Welcome to part 2 of PNG’s look into what makes Gencon the best 4 days in gaming. Last week’s article offered a small glimpse into the majestic splendor of the Dealer Hall, a place where games and other geeky sundries sprawl out waiting to be bought and played. This week, we get to the meat and gnaw it down to the structural bones of what Gencon is really about for the majority of attendees. This week, we talk about the almost unlimited amount of gaming that can be done from the moment you arrive in Indianapolis until it comes to that time when your friends have to drag you through the streets, bound, gagged, and weeping to the car for your trip home.
This is, of course, the main draw of Gencon. Gamers descend from all over the world to fill up every hotel in downtown Indianapolis to capacity and overrun the Indianapolis Convention Center to game in any of the 6,500+ events available. Mind you, not all of these 6,500+ events are actual gaming events but also seminars, events for non-gamers, workshops, movies, and stuff to do around Indy. That, however, will have to wait until next week’s article. That being said, it’s almost impossible to write an article in detail about every game that Gencon has to offer, so consider this a very general overview. If you believe that other readers should know about a certain game or event, please leave a comment and let everybody know!
While pre-registration is closed, the event list is still available here at the community site on the downloads tab. This daunting list contains all of the official events registered through Gencon along with information such as their date and time, description, cost, and contact info for who is running the event. You’ll find various big publishers like Wizards of the Coast, Mayfair, Out of the Box, and Fantasy Flight running multiple events with their games, but if you look closely at who is running events on that list, you’ll begin to see what makes Gencon so special. There are a lot groups and individuals who actually love running a certain game so much, that they’re willing to run it for complete strangers that also love that particular game. Groups like the Rogue Judges, Kentucky Fried Gamers, GameBase7, NASCRAG, and TableTop Gamers are some examples of groups (feel free to comment with names and links to more) that have become integral parts of the gaming experience at Gencon.
Events are broken up into various categories like board games, trading card games, role playing games, video games, etc. and due to the massive volume, scattered throughout the convention center and hotels in it’s immediate vicinity. You may be playing a recreation of the Battle of Hoth in the miniatures hall at the convention center and then find yourself hours later at The Regency hotel roleplaying a street samurai in Shadowrun. Everything from Scrabble and Monopoly to historical battles recreated with miniature soldiers is represented at Gencon. What it all comes down to is that if there’s something you enjoy playing, odds are you can get into an official registered game. There’s even a board game library that allows you to check out games by purchasing a pass for the convention or for a certain amount of generic tickets per game.
There are, however, other ways to play games besides the using event list. It’s something you may notice the moment you start stepping into the various hotels for official games. People are playing unofficial games anywhere and everywhere. You’ll see them in hotel lobbies, restaurants, and the hallways of the convention center. Gamers overrun the city of Indianapolis and do not stop rolling dice, shuffling cards, and roleplaying for four to five days straight. Most people are fairly friendly and don’t mind explaining how to play or even letting you sit down and play. There’s almost a tangible sense of brotherhood amongst everybody at the convention because everybody is there for the same reason… to get their game on.