Gen Con is the original, longest-running, best-attended, gaming convention in the world!
That sounds like something we shouldn’t miss!
This blog post covers our trip from Helsinki to Indianapolis and our stay at Gen Con 2016.
Roughly two months after UKGE, it was time to head to the largest board gaming event in the US. From the excellent feedback we got about Dized in the land of tea and lemons, we knew the past months spent on developing and polishing Dized would certainly make it even better. Our main goal was to woo publishers and gather player feedback so we could, if needed, fine tune the Dized experience before the actual Dized release in the September.
Jouni and Tomi headed to Indianapolis on Monday 1st. Me (Kalle) and Anna followed them the next day. Our trips started with a 3 hour flight from Helsinki to Manchester. From there it took another 8 hours to reach Chicago (Philadelphia for Jouni & Tomi, they took a different route) and lastly a short one hour flight to finally set our feet on the soil of Indianapolis. It was hot! Not the soil, but the air. Roughly ~29-32C for the whole week, to be more exact. After spending 20 more minutes in a taxi, we finally arrived at the Comfort Suites City Center -hotel just next to the convention center and Lucas Oil Stadium. While the rooms there were very spacious, they still had decided to put the coffee makers on the bathroom table tops. Perhaps it’s a religious thing, I don’t know. :p
What I do know is that after 20 hours of travelling, we were drained. It was definitely time to get some rest. Next day we’d build the booth.
That’s exactly what they should be calling the breakfast in the US. At least that was the experience we got from the sugar muffins, sugar yogurt, sugar juices, sugar waffles and sugar sugar. Everything “edible” was yellow or brown in color. The only things that even resembled something living were the couple of (raw) bananas, apples (plastic wrapped) and oranges. A breakfast of champions, you say? How about a breakfast of diabetics!
Since 2003 Gen Con has been located at the Indianapolis convention center. This year was no different, except that the recently extended convention center still wasn’t spacious enough to host everything Gen Con related. To remedy the situation, Lucas Oil Stadium was used to host some large events, mainly True Dungeon. If you’re interested, there’s more info available right here.
After a $3,50 Uber ride to the convention center, Anna and I found out something that Jouni and Tomi already knew – the convention center was absolutely massive. My guess is that it’d take roughly five minutes to walk from the furthest corner of the building to the opposing one.
When we finally reached the main exhibition hall, a pleasant surprise was waiting for us. Our executive ladder had pretty much finished building the booth while we were on the plane. The booth was small, but cozy. Here, have a look!
It was time to head out and eat. We found a really nice restaurant/bar just next door to our hotel. We actually ate there a couple of times. Affordable prices, good food and great, fun service. Weirdly enough the place isn’t even listed on Google Maps, but the place is called Basey’s Downtown Grill & Bar. Thanks for everything, Edi!
The doors opened on Thursday to the public and the next four days went by pretty fast, yet my heels would probably sing another story. Me and Anna demoed Dized and the 2nd edition of Race to the North Pole which was released right there at Gen Con for North America (Europe will have to wait until September). Jouni and Tomi were constantly running from meeting to meeting. They were really busy shaking hands and selling the concept to the publishers around the globe. While I can’t go in to the details, I can tell you that AWESOME things are happening gamewise. By the end of the year, you’ll see (some) of the cool things that are coming up. 🙂
People playtesting the Dized pre-release version gave us even better feedback than we got at UKGE. Good to hear that all our hard work didn’t go down the drain. The most important one is definitely this – more than 9 out of 10 people would rather use Dized as a learning method than a rulebook. Imagine that!
Here’s a couple more photos that we snapped for you to enjoy. 🙂
Our trip back to Helsinki was 6 hours quicker thanks to a direct flight from Chicago to Helsinki, which sounded much better than an extra stop… well at anywhere. Although the trip back “only” took 14 hours, we were all exhausted, but at the same time exhilarated at how well everything went. We arrived back in Finland on Tuesday the 9th.
Gen Con is truly a huge event and something that’s hard to explain with words. Over 60000 unique attendees and 500+ exhibitors. There’s only one event that surpasses that in the board gaming industry and that’s where we are heading next. We’ll see you at Essen @ Spiel ’16! 🙂