The Campfire

Gen Con: The Best Four Days in Gaming

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

For those who aren’t seriously into gaming, Gen Con is a massive gaming convention held annually in Indianapolis, Indiana. You know it’s huge when it takes up 12 pages of the convention program.

By: Jonathan Goad

The convention has been going strong since 1968, with its primary focus being board games, card games, and role-playing games (RPGs), video games, VR games; among others.

It is four days of non-stop gaming fun!

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

A couple friends and I decided to check it out, but we weren’t ready for what was coming our way; overwhelmed from the get-go.

Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indiana Convention Center, and several other locations in downtown Indianapolis were utterly full of gamers taking part in this experience.

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

It’s a good thing we had scheduled events; otherwise, we might have wandered around for the entire four days aimlessly. There was so much to see and do that I know we missed out on something. Although, we still had an amazing time!

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

There were several large halls for different purposes.

The hall pictured above was explicitly for Pathfinder; an RPG similar to Dungeons & Dragons. Players create characters and go on fictional adventures to gain experience points to better their characters.

These types of games have a GM (game master) or DM (dungeon master) who narrates the story. RPGs are extremely popular, and they allow people to “live” in another universe.

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

We took part in two different RPGs while at Gen Con. The first was called “I Need a Flashlight.” The premise for our game was that we were shooting a 1950’s B-movie.

For one round it was a monster movie, and the other was a horror movie. Both were hysterical!

I’m not sure if we “won” or not, but it was entertaining nonetheless.

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

The other RPG we played was “Call of Cthulhu: 10,000 B.C.” In this game, we were part of a nomadic tribe in ancient times with the goal to stop the occultists from summoning the mythical beast.

Long story short, we were successful and had just as much fun playing this game as the other.

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

The hall pictured above was mainly for schedule game demonstrations and scheduled tournaments. This is the spot where we hailed Hydra.

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

Patrick and I also took part in a “Star Realms” tournament in this hall. Neither of us did very well in it, however.

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

The two pictures above show the hall designated for gaming companies to show off their latest products. According to Gen Con’s website, there were 500 companies in this enormous room.

I would bet that’s on the low side. This was the most overwhelming part of Gen Con. We walked around this hall on three of the four days, and I would guarantee we missed several booths. This hall contained everything from game miniatures to cosplay clothing and everything in between.

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

Lucas Oil Stadium (pictured above) hosted a game library where people could check out games to play them. It also had other areas where specific games were played and even a laser tag course

I’m not sure Peyton Manning thought this would be happening in the house he built.

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

Pat, Darcy, and I also had the chance to play some new releases in the Board Game Geek Hot Game room.

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

“The Mind” and “Forbidden Sky” were two of our favorites.

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

We met a man who paints game pieces for a living (pictured above). And he was sure talented. He taught a few classes during Gen Con, but unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to catch any.

Right inside the doors of the convention center, people had built card houses.

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

These weren’t limited to houses though. As you can see in the pictures above and below, castles and towers and anything else these architects could dream up were constructed.

My inner-dark side was hoping for a gust of wind, but in the end, I’m pleased that the wind inside never picked up.

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

After an overwhelming, but exciting four days exhaustion set in and the convention was over. Indianapolis is a beautiful city and a great host for this event.

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

 

One final shout-out is due to the gateway game that got me hooked on board games. While we didn’t have the opportunity to play it at Gen Con, the “Settlers of Catan” will always hold a special place in my heart.

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I even got to play it in virtual reality which was pretty neat, but there’s something about having the board and all the pieces out on the table that makes the gaming experience.

Gen Con

Photo Credit: BanterCamp

The countdown to next year has already begun.

Stay tuned for my follow up article which will include some of the best cosplay from Gen Con 2018.

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