GenCon 2011: recap from a “casual” gamer’s perspective


I was hoping that after my 1-day whirlwind trip to GenCon in Indianapolis I would have this amazing recap article to write, but I have to say after spending an hour and forty-three minutes in the Will Call line to pick up my ticket, I was pretty miffed.  Given that my ONE-day pass set me back $50.88 (a 4-day pass costs $78.00 + fees, just FYI) standing in line for that long really soured the start of the event for me.  (The pic at right only shows a small portion of the long, LONG line.) Granted, later in the day I talked to people who were in line 3 hours and longer – so I really shouldn’t complain, but it was pretty well annoying.  There, I’ve vented…I will move on.



Some of you may wonder why I went to GenCon in the first place since I focus on mass market/mass-appeal products and steer clear of the German-style and roll-play games, which is really the GenCon target market.  It’s because I’d heard that in the past couple years the family gaming section got larger.  And it was nice.  They had a whole section dedicated to the more casual gamer off to one side of the main hall, but you did have to walk through hoards of costumed men and half-naked women to get there (how I managed to capture such a preppy bunch of people above is beyond me).  But once I made it over to that section, I got to visit with the lovely folks at Winning Moves, Out of the Box, Buffalo Games, Spin Master, Telestrations and a handful of others.  Just like at ChiTag you can play games at every booth and buy your favorites to take home.  A special added bonus for me – they were showing my NEW game High-Low RACK-O at the Winning Moves booth and the people playing looked like they were really enjoying it so that was nice. (they’re playing it in the pic below at right)

Overall I’d have to say that it was nice but not worth the money unless you’re into RPG and German-style games.  GenCon has pages and pages of events listed in their program and for the ticket price to be worth it, you really need to take advantage of those, which often come at an additional cost.  (and trust me – it looks like a TON of people do!)  For the casual gamer, I think that ChiTag has more booths, more events centered around mass-appeal games, the show sales are just as good and the tickets are WAY cheaper (like a quarter the price!)  Still, if you live near Indy it might be worth it to go on Sunday and get a “Family Fun” badge which will get 4 family members in for $28 or you can splurge and get the “Family Fun Pass” for $40 that also gets you 8 “generic event” tickets.  To find out more about the Sunday Family Fun events you can click HERE.  GenCon runs through Sunday, August 7.


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