When Dragons Travel: A GenCon Review
all of you to know that I am going to cover a large
variety of things in this article, not just Magic. I
enjoyed the whole weekend. However, I do think that
unless you are playing in tournaments or waiting on some
particular events, I think that you can cover everything
you need to in two days. That’s my personal view
else to note is that the game industry has certainly gone
more mainstream in the past couple of years. There
were lots of business people there. Lots of people
from the corporate world. Also, there were a LOT of
families that came up to the show. It’s
interesting to see that the industry is reaching young
kids and not just the college age and up people that it
used to. When the show started on Sunday, they made
an announcement to the dealers that the turnstile had seen
24,000 people. Now let me explain how this works:
turnstile is the total number of people that have come
through the door. Take into account that a lot of
people attended multiple days. So if you assume that
everyone attended all three days up to that point that is
somewhere in the ballpark of 8,000 people. The
honest truth however is that some people only attended one
or two days of the convention and the actual number they
had seen up to that point was in the range of 12,000
people. We even saw a ton of new faces on Sunday.
want to saw thanks to Hank Rose and the entire Comic
Images crew for getting me out to the show. As usual
I had fun demo’ing WWF Raw Deal. It’s a great
game and easy to get people hooked. For those of you
that haven’t tried it, check it out. Almost all of
the people that play the game play either Magic, Star
Wars, or L5R. It plays fairly fast and has a lot of
skill in deck construction. Most of you would enjoy
the show had a ton of stuff going on at all times.
If you were just looking for something to do and a game to
play, there was definitely something there for you.
I spent a large amount of time in the exhibitor hall, so I
will give you a rundown of my overall impressions.
THESE IMPRESSIONS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH HOW THESE PEOPLE
THIS IS JUST HOW THEY CAME
OFF AT THE SHOW.
as well start with the bad ones. The one that tops
my list is Ultra-Pro. I own a game store here in
Waco and we use a LOT of their products. The people
they had working their booth were rude and HIGHLY
uncooperative. I was trying to get some samples of
their sleeves to bring back to my store to hype them up.
I either wanted to outfit a deck, or if they gave me
enough I would put them in peoples bags with their
purchases. Their new sleeves are SUPPOSED to release
at the end of the month, so that would be helping to
increase sales for both them and myself. The lady working
the booth would only let me get one. That’s right
ONE of each sleeve. Even after explaining this whole
situation. I came back on the last day of the show,
so I could try and get what was left of some of the
samples and the gentleman in charge let me get FIVE.
Needless to say I wasn’t happy. Really bad for someone
that leads the industry in their niche.
award for second worst disappointment goes to the
Playstation booth. Don’t get me wrong, I own a
playstation and everything, but they didn’t show
anything new. You are going to have more than 15,000
people in the exhibit hall throughout the weekend.
Why not have new games to show. Their booth was
highly unimpressive. They didn’t have much room t
get around while you sampled games and they only had a
couple to look at. All the new games they had were
already available. Also, not to mention that one of
the guys working for them kept mentioning Sega off and on
and would catch himself. If you work for a million
dollar corporation, it’s good to know who you work for.
finish off my list of disappointments is Troll and Toad.
Personally I like these guys. As a matter of fact, I
have done business with these folks before. However, on
multiple occasions I stopped by their booth with cash in
hand. I wanted to spend $200 at one point and I kept
getting sent from one person to the next. After I
explained I had a store, they were all about wanting to
ship me stuff. But I wanted to take it with me, so I
could sell it on Monday. They had a hard time
understanding this. I felt like I was being ignored,
especially when I was there before and/or after the show.
There weren’t any crowds or anything. I wasn’t
the only one that got this treatment from what I could
not everything was bad. There were several good
generally don’t support Scrye much in my store.
Their parent company Krause (which I found out is
pronounced - Krow-zee) gave many people a very good
impression. They were polite to everyone of all
ages. They answered everyone’s questions, they
listened to suggestions, and they even gave a free copy of
the latest issue of Scrye to the people helping us at the
Comic Images booth just so we could get the promo that we
hadn’t received yet. They almost made me feel bad
for supporting InQuest over their magazine. Kudos to
their workers. They were enough to make me want to
push their magazine more.
had a great booth. This is a company many of you
probably haven’t heard of. It was started by the
guy that created the White Wolf line, Mark Rein*Hagan (I
think I spelled that right). Anyway, they had their
first game release at the show. It is called Z-G.
It’s all about robot fighting. You get guys
dressed up in armored robot suits and get to blast the
armor off of each other. It plays along with a deck
of cards and everything. It’s th ebest of both
miniatures and CCG’s. Their booth always had
people there getting demo’s and they were hugely helpful
and informative. Not
only that, but they always seemed excited and eager to get
more people to play their game. That’s a very good
sign for their company. He has apparently kept in
touch with a lot of people via e-mail that he met at the
show. I hope this company does well and goes far.
