I’m sure I am just contributing to the GenCon echo chamber, but there are some observations I was wanting to share. The first thing I noticed is that since I began attending in 2003, it seems the exhibit hall has less things I’m interested in.
I didn’t take measurements or anything, but it seemed as if almost 1/4 of the exhibit hall was dedicated to video games and most of that section was empty. I like video games, but they are not the reason I attend GenCon, for that matter, the exhibit isn’t why I attend. There were also a lot more general junk vendors than I recall. I can’t say if they loss potential vendors because of GenCon LLC’s legal and financial difficulty earlier this year, or because of the “d20” bubble bursting.
There were some companies that I was impressed with, but I may be biased:
- Privateer Press – Besides having the finest miniature display (and possibly the best mini sculpts and paint), their new Kaiju influenced minis game, Monsterpocalypse, seemed to be a big hit. They had the longest line I saw at GenCon. Long live the Iron Kingdoms!
- Paizo – The big blue golem was highly successful this year. Besides having all their kick-ass Pathfinder Chronicles, they completely sold out of their softcover version of the Pathfinder RPG Beta. Yeah the BETA version that you can download for FREE! Amazing. They also kicked off the Pathfinder Society organized play. I think once the word gets out, it could be very successful.
- WizKids – I think they may have generated the largest crowd with their life-sized Hero Clicks and super-sized Star Wars pocketmodel demos. Or it may have their totally f’ing hot Ms. Marvel model.
Maybe it was my limited exposure, considering I didn’t have much time during Thursday, Friday, & Saturday, but there wasn’t as much free swag, except for looting that occurred near the end of the con. Before the exhibit hall finally closed, they began giving away the bags you can pick up with your badge (that they hole punch so you can’t get another). Even these didn’t have much cool stuff, but did come with pre-constructed Magic decks, the Crystal Caste GenCon edition d6 they have released every year since ’05 (thank you CC!), and a Q Workshop random die (which were $3.00@). It some other cards too: Maple Story and Blue Dragon.
But between my friends and I, we made off with almost $150 worth of the Q-Workshop dice, enough GenCon ’08 d6s to give to outfit the rest of our gaming crew after each keeping a set of 12 for ourselves, and more than 10 pre-constructed decks a piece. It was like looting a corpse.
The real reason I attend GenCon is for the events, and this time in particular, the kick off of Living Realms. I was going to use GenCon to review 4e and the new organized play model, a trial by fire. I ended up completing 40 hours of 4e roleplaying in three days. But more on my review of 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons and the Living Realms later (in a dedicated post).