Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gencon: Appreciating The Scale

by Sandwyrm

Having never been to Gencon before, it was a bit of a shock to see just how freakin' huge the show was compared to say, Adepticon. Let me take you on a tour of what I saw.

There were 2 main halls to the show; the Exhibition (gaming) Hall, and the Vendor Hall. Here's a shot down the length of the Miniatures Gaming Hall. The two rooms that made up the hall were L-shaped, so there's two more huge sections to the left. Wow! (and that's not even TOUCHING all the RPG and video game area. -fp)

Here's Farmpunk (left) and TheNeverThere hanging around the Able Kompanie area.

Behind them was a foam-weapon fighting area. To the right were tables where you could make your own weapons. Though of course you could also buy them in the Vendor Hall.

Here I am on the right, with Dave White. An old room-mate from college who does a lot of illustration work for Battletech and Lego these days. If you're into Mechs, you should check out his website.

Here's a shot back over our tournament tables. We had 3 rows of tables 4 deep. The tables to either side and along the far wall are for other games.

This is a shot down one of the side-spaces in our hall. This pic was taken on Friday, which wasn't even considered busy according to Gencon Vets. There were half-again more gamers in the hall on Saturday.

I know it's not, but this looked just like a giant game of Axis And Allies. :)

Privateer Press had a huge area staked out.

They had Warmachine going, of course.

But they also had plenty of space devoted to their new Level 7 game.

It did look pretty neat. Though I didn't have time to try it.

Games Workshop was nowhere to be seen. But Fantasy Flight gave Privateer a run for their money in terms of game space.

 Where of course plenty of folks were playing Dust.

Malifaux had a pretty good presence too.

Though I'm not really fond of the terrain they were using.

But of course all of the wargames were dwarfed by the Magic crowd. 

They took up fully half of one of the 2 halls. On Saturday all of these tables were full and there were folks playing on the floor.

More MTG.

If you went out into the hallway on the way to the Vendor Hall, you could play Mechwarrior 4 in a full-immersion pod.

The line for this was always ridiculous. 

There was also a band. :)

The Vendor Hall was where the real shiny was.

 That's a lot of T-shirts. It was a hollow structure with more on the inside too. :)

Anybody into CosPlay? 

Privateer Press had a very impressive booth, with painting areas, miniature showcases, Level 7 promos, and other stuff for sale.

Battlefront also had a very nice store. With new plastic tanks and infantry to show off.

There was no discount on prices for the show though. Farmpunk bought a couple of M10's, and they came with plastic parts instead of metal. Cool! But the price was the same as the old metal-part blisters. Boo!

Hey look! GW Banners! Did they show up?

Hmmnnn... All I see under the banners is the huge booth for The WarStore. Notice the Plastic Soldier Company stuff for sale. Plus of course GW stuff at the usual discount.

Oh look! HERE's GW! Behind the banners and The WarStore near the back wall. Sporting a booth full of featureless cardboard boxes. Seriously, if they hadn't been wearing GW shirts, we would have missed them.

I suppose we should be glad they came at all, but come on guys! Your competition is looking far more professional.

Dr. Who had a freakishly large presence along the far back wall.

Complete with a remote-control Dalek!

I'm pretty sure it's a prop from the actual show. They had it rigged with a microphone and speaker so that whatever you said was listened to by a hidden staffer and spit back at you in Dalek hate-speak. Awesome!

There were all sorts of things going on out in the hallways. Like this Napoleonic war game for kids. I think they might have even been using the original (H.G. Wells authored) 'Little Wars' rules. As they were shooting little balls at the troops to determine damage.

There was also a large-scale game of Robo-Rally.

Here's the coolest thing though. What do you do with thousands of useless MTG land cards? Why, you have a card building contest.

Folks would construct these card buildings for 3 days. Then on Sunday you could go and knock them down by throwing coins at them. All of the loose change collected afterward went to charity. Last year they collected something like $40,000. Which is crazy!

I'll put up pictures of all the costumes next. :)


  1. Are you thinking of Origins in Columbus Ohio? I can't find any date where the 'midwest gencon' was anywhere other than Wisconsin or Indianapolis.

    1. Maybe I've got it wrong. It was almost 20 years ago now. :)

    2. I believe it may have been in Chicago for a few years. I could be wrong though.

  2. I appended a bit for accuracy.

    I was also impressed by the Catalyst Games stuff. They had a decent presence. They were pushing Battletech, Shadowrun, and their new game: Leviathans, which I found interesting.


    SandWyrm's probably thinking of Origins.

    1. here's a better link for Leviathans:

      also, SandWyrm's pics are mostly of the Miniatures/CCG hall. There was a lot of other area for RPG's, and I saw one room dedicated to online gaming. I don't know who goes to a con to do computer aerobics games, but people were doing it, and DDR like games too. There were probably fps games going too, but I didn't look into it much.

    2. Yeah, it must have been Origins.

      I was going to put up the Leviathan pics in a separate post and let you talk about it. :)

  3. UGH!!! If I knew you were there I would have tried to hook up!!! I saw most of your pics and it looks as if I JUST missed you on a couple of them. Maybe next year.... Great pics though and awesome coverage!!

  4. I think what you are seeing RE: Games Workshop is them timidly peeking their heads out of their self-imposed shell of "awesomeness" and testing the waters of non-proprietary shows. I believe this all started with Adepticon a couple of years ago when they thrust some random boxes into the hands of Forgeworld employees and said "Go forth and sell!". After the overwhelming reception that got they came back the next year fully staffed and supported. I think someone (somehow, miraculously) over at GW tripped over the information that competitors own and excel at big shows like GenCon and they started salivating over untapped profits. Obviously, being GW, they think they have no need for advertising or visibility at the show (they didn't even bother to announce they would be attending GenCon until the White Dwarf came out, like, two whole weeks before the con, and the plain cardboard you referred to and difficulty in even finding them shows they still have cranial inversion syndrome when it comes to the real world). If they made a profit on GenCon I'm sure they'll be back, and next time they might even invest in a $30 banner! WooHoo! Idiots.


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