• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

OK GenCOn ENWorlders, document your experiences here...


First Post
GenCon is over and your returning home. Before the memories fade share your stories, who you met, games you played, stuff you bought, etc... Include links to any pics too...

log in or register to remove this ad


This was my first GenCon, and I rocked it hard core.

I showed up with a group of buddies, and we had no idea what to do. Here's some of what I remember in no particular order:

Met a bunch of ENWorld/CM people
- Went to the Ennies
- Worked the Ennies booth

Was almost trampled in the "Running of the Bulls"-style opening of the Exhibit Room on Friday

Watched a 12-player Twilight Imperium game that 3 of my friends were in
- Saw my first game of Twilight completed in 5 hours?!?

Went to the World of Our Own signing
- Told Paul S Kemp at the Paizo booth that I didn't know who he was :(
- Told James Lowder at the Paizo booth that I did know who he was :)
- Was told Greg Stolze was not at the Paizo booth when I showed :(

Played the memorial game to Gygax
- Watched the guy Feedback run a game of this
- Pointed out Keith Baker to my friends
- Pointed out Mike Mearls to my friends, who then ran our game

Played the Dungeon Delve in WotC's place
- 'Beat' a delve "just to beat it"
- Met Dave, the best Delve DM ever
- Waited specifically to get Dave as the DM-guy
- Ended up with 61 tokens
- Doesn't play LFR, so had no use for aforementioned tokens

Enjoyed the screenings
- Second Skin!
- Randomly met the director, and their group

Got lost in GenCon
- I had no idea where anything was!

Got lost in Indianapolis
- They have White Castles everywhere!

Black Goat of the Woods - Arkham Horror Expansion
3 discs of Fat Dragon stuff
Dogs in the Vineyard (Finally!)
Shab-Al-Hiri Roach thing
Grimm, after seeing it on the Ennies thing so much
The Esoterrorists, and all things for it
Worlds of Their Own, and the other Gygax book Paizo put out
Pirates Guide to Freeport + Map (now squished!)
Red November
Tomb of Ice - Descent Expansion
Last edited:


First Post
My wife and I had a very nice con experience overall - this was the 11th one we've been to in a row, and I'd rank it highly.

- Happy, happy gamers everywhere. Most of them relatively funk-less
- Nothing revolutionary product-wise, but I love DM tools - magnetic chips, weirdo dice, minis, measuring tools etc - and found a few new (to me) ones this year
- Expeditious Retreat Press' 2nd Edition of A Magical Medieval Society in HARDCOVER. Joe, I would have paid double if I had to!
- Some gorgeous books - will have to fill in titles when my brain is awake
- Playing in the D&D Open and actually finding kind of fun and going onto the semis (I'd sworn I'd never enter again after a few less fun experiences)
- Playing D&D with my wife for the first time ever - she's patiently attended 11 GenCon's with me, finds gamers generally very nice people, but have never picked up a pair of dice before. And she enjoyed playing!
- Comfy low-80s temperatures! Being from Seattle, 90s don't do it for me

- Showing up for the D&D Open semi-final to find 3/5 of my team missing, thus ending up with an unexpected 4 hour break on our hands :)
- (Different game) Another player getting up and leaving in the middle of rather difficult fight. About 15 minutes later he returned with a giant Taco Bell bag and proceeded to devour the contents down to licking the papers. I thought he might end up licking the battlemat too as he had spilled plenty of stuff. The guy then fell asleep 3 times during the remainder of the game.
- Since no-one in our social circle are gamers it was just the two of us. Wonderful to spend time with my wife, but I think she would've liked it even more if we got to socialize a bit more

Kept seeing Scott Rouse around the Westin, and he looked more and more like he was operating on pure willpower as the days wore on. Hopefully he gets to sleep in for a few weeks!


First Post
I had a pretty good time.

Let's see, highlights included co-running two events for Filsinger Games. Running into my old gaming group and us talking about getting together again and playing which would be great. I saw a lot of good costumes this year and only a few tired old ones.;) I ran into several other people I knew and was glad to see. Oh and I also made a new friend which is always good.

