I did not know what to expect. I cannot remember seeing this many people in one place at one time. That’s a lie, I’ve been to the Big House to see U of M play football in front off 100,000+ people. But for a gaming convention to hold just about 50,000 people, lets just say the smells were overwhelming at times. But it was unbelievable to see so many people excited about gaming. I was only able to attend the festivities for one. And within that one day, I was only able to experience about 1/4 of what there was to do at the convention.
Along with all the gaming going on, as there always is at a convention, there was the hardcore cosplay. And there was no lack of it here. From the sexy Power Girls to the simple Minecraft characters, people were putting out their best costumes. Many costumes I did not know what they were, not really an anime person, but what I did know is that the costumes looked fantastic.
My main focus down there was one game in particular, Heroclix. It is one of my favorite games to play and it is growing in popularity. At the con, you can earn convention exclusive pieces that you only obtain at one other convention. There is also a Championship that happens that allows the winner to create their own Heroclix to be placed in an upcoming set. Past winners have created figures of Nightcrawler and Black Adam just to name a couple.
But I was not there to check out just one game in my one day experience. There were hundreds of games to check out. There were many different tournaments being held in the gaming room, with more taking place outside of the convention area.
One game I heard about on the bus ride over to the convention in the morning. People were talking about which games they had seen and enjoyed. One had mentioned a game called Drunk Quest. It was explained to me like this, “You ever play Munchkin? It’s like that, but with drinking. Lots and lots of drinking.” I had forgotten about it for most of the day, mostly because of all of the excitement at Tim “The Balloon Sculptor’s” area, where someone had accidentally knocked down his Cthulhu balloon masterpiece. But more on that to come. I was walking around the vendor area when I remembered about Drunk Quest. Standing at the demonstration area were two beautiful women that were explaining the game to passers by. I acted as if I had never heard of the game before, because I wanted to get the full experience of the game. It was basically explained to me as I had heard it on the bus, but with more detail. The game is very similar to Munchkin, but obviously with different cards and abilities pertaining to drinking. As I purchased the game and took a few pictures, I knew this would be one of the games that NerdSynq would have to demo at the home arena.
There were of course many setups for the more established games, Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, you get the picture. But I was looking for the more indie games, the up and comers. I had found a simple game, Square Shooters, based on a full 54 deck of cards. All of the cards are on 9 six-sided dice. The simplest game that is included in the set is to pull a card, and try to roll the hand that is displayed. If you get the generic hand shown, you get a certain amount of chips, if you get the specific hand with the suits and everything displayed, you earn double the chips. The best part of this game is that there are endless possibilities to the game-play potential, which is why they are doing a kickstarter program where anyone can create a game using their card dice. There are to be multiple categories of contests where people with the best ideas earn $2,000. And you better believe NerdSynq will be throwing their collective heads into the mix!
Best attraction of the convention, and has been for the past few years I am told, was the Cthulhu balloon monster that greeted you as you made your way toward the gaming and vendor area. He stood 18 feet tall with a wingspan of over 20 feet! Tim “The Balloon Sculptor” Thurmond is a Guinness Book of World Records record holder for blowing up the most balloon animals by mouth in 3, 6, 10, and 24 hours! All records were broken during 1 attempt. It took 24 working hours to create Cthulhu on site and there is a time-lapse video post to Tim’s website. During the final day Sunday, Tim raised $900 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana to slay the beast.
On top of the convention, there was a race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that weekend. So inside the convention center you have geeks and nerds, and then you take a couple of steps outside you have hundreds of motorcycles running up and down the street, including some roads closed off just to display how much effort people put into their bikes. For my money, here is the best one that I saw.
In the end, one day is not enough for “the best four days in gaming.” Next year, I think four days will have to be the minimum. Next stop, Detoit Fanfare in October! Hope to see everyone there!!!