Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Survived Gen Con 2013

For the first time in my life I was able to attend Gen Con in Indianapolis this past weekend and had an absolute blast.  The four day gaming mecca took over the Indianapolis Convention Center and area hotels with rooms and rooms of RPGs, tabletop gaming, mammoth games, and exclusives that had a record crowd of 49,058.  What really sold this convention to me was the fact that I spent 3 days playing board games and having an absolute blast.  Gen Con caters to gamers of all types from video gamers, role players, board gamers, and more.  Due to the fact that it had me playing board games for three straight days it may be my favorite convention.

I won my very own Space Penguin!
Winner of Gen Con:
King of Tokyo - From my perspective, which is limited to board games, King of Tokyo generated tons of positive buzz through the convention.  Iello Games was giving out King of Tokyo promotional cards at its booth which fans lined up for before the doors opened and hourly tournaments in the gaming hall for a chance to win the new character Space Penguin.  The lines for a chance to win a Space Penguin were consistent throughout the convention and when I was successful in winning mine some of my fellow competitors had been trying for days to get their hands on this exclusive.  By Saturday Iello Games had sold out of both King of Tokyo and its expansion.  Iello Games also debuted two games that caught my eye in Three Little Pigs and Zombie '15.

Best Game I Played:
Dead Panic - Fireside Games debuted Dead Panic, a follow-up to the great co-op game Castle Panic.  At first glance it looked like a rehash of a great game with a different theme.  On closer inspection, and with the help of a booth staffer, I learned that Dead Panic was drastically different than Castle Panic.  While zombies spawned in a similar fashion to the baddies in Castle Panic, the rest of the game mechanics were new and offered real depth.  Each player takes the role of survivor chased into a cabin.  Searching in the cabin gains you tools you will need to survive until you can find three radio parts, assemble them, and call for a rescue van.  The action was intense, the game was well balanced, and my only regret is they sold out of the few copies on hand quick.  I cannot wait to play this game again and it has been haunting me since I played it.

Other Good Games:
Walk the Plank was great family fun
Walk the Plank -  This family based game from Mayday Games is a hoot.  Players are in control of three pirates and are attempting to push, pull and charge other pirates off the plank to their doom.  You lay down your three action cards and resolve them one at a time.  Sometimes you actions pan out as you plan, but other times you are the cause of your own demise.  Fast, simple, and fun.

Dungeon Roll - I mentioned this in my preview and was quite impressed with its Gen Con showing.  Dungeon Roll's booth featured about 10 demos that seemed to be in constant motion.  I enjoyed a demo and enjoyed the press your luck dungeon crawl.  The greater risk, the greater the reward.

Square Shooters - Chimera Hobby Shop did its research and patented a layout that allows you to roll hands for rummy, poker blackjack and more.  The 54 sides of dice include 2 jokers and a full set of cards.  The initial set comes with a variety of games, poker chips and is quite fun.  The possibility of games you can play with a deck of cards on dice is endless.  To top things off Chimera Hobby Shop is holding a contest with a $2,000 purse and publication for a fan that can come up with a game related to the dice.  For more information check out  I played a couple of quick games with my son and they were an instant success.

Munchkin Pathfinder -  I had the pleasure of playing Munckin Pathfinder at the Steve Jackson Games booth and it was an absolute blast.  In addition to a class, player have a faction card that give them additional powers and levels up.  Munchkin Pathfinder includes a board to keep track of player leveling and is similar to other Munchkin titles.

Bears - A fast paced dice game from Fireside Games, Bears puts you at a campground in the woods that finds itself under attack from bears.  A very Stephen Colbert game.  Your actions, depending on your roll, are run away, sleep through the attack, or shoot the bears.  The action doesn't slow down and your decisions hinge on whether the camp survives the attack or is mauled by bears.  A fun family game that is quick, fun, and strategic.

Chupacabra Dice - This game coming out soon from Steve Jackson, pits your chupacabra against your opponents chickens, goats, and bulls.  Another light hearted game in which you steal your opponents dice.  The chupacabra may be fierce, but the farm animals have strength in numbers.  This game is sure to be a hit like its brethren Zombie Dice and Cthulhu Dice.

The Big Game:
I was part of a World Record!
Gen Con wouldn't be complete without big events and I was fortunate to partake in the biggest event of the convention.  Mayfair Games was successful in its attempt to set a world record for the most number of people playing a game of Settlers of Catan at the same time.  922 people huddled into a room in the JW Marriott Hotel and played a single game of Catan with a single victor.  While it may have taken longer than expected to get started on the attempt, it was quite enjoyable and I finished with a top 15 out of 922 in longest road.  The good people at Guinness were on hand and the record was confirmed.

Final Turn:
I sure hope my first year at Gen Con is not my last.  I found the experience of playing game for four days to be extremely enjoyable.  What I appreciated with Gen Con is how hands on it is.  You are experiencing the convention, not merely attending it.  Plus, whether you are an RPG player, a tabletop gamer, a casual gamer, or just a curious individual, there will be something that will cater to your needs.  While I thoroughly enjoy the other conventions I attend each year, there is something unique to the level of interactivity and community that will bring me back to Gen Con in 2014 and hopefully beyond.