GenCon 2011

I’m back from GenCon!  Only got to spend time there on Saturday which was not nearly enough time to check out everything that I would’ve liked.  Still, here’s a quick rundown of the highlights:

* Learned a very important lesson on the way over: Indianapolis is in Eastern time, not Central!  My friend’s phone flipped timezones on the way there, and not until then did we realize we lost an extra hour of show floor time.  Ah well.

* I haven’t been to GenCon since the last two years it was in Milwaukee.  Wow has it grown!  The amount of board games on the floor was really amazing.  One day is nowhere near enough time to both see everything and get some game demos in.  Hopefully next year I’ll be able to plan out at least two days there.

* Got to meet Stephen and Dave from The Spiel.  Saw them walking around the floor and had to say hi.  Very nice guys, was fun chatting with them for a bit.  Was also able to get a set of coveted Spiel dice!

* Fantasy Flight’s area was massive… wow!  Without a doubt the largest display there.  They had the Star Wars cooperative card game and X-Wing minis space combat playable which was impressive.  I didn’t get a chance to demo either, but did watch the X-Wing minis game being played.  It looks like a slightly more advanced version of Wings of War with a Star Wars theme.  I’m very curious about this one; it all depends how they package it.

* Speaking of Fantasy Flight, I got a demo of Elder Sign from Kevin Wilson!  That was very cool, not to mention that I will be picking up a copy of Elder Sign as soon as I can; looks like Richard Launius may have another hit on his hands.  The game was surprisingly engaging for how simple the gameplay is.  Unfortunately they sold out of their copies immediately on Thursday so I couldn’t grab one at the show.

* Wrapping up Fantasy Flight, I was able to pick up a copy of Rune Age and early impressions are very positive.  Both Rune Age and Elder Sign are Silver Line games for $35.  That’s a fantastic price point for both of these and could be a real sweet spot for Fantasy Flight down the line.  They also announced a second edition of Descent that will be available next spring.  There’s not a lot of information yet but they bit they’ve showed looks fantastic!

* There was a massive RoboRally board that had actual computer-controlled robots.  So very cool.

* Stopped by Tasty Minstrel Games to meet Michael Mindes and Seth Jaffee.  Got to talk with Seth for a bit about Eminent Domain and Kickstarter in general; he’s a great guy and his enthusiasm for what they do is pretty infectious.  Eminent Domain was playable, and while I didn’t sit down for a demo he did show me a copy of my card: Overlord Betzel’s Domain.  Looking forward to getting my Kickstarter copies!  I’ll be doing a giveaway of some sort once they finally arrive.

* Unless I missed something, the Wizards of the Coast display was extremely disappointing.  It was basically all dedicated to the new Neverwinter setting for 4th edition and some live-action style game they were running at the convention.  I really wanted to see Conquest of Nerath and The Legend of Drizzt in action but as best I could tell they were only on display in glass cases.  Maybe they were playable up in the WotC game room upstairs but we didn’t have time to wander through.

* GeekChic‘s tables are even more impressive in person than I expected.  Gorgeous.

In the end it was well worth going if only for one day.  I walked out with copies of Rune Age, Ventura, Olympos and the event deck for Railways of the World.  Elder Sign is hands-down my most anticipated game coming out of the convention, which I certainly did not expect going in.  I also didn’t think I would be all that interested in sitting down to demo things, but now I regret not having more time.  I’ll be sure to fix that up next year!