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A Weekend at GenCon 50

Wow, wow, wow!!!  Today marks our return from our very first GenCon and it was so fantastic that I simply had to share it.  For those who aren’t aware, Gencon is a board gaming convention held in Indianapolis, Indiana every year.  It’s a great place to try and buy the newest board games and also meet the designers as well as fellow gamers!  Our friends Jeff and Phebe, who got us into this crazy hobby, invited us to go and after missing last year, we jumped at the oppurtunity.  What followed was the best convention experience that Carl and I have ever had.  Let’s take a look at the weekend and some of the highlights!

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Waiting for our plane to Gen Con

Wednesday – Old Friends and New

While we were very excited about all the new games releasing at the con, we were most excited to see a handful of old friends from New York for the weekend.  We disembarked out plane in Indianapolis and headed to the convention center to pick up tickets and meet up with the crew.  The convention center is huge.  I mean enormous.  As attendees of NYCC, we were used to big cons, but nothing like this.  The Center is actually connected to the Football Stadium by tunnel and the convention streched from the Center all the way into the field itself.  We quickly realized we were going to have a lot to fit into only a small number of days.

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It wasn’t long after meeting up with everyone that we grabbed our first game.  While the convention was not open, a friend of our managed to snag us a copy of Flick ’em Up: Dead of Winter, a fun mashup of two games we love.  This would be the first of many as we embarked on our weekend of fun.  We also made sure to walk the convention center and get a lay of the land.

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We headed to dinner where we caught up with old friends and made some new ones.  By the time the night was over, we headed back to the family home where we’d be staying and passed out pretty much instantly.  This was good since we would get very little sleep in the days that followed.

Thursday – The Adventure Begins

Thursday was a bit stressful from the start.  Carl had created a huge list of games he wanted to look at and many we wanted to buy and the knowledge that people would be lining up for only small handfulls of copies in some cases was a scary, especially considering the games we were very excited for.  We headed out early, landing at the Con in time to jump into a horde of people and await the doors opening.  Every day the staff comes out to re-tell the crowd that running is NOT an option.  If you run, badges are taken away and you get to participate in Gen CAN’T.

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Within minutes, I was standing in line at Pandasaurus, excited to purchase Wasteland Express Delivery Service and Red Scare.  Carl had made his way to a booth in hopes of winning a free copy of Century: Golem Edition. And while he didn’t get the game, he still picked up a copy and got it signed by the creator.  Meanwhile, I had moved over to purchase a copy of Too Many Bones, a game which I knew nothing about except for the fact that Carl wanted it.  It was a huge box, and fairly pricey but the folks in line convinced me that it would be worth it.  One of the guys in front of me actaully pointed out the designer of the game, who was happily packing bags.  I made sure to get my copy signed.

On and on we went, grabbing games here and there, and before long we were overstuffed with bags and Carl and I both looked like pack animals.

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Before long, we had loaded up on games like Viral, Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Card Game and Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time.  We gave Dragoborne a try, a new Trading Card Game, but ultimately skipped it.  We also tried out Crystal Clans, an upcoming game from Plaid Hat Games that involves magical card dueling. I really liked it!

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We also stopped by Red Raven Games, where I met Ryan Laukert and got my game signed while telling him how much I adore his work.  We then got to know the team behind Storm Hollow, a new story telling game with a massive amount of stuff in the box and content to play with.  We also stopped by Upper Deck and checked out the new Legendary: DXP, which is actually a new mobile game on Ipad.  We told the designer how much we love Legendary as a series and got invited to an exclusive party for the game, which would be on Saturday!  We were pretty jazzed.

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The end of the day finally came so we through our bags in the car and headed to a concert for They Might Be Giants.  I didn’t know much about this band, but they put on a great show and we had a blast!

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We ended the night with drinks at a local hotel and headed home.  Before bed, we made sure to unload our bags and take stock of the games we’d aquired.

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Friday – RPG’s Galore!

We showed up early again on Friday, dragging our feet after the previous night.  We went straight for Cryptozoic where Carl grabbed the last copy of DC Deckbuilding Game: Confrontations.  I’m not a huge fan of the series, but he loves it so I was happy to see him get one.  I spent a lot of the day on Friday, walking around a talking to different creators of RPG’s.  I am so fascinated by the world building in these books and ended up picking up several including Pugmire, Burning Wheel and Dungeon World.   We also made sure to go up and down every aisle to check out everything our eyes could take in, including giant versions of games like Santorini.