Downsides were the utterly ridiculous crowding especially on Thursday and Saturday, my two favorite places to visit being on opposite sides of the room making trips between the two of them a journey, and too much good stuff with only certain amounts of spendable funds.

What I got...well not a huge amount but it was all stuff I wanted
War and XPs along with the free magnet, Robotech and Rifter #43 from Palladium Books, Red Dwarf RPG for the fun of it, Midnight Syndicate's The Dead Matter Cemetary Gates CD, a Modern GM screen and the Song of Fire and Ice test rules from Green Ronin (if only they had had the book I really wanted, but I'll just have to wait), as well as various swag including a free Blue Dragon T-Shirt and my new Poke-em Stick (the yellow sword they were giving out)


First Post
40 hrs of RPGA

Me and a couple of buddies of mine have been trying to get more RPGA in during GenCon, but we haven't had much luck with getting event tickets ahead of time. This year, though, we got all our tickets ahead of time (you can play with generals, but its hit and miss and no guarantees). We played in 9 RPGA events: ALL of the LFR events and the D&D Open. Other than that, we stayed at a house about 30 mins from the con and brought a cooler of food. Overall we were very well prepared.

So, highlights from the con:

  • 12-16 hours of 4e D&D for 3 days straight!! While a bit exhausting, it was awesome.
  • Several very good LFR mods, many excellent GMs, and a bunch of fun players to play with!
  • My gold dwarf cleric of Moradin, Glimmer Goldbeard, got laid in WATE1-1 Heirloom :p.
  • For the first time, we actually qualified for the second round of the D&D Championship (our group was called 'We Didn't Die'), though we didn't actually end up playing the 2nd round.
  • Looting the body... Apparently gencon ordered too many bags and were giving them away sunday near closing. We got about 60 bags of stuff and looted it for the good stuff: gencon d6es, random Q-Workshop dice, and several card games.
So yeah, good times, I already can't wait till next year!


First Post
This was my 14th or 15th time going (I lost count a few years ago actually)- I've been going every single year with only one exception, that being in 2006 when I had severe money troubles. It's always a highlight of my year, and I don't plan to stop going any year soon.

Wednesday night I arrived, after spending a couple of hours at Indiana Beach on the way to delay so as to arrive after my roommate had checked in, to take up residence in the Westin with my friends- one my roommate and the other two a couple who also live in the Kansas City area near him. We're all old college buddies who used to play Magic in the University of Illinois Urbana campus group. Played some games in mine & Mike's hotel room this year because we had a slightly better setup with two beds (could move the table between 'em for play space and seating). I lost Cthulhu Munchkin, but pulled out a win in a Shanghai Rummy game in the last two hands.

Thursday I managed to get up in time to go into the convention hall at the opening, and witnessed the opening ceremony and dice roll after Dave Arneson and Peter Adkinson's speeches. "Running of the Bulls" is an apt description of what happens every day of the Con, if you happen to be waiting in the crowd at the 10 AM opening of the Exhibit Hall, but I enjoy doing it at least once if I can manage to get up early enough just to feel the energy of the crowd.

Once inside the Hall, I hightailed it over to APE Games to snag my copy of War & XPs along with the free magnet, and also stopped by the Ennies booth to check out the rules for booth volunteers since I was set to do that on Friday. A little later on I demoed Monsterpocalypse, the new collectible minis game from Privateer Press, which I found quite fun and seemed to be a fairly bit hit at the Con (I saw people carrying boosters and starters all weekend- and they ran out of starters by Saturday).

Thursday was True Dungeon day for me- the one time-slot our group had managed to get a ticket for was at 2:36. We went through it and won in the end, solving the puzzle in the final room while waiting for the "Combat" team to finish their simultaneous fight. And Greyhawk was saved! Later on we did some trading, and I led my friends to the Gamingetc. booth which had True Dungeon token singles on sale as I'd noticed during my wandering earlier in the day. I managed to assemble the tokens necessary to get a Boots of Sure Footing later that night, which was great.

