Gencon bills itself as the world’s largest gaming convention. It’s four days dedicated to RPGs, tabletop games, card games, dice games, miniature games, foam swords and cosplay. (But no, well, very few console or computer games.)
Along with 50,000 other people, I attended this year’s bash in downtown Indianapolis. It was my first real nerd trickery, and I’ve spent 4,000 words describing its wondrous strangeness, but words alone can’t do justice to a spectacle as great as this.
Without further ado, here are the images that best summarize my own Gencon experience. (If you want to see more, including the must-see performers in a nerd burlesque, click through to my article). Click on an image to enlarge.
“I’ll have a Ham Solo and two Greedos, please.”
A happy couple.
Games can get pretty intense at Gencon.
This guy was
Real excited to show me what was in his bag. (It was a cat.)
The details of some miniature games were truly amazing. Here are the main player panels for an aerial combat game.
Even elves get lost at Gencon.
The Pathfinder Society occupied a truly enormous room in Gencon.
Simply collecting for tables has a long, LONG list of rules.
53 people try to set a world record by playing simultaneously
Sailing of glory.
Father and daughter cosplayers.
A handmade dungeon filled with hand-painted miniatures. “Oh, the dungeon was only about six hours of work,” the creator said when I asked about it.
If you need that many different dice to play a game, sorry, you’ve lost me. But more power to you!
The Train Gamers’ Association held a major tournament in Gencon.
Who knew there were so many board games about trains?
Cthulhu was everywhere. Board games, card games, tabletop role-playing scenarios, T-shirts…
Wizards of the Coast revealed the “Tyranny of Dragons” storyline in Gencon.
Should Indiana’s SB 101 pass, Gen Con, and its tens of thousands of attendees, may not return to create less diverse characters at the convention center.
There’s a serious game of Dungeons & Dragons going on, now with even more crazed hatters.
A babysitting service was available for those times when you had to fight Cthulhu uninterruptedly.
You can find games about almost anything these days… including
Pride and prejudice.
Proving that games can literally be about anything, this title covers the history of Oxford. You can apparently get CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien together for meetings in The Bird & Baby.
It takes a lot of pool noodles to equip an army with foam weapons.
My foam sword, in progress.
For $30 you could build a really huge foam weapon.
Boffer fights. Those foam swords pack a bigger punch than you’d think.
Part of the Catan tournament. The winner earned a spot at the world championship in Essen later this year.
A close-up of giant Catan. Would you trade two wood for one sheep?
Catan has grown into so many editions that I can’t even keep them all together anymore.
A giant version of Catan: Star Trek.
Ships used in giant Catan: Star Trek sit still.
My miniature, primed but unpainted. What is it? Who knows!
My painted miniature. Turns out painting small, lowercase a’s is hard.
Miniature painting requires serious precision.
Everyone loves painting miniatures!
Comedic juggler Rusty Bawls (yes, you read that right) roamed the halls entertaining passersby.
My prediction: when the battlemechs appear, that falafel stand will be razed to the ground.
XCom: The Board Game is due out this winter, but you could play a beta at Gencon.
Every food truck and watering hole in downtown Indy made its pitch to Gencon attendees.
Seriously, no masks.
I’m not even sure. But they look upset.
Just an ordinary day in downtown Indy.
Giant balloon warriors.
Perhaps the most elaborate costume on the show. The man “speaked” only by touching the smartphone to his forearm, which would then make comments in the character’s appropriate voice. This… made conversation difficult.
Firefly: the game.
Magic: The Gathering held a huge tournament at the show this year.
Batman, dressed in a fine yellow Scottish kilt.
I think it’s better than those old “FBI (Female Body Inspector)” shirts from the early 90’s.
power were the nerdiest T-shirt on sale at the convention.
If you lose a piece before a game, you can probably replace it at Gencon.
Dice came in every shape and style you could think of – and some probably didn’t.
I have questions about the usability of these face masks, but they look cool.
You never know who’s under those masks…
Yes, even Archer now has a deck. It apparently puts you in the danger zone.
Vader – cool, but rather over the top as a costume. There were enough evil Jedi roaming the corridors to form their own army.
The mace makes it real.
A view of Cardhalla, the massive card city that was built by attendees over several days and then ritually destroyed.
I’m not sure who these people were, but it was great.
For anyone needing a break from role-playing, Gencon had an open craft room stocked with tools and materials.
It was true; I had never heard of them.
Yes, it was all hand knitted.