I seem to begin a lot of posts with some variation of the expression “I’m back,” but today that’s actually on the mark: after 6 days in Indianapolis for Gen Con, I returned home on Monday of this week and I’ve been resting up (and catching up) for the last couple of days. I wore two hats for the show this year: I attended as an author guest of the Writer Symposium, and of course I went as one of the three sasquatches behind Sasquatch Game Studio. We debuted the print release for our ALTERNITY Science Fiction Roleplaying Game at the show, and had the distinct pleasure of handing out more than thirty copies to Kickstarter backers who happened to be at the show. There’s nothing like making good on a Kickstarter delivery by actually handing someone a book!
What Was Big at the Show?
I think the big story of the show was Pathfinder 2nd Edition. I have no idea how many of those books Paizo handed out, but it’s clear that P2E is going to be the Next Big Thing in the RPG biz over the next year or so. Over the last couple of years, Wizards of the Coast did an admirable job of reestablishing D&D as the biggest game in the hobby with the 5e release; it’ll be interesting to see how much ground Pathfinder reclaims with their new edition.
A close second: Boy, it seemed like medium-sized board game companies are taking over the hall. Everywhere I looked I saw pretty large booths (20 by 20 or more) with four or five titles ready to demo. Outfits like Plan B, North Star, Greater Than Games, or even CMON are all pretty new to me. Did someone randomly start capitalizing new companies or something? Speaking as a little company that would have a hard time justifying anything more than a 10 by 10 booth, I found myself wondering where they all came from.
What Did You Get at the Show, Rich?
I’m glad you asked! I tried to exercise a bit of self-discipline this year and really keep my purchases to things I *knew* I’d play with. I visited the Privateer Press booth early in the show to pick up the new Exemplar Cinerator Officer and Scrutator Potentate Severius. I’ve always loved the way my Cinerators *looked* but I’m not always happy with the way they *play.* I’m looking forward to seeing what the Officer does for them. And Severius looks really good as a junior warcaster—pricier than Tristan, but a big fat 5 Focus. So, two more minis for my painting backlog, but I’m looking forward to catching up a bit over the next few weeks.
I also picked up Century: Spice Road, based on the recommendation of my friend Warren. We’re big fans of Splendor in the Baker household, and Century is thematically a little similar. I’m looking forward to trying it out. And my daughter Alex bought Evolution. Neither Spice Road nor Evolution were new at this year’s show, of course, but IMO part of the Gen Con shopping experience is picking up good games of any vintage, not just the new hotness.
Three Hidden Gems in Indianapolis
I make sure to visit St. Elmo’s every year, but there are definitely some very good restaurants around if you’re not looking for a $50 steak dinner. Try Pearl Street Pizza (best in Indy, I think) or the Granite City Brewery (amazing mac and cheese) if you’re looking for something close to the convention center. And up in Zionsville we discovered a great place called the Salty Cowboy. If you’re staying on the north side of town, it’s well worth the visit.
So, that’s the quick Gen Con report. I could go on about people I ran into or the fun Alternity games I ran over at the Herald’s Guild in the JW Marriott, but I’ll stop here before I run on. One last thing, though: Sasquatch Game Studio is already planning to come back in 2019, so we’ll see you at next year’s show!