Gen Con '07

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A friend (Greg) and I attended Gen Con '07 this past weekend in Indianapolis. For those of you that have never heard of this, it is a gaming convention that started off being held at Gary Gygax's house in 1968 and eveolved into the largest event of it's type in the world. I played D & D, starrting in 6th grade, and had wanted to go this since the early 1980's. It is kind of a Mecca for Dorks. Like most conventions, there are companies promoting their goods, but the biggest component is the games. From the early morning, to late into the night, people are playing any kind of game. RPG's, boardgames, miniature games, card games, and LARP's.

If I had to guess, I'd say that at any given time during the day, there were at least 3000 to 4000 games going on. There were tournaments for cash prizes sponsored by the major companies and there were also small pick-up games. I got to try out several games I had never played. Since most are fairly expensive, it was nice to be able to play something without having to buy it first. I found myself liking some games that looked really lame and not liking games that were hugely popular. I noticed that there are dozens of rail themed games where the players develop rail lines that span every time frame and geographic location. It tried one and discovered that rail games seem as boring as I thought they would.

As many would expect, there were a large number of really odd people at this event. Most gamers tend to be male and we saw every kind of stereotypical gamer you could imagine. One thing that I hadn't expected was the stench. The people I have gamed with over the years had decent hygiene, so I didn't expect to run into so many people that had never heard of bathing or deodorant. Someone said that if you placed a $100 bill in the middle of the convention center with a bar of soap on top, it would still be there after 4 days. The male to female ratio was probably 30 or 40 to 1, with most of them being a scary looking as the males. I did find one decent looking woman, but I suspected she may have been hired by the company to sell their stuff.

The weekend wasn't a complete Dorkfest. Greg and I managed to find several brewpubs within a couple blocks of the convention center. I wish I could include a Smitty-like review, but I am afraid that I don't remember the names of the beers we tried. All-in-all, it was a good trip and I would do it again.


Smitty 1:42 PM  

Wow. A nearly-attractive chick in a chainmail bikini top. Color me turned-on.

Did the really mega dorks simply explode around her?

steves 3:10 PM  

I think they just went to the bathroom and ... relieved themselves, so to say.

Bob "Chief Beer Advocate" 9:36 PM  

Damn. You are a dork Smitty.

First a Star Trek post, and now this.

I am sorta impressed. I can now come out of the geek-dork closet.

I wasn't so much into the D&D thing, but I really enjoy sci-fi, much to my wife's disgust.

Anyone want to buy a Star Wars or Transformers collection? My Star Wars collection is too big to describe, but I am also have an original Optimus Prime in a box with all acessories.

Bob "Chief Beer Advocate" 9:47 PM  

Wait, that's a steves post, not Smitty! Even better, more dorks to go around.

How did we end up with wives?

Colin 7:28 AM  

I'm with ya Bob. Time to announce...

I've been drooling over the Gen Con announcements on the Wizards of the Coast website since it was announced, and being from a rural area I can't imagine what it would be like to have so many people gaming all at once! I have a hard enough time finding an opponent... btw, I play Magic.

And about the girls? I've seen Hooters Girls handing prizes to 13-year old gamers at local stores, to be honest I think that's in poor taste. At a convention like this, I can see it happening a bit more, but I would prefer the women be fully clothed... (now I sound conservative, man I need a Mt. Dew...)

Steves, what was the average age of the gamers at GenCon? (just a rough guess...)

steves 12:27 PM  

If I had to guess, I'd say that most of the gamers were in their 30's or 40's, but I saw plenty from all age groups. I would also have to say that the whole thing was pretty family friendly. I saw plenty of people with their kids and they had numerous kids games to buy and demo. There were a few other 'booth babes' besides the chainmail bikini chick, but they were pretty tame compared to any other convention or trade show that I have been to.

I never hid my dorkiness from my wife, so she knew what she was getting into. For the most part, my dorkiness is fairly subtle. I don't do LARP or go for the costumes.

As for having all that gamaing going on at once, it was somewhat overwhelming. Greg and I probably walked around in a daze for 3 or 4 hours (helped by beer) and were in some kind of sensory overload. We ended up playing several games just by being invited by groups that needed a few more players.

Andy 9:08 PM  

Awesome. Sounds like fun. The booth babes must have been horrified at all the dorks there. And I definitely would not have used the bathroom!

Greg 7:54 PM  

Steve, good summary. When we first arrived, we ran into two normal looking guys at a bar where we were fortifying ourselves and they told us some of the high lights to look for, and the one that sticks out is "gut length beards that haven't been cleaned in so long that they produce their own danderuff." We missed that one, but the stench we found in abundance.

The beer was good, the brewery in Steve's pict is the RAM. Privateer Press must have shelled out some cash as there were at least a dozen huge banners hanging in the bar, the coasters were Hordes coasters and the waitresses were mostly wearing Privateer PRess gear. The thing that most suprised me about this was that the game companies were reaching across hobbies...Drinking and gamin. In all honesty I thought we were some fo teh few drinkers who gamed as well.

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