Thursday was also the day for me to go to the Gaymer Dinner with my roommate Mike, though sadly we couldn't stay long because the Cthulhu For President rally was taking place at the Embassy Suites about a half-hour after the dinner started. We got to touch base with some of the same people we met at last year's dinner at least, and meet some new people as well, such as nerfwright's husband who came along this year for his first Gen Con. :) Always great to see the fun spreading to more!

The rally was next, and was fun, though most onlookers agreed I got robbed in the spelling bee (I spelled "Ghast" perfectly but apparently Randy wanted "Ghasts" though that wasn't clear from the sentence!). The duct-tape-girl look-alike contest was definitely a highlight, with the phrase "and hilarity ensued" leaping inevitably to mind given all the male contestants who were involved (prizes were eventually given to the best of each gender).

That night, back in the hotel room, we played Settlers Cities & Knights with the "Oasis/Caravans" variant from the new set Mayfair had on sale this year, Traders & Barbarians. I thought it added a cool twist on the game myself, but man did it end up lengthening the game! After the other two left, Mike & I played a 2-player game of Cthulhu Munchkin incorporating the Epic rules, which we'd never played with at all before but I had a printout of just begging to be used.

Friday saw me getting up about 11, to make my shift volunteering at the ENnies booth with nerfwright, and I arrived in time to get instructions from Xath before she headed out. The shift went faster than I'd thought it would, with mine & nerfwright's conversation regularly getting interrupted by interested passers-by and others (which was not a bad thing since it gave us plenty of chances to "sell" the ceremony and kept us on our toes the whole time). After the shift, and passing on our instructions and information to C.W. Richardson who arrived to relieve us, went to eat lunch at Champp's Sports Bar in the mall with nerfwright, his husband, and (contact) and his wife. They're all good people.

After lunch headed back to the hotel to meet another couple of friends for a game of Munchkin, using the Epic rules with the original "D&D" set this time, which I ended up winning at the end. Then had a nap and after that headed downstairs for the ENnies. Unfortunately I only got to see the first half, but it was great to see Dave Arneson get his Lifetime Achievement award, and several of the other speeches were entertaining (Piratecat made quite an emcee). I was perhaps a tad underdressed, but there were plenty of others in the audience in jeans & t-shirt sort of clothes so I didn't feel hugely out of place.

Later that night, played more games with my usual gang of four up in our hotel room again, including a non-Epic game of original-set Munchkin.

Saturday was a quiet day for me, mostly spent shopping in the Exhibit Hall and wandering around it doing a really thorough once-over (which I didn't give it Thursday due to not having enough time). Picked up The Gamers: Dorkness Rising DVD at Paizo, and got a copy of Where the Deep Ones Are at the Atlas Games booth for my baby nephew- and managed to get it signed by both the author and the artist to boot!

Saturday night was Cassander's YMCA Dread game, which was my first time playing Dread. While I can't say it made me scared, I definitely felt the tension with every pull made after the first couple of hours, because the tower just kept getting more and more unstable and yet players kept managing to keep it from falling! It only fell with the very last pull of the game, when the Cowboy tried to swing out over the audience and knock Elton John off the crocodile so he'd stop upstaging us (yeah, you really had to be there I think ;) ). My big moment was in killing the GI after he transformed into a werewolf and started ripping into that same crocodile; sorry Xath, but I really did think you'd be starting on the audience after the reptile was dead...

After Dread, I went back to the hotel and was treated to watching the Catan game my friend were playing drag out for an hour as they clawed at each other for victory. After Catan we played a brief game of original Munchkin using the Epic rules, and for the first time the Demented Dungeons set (Munchkin 6, which was sold out on Sunday- glad I got my copy months ago).

Sunday was the day of leaving, always a downer after a Con full of fun, though I'm very glad I only had a three-hour drive home instead of an eleven-hour drive like my Kansas City friends!


Gencon 2008 Dealer Hall

Overall, my impression of the Dealer’s Hall for this Gencon was, frankly, not a very positive one in terms of the health of the RPG hobby. In a phrase folks – there were not many new products on sale – and not a whole lot of interesting OLD D20 products for sale either. My hoped for bounty of cheapie 3.5 WotC books at $5 a piece did not come to pass – at all. Hell, there were not even that many dealers selling old D20 3.x stock either. Very slim pickings, for the most part. The “industry”, such as it is, appears to be a very troubled one.

