Gencon 2016 was so much better than last year.
There are a bunch on contributing factors like us getting a room at The Westin, the closest possible hotel, some better planning, and Stephanie having better migraine medications, but there was one big reason.
There was a big ‘ol colorful, smile-inducing pile of awesome games.
Last year they had Mysterium!… but there were only 300 copies and most of them got bought by other vendors as soon as the hall opened. They had Codenames which is amazing and the Spiel winner!…but it only sold to preorders and didn’t really feel like it was getting much buzz at the con. We had it and it wasn’t too popular at the time. Blood Rage!..was there but also had limited copies and the Kickstarter backers were pissed that they didn’t get theirs first, and obviously didn’t buy it, so their target audience wasn’t hyping it. People liked Flick ’em Up but it was really expensive and people were more hyped about the demo than the game. And that was basically it. New York 1901 ended up selling out. It’s a fine game but it’s not, “OMG rush the vendor hall!” great, but there was nothing else.
This year we had Seafall, Scythe, London Dread, Islebound, Pandemic Cthulhu, Captain Sonar, Mansions of Madness 2nd edition, Cry Havoc, Arcane Academy, The Last Friday, The Others, Star Trek: Ascendancy, Mystic Vale, Terraforming Mars, The Dragon & Flagon and then surprises like Vast: The Crystal Caverns.
All of these had buzz around the con, many sold out their copies either each day or overall. People were rushing most of these different booths, people were asking, “Did you get X?”
Even if you didn’t get Seafall, the hottest of the hot, you could get some of these other ones and feel like you got something exciting. Last year everyone was just grumpy. Both because of the games directly or indirectly because of the aura of grumpiness.
I don’t know if companies switch off between releasing the hotness at Gencon and Essen or if there was just a confluence of events last year but it really left a bad taste in our mouths. This year was awesome.
We’ll talk about the con in more detail in videos and posts. We did the BGG Hot Games room which we loved, wandered the vendor hall, checked out the auction and did all sorts of stuff but at least this year, there were games. Perhaps too many games.