Post Gen Con 2014 – 56,614 Gamers
The stats are out! There were 56,614 attendees at Gen Con 2014 with a turnstile attendance of 184,699. It was a great time and I got to see a lot of games, most of which were on my list. There were some surprises, but that’s part of the fun of Gen Con!
We arrived on Wednesday with four of us in the car. Sam and I have been to Gen Con before. Simon (behind Sam) has been to various conventions before, but not Gen Con. Anthony (behind me) has never been to a gaming convention. I’ll be doing interviews with the two new guys later on.
We arrived in Indianapolis around 6 PM and met some friends for dinner at Buca Di Beppo. Afterwards I had a meeting with Calliope Games about some announcements that they were planning. They showed me a prototype version of Tsuro that is coming to Android and iOS devices. The game played very smoothly and captured the feeling of the game perfectly. The soft music actually made the experience that much better. I can’t wait to get it on my iPad for when we’re out to dinner and waiting on food to arrive. I also got to hear about the Titan series, a set of games to be released over the next three years by well-known game designers. The list includes Rob Daviau, Michael Elliott, James Ernest, Matt Forbeck, Richard Garfield, Seth Johnson, Eric Lang, Mike Mulvihill, Paul Peterson, Mike Selinker, Jordan Weisman, and Zach Weisman. Quite a list of game developers! They also said that these games will be family friendly, just like the rest of the games that they make. I can’t wait to see what these designers come up with. Finally I got to preview the new Premium edition for Roll For It! which will be coming out in November. It includes a tin, a cloth bag, all of the cards from both regular sets of Roll For It!, but with art by Echo Chernik, one of my favorite artists. The game plays from two to eight players and is a great filler and family game.
The main point of Thursday was to see everything that needed to be seen in the dealer hall. First, though, was getting the press badge. This meant standing in line for about two hours. But hey, I got to meet other press people and hang out, so it wasn’t bad. Then I got my press badge and went to stand in line for early access along with all of the VIG’s and Trade day folks. Then I rushed inside to stand in line to get a premium set of Doomtown: Reloaded, my big must-have purchase of the convention. In short, I waited in line to wait in line to wait in line to buy a game.
But what a pretty game it is. Afterwards, I went to pick up copies of Red and Impulse, two of the other games that I wanted to ensure that I got. Once the main purchases were made, it was time to browse all 30 rows in the dealer hall and see what all was there. That night was spent attending the Star Realms tournament. I managed to lose my first round and they were doing single elimination, which was unfortunate. $6 to play a game that takes about 20 minutes just seems wrong. Still, I got some promos out of it, which is nice, but a few more rounds wouldn’t have made the event any worse.
I was signed up for the first Doomtown: Reloaded tournament. I went in with a deck that I hadn’t really tested and found out that I need to learn a bit more about the game. My three losses showed that I need to play basic decks more, but it was still fun and handled fairly well. Next was touring the dealer hall a bit more, looking for games to demo. I had a meeting set up to check out Lift Off! Get Me Off This Planet! It’s a cute game about getting your aliens off of the doomed world before the planet blows up. The game is on Kickstarter now and is doing well. I enjoyed my playthrough and see it being a good game for families to play together.
The AEG Big Game Night was Friday and it was busier than ever. I was tasked with teaching Sail to India, a game that’ll make your brain burn a little and the game lasts an hour. With it being a very small box and only $20, I think it’s a great game, but I know some people find it a little confusing or think it runs longer than it should. At the end of the night, all of the volunteers got their Big Game Night Swag Boxes, which included a copy of Doomtown: Reloaded, a new promotional Trains map, a foil version of Monster Smash (the newest Smash Up expansion), and either Valley of the Kings and Romance of the Nine Empires or Sail to India and Straw. It was a lot of games in a relatively small box.
We spent the day exploring a little more and realized that the place was busier than ever. I’ve been going to Gen Con since 2011 and this was a lot more people than I had ever seen. We did some more demos of games and met up with some friends. I got to check out Lanterns: The Harvest Festival from Foxtrot Games. This will be up on Kickstarter this fall, but I knew I had to get a prototype copy before I left Gen Con. The game is very pretty, elegant, and makes you think. Sam and I did a four player game with the designer and publisher and we both loved the game. This is one of the two best games I played at Gen Con 2014 and is definitely going to be something I’m backing once it launches.
The rest of the night was spent playing games we had brought with us. We taught our friends a variety of games, including Seventh Hero, Me Booty!, Pairs, Mai-Star, and others. Michael Coe of Gamelyn Games contacted me saying that he had spots open for checking out his next release, Tiny Epic Galaxies. I knew Michael was excited for this game, and I can certainly see why. Even without dominating the other players, the game was an absolute blast. Dice rolling civilization building games need to just be in my collection.
We were going to leave and saw some friends playing Rhino Hero, which looked silly and perfect for conventions. After one play (and losing terribly), I knew I had to pick it up the next day.
Anthony, Simon, and I were originally signed up for the Star Realms tournament, but based on how the event went before, it seemed to not make sense to pay $20 to play a game that costs $15, so we all dropped out. Instead we were at the Upper Deck booth at 10 AM to try out Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game. While I enjoyed Legendary Villains the day before, Alien was a very different game. There are no victory points and no reason to not help your fellow players, at least in the scenario we did. We were set up to play Alien: Resurrection. The game started out easy with multiple containment cells, but we were quickly overrun and all ended up dying. I have since picked the game up from my local game store and have two plays already under my belt.
We went browsing a little around the show, picked up Rhino Hero and Animal Upon Animal: Small and yet Great! from the HABA booth, and went to check out the announcement at the Calliope booth. They revealed the new edition and gave details about the Titan series and digital version of Tsuro. We said our goodbyes to friends and hit the road back to Cleveland.
It was a great show this year with more people than I’ve seen. We had a great time and can’t wait for next year!