Picked up Dragons of Spring from the Marg Weis Productions booth for $5. I was under the impression they were not even supposed to be selling these books anymore. It was the only 3.5 D20 DL book I did not have – so it completed my collection. In contrast to previous years, M Weis’ staff did not seem that enthused about this show and it was a subdued sales pitch there. Not a happy vibe. But I’ll give em a break – because it wasn’t just them.

In fact, that was the vibe repeated time and time again at nearly every RPG sales booth in the dealer hall ( and there were less of those, too). The one exception out of this depressing 2008 dealer hall (well, depressing in terms of Core RPG sales) was Paizo. Because the story at Paizo was a very different one. And I have little doubt that experience was not lost upon others there.

Paizo, you see, had new stuff to sell. And racks of fairly new stuff too. Pathfinder this, that, and the other thing gleamed - and flew- off the shelves. Line-ups of attendees were queued to have their Dorkness Rising DVDs signed – and more than a few customers were queued up to buy Pathfinder Beta and the new Setting campaign book – together with all sorts of other odds and ends and new and older accessories. Paizo rolled the dice – and on the first round of combat at any rate - they’ve rolled a 20.

By Saturday, I watched Jason Bulhman relocate the last of the Pathfinder Beta books from one wall to the main shelf. They sold out quickly thereafter. That’s right: SOLD OUT. For the RPG sellers in the dealer hall – that was a pretty damned unique event. (The 4E Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting Book also sold out at WotC's booth).

Speaking of WotC...WotC’s booth seemed to be smaller this year and the overall impression was that they didn’t have much that was new to sell there, either. The Forgotten Realms campaign books was reportedly flying off the shelf there – but that was about it. I’m not sure if my discomfort with WotC’s booth this year was attributable to a new layout or if it was something else. The impression I got from their booth was one of their declined interest in the show. Not saying they, in fact, HAD a declined sense of interest - simply that that was the impression conveyed by their booth.

Apart from Paizo, there were some positives in the Dealer Hall though...just not in RPG land. Fantasy Flight Games was hopping and seemed to be bigger this year with tons of demos and new product fairly dripping off the shelves. Their booth was just plain mobbed and they did a brisk business throughout the entire show. Their new Battlestar Galactica boardgame was being played all over the convention hall. Their new WoW Adventure Boardgame and Red November mini boardgame was similarly getting play in the ballroom and all over hotel lobbies around the Con. FFG knows how to make money in the hobby games trade – and their Gencon 2008 booth was a clinic on just how to do it.

Days of Wonder was showing off some new expansion products for Memoir ’44 but their new similarly themed "monster game" expansion product for Battlelore was not for sale. It did not seem to trouble them much. By Sunday morning, Days of Wonder had sold out of almost all of their stock. Ticket to Ride in just about ever flavour, in every expansion – even the card game - was just plain sold out. All the new the new Memoir ’44 product was sold out -0 and almost all of the old products too. 6 expansion packs s for Battlelore remained on Sunday monring. They had sold out their booth of essentially everything they had brought to Gencon except for 4 Memoir ‘44 Duffel Bag carriers. And by the time I left the booth – they only had three of those. Making good products counts; having your booth as the first significant booth inside the east doors to the Dealer Hall probably didn’t hurt sales either.

Upper Deck was demonstrating the forthcoming WoW Collectible Miniatures Game to a lot of gamers. Interest appeared to be high and frustration that the product was not yet for sale was pretty clear. The price on the booster packs and core starter set appears to be in line with similar offerings from other companies – until you realize that there are only 4 minis in the starter and 3 in a booster. To be fair, the WoW minis are significantly larger in size than WotC’s minis line and the look great, but still – it seems a very steep price to pay for a CMG. I expect they will sell very well just the same. It’s WoW; and the WoW brand makes money – whether that’s at Blizzard, Upper Deck, or Fantasy Flight Games.

The electronic exhibits were noticeably fewer this year and space seemed available for electronic exhibitors who ultimately chose not to attend. Noticeably absent was Blizzard; no Wrath of the Lich King to try; no Starcraft II or Diablo3 trailers or demos to drool over. Nada. A big no show.

