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GenCon 2006 Report August 16, 2006

Posted by webofwebhead in Conventions.

I’ve been going to comic and gaming cons for a long time, probably the past 18 years or so off and on.  Origins has traditionally been my “home” gaming con (it’s in-state for me after all), but this year I was able to hit the grand-daddy of them all, GenCon Indy.  Though I spent the weekend in Indy…I hit the con proper Saturday only…following is the whirlwind account of a big day in the gaming “biz”…

My wife and I headed out Friday night after work…the little one safely on her way to grandma and grandpa’s for the weekend.  It’s about 200 miles to Indy…by the time we finished packing, ate Taco Bell on the way, checked in, got in the room, it was close to 11.

Our room was very nice (thought not cheap), at the University Place…about a mile from the con.  You take what you can get when you make your reservations 2 weeks before the event.

The vendor area opens at 10 on Saturday, so I get up early, take the shuttle over, and get to the con about 9.  Amazingly, there is no line for the Will Call (or anywhere else as far as I can tell), so I breeze through and start checking out the open areas of the con.

Keep in mind…GenCon takes up EVERY room in the convention center, and also some of the meeting rooms in adjoining hotels.  There is stuff going on everywhere, even before the main floor opens.  Most impressive are the three main gaming areas…RPG, CCG, and Minis.  Each is a huge, massive room, already buzzing with gamers.  The RPG area is adorned with a lot of D&D banners and looks very cool.  The highlight of the CCG room is the UDE area for VS., a life size (which is to say, huge) Thing statue sits on the floor in the clobberin’ time pose.  Above a danger room-esque central stage, Wolverine and Sabertooth leap at each other high above the players heads.  The judges stand is watched ove by Doctor Doom.  Across the walls, various DC hereos make an appearance, and the Bat Symbol flashes across the room.  Very cool looking all around.  Even the vendor/display area looks like the Daily Bugle.

The minis room was geared towards Dreamblade, easily one of if not the biggest deal at the con in terms of heat.  Though no part of the minis room compares to the CCG room in terms of floor displays, it is well decorated with various banners and what not.  There are also a good number of hand made dioramas that always impress the heck out of me…mostly because I have no where near the patience to work on them.

The doors are getting ready to open, and I run into some old friends from the Decipher days, Duncan and Debbie.  They have their little boy with them, it was cool to see a whole family there enjoying themselves.  After I bump into them, I run into another friend, my buddy Sean and his family from here in town.  Sean’s a teacher that works part time at a local game store, he is also in town with his family.  We walk in together and I hang out with them for about a half hour as they track down some things, then we part way.

I make my way over to the Hasbro area…easy to spot with a Dragon D&D banner that could cover the roof of my house probably.  I made my way to the HeroScape section and meet Craig, John, and the rest of the HeroScape crew.  All very cool guys (and gal).  They are getting a ton of hits with their promo fig, and non-stop demos.  I take the time to check out the Marvel HeroScape stuff, talk shop for a bit, and then head out to see the rest of the con.

It takes a few hours, even on your own moving at a good pace, to see the whole main show area.  I’m bummed that Hidden City Games doesn’t have any of their Marvel Clout information on display, although they were doing good demo business.  Another company is putting out a new Wildstorm CCG…it will be interesting to see how they do versus VS.  (ouch)  I win a free silver Boba Fett bust-up at the Gentle Giant booth, and then buy a Chewbacca bust-up.  Lots of nice stuff there for collectors.  I step out to check up on the minis room…there is a massive Dreamblade event under way, I heard it was well over 400 folks.

By now, I’m ready for a break, I catch a cab and meet my wife back at the hotel.  She’s been studying for her boards all day and needs a break, so we head back downtown and have a great relaxing lunch at the Alcatraz Brewery.  We head back to the con, and she finds a quiet spot outside of the RPG room to get back to her studies.

I head back in, thinking I might get a chance to demo Dreamblade.  I watch several demos, but never get a chance to sit down, they were that busy.  I end up hanging with the HeroScape crew for about another hour or so, just talking games and trying to stay out of their way when they need to step in on a demo or whatever.  By now, their allotment of giveaway figs are long gone for the day.

At 5, with and hour left to go at the con proper, I caught up with Matt Forbeck at the tail end of one of his signings.  I tag along with him for the rest of the con, and he knows everybody!, so it was very cool to meet a lot of industry people.  We run into Will and his family from Mayfair games, who I had met previously at Protospiel, and we kind of closed out the con there meeting up with folks and making plans for the evening.

After making plans for dinner, I meet back up with my wife.  Apparently, she had been talking with some of the D&D players…she said they were all a little shocked when she finally stood up to move to another area…she said they were all about 5′ 7″.  (My wife is about 6′.)  Anyway, we hit a coffee shop, then she takes a cab back to the room.  I meet up with Matt and a great group of folks for dinner at an Indian restaurant.  Food is great, though they are basically sold out of most things and can only offer a buffet.  Afterwards we make our way from place to place, eventually hitting the White Wolf party for an hour or two.  By 1:30, I’ve had a full day, and I head back to the room.

Sunday morning I sleep in a bit, we get checked out, then head downtown to walk around, get coffee, then lunch, and walk the canal a bit.  Indy is a great city, and really welcomed the con with open arms.  We leave around noon…and close the door on GenCon 2006.

GenCon was very different this year…being on the other side of the fence so to speak.  Going from the gamer side to the industry side was a little weird…I didn’t actually play any games while I was there, but I met a ton of great people.  Next year I hope to be there all four days…maybe even working an Attacktix area. 😉 – B



1. Christian Johnson - August 17, 2006

Do you know the name of the company doing the Wildstorms CCG? If it is an “expansion” or new edition of the old game, I might be interested.

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