GenCon 2018 Recap

Gamers waiting for the doors to Exhibit Hall H to open at GenCon 2018.

Hello, everyone! I’m back from GenCon 2018 and I’m back to updating this blog! I had a fantastic four days of gaming in Indianapolis this year and wanted to share some of my experiences with you. My group did things a little bit different than last year, which made the logistics a lot easier this year. The first thing that was different, and the most important, was managing to get a hotel room downtown. Wow, what a difference this made. We didn’t have to coordinate cars, and we could drop stuff off at the room when we got tired of carrying it. The other thing we did different was arriving in Indianapolis on Wednesday instead of Thursday. This meant we were able to pick up badges and tickets on Wednesday which ultimately made things go smoother on Thursday.

What Games Did You Play at the Con?

The most important part of GenCon for me is the games I participate in. After all, it is the best four days in gaming. I originally signed up to play three games at GenCon this year along with running two games of Midgard 5e Dungeons and Dragons for Kobold Press. However, I only ended up playing in one game which was a Numenera 2: Discovery and Destiny game. This game was really fun and the new rules really added a lot to Numenera. I didn’t participate in the other two games I signed up for for different reasons; for the first game I was the only player that showed up, and for the second game I opted to step in as DM for another Midgard game.

Ultimately, I’m glad that I made that choice. I ended up running three Midgard games this year, and I had an absolute blast running all three. I went into the experience with a lot of nervousness and anxiety, especially since I got the materials for the third game on the Tuesday before GenCon. But, it turns out I had nothing to worry about. Everyone left with big smiles on their faces, so they had fun or were at least polite enough to pretend. I also had the opportunity to talk to a bunch of the other DMs and the players about games before and after the sessions which I never get to do in real life.

What Games Did You Play With Your Group?

Our group is currently playing Curse of Strahd every Friday night so we took advantage of being at GenCon to play two sessions in person. We also played Degenesis, the Primal Punk RPG from SIXMOREVODKA and the new version of Paranoia from Mongoose Publishing. We all really enjoyed Degenesis which is a very interesting game with a rich setting, and interesting mechanics. Unfortunately, Paranoia was not as great. I don’t know if it was the way I ran the mission or how small our group was, but no one really got into the game very much. It’s a shame, because I was looking forward to running it.

What Were the Big Stories?

There were a few big game releases at GenCon this year, but nothing seemed to match the hype last year for the release of Starfinder. Paizo did manage to take a lot of the spotlight with the release of the playtest beta rules for Pathfinder 2. Another game release a lot of people were talking about was Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition from White Wolf Entertainment and Modiphius Entertainment. However, the surprise winner of “Most Sought After Game At GenCon” this year was probably The Witcher RPG from R. Talsorian Games. Who would have thought that an incredibly popular multimedia property like The Witcher would be exciting as a tabletop RPG?

But, even Geralt couldn’t ignore the biggest story of this GenCon. Everyone that I talked to eventually steered the conversation on to this topic. I’m speaking, of course, about the Will Call line! From noon on Wednesday until well into Sunday, the Will Call line meandered its way through the Indiana Convention Center. I heard stories from folks who witnessed tireless gamers standing in line to pick up their tickets well into the night. To be fair, the GenCon staff were doing an excellent job of managing the line, and it moved along at a good clip. But, it was always there leading a seemingly inexhaustible supply of nerds to their event tickets.

Did You Meet Any Cool People?

Yes, it’s always nice to run into people that I know at GenCon. I put on my least awkward facade and interact with real human beings. This year I was fortunate to meet up with Alan Bahr, and finally met his wife Erin. I can now confirm that she is the brains behind that operation.

I also had lunch with Sean, who plays Maro, the Tiefling Paladin in our Sunday Tales from the Yawning Portal game on Roll20, and some of his friends. There was beer and an excellent conversation about The Cones of Dunshire. Sean also jumped in on the D&D game I ran on Saturday, making him the first person that I have DM’ed for online and in real life. Congratulations, Sean. Please accept your No-Prize.

What About You?

Did you attend GenCon this year? What was your favorite part? How many tonnes of dice did you buy? How about that Will Call line?

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  1. I bought almost too much dice, including one of those spinning d20 rings, and played a ton of D&D. Barely made time for other games this year.
    Thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Midgard session you ran on Friday. I enjoyed the world-building in that, where different creatures, including usually notorious ones, are just running towns like normal. It gave me some ideas for my own campaign for sure.
    The will call line definitely was nuts this year. I don’t remember it being that bad ever. Even for the 50th anniversary which also sold out, I was able to walk right up on Thursday. Something must have changed this year.
    Favorite part? Easily getting drunk on 2-3 long island pitchers at Kilroys and then going to a 9pm-1am D&D session. That was eventful.