Monday, August 19, 2013

Five Things I Learned at Gen Con 2013

Just got back from a great trip to Indianapolis for our second annual trek to Gen Con.  There was a lot to see and do, more than anyone can reasonably accomplish over a 4 day period, but along the way I learned a few things.

The Con is a Big Deal

I of course know that it's a big deal for the assorted gamers and attendees, but I didn't realize how big a deal it is for the city of Indianapolis.  Every local business got into the spirit of the weekend, with customized menus (TriForce Burger anyone?) and promotions (the Mariott gave custom dice out to the first 75 rooms to check out in the morning).  The convention was front page of a number of papers each day of the event and I've been told that it was a topic of anticipation in the city for about two weeks leading up to the event.

Service is Friendly in Indy

I noticed this last year, so this time out I was deliberately looking for it.  We received excellent service at nearly every opportunity - at the hotel, at the con and at the restaurants.  Even away from the convention centre, at the gas stations elsewhere in the state, people were friendly and nice to be around.

The food was great too!  Best of the bunch were Harry and Izzy's with their prime rib sandwich au jus and California Pizza Kitchen with their Gorgonzola Pear Pizza.

If You're Doing It Right, You Can't Tweet

We were absolutely slammed for things to do!  Between the events we had registered for, the games we demoed, the things we bought and then subsequently played, the people we met, the tournaments, seminars, food and drink we were running from the moment our eyes snapped open in the morning until they snapped shut each night.  I had set out to track my trip with photos and updates, but that fell by the wayside after Day One.

Being Canadian Sucks in the US

Specifically, for any type of internet access.  WiFi connections are notoriously poor within the hall, even at the steep price of $15USD a day.  Adding data roaming to a Canadian smartphone runs about $40 for a 48 hour period for a piddly 50 megs, so that was not a viable option.  Without the roaming plan I was going to be charged a dollar a meg and 75 cents a text.  My best bet was to leave my cell data off and simply hop from router to router, borrowing internet from generous local businesses.  Not a great way to keep up on Twitter (or update the blog).

Also, I drink my coffee with milk, something that is unheard of (and as a result unavailable) in Indiana.

Games are Fun

With very few exceptions, I liked every game I played at the convention.  That doesn't translate directly to endorsements or purchases for everything, but even for the ones I didn't love I could usually find something unique or interesting that got me thinking.  Sadly there were a few games out there with buzz that I didn't get close to (The Duke, Sentinels of the Multiverse, Kings of Artifice), but what I did see there was excellent.

I enjoyed Eldritch Horror, Warhammer Discwars, Showdown, Bushido, Titanium Wars, Pathfinder: Rise of the Runelords, The Red Dragon Inn, Smash Up: Cthulhu, Star Wars: Edge of the Empire and the MERCS dice builder game.  Biggest surprise for me was Warhammer Discwars, scheduled for release before Christmas.  It captured the flavour of a Warhammer battle in a short period of time and married a unique movement mechanic to a handy little bluff mechanic.

The most important thing from the whole trip though was of course the acquisition of my beloved second edition Malifaux rulebook.  Now that I'm comfortably back to my life I look forward to taking the time to write-up and review the finalized models within.  First up: The Ortega Family.

Thanks for reading.

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