Archives For Gen Con

This year I was smart. I came out to Indianapolis, Indiana the night before the con began. I was able to obtain free parking about 30 minutes outside of downtown and got a ride into town from a friend. First obstacle averted. Next, obtain proper lodging. Luckily I had a floor of a hotel room reserved for me, and a blow-up queen size mattress from my friend Basia, I was all ready to go.

The first day begins early. In line at 7am to pick-up a press badge. Pick-up starts at 7:30, doors open at 10. I wanted to get in line and pick up my early access pass. First 100 press in line get to get in at 9am. Beat the crowds into the dealer and vendor area and pick up my merchandise before the wild trampling begins. Opening ceremonies begin, the first dice are rolled, big fuzzy ones. The roll is two 5s. Good signs to come, hopefully. There are at least 3,000 people jammed up at the door, ready to rush to get their con exclusive pieces. The doors open and they are off to the races! With me safely hanging out with the balloon sculptor, Tim, I watch as the masses run into the con. As Tim begins to build his amazing balloon sculptor for this years convention, I sit back knowing that I do not need to fight with people to get anything I want within the con.

There were many cosplayers. You had people as Deadpool all the way to a male Misty from Pokemon. There was an area set up for the cosplayers to hang out in front of a sign so people knew where the pictures were from, but of course people don’t seem to take well to directions or read what they are. Now time for a little tangent. If you pay for a convention ticket, and hang out in an area that does not require a ticket for 95% of the time you are at the convention, why would you waste the money in buying a 4-day pass? Why not just buy a single day pass and buy what you want that day and just hang out in the common area the rest of the time. It’s not my money, but why not save it.

Enough of that. I would say at least 10,000 people walked through the doors that day, if not more. I have never seen a place more packed in every isle. There was 30 isles going one way with another 3 crossing the opposite directions. And they were all full! The convention is bound to break their attendance record again this year, but I don’t know how many more people the convention center can hold. From my understanding, this is the 3rd largest convention center in the world. THE WORLD! They set the record last year at just short of 50,000 people. And that does not even include all of the people walking through the convention center that just work in the city. The looks on the locals faces that had not seen a con before was priceless. People had their jaws dropped at outfits and looks that a regular con goer wouldn’t even look twice at.

One of my main focuses was helping out my friend, Tim the balloon sculptor. He has created for Gen Con for the past two years. His first year he crafted a fire-breathing dragon. Last year he made Cthulhu, 18 feet tall, 30 feet wide. A HUGE piece. This year is more photo friendly. A minitar fighting a barbarian and a sorceress. He finished his main work by the middle of today, Friday. People are now able to take their pictures with the pieces, pretend to fight with them and have a good time. On Saturday night they will be auctioned off and the highest bidder gets to destroy the pieces that were created in such a short time. The proceeds will go to the charity GLEANERS, which is a food pantry that provides food to those that are having problems with providing meals for themselves. Last year he raised $1,000. This year he hopes to raise over $1,500. Along with the main pieces, he will be creating wearable pieces. One of which is Emmet from the Lego Movie. Another piece is a Dalek from Doctor Who.

There is so much going on and so much to do in Indy, that I need to absorb more over the next two days. Learn a few new games and try to find more creative cosplayers. As from above, this is only the first part of my article since this is only the halfway point of the convention. If you would like to view pictures I have taken, please check out our facebook page. Also please check out CaveRadio Broadcasting, where we have a live show on Thursdays from 4-5pm eastern time.

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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.

Drunk QuestOne 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.

Square ShootersThere 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.

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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.

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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!!!