We have already sold out of two shipments of their robots
in our store :)
this one might seem biased, but I have to give props to
Hank with the Comic Images crew. Hank went above and
beyond the call of duty this time. He had
sweatshirts, T-shirts, and tank tops to give away with the
new set logo and stuff on them (Backlash). He got
enough people there to help out. Also, the rest of
the crew, Barron, Mike, Marc, Tom, and Jeff, along with
myself busted our butts for our tournaments. The
first tournament we ran of the weekend was on Thursday
night. It had 98 participants. We knew at that
point the rest of the weekend was going to be huge.
Our largest event was the World Championship event on
Saturday. It had 140 participants. And this
isn’t even counting the players that couldn’t play
because they were participating in the Star Wars and
Legends of the Five Rings World Championships.
honorable mentions go out to three groups:
first is Steve Jackson Games. They seemed to have a
crowd around their booth most of the weekend. Mainly
because they were having a blast playing Munchkin.
It’s their new game that mocks role playing. The
whole objective is to adventure and screw your friends.
We keep selling out of it and the show showed exactly why.
Steve Jackson had a small booth, but did well with what
they had. I have heard through my overly connected
grapevine that they are having some money trouble. I
hope this latest set of games helps get them back on their
feet some, they deserve it. They have been with the
industry for a long time now and they showed why.
Their people seem to genuinely enjoy games.
games is another group you may not have heard of before.
They recently picked up the license to the Shadowfist ccg.
They re-released it, gave it a better look, and are
selling the hell out of it. They had a decent bit of
people playing it all weekend. The best part is,
they made it compatible with the old cards. Also,
they sold out of their new game:
from Outer Space, the B-movie card game. People were
all over that game. I hope they do well in the
future. I know that I am definitely ordering some of
their stuff for my store.
Workshop rounds out the list. I personally felt that
they did a GREAT job showing their stuff and getting
people to play some demo games. They were always
talkative and were moving product. They even had a
pretty elaborate set up. They had actual shelves and
all, almost like aisles. The one thing I was TOTALLY
disturbed by was the fact that they had a nice glass
display up with models in it. On each shelves there
were little tags saying “Please don’t take pictures of
items in this display.” I mean seriously, who
brings stuff to the show and doesn’t want people to go
show it off to their friends or customers. Plus it
was all stuff that you can see on the website from what I
can tell. But whatever, it’s not my business.
tournament areas were non stop movement all weekend.
Role playing games, board games, and card games each had
their separate rooms. You could walk by at any given
time of night and there were vents happening literally ALL
night long. It was the proverbial 24/7 of gaming
around that place. Anyone that thought Magic: The
Gathering was dying is TOTALLY mistaken. They did at
least 25 drafts every evening. Including the drafts,
I would say that Wizards of the Coast ran upwards of 50
tournaments every day. I mean for a game that is
dying, this is a lot of action happening. I have to
say that the Wizards employees working the night shift did
well trying to accommodate everyone and make space for all
the different games. They were all over the place
all the time.
Legends of the Five Rings guys didn’t do too great of a
job trying to get people to like them and their game.
The players were constantly yelling out different things
for some unknown reason. I have to admit most of the
players in the card area were pretty presentable.
Most of them were respectable and the funk factor in the
room was pretty low.
I have to say, the show was a success. The city of
Milwaukee needs to stay open a little later that weekend
though. After 7PM the only thing that seemed to be
open were fast food, the mall, bars, and casinos.
When the whole town relies on that revenue from the GenCon
tourists, they need to take advantage of it. People
shouldn’t have trouble finding things to do and places
to eat when you are coming from the convention center in
the middle of town.
if you are ever traveling in the Midwest, fly Midwest
Express. They are a top notch airline. From what I
can tell, they don’t have a first class, but everyone
gets treated like first class. Their meals are
really good, usually like hoagies, steaks, shrimp and
chicken salads, etc. They also serves cheesecake and
homemade chocolate chip cookies for dessert. They
even have leather seats. They were also booked up on
every flight from what I could tell. And with good
reason. They also only put to people to a side. Not
two on one side and three on the other like a lot of
that’s my take on the weekend. Hope it was
informative. Sorry about not posting, but with
GenCon and all, I have been real busy.
yeah, one last thing. I want to say good bye to Sam
at Rama Llama Comics in Plano,TX. They are closing
their doors at the end of the month. Apparently
things aren’t doing too well for Sam and the crew.
I hope his future goes well. The reason this is
strange for me is that Browser Games (Houston), Rama Llama
Comics (Dallas), and The Game Closet (my store, Waco) were
the three known stores that people played at and traveled
to. Well, Browser Games closed back in April I
believe, and now Rama llama is closing. Don’t get
me wrong, we aren’t even closed to closing our doors.
It’s just more pressure on us to get things going and
I’ve had to adjust some of my plans. Needless to
say, I have a lot of big plans on the way. For those
of you that have attended some of my events or have been
to my store, please e-mail me. For those of you that
have been considering coming to my store please also
e-mail me. We are in the process of making some
major changes and I need a lot of input. We are
hosting a PTQ on September 8th and I want to
make sure everything goes well and we can accommodate
everyone in the future.
until next time,
Name: DeQuan Watson
readers have gathered a lot of information about me
writings. For those of you that haven't though, this
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