10 Reasons I’m excited for GenCon

Hey Folks, I’ve started this blog for a number of reasons:  to share my experiences as a board gamer and amateur game designer (ie unpublished), to encourage other hopeful designers, to discuss my game currently in development, The King’s Legion, and to provide me direction and accountability.

This Wednesday I leave for Indianapolis for my first GenCon attendance; I couldn’t be more excited.  So for my first blog post, why not discuss what I’m looking forward to most?  [They are in no particular order; too lazy to prioritize them.]

  1. Volunteering for Z-Man Games.  As an amateur designer looking to get into the board game industry in a year or so, what better experience than to work 16+ hours for one of the most successful and established publishers?  Did I mention they pay my registration, give volunteers free goodies and a voucher towards board games?  Stop by and visit at Table 1429 (GenCon Exhibit Hall Floor Map).
  2. Meeting the Plaid Hat crew.  With over 200 podcasts (appropriately self-deemed plaidcasts), listeners get to learn about the inner workings of Plaid Hat Games, listen to their game reviews, and receive insightful (and often humorous) knowledge on all things board game related (including design tips).
  3. Late night gaming with old friends.  A bunch of gaming friends from middle school and high school are splitting a couple hotel rooms.  The key difference between now and then will be replacing energy drinks with craft beer.
  4. Playtesting The King’s Legion.  I am bringing the latest and greatest TKL prototype, and while I’ve played a bunch of 2-player playtests, I haven’t played many 3-4 player games (it’s 2-4 players).  Hopefully the game balance holds up with 3 and 4 heroes.
  5. Demoing new and upcoming games.  The Exhibit Hall will be chock full of publishers big and small, many of them will be showcasing games not yet released.  Seafall and Tyrants of the Underdark are on the top of my list of games to play.
  6. Meeting game designers and publishers.  From the small time publishers/designers I’ve backed on Kickstarter to the big hitters seen on every retailers’ shelves, meeting the people behind the games I enjoy on a regular basis will be a treat.
  7. Networking for TKL’s development.  A lot remains before TKL can be published.  Short term, the game needs additional playtesters.  Long term, we need to start reaching out to manufacturers, artists, reviewers, distributors, graphic designers, editors/proofreaders, Kickstarter campaign managers, etc.  Fortunately there are many of these at GenCon.
    1. Last minute, my friend suggested we take business cards.  Between a $5 logo designer and a $5 business card designer hired on Fiverr, we got this design done in 12 hours.  FYI, these cards and logo are temporary.
  8. 20-Sided Rye.  Sun King Brewery partnered up with GenCon and polled attendees earlier this year as to what beer they should craft specifically for the largest tabletop gaming convention in the country.  The people have spoken.
  9. Iron Game Designer Workshop.  Teams of four have one hour to design a game using a small box of components, pitch their game, and then play each others’ games.  My right-hand playtester and overly-analytical friend (having earned the unofficial title Conceptual Design Consultant) is joining me.  Should be an exciting and practical exercise.
  10. Coming home with new board games.  This is a given.

What are you most excited about for GenCon 2016?  Any advice for a noob?