I expect that Leipzig’s big show later this week and PAX the following week forced a lot of electronic exhibitors to pick and choose. And some of them clearly chose to skip Gencon entirely.

On the plus side, Cryptic’s Champions Online was being aggressively demod with about a dozen hands-on displays that fairly hummed the whole show. TBH, I’m still a little iffy about the game; it’s no WoW Killer. But if City of Villains and City of Heroes is their target competition – they’ll do well enough.

Warhammer Online was being demoed as well and impressions were very favourable. I think this one will make some serious noise if the timing is right...except of course, with WoLK imminent and Warhammer Online delayed again, the timing ISN’T right. These guys may well have missed their chance to slay the WoW dragon. It looks like a strong game and is pitching to the WoW crowd with expanded PvP options. Art direction is about what you would expect from a Warhammer product so that will sit well with WoW players. We'll see. I still think these guys will be six months too late to market though.

Lastly, I do have to comment very positively about Dragon Age. BioWare’s booth was filled for nearly every session, with lengthy line-ups to see the closed door, rated “M” gameplay demo (/me roll eyes). Put bluntly, this is the best traditional non-mmo CRPG I have ever seen. This thing is going to sell – and sell very, very well. Keep an eye on this one.

CCG wise, it was all WoW CCG in terms of hype. Gamers of all ages and sizes appeared to be playing it and buying it too at card dealer booth. Magic:TG is still the schoolyard bully and I doubt that will ever change – but WoW CCG is, for the moment at least, stealing the spotlight in the CCG hobby.

Oh yes - Privateer Press was also humming most of the show. Their booth was large and very well attended. Given the nature of the products they sell, it was difficult to see them in use around the Con in the usual spots by the usual suspects - but that is a function of their product niche as much as anything else.

Favorite Dealer Hall Purchase: The aforementioned Memoir ’44 Duffel Bag.

Dealer Hall Steal of the Con: A carton of 96 unopened boosters of “DC Icons” for Hero Clix CMG, in the shrink. $20. My ten year old was bouncing up and down to get these when I got home this evening. The only reason he did not get more of them was a function of space in the car and my ability to cart same from the Dealer Hall to the car back at the Sheraton on Sunday afternoon.

Bone-Headed GenCon Retailer of the Year: Subway Sandwiches in the lobby of the Hyatt, who had to close at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night because they ran out of bread with which to make any sandwhiches. Not sure how much money they left on the table due to this mismanagment, but the owner of this shop needs to get his crap together. It's happened before in past years too - it's not like Gencon sneaks up on em as a surprise event.
Last edited:


Bunch of random impressions and recollections:

Managed to snag a copy of both full-color Cthulhutech books from the Catalyst booth (they limited it to 25 books of each for sale per day). And Jesus are these books amazing pieces of work. Dripping with flavor, and top notch production values. I'm a little curious as to what's up with who they're currently being released by, since I know that Mongoose was selling a black and white version of the core book, but Catalyst is branded on the color one and the new release book as well. Either way, they're 2009 Ennies material.

Bucco di Beppo is a piece of heaven on earth. Why did I not discover them till last year?

The Paizo seminars I attended were pretty damn cool. The crowd was honestly buzzed and asking questions, and the Paizo guys were a bunch of class acts. Real engaging and played the audience well. Got to sit down and chat with Wesley and James after one of them, which was really cool. The cute chick in the Desnite costume was also a secondary high point of that event.

Passable crossdressers in chainmail bikinis are not fair. Ever. Ten levels of wrong.

For the first time in my life, I had someone ask me to sign a book (the Pathfinder campaign setting). Also was the first book I've had my name in. I was grinning like a fool the rest of that afternoon. Made my day. :)

Attended Wolfgang Baur's KQ seminar, and enjoyed it. Magic 8 ball says that a subscription and some queries are very likely in the near future.

Hunter: The Vigil is awesome. And courtesy of Amazon Prime, my copy should be here to read as of this afternoon. The developer chatter about magical bees was amusing during their seminar on the line.

