GenCon is, at the core of it, a convention for gamers. Yes, it might have media guests, and costumers roaming the floors, but at its very roots, it is a gaming convention. That’s why they call it the Best Four Days in Gaming.
Years ago, I used to be much more of a hardcore gamer. I was a member of a few Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, I would play a LOT of Magic: The Gathering, along with a lot of the other collectible card games that came out. When we got bored with those, we’d break out The Great Dalmuti around the table at Phrog’s Phantasy Phactory, where I used to hang out in New Castle, IN.
When I started going out with Shannon, I had faded from the collectible card game scene, and was only dabbling with one gaming group. The funny thing was, this gaming group had me as the Game Master, which was a major change of pace for me. When not playing that, the two of us, being movie geeks, slipped into playing a lot of Scene It! and the video Trivial Pursuit games. Those helped to scratch the gaming itch for both of us, until everything had to end up in storage. Lately, my only taste of Role Playing Games has been repeatedly playing through Fallout 3, and trying to survive the first few missions in Fallout: New Vegas on the Xbox 360. I still have Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and Dragon Age gathering dust on the shelf, and my system has never seen a screen from Skyrim. I have played a few games of “Last Night on Earth” with a friend from work that have been very enjoyable, but other than that? I haven’t picked up a set of dice since 2007. With the exception of stopping in to review for the blog, I haven’t been inside a gaming store with the intent to pick up a new game in about as long. Such is the curse of the broke Geek Father.
In the time leading up to GenCon this year, I realized how many people I follow and interact with on Social Media were, in fact, gamers. Speaking with them made me want more out of this convention other than the normal costuming and socialization. I wanted to look at games! I wanted to be back in the loop! I needed dice! I needed to find out what’s going on with the games I used to enjoy! So, I went in for the three days intending to look at everything I could.
I guess my mind failed to grasp how much “everything” there was.
Dungeons and Dragons has a NEW version coming out. Dang it, I knew this. I’m on the playtest list, even though I haven’t actually playtested, just read the materials with longing. So there’s no point picking up any materials, especially with it being reworked. I wanted to try to do some of the playtesting done at the con, but this is where my aforementioned ignorance of the importance of event-specific tickets comes into play, and I wasn’t able to get into anything. Oh well, those are the breaks, I’ll move on with life. What’s Magic doing?
I have realized that I no longer recognize Magic: The Gathering, and I have no idea what is going on with it. Plus, I’m not sure I want to get back into something that requires a constant financial commitment to continue building and tweaking new decks in order to stay competitive. This was fine when I was in my late teens, and I could afford to drive around Central Indiana, hitting all the Game Preserves in Indy, Phrog’s in New Castle, The Danger Room in Anderson, and The Wizard’s Keep in Muncie in order to find cards, buy boxes of booster packs, and trade around to get complete sets of cards. However, now? I’m sitting here with a full time job, a family, and a powerful need to eat. You could say that a game like Magic: The Gathering just isn’t in the cards.
So where did that leave me?
I was very interested in the X-Wing Miniatures Battle game from Fantasy Flight, but since it was the debut, their booth was packed the entire weekend, sometimes with the line wrapping halfway around the floor. I wasn’t interested in games like HeroClix or anything with the word “collectible” in the title, so that wiped out a good portion of the floor as well.
One thing that did provide some guidance was the Boardgaming.com Quests. By the time I got there on Friday, all of the cards from Cheese Weasel were gone, but they did still have the quests available on their website, so I was able to use those quests to try to explore. However, even then, there wasn’t much that caught my eye until I hit the Cryptozoic booth, and saw one of their reps teaching another rep how to demo “The Big Bang Theory Party Game.”
Yes, out of ALL the games at GenCon, the one that I played was “The Big Bang Theory Party Game.” If you want to read about what I thought of it, you can see it here on last Thursday’s post. The thing is, even this got me going again, and it’s gotten some of the juices flowing.
Since the con, I have picked up a new set of dice on Amazon, where I have a LOT of gift card funds floating around. I have started setting up my want list, which DOES include “The Big Bang Theory Party Game.” It also includes finding out what version of D&D my friends are playing, and if they’re intending to bump up when the new version becomes available, finally picking up some of the popular titles like Catan (The Star Trek version, natch) and Ticket To Ride, and going from there.
Another thing that has been discussed, which I’m pondering on looking into after Pie Wars, my apartment move, and the office move is finalized, is helping some friends start up a monthly or so Meet Up/Tweet Up for gaming, either with General Gaming or a specific title. This is just a very general idea, and I’m planning on working with a couple of my new Twitter/GenCon/Gaming friends on what it will take to make this happen.
Either way, GenCon did the job it was supposed to. It’s help rekindle the spark of gaming in this Geeks heart. I thank you, GenCon, and my wallet curses you.