Some of you might know that I (Jeremiah) went to GenCon last weekend in Indianapolis. Now, before we go any further, let me say this: I've been to Origins every year since 2009. Big. Deal. The last two years at Origins, I've brought along some help in covering the convention, and was able to shoot some video interviews for our YouTube channel, and make some really great connections along the way. If there's one thing I've learned in those two trips to Origins, it's this: It is really hard to cover a convention in one day and truly get a handle on exactly what is going on there... So I went to GenCon by myself (no help this time) and gave myself a whopping day and a half to try and cover the largest gaming event on the continent... Here's Part One of what I came up with!
The Exhibit hall alone featured 30 aisles packed with over 370 exhibitors selling accessories, foam swords, cosplay gear, geeky furniture, bathrobes, books, artwork, and oh yeah...copious amounts of games! If you've never been to GenCon before--and I hadn't--there's really nothing to prepare you for the immensity of this convention. The game play halls were also quite impressive, featuring areas dedicated to Magic Tournaments, larger-than-life scale versions of classic games, and reserve-able tables for demoing, or casual gaming. With all of this space, and vast never-ending halls, you would think a stroll through the exhibit hall, or from one hall to another, would be a leisurely, casual walk. Think again. Many of the larger booths from the big players--Fantasy Flight, Wizkids, etc.--had constant lines that wrapped around, winded through, and doubled back, with folks clamoring to get their hands on convention exclusives, and titles that were first available at GenCon. Add that to the record-breaking attendance of 56,614 unique attendees, and pretty much anywhere at any time, you were bumping into someone, taking a turn down an aisle to avoid a traffic jam, or--like me--losing your earbuds and having no chance of spotting them amongst the sea of humanity... But I digress... What about the games?!
I did actually manage to play a few games and catch up with some folks, and I think you'll like what I have to report to you!
Tiny Epic Galaxies - I caught up with Michael Coe of Gamelyn Games--along with Kevin Kerkhof of Quiver Gaming Gear--and sat down to take a look at the newest addition of the "Tiny Epic" franchise: Tiny Epic Galaxies. Now, before you start in with the "I haven't even seen Tiny Epic Kingdoms show up yet..." line of thinking, Tiny Epic Galaxies isn't going to hit Kickstarter until January of 2015, and that is a shame because it is sooooo GOOD! (Imagine I just said that in my totally awesome Teen Girl Squad voice). Anyway. TEG has a dice-rolling mechanic, and an "ability duplicating" mechanic that creates a game with ZERO downtime for players. It's fun, engaging, and you should back it...in January.
Lanterns - We reviewed Relic Expedition a while back, which was Foxtrot Games' first offering. It's a game that was Kickstarted, did well, and delivered a beautiful finished product with awesome tiles, artwork, and an amazing set of sweet custom meeples! Lanterns is a bit of a departure from Relic Expedition in that the game is slightly less robust in the component category, but creates a quicker, double-edged tile-placement game. Each turn you'll play a tile and collect colored lanterns that you can dedicate to a celebratory display for the emperor. There are plenty of decisions and strategies to weigh as you go.
The Amberden Affair - I didn't get a chance to play this one, but we've been keeping an eye on this first effort from Two Penny Games, and the final retail versions were available at Gen Con. Mike and Kelsey were super excited to have the game there and funded. The game is a hidden-agenda game in which players are waiters at a very high-society party. They're trying to accomplish goals to earn points, but one of them is attempting to poison the guests. Figuring out who is doing that will also earn you points. I like sneaky/subterfuge-y/hidden-agenda games, and this one seems to fit the bill in a new way!
Jason Tagmire - No, that's not the name of a game, but I got a chance to catch up with Jason and see the pile of games he's working on! This guy is always designing and coming up with new surprises. Some of the titles he's working on include a series of games he's designing in collaboration with his family--a series they're calling Tag Team Games (get it?! TAG team!). It features some very cute-looking card games. As well as a prototype for a game that he was pitching to folks at the con called "60 Seconds to Save the World," a small-ish, save-the-world co-op card game in the .
I'm going to wrap up Part One here, and come back with more on the folks I met, and the games that caught my eye!
Did you go to GenCon? What were some of your highlights? Low lights? Sound off in the comments below!!!