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Published on August 17th, 2014 | by Staff

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Gen Con: Where Tabletop Gaming Rules

Comics are mainstream- every third movie these days seems to feature superheroes, and blockbusters are nerdier than ever. TV shows about geeks are incredibly popular, and science fiction seems to have embedded itself firmly in everyday reality, as news stories and financial press hype the Occulus Rift augmented reality system or some new software cloud-based startup. Tabletop gaming- board gaming as it was once called- might sound niche compared to some of these other hobbies. But when Parks and Recreation can create a board game- Cones of Dunshire- and have it become a real physical product, then it’s clear that board games really are becoming a big business.

Speaking of which, Gen Con is perhaps the perfect emblem- bigger than ever, with more than 50,000 people visiting Indianopolis, Indiana from August 14-17th. Just over a decade old in it’s current location, the convention calls itself the “original, longest-running, best-attended, gaming convention in the world” and “the best four days in gaming… featuring hundreds of game companies, award-winning authors and artists, costumed attendees, more than 14,000 events”. The aforementioned Cones of Dunshire actually played a part too, being demonstrated at the show, though with no information on release dates or pricing.

Whether it’s role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons or sophisticated indie titles like miniature game Zombicide, there’s something for just about everyone at the show, which is firmly and enthusiastically all ages. We saw plenty of adults in costume, but tons of families as well, enjoying a day of adventure through a convention that spreads far throughout the many rooms and even the surrounding area. We tried special limited-edition geeky beers, and there is even nerd burlesque for the adults, while playthrough sessions abound along with plenty of tournaments and competitions for a mind-boggling variety of titles.

For us, it’s often about meeting the manufacturers and distributors- but it’s great to see consumers so involved and excited, waiting in lines to pick up copies of King of New York or Imperial Settlers sometimes months before they are widely available. We already can’t wait for Gen Con 2015!

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