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We didn’t get to demo too many games, but we did try out Secrets, a new hidden identity game, as well as Dragon Fire, a new Deck Building game in the Dungeons and Dragons world.  We ended up really loving that one and bought it!

Towards the end of the night, we met up with some new friends and headedd out for dinner and a game of Bemused, a hidden identity that resulted in a ton of good laughs.

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We headed home, super tired, but not before playing a round of a new game that our hosts had purchased called Custom Heroes.  In this game, you play an round of Uno-like card game, but are able to add clear plastic cards into sleeves to modify cards you already have.  Perhaps you need to play a card higher than an 8 but only have a 6.  No problem, add a modifier and that 8 can be come a 12.  It’s a really neat game and we ended up buying it the next day.  Exhausted, we took a photo of the day’s loot and then headed to bed. Saturday was going to be our biggest day yet.

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Saturday – Party Time!

We weren’t in a huge rush to get anything on Saturday morning, so we wondered the  Event Hall and checked out what games everyone was playing.  In particular, I love looking at the miniature gamers.  While it isn’t a facet of gaming I have any desire to get into, I love the detail work and intricacy of the minis and all the hard work that these players put into the game.  For me, it feels like perusing a museum and admiring the artwork.

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We also checked out several displays for games and took note of old games we loved as well as new games coming soon.  Carl also got to be a monster.

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We headed into the event halland tried out the new hidden identity game, Crossfire, which was short but fun, then proceeded to purchase a game we’d heard a lot of good things about called Gateway Uprising, a new Deck-Builder full of monster fighting and player dueling.  I was also able to nab the new award winning RPG book, Tales From the Loop, which is basically tabletop Stranger Things.  We headed over to the main entry way where card towers were being built.  These would eventually be knocked down by attendees throwing money at them.  The money was then donated to Charity.  What a great cause!

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We made our way through the tunnel to check out the stadium where tons of games were bing played.  There was also a small museum of Gen Con and board gaming history, involving a huge collection of old dungeons and dragons books as well as Magic cards from throughout the ages.

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Our friend Steve had a short film in the animated short film screening, so we went to check that out.  It was super cute and the animation was awesome making his easily one of the best in the collection.  We then headed to the Event Hall and tried out one of our new games.

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Before long, it was time to head to the Upper Deck party.  We headed in, grabbed some snaks and even made some new friends!  While there, the team annoucned Legendary: X-Files for release next year!  From there we headed to the dance, which was a festivity of nerdiness in all the right ways.  From Jabba the Hut to kings and queens and bunnies, this was an epic event filled with good music and lots of dancing.

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Tired and full of happiness at an awesome day, we headed home, sad to know that there was only one day left.

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Sunday – Saying Goodbye is the Hardest Part

We dove into Sunday ready to do as much as possible.  We kicked off the day with the new RPG from Paizo, Starfinder.  This was a great start to a great day as we got to play space explorers looking for lost crew.  We then headed over to demo Cat Lady, from AEG, which I insta-bought.  Next up, we ran to the event hall to try out Radiant, a new card game simulating a video game style called MOBA’s.  Despite my lack of love for dueling card games, we both really enjoyed this one.  The kickstarter goes live soon so be sure to check it out!

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We then made our way back to the Event Hall to try out Unearth and Majesty.  Both were fantastic, but Majesty took the cake for being a stellar puzzly game.  It will be out sometime within the next year and I highly recommend it.  In the meantime, Unearth is worth looking at.  Its a much better looking and playing version of Smash Up.

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We finally ended the day, sad to see Gen Con close, but full of amazing experiences.  We said our goodbyes and headed home, making note of what we had gotten for the day.

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We then went to packing our huge number of games, which involved a lot of break down and tetrising, but we manged to fit everything!

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Best Vacation EVER!

To say we enjoyed our time at Gen Con would be a huge understatement.  We played so many amazing games and made so many new friends.  I actually cried as we left because I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye to everyone.  I’ve never felt that way at the end of a Con before.  We can barely wait until next year.  Now we have a lot of games to play and I want to share them with all of you, so I am very excited to annouce the return of my N.I.Y.T. Series in which I review games and tell you why you need to play them!  This will be starting up hopefully next week.  In the meantime, let me know if you went to Gen Con and what you bought as well as any amazing things you experienced there!

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