- maybe they asked her to leave -- was wearing little more than thong panties and an Ace bandage. Yeah, guys shouldn't gawk, but they're not the only ones to blame under the circumstances. As Omar Little so eloquently pointed out, "Fish gotta swim."


That's a slippery slope there... it won't take much Googling to find how much of a controversy people have been getting themselves into over this subject. I'm actually talking about girls who are dressing in items more modest than a summer bathing suit still getting looks and comments. If I go to the beach with my wife how is that different than if she wanted to look like Power Girl?

Sure, you wear pasties and a thong, you might be "asking for attention." But it's certainly no excuse for the shameless leering some of these guys are doing just because we have a attractive young lady who wanted to dress up. They wouldn't act that way any where else, why do it here?
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stagger lee wrote:
As for the game that was going to be "50 copies only" that they seemed to have tons of, it was Village. I certainly don't want to accuse anyone of anything shady, but we were a bit confused because of all the "OMG LIMITED COPIES" the week before con, and here there were stacks of it left on Sunday.


LOL! How did I miss that! Of course! Our group split up, half went to Asmodee for Seasons and Libertalia and the other half went to Game Salute for Village. There were certainly more than 50 copies sitting on their table when we got there. And it looked like there were still more than 50 copies left late Sunday afternoon when I pre-ordered VivaJava.
 
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He's looking real sharp in his 1940's fedora. He's got nerves of steel, an iron will, and several other metal-themed attributes. His fur is water tight and he's always up for a fight.
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stagger lee wrote:
skipsizemore wrote:
Vacabck wrote:
lol, I'm going to assume that was the Poison Ivy that was walking around with her uncomfortable looking boyfriend who was getting annoyed at people asking to take pictures.


I remember the Poison Ivy you mean... yeah.

I can't say that I feel a lot of sympathy for the young ladies involved, and I have to believe that for many of them this was (more or less) the desired effect. One girl I only saw once -- maybe they asked her to leave -- was wearing little more than thong panties and an Ace bandage. Yeah, guys shouldn't gawk, but they're not the only ones to blame under the circumstances. As Omar Little so eloquently pointed out, "Fish gotta swim."


That's a slippery slope there... it won't take much Googling to find how much of a controversy people have been getting themselves into over this subject. I'm actually talking about girls who are dressing in items more modest than a summer bathing suit still getting looks and comments. If I go to the beach with my wife how is that different than if she wanted to look like Power Girl?

Sure, you wear pasties and a thong, you might be "asking for attention." But it's certainly no excuse for the shameless leering some of these guys are doing just because we have a attractive young lady who wanted to dress up. They wouldn't act that way any where else, why do it here?


How do you know they're not expert seamsmen and just peering closely to see if those stitches were machine or hand sewn?
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