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Gencon ’13: I Am Tired


This year was my first year attending Gencon. Last year I was there for a day, wandered around the Convention Center, realized it was way too crowded, bought a few games and then went to Todd’s place to actually enjoy myself.

The homeless guy you see in the above image is me on day four of the show. I arrived at Gencon cleanly shaven and ready to sell some games. By Sunday I was ragged, unkempt, tired and nearly voiceless. I also resorted to sitting down while I demoed games. The pic makes me look like Tyrion Lannister’s cousin, but I am in fact not three feet tall.

Tomorrow demoed extremely well at the show and had I been able to sell it to the masses rather than be available to specific Kickstarter backers, it would have sold a slew of copies. As is, we took a lot of pre-orders as the game nears its late September release date. I’m excited about its launch.

The New Science was also a hit at the show as I nearly sold out of my stock. We shared space with Academy Games and APE Games and I honestly felt like we had one of the more interesting booths at . With Academy’s lineup of 1812, 1775 and the new Freedom: The Underground Railroad, APE selling Order of the Stick merchandise like it was free (it was not) and our booth selling a game about 17th century scientists and a game about massive global depopulation — we had a lot of angles covered that other booths didn’t. So I was really happy with how it went.

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I was running the booth solo most of the time, although my buddy Dave Fitzgerald was there to help a little on a couple of days which was a huge relief. Still, running four tables at Gencon by yourself – I do not advise that.

Here are some show high and lowlights:

*Fantasy Flight Games’ Damon Stone telling me how slick Tomorrow looked when displayed and offering to trade me a copy of it for the Cthulhu card game with one of the expansions after it ships. “Done.”
*Demoing The New Science to a half naked woman in a Cleopatra costume and getting into a discussion about the life and times of Marie Curie.
*Demoing Tomorrow to a grown man in a Riddler costume (complete with question mark cane) and carrying on an adult conversation about population growth. Surreal, indeed.
*Meeting Richard Borg at a bar and telling him how much I loved the Commands & Colors: Ancients series.
*Inadvertently getting in the way of people getting their picture taken with a dude dressed up in a Jawa costume. People seemed miffed at me as I was walking to my booth. I did not care.

Overall, a good time. A busy, busy show and I played absolutely zero games in my four days.

Oh, and I had sushi with Todd and his fiancé. That was ok, too.

Bill Abner

Bill has been writing about games for the past 16 years for such outlets as Computer Games Magazine, GameSpy, The Escapist, GameShark, and Crispy Gamer. He will continue to do so until his wife tells him to get a real job.

6 thoughts to “Gencon ’13: I Am Tired”

  1. Huh, I was wondering if CQ had resorted to hiring random hobos to demo games…

    Freedom looks really cool, what a great theme. I guess that offset the anti-human, Hitlerian concept of Tomorrow nicely at the booth.

    I keep hearing that Cards Against Humanity was the most widely played game at the show, what sad times we live in.

    1. The hot tickets were the Firefly game from the guys that made Spartacus, Crusoe, which I finally bought, Pathfinder, which I know nothing about, and Netrunner.

      From what I saw, anyway.

      1. I’ve got Firefly coming (even though I don’t like the show at all)…that it did well is no surprise, conventions are hotbeds for Firefly fans who will buy anything to do with that pitiful show.

        Crusoe is a masterpiece.

        Pathfinder is awesome, review thursday.

        Netrunner has really blown up…just think WotC…all those years of just sitting on the license…

    2. I will fully admit that Cards Against Humanity is a horribly designed game (its so obviously an Apples-to-Apples clone, it hardly needs mentioning), but dammit if it doesn’t end being a hit everytime I play it with my friends.

      1. Yep. That’s the thing with Cards. It *is* fun with the right audience. I would never suggest it with my normal gaming group in place of a Spartacus or Railways, but as a game for, say, three couples to get together and play after dinner (when you know those other games aren’t going to see the light of day) with a lot of wine, it’s as good a way as any to pass some time.

  2. Happy I could help. Couldn’t believe it when you said you were running solo for four tables and four days! Thank you also for the coins that will get use for my fresh new copy of Spartacus. Can’t wait to bust that out as well as my other summer purchases (Kill the overlord, small world, tomorrow later in September, and Railways of North America).

    Next year make sure Dirk hires some more help. You guys can support 2 if you keep bringing out hot titles like Tomorrow.

    Brakke, sorry I missed you and sushi. Maybe next year!

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