During Gen Con, Indy is at its busiest.
What started as a group of twelve coming together to appreciate tabletop rpgs has turned into one of our cities biggest conventions. You can’t drive downtown without running into a good half dozen herds of wandering geeks, many dressed as if going into battle against hordes of orcs, zombies, or supervillains.
And, like many brave souls with a love of all things nerdy and poor impulse control, I ventured into the convention center and joined the crowd.
Something that struck me as I wandered the halls on the first day was just how much there was to do. On the way in, attendees are given a thick, incredibly high production value program with a highly detailed scheduled of events, and dear god are there a lot of them.
With dozens of events happening simultaneously, it becomes incredibly hard to pick just a few.
So for the first few hours I opted to wander the main showfloor and see what it had to offer.
When people think of tabletop, they think of Dungeons and Dragons first, which is natural considering it's by far the most iconic of all tabletop role playing games.
Now, D&D certainly had a presence — including a good number of games going on — but there were hundreds of games on display. Towers of game boxes fifteen feet high, some vaguely recognizable and some I’d flat out never heard of.
Edged in and around those were dozens and dozens of kiosks selling a venerable treasure trove of merchandise. High quality collector figurines, a pile of Pokémon plushies consisting of nearly three hundred different colorful monsters, huge hardcovers of game rules — the list goes on.
Of course all of it was ludicrously over-priced, with an anime blu ray clocking in at $35, and an action figure, though expertly painted, costing a whopping $150.
Gen Con venders know their audience, though. Fans wait all year to blow their money on this stuff, and we love it.
Quick shameful nerd confession: I’ve never really gotten too deep into tabletop. I was into it during middle school, but my fellow players drifted away quickly, so it’s only recently that I’ve re-entered the scene.
Because of this, I was quickly drawn to the E-bash gaming rooms that were set up along the main hall. Halo 3, Dota 2, League of Legends, and Smash Bros were all set up, and people were having a blast.
I ended up entering the two vs. two tournament — won the first round with my partner — then got annihilated in the second by a duo so well in sync it was obvious they’d been playing together for ages.
Then again, they did bring their own gamecube controllers with them, which should’ve been an early warning sign.
This first day was an easygoing one, with me mostly just getting my bearings and getting the lay of the land. Now I’ve got a schedule in my pocket, and a million plans.