A game of Navegador at Gen Con.
Gosh, I miss playing board games. I haven’t found a group in Korea yet. Well that’s not entirely accurate. I found one, but they’re in Seoul and meet sporadically and I haven’t made it work yet.
Last Wednesday Jeff and I set off on a road trip to Indianapolis for Gen Con, the country’s largest board game convention. This post will cement me as a nerd forever, and I will wear that badge proudly, just as I wore my literal badge for Gen Con for four days. We decided to make the journey since Jeff’s brother Kevin was going with 5 of his friends, most of whom we met while visiting Kevin in Ann Arbor. That group had already made hotel reservations, and there was space for two more, so we jumped on. We bought a badge when it was still early enough to not have jumped in price. The drive from the Fairfax area to Indianapolis is around 9.5-10 hours. On the way over, we stopped for a sit-down lunch in Cumberland, MD and wasted some more time in a Burger King in Indiana so it took about 12 hours in all. The way back was much shorter. Upon arriving we found a sneaky parking lot that let us park for $5 for the entire time (if you didn’t go in and out). If you are headed to Indianapolis to the convention center or nearby, I can let you know about this awesome deal. Then we took our stuff to the SpringHill Suites where we were staying and crashed. On Thursday we went to get our will call badges at around 9 in the morning and had to stand in line for them for two hours. During this time we got to see lots of good costumes, though.
Some of my favorite costumes of the convention were two pairs of the Eleventh Doctor and Sexy/Tardis as well as 3 weeping angels (two separate groups even). There were lots of anime costumes that I didn’t recognize, and some random stuff like Alice in Wonderland and Abe Lincoln on stilts. There were some really really amazing homemade costumes. There was a good group of X Men and a really great group of Star Wars cosplayers. I suspect some of them were members of the 501st Legion.
We spent most of the convention in the Exhibition Hall, which had large areas for the major board game companies as well as artists, authors, t-shirt booths, independent game companies, stalls totally consisting of dice, etc. There was a whole bunch of stuff to see, as well as countless games to demo! Some booths let you play the full game, especially if it was a short game, but mostly you just got a pretty good taste of what it’d be like (so that you could decide whether to buy it).
We also hung out in the Rio Grande room quite a bit. All the major game companies (like Mayfair, Fantasy Flight, Wizards of the Coast, etc) had private rooms where theoretically you could play full versions of their games. However, they all charged you money (well, not Cryptozoic either but they have all of two games) except Rio Grande. Their room was free to play all day, open late, and gave out free food. It pretty much endeared Rio Grande to me a lot (not to mention they make great games).
I didn’t buy any games but was tempted a lot by Arcana and a cheap-ish copy of Seven Wonders in the auction store. I did buy a Miskatonic University t-shirt. The last day, right before driving back, we checked out the game library (which cost money on every day except Sunday) and we played the full version of Arcana which we had only demoed (it’s a deck-building card game where you use your hand to win cards in the middle).
I can’t say I saw much of Indianapolis besides the Convention Center. We were staying right across from some museums and close to the zoo, and the first night I was thinking maybe I’d stop by one of those attractions – but I was just really busy trying out games! I did eat out twice, once at Buca di Beppo, a chain family-style Italian restaurant that is decent but not great, and once at Bazbeaux Pizza, which was quite good.