We’ve been a little quiet here at 6 Squared Studios over the past month. Summer is a busy time of year and there are many activities to distract us from our work. For us at 6SS, it is also the time to prep for our biggest convention of the year, GenCon.
GenCon is a 4 day convention held in Indianapolis, Indiana. I first went 5 years ago on an impulse when I joined a forum and they were talking about all the games that debut at the show. I joined their forum and met some people from Winnipeg who I ended up sharing a downtown room with.
It was amazing.
I’ve been to local conventions before but I have never experienced anything like GenCon. To call it a gaming convention would be an injustice. Besides the ability to literally game 24/7, there were also seminars on writing, a film festival, anime and dozens of social events revolving around nerd/geek culture. The dealer hall was huge and I spent hours wandering the isles discovering new games that I didn’t know existed. It is because of GenCon that my gaming group plays Malifaux, Dark Age and now goes to ReaperCon.
After reporting back to my gaming group, most of my friends have started going to GenCon as well. This year we had 5 people and had a fantastic time.
The highlight to this trip is working our way through the dealer hall. It covers a space equivalent to over 3 football fields that is filled with all things gaming and geeky. Many companies use GenCon to launch their products with many of them offering either advanced copies or limited edition merchandise. With over 61,000 people attending, this can result in a stampede when they open the doors. Lucky for my friends and me that we belong to the VIG program.
The VIG program is something we pay extra for in order to get certain benefits. We get a swag bag with lots of games and merchandise, a lounge with free wifi and beverages, access to downtown hotels and, most of all, early access to the dealer hall on opening day.
Needless to say, we make that hour count. We print out a map and draw a “plan of attack” which ultimately looks like a Family Circus comic strip by the time we are done.
Instead of boring you with a play by play of our shopping trip, I will just give you the highlights.
Our first booth in the dealer hall is always Wyrd Miniatures for the latest Malifaux releases. For the past few years, GenCon has been the release venue for their new books. They also create a special “Nightmare Edition” of one of their miniatures or crews. This year I got the following:
The new book, Shifting Loyalties expands the game to include campaign rules along with a bunch of new characters. Crossroads 7 is a box set of miniatures themed around a traveling band of musicians. Each character is from a different faction but can be used together to create a 50 point crew. Finally, I got the Dark Carnival set. This set is the nightmare edition of the Collette Crew that is themed around circus performers. All I can say is that they had me at flying monkeys.
The breakout game for my group this year was SuperStar Showdown by Gale Force 9. It is a board game that uses miniatures and specialized card decks to recreate the action of professional wrestling on your gaming table. I haven’t watched wrestling in years but was a huge fan when I was a kid. Playing this game made me feel that I was back in my parent’s living room with my brother arguing who was the best wrestler of all time. It was fast, fun and captured the craziness of wresting. I was told that there will be a legends of wrestling coming out soon and can’t wait to add them to my collection. My friends and I are already figuring out how we can do a league.
Demonworld is a 15mm miniatures game produced by FASA. We played a demo and loved the look of the miniatures. After exploring the rules, we also found that they were pretty solid and gave us an alternative fantasy battle game that uses formations. Besides, since we are expanding our terrain line into 15mm, we need some figures to show off our product.
I bought a lot more than these highlighted items but I think that it gives you an idea of why I love shopping at GenCon.
Not only is GenCon a great time, it also serves as a battery charger for me and gaming. I come home excited to play games with my friends and to create things to make my games even better. I hope that I can take this GenCon experience and really invigorate what we present this fall at our local conventions.
I hope that this post inspires you to explore new games or visit a GenCon (or any convention). It is amazing what this hobby holds for us if we are willing to make new friends and try other games.
You never know what might be your next favorite game.
Peace out, eh?