WotC's booth in the dealer hall was smaller this year, and it seemed like a tomb in terms of buzz, crowd, and the general sense of apathy I got from the whole thing. Looked like they reused many of the same props and setup from last year (including bangs and marks from shipping). Not sure what was going on there, but it wasn't a positive sign. No buzz to speak of regarding the DDI either. Maybe I was missing something major, but it was like they wanted to pull a jedi mind trick about that whole thing.

ENnies were classy as always, and this year the big winners (Paizo and White Wolf) were well deserving for their wins. WotC picked up some equally well won ENnies for Star Wars saga edition as well, but they get major props from me for asking the authors of Expedition to Castle Greyhawk (all now with Paizo) up on stage when it picked up an award.

Being dubbed "That Orange Bastard" by one of the artists in the Art Show for a particularly off-key commission that required the full story behind it being told. That was amusing, and hopefully his hands down fall off after drawing that much citrus fruit in the background to a character portrait.


First Post
I attended only the Saturday session this year.

The Good:
Introduced my kids to Gencon. They thoroughly enjoyed it and have already started saving their allowances for next year’s show, as they went through the money their parents gave them rather quickly. The look on their faces as they finally grasped the size of the Dealer’s Room was priceless. My son, a Star Wars fanatic, snagged pictures of himself with pretty much every even halfway decent costumed attendee sporting Star Wars paraphernalia (all of whom were very gracious).

Got to see people I liked and who I only get to see at Gencon. I actually remembered to bring the camera this year so I could get pictures of said people to throw on the computer when I returned home.

Got some desired swag, and hopefully arranged for some more writing work.

The temperature -- I actually walked the few blocks from where we parked and wasn’t drenched in sweat as I have been in previous years. It was actually a pleasant little stroll.

The Bad:
Crowds. My god was it crowded. This had to have been the most crowded I have ever seen a Gencon, and I have made it to every one this century. Sheesh. Hope people’s sales reflected it.

The Ugly:
I had the single worst customer service experience that I have ever had in all the years I’ve been attending cons. Wizards of the Coast booth. Early Saturday afternoon, about 2 PM-ish. I strolled up to the counter ->


Me: “Excuse me…”

Booth Guy: <Looks through me, doesn’t respond>

Me: “Sir?”

Booth Guy: “Sigh” (No, he literally sighed. Seriously)

Booth Guy: “Can I help you?” (spoken in a tone of voice more appropriate for saying “Bite me and die screaming, maggot fan boy.”)

Me: “Can I get a copy of the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide and the DM’s Screen, please?” (trying to stay polite but inwardly taken aback)

Booth Guy: “Read my lips – SOLD. OUT. FOR. THE. CON. Got it? Next.” (spoken in loud and clipped tones, and if anything, managing even more hostility than his prior sentence)

Me: “…” (a little stunned at the level of rudeness)

Booth Guy: (noticing I’m still there) “Was I unclear, sir?”

Me: “No. Not at all. Good day.” (cold, but still polite as I walk off)


I try to be a polite person and teach my children to be the same. I have a very low tolerance for direct and intentional rudeness (I'll tend to overlook the obviously unintentional rudeness...we're talking gamers, after all) . Maybe I’m just a little old-fashioned, but this was an astonishing display as the face of a company interacting with the public, at least in my opinion. Okay, the booth staff may have caught some grief during the Con from various rude attendees (such as all those people wearing those incredibly tacky “4th Edition Killed Gary” T-Shirts), but still, on what level was this at all professional or even excusable? If I hadn’t been so angry at the time, I would have had the presence of mind to get the name of the jackass, but sadly I didn’t. I’ll sure as hell remember his face and voice, though. I’ll continue to support my local FLGS and buy WOTC products through them, but I will NOT be giving my money directly to WOTC again. Period. Oh, I was pissed.

Regardless, the good outweighed the bad enough that the ’08 Gencon gets a thumbs upfrom me. The looks on my children’s faces as they saw the life-sized remote controlled R2-D2 moving around in the hall was enough to push Mr. “Too Damn Cool To Be Working A Booth” down the tally sheet far enough for a positive outcome. :)
Last edited:

Remove ads