Looking Back Over GenCon, 2021

10 October, 2021

Another year, another GenCon, gosh it is nice to say that.  After a year off, it was good to be back, even later in the year and perceptibly smaller.  Still doing its utmost to be the “the best four days in gaming.”

As usual I was working for AEG, so we arrived late Tuesday evening and ended up having dinner at the Rathskeller, the German restaurant that many years back we had an L5R event at (memories).  Service and cider remain excellent. 

AEG Booth in processWednesday was devoted to finishing booth setup, rah.  It was very strange to be in a different section of the hall, with a smaller booth, in a smaller exhibitor hall with no Paizo, Asmodee (and the other companies under their umbrella such as Fantasy Flight) or Goodman Games and many more beside.  It imposed a certain disconnect between what I was used to and what was at GenCon this year.  By pure luck, I ran across my friend Drew Baker, who was just in for a few hours helping some of his friends get their booths ready.  Had dinner at Goodwood which took over the Ram’s, which was very good though the cider was overpriced.

Thursday started with . . . more setup as a third of the booth stock had arrived late.  But that got sorted out fairly quickly so still had a bit of time to explore the hall before work called.  Ebay had a huge booth and were really pushing their role as a facilitator of sales for collectable card games giving away playmats and token sets.  Black Oak Workshop, from NW Georgia, were there for the first time, so cool to see them there.  Sought out Steve Kenson, that awesome writer and all around cool guy, at the Green Ronin booth.  Even ran across Zev “the Z-Man” at WizKids.  But many of the people I hope to catch up with were not there this year, which made me a little sad.   No one seemed to have any issue with the mask requirement and there were quite a few fun masks to be seen.

After grabbing some supper, just wandered the convention center.  The ballroom that is usually used for Pathfinder events was being used by the Games Library, we got to talk to some of the people running it and saw people playing all sorts of games, old and new, which was very cool.

Big Game Night, just getting startedThough strangest of all was that we were doing no game demonstrations and (almost) no events.  I have worked with the AEG GenCon team since 2000 and this is the first year were did not do game demos, it felt . . . odd.  Our one event was the big one, Big Game Night, on Friday which was held for the first and probably only time in the JW Marriot which was lovely.  We showed off our new games Ten and Whirling Witchcraft, both of which are quite good I think.

Of course, that meant we had to spend Saturday morning, adding Ten and Whirling Witchcraft to the shelves of the booth . . .  Saturday was a day full of feeling tired but as it was the last day to explore the con, I wandered after the exhibitor hall closed.  The convention was much reduced in size with only a few events being held outside the convention center and open gaming seemed a bit sparser on the ground.

Everything wound down on Sunday with some trading of games with other exhibitors and last minute runs around the floor picking up some fun stuff from Orange Nebula, completing a quest for three small producers of D&D 5E and fantasy support material (which got me a chapbook), and generally closing out the Con before breakdown.  Breakdown went about as smoothly as it usually does, the dinner with the team and early to bed for a early morning, and long trip home, awaited us.

Looking forward to next year and more gaming.

More photos here.

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