Gen Con, as expected, was AWESOME! While I didn’t get to do evertying on my list, I did get to do a GREAT many things. And, as I hoped, I got to experience more than I had planned on.
My first day of GenCon started with an official TableTop event run by Boyan (thegamesmith)! I got to play Formula Speed (Formula D with an excellent ‘speed bus’ variant) with a fun group of people. Casualties piled up quickly, but 3 of us made it to the final round. I was poised to take the win, a couple of spots away from the finish line in 6th gear, but I rolled the absolute lowest roll I possibly could and the person behind me went further past the finish by 2 spaces more than me. *sigh* Hey, 2nd place in a great game with a great group of people is more than ok with me!
The rest of my weekend was spent demoing games, meeting people in real life that I only knew from Twitter and Kickstarter, buying WAY more than I probably should’ve, and just having an EXCELLENT time!
I had the opportunity to demo and play a LOT of excellent games. I’m sure that I’ve missed some in my list below. I REALLY wanted to take home more of them, but my funds quickly depleted and some of them just didn’t fit our family game nights. And, if you’re curious, King of Tokyo REALLY DID live up to the hype. The additions they made to it make it an absolutely better game. I can’t wait to pick it up retail!!
So, yeah.. I really did pick up a lot of games. Not everything below cost me money, though! I picked up 2 games from Kickstarter pre-orders* and I got 3 of them ABSOLUTELY free** just for asking the designers! Those, in addition to the awesome promos I picked up, made for a pretty epic haul for me. Much more extensive than last year!
Games Purchased/Picked Up:
Even better than the games, though, were some of the awesome people I got to meet. I follow a lot of board game people on Twitter, and I’ve Kickstarted a LOT of projects, so it was the perfect opportunity to meet the folks I’ve only known virtually and shake their hands. Without exception, everyone I met was gracious and open and friendly. Whether demoing games or just a handshake in passing, I felt like they truly appreciated meeting people who loved their games. Some, of course, went above and beyond (FISH SUITS AND FREE GAMES?!), but even the casual conversations about how their Gen Con experiences were were great. I didn’t get to meet everyone on my list, but again, those that did made the effort more than worthwhile.
Let me go ahead and apologize if I met you at Gen Con and you aren’t on the list. Unfortunately, sometimes the connection between the virtual and the real world didn’t happen in my head.. Not to mention my memory isn’t what it used to be…
As I stated above, the very first event I participated in at Gen Con was a huge highlight for me. And I would consider every meeting I had and game I demoed another highlight. But the events I participated in definitely had an impact on my experience.
One of my absolute favorite experiences was one that just would never have happened to me outside of this venue. I got the opportunity to sit in on a playtest where the designer was pitching their game to a publisher. While to some, this may not seem like a big deal, I was thrilled to have that opportunity. I’ve always wanted to see ‘behind the scenes’ into how some of these games were made and the process they went through to get published, so this was an EXCELLENT experience. Not only did I get to help out a great publisher (and designer in his own right), but I got a preview of a game that, after playing it, I know will get published somewhere. Plus, the designer brought out another smaller game just to provide a glimpse at what he was working on. Like I said, this is not an opportunity I’m likely to get, often, and it’s something that I’ll always remember and cherish about this Gen Con.
And, as always, it’s better to share great experiences with friends than all alone. My second (and last) day of Gen Con, I got to spend quite a bit of time walking around with friends who were attending. I can’t think of many more enjoyable things than having the chance to hang out with good friends playing new games and discussing all things game related. It was a great way to spend my last day of Gen Con, and I plan on it being part of my Gen Con experience every year.
I could probably write another 10 pages about the things I saw or felt or experienced at Gen Con, but I’m not sure anybody would read them and, for those that went, I’m sure my experiences are pretty common. It amazes me that even though Gen Con is MASSIVE in scale, the people there make it feel like you matter to them. Nobody is pushing their games. They’re just happy you want to play them. I really believe that the people and gamers in this industry are second to none when it comes to inclusiveness and acceptance. I hope that never changes.
I really can’t wait to go again next year.