GenCon 2012 – A Photo Essay
Every year after I get back from GenCon I line up my collectible dice. The markings on these polyhedrals tell me that this was my fifth consecutive “best four days in gaming.” And I have to say that it really was the best one yet. Official turnstile was up over 134,000, meaning that the 41,000 badge holders came back for many days each. The truly amazing figure is that the numbers are up 30% since 2010. Much of that has to do with the expanded Indianapolis Convention Center, and the expanded number of hotel rooms available in the city.
But in reality it has the most to do with the expanding hobby games market. Not only are the big boys, like Mayfair and Fantasy Flight, getting bigger, but the little guys are getting bigger as well. Much of the impetus behind that is Kickstarter. It seemed like every single booth at the convention had a flyer, sign, or QR code touting their fundraising effort for some new and exciting game they wanted to bring to market. For just the price of a cup of coffee a day you, kind sir, could help bring a new game to life. And there was truth in those words. Games like D-Day Dice and Agents of SMERSH didn’t exist twelve months ago. A game like Zombicide would be endlessly pitched to larger games publishers, held back by a glut of undead-focused games, when in reality the market wanted it so much that they beat their funding goal of $20k by $761k. That’s more than 39x what they originally asked for.
So while game manufacturers like Bolt Action went to the retailers and said “please stock these games on your shelves,” entrepreneurs were there on the floor of the convention like buskers on a soap box appealing directly to the consumer. There’s a new democracy in gaming, and in my opinion gamers are better for it.
These photos tell my GenCon 2012 story, and I hope they make you as excited about 2013 as I already am. See you in Indy!
About the Author
By night Charlie Hall is a writer for Gamers With Jobs (www.GamersWithJobs.com). His relevant interests range from pen-and-paper role playing games, to board games and electronic games of all types. By day he is a writer for CDW Government LLC. Follow him on Twitter @TheWanderer14, or send him hate mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. He, his wife, and daughter make their home in far northern Illinois.