Gen Con has come and gone once again and it was an amazing four days. Our whole family looks forward to going every year and every year we are not disappointed. The atmosphere, the games, the energy and the people all make Gen Con truly the best four days of gaming.
Each of us seem to have their own agenda each year and we work together to make sure we all meet them. My husband’s goal is usually to play games, try new ones, do a tournament or two and watch his kids enjoy gaming as much as he does. Worthy goals.
Mine are to try new games, find new games to share with all of you, meet new people, show my kids more games and to buy each child something random and weird and only found at conventions…like rubber bendy dragons or those shoulder creatures…and a foam dagger. Every year I get them a foam dagger…because they love them that’s why.
The Gentleman’s goal is almost always to play as much Pathfinder as possible in the four days while also checking out as many games at booths in the exhibit hall as possible.
We branched him out and had him try his first LARP…now next year his new missions will be LARP events and Pathfinder…and more games. He will be 7 this year but we will be buying him his own badge next year for these events. I’m so proud!
The Diva goal’s were a bit different this year. Yes, finding people in costumes and getting her picture with them was still high on her list but she also wanted to play tons and tons of games.
I mean we were playing games while we had lunch, breaks and any booth that had a spot open with a game she could even sort of play we had to stop at. It was exhausting…fantastic and I loved every second…but exhausting.
For those that have never been to Gen Con you really should go. Even if you only go on Family Day which is the last day (Sunday). The ticket price is for a family of 4 so it is cheaper and they have a lot more family friendly events that day than any other. The experience is like nothing else and you cannot compare it to any other convention. You won’t regret going.
Usually the first day is the calmest of them all since most people buy tickets for Saturday or for 4 days but arrive for Fri – Sun only. This year, however, it seemed like a normal Friday after lunch on Thursday BEFORE lunch! It was very busy and there was so much energy (all positive) that you wouldn’t even think about being tired.
I found out afterwards that once again Gen Con broke attendance records. 61,423 unique visitors attended Gen Con this year! I can’t imagine how many will be there next year as this convention just seems to get bigger and better every year. I’ll explain a few reason we love it and maybe you’ll understand. Check out our photo gallery of our Gen Con adventures this year!
I’ve explained about the people before. How the whole place barely has any rude people at all especially if you are walking around with kids. Don’t get me wrong you might encounter a few but the for most part everyone is nice, polite (which is kind of becoming rare…which makes me sad) and courteous.
Most will stop and talk to you about a game you’re both looking at or an item at one of the vendor booths. Usually my kids or myself will be the starter of said conversations but not always. Although, my kids will in fact talk to anyone and everyone. They are constantly told that it is ok to talk to strangers if mom or dad are there with them and that we don’t tell people our names without parents permission.
We do randomly but often go over safety concerns especially before a convention…but it isn’t really needed. The people create an atmosphere I have yet to experience anywhere else…except my own game nights with friends and family. The other side to the people are the vendors and game companies themselves.
These people travel from show to show, setting up and tearing down their displays and run on little to no sleep during conventions. They stand all day long and while they get breaks some do not get many breaks and some barely get a chance to sit down or go off to look around.
I have never heard any of them complain. No one has ever not smiled at my kids…or anyone else. They are always friendly, considerate, thoughtful, fun, energetic and not once even think about not smiling at you or welcoming you to their booth.
They aren’t even trying to sell you things. They just want you to have a good time and try their games. I haven’t met a pushy person at a booth at Gen Con yet.
There are a few booths we visit every year since we first discovered them. You may have seen my reviews for some of their games on this site or heard me talk about them before.
I don’t make money if you buy anything from anyone (unless you use my affiliate links of course 😉 ) but I do share games and game companies that make quality and fun games but also because of how they are in person. I’ll tell you about a few of them and if you want to you can check out their websites.
Calliope – www.calliopegames.com
One of my kids most favorite booths. The people (and I mean everyone) at that booth are so warm and welcoming to anyone who go to it. A few people there recognize my kids on sight and even remember their names…from last year!
They treat my kids like little celebrities though…which of course my kids love. No one had any problem playing Roll For it! with my Diva or attempting to play Ugh with her either. She does ok at Tsuro and the guy showing her how to play gave her a pin for finishing.
Calliope was there in person and her costume was amazing! Beautifully done and she gave the kids an autographed photo. Too cute and they love her. Those pictures on their walls by their beds too. We literally visit this booth every day…several times and are always greeted with the same warm smiles. We will always visit their booth…always.
Blue Orange Games – www.blueorangegames.com
Yet another favorite for the Geeklings. This booth has tons of demo options and a nice group of people to help you play them.
Everyone is friendly and not afraid to lose (they let them win usually) to the kids or be silly with them. My kids go to this booth every day (again several times) to play repeat games of Giant Pengaloo and Giant Gobblet Gobblers. Not life size…maybe not Giant but bigger..huge?
It just makes a fun game more fun when it’s bigger for some reason. No one is ever pushy but always helpful and willing to show you any game or all of them. They are very enthusiastic about their games…with good reason. Blue Orange makes some top quality games.
Their newest game New York, 1901 is fantastic and a new favorite at game nights. Crab Stack is just fun and educational for kids…they have quite a few games like that though. Fun, good quality, educational games that will not get on parents nerves. No seriously, you’ll like them too.
Most of the games use wooden pieces that are always preferred over the plastic mostly because they last longer and are made with more care. The card games use standard card material but the games themselves are great. I’m not sure I’ve come across a bad game of Spot It! and I recently discovered Super Genius at their booth. It’s like Spot It! but specifically for Reading or Math! Love it…
R & R Games – www.rnrgames.com
One of the guys there taught my kids a “magic” trick last year that they STILL remember. Ok…take a piece of paper crumble it up and show the “audience”. Close one hand around it tight and say “Abra Ca Dabra!” or something and throw your hands up and open them in front of the “audience”. It’s gone!
He showed them how when his hands go up he throws the paper…literally in the air. They now do this ALL the time for people. Although when they do it the paper falls in front of them which is even more hilarious. This year they taught the kids how to play Hearts Attraction…which is now a new favorite while we wait for (or sometimes during) dinner to be done.
Their new game Spike was debuted in a fantastic way. You used a coupon do get a free spin on their wheel. You could win a game, dollars to use towards purchase there or some other coupon or fun item but the real prize was trying to win a copy of Spike while playing Spike…yes you play Spike at Gen Con to try to win it!
It was brilliant! Annoying and frustrating but brilliant. They gave you this little card which actually has artwork from the game cards exept for the back. That had numbered lines 1 – 7. Your mission was to walk around Gen Con and find signs that had the cities listed on the front of your card. Sounds easy? It SO was not!
Ok we may have been distracted while trying to find signs by looking at everything else…but still not easy! My nephew is 13 so we split up and tried to do a search and combine…and found tons of cities for cards that were not ours. We didn’t even complete one card but it was really fun trying. I love a good scavenger hunt!
Rather Dashing – www.ratherdashinggames.com
This booth is a lot fun because everyone will play any game there with you and some days they dress up in Steam-punk outfits…my favorite type of cosplay! They don’t have a lot of games but they do have good ones. They put a lot of time and effort into these games and I can honestly say we like every single one.
You may recognize Grant Wilson from the TV show Ghost Hunters. He does take time for any fan that recognizes him and will happily take a picture and talk to them. One of the most down to earth celebrities I’ve met and he does amazing artwork on his games too.
The newest game Graveyards, Ghosts & Haunted Houses is our favorite and BOTH my kids know how to play. The guys at the booth at so much patience to teach my daughter this game…and to deal with my son when he was not really listening because he “knew how to play already”.
It is the sequel to Pirates, Ninjas, Robots & Zombies which was our favorite until this one came out. Dwarven Miner is another favorite and Red Hot Silly Peppers is part of our lesson plan for our home-school math. So many wonderful games to choose from and such a great company.
Peaceable Kingdom – www.peaceablekingdom.com
This company focuses (and prides itself) on cooperative games for kids. You might remember my Feed the Woozle review and if not check it out HERE. Every game they had at Gen Con was a co-op game and we played almost every one…several times. I have mentioned that my kids visit favorite booths repeatedly right?
The Diva discovered the Mermaid Island game this year and would NOT stop talking about it. She had one of the ladies there play several times with her. By several I mean probably a dozen or so…she was so patient with the Diva though! Never annoyed, always smiling and fun and patient.
My son wanted to play all of them of course but he preferred Hoot Owl Hoot and Dinosaur Escape. Their new game Cauldron Quest looked like a lot of fun but we never got past the other games to try it.
Again the ladies there had infinite patience and not once seemed annoyed at playing the same game over and over with the same kid. Such a great company and their games are so much fun for all.
Mayday Games – www.maydaygames.com
The makers of Get Bit! have a fun game called Coconuts that both my kids absolutely LOVE. You have to push monkey hands down and flip a coconut into a bucket. There is a point to the game and its cute but my kids really just loved flipping the coconuts all over. They DID eventually learn how to flip them into the buckets but the people at that booth must have chased about 100 of the little things with just my kids alone!
No one complained or hid the coconuts. I would have hid them…but they chased them, found them, caught some and put them all back on the table for kids. My Diva of course had to play with someone…not me…and someone always came around to play with her. They have some pretty good games that are great for all ages.
Mayfair Games – www.mayfairgames.com
Mayfair has a few games meant for kids and some meant for adults and some meant for anyone. They had LOTS of staff showing people how to play their games and everyone we came across was super nice. One guy showed us how to play Karnackel and had patience enough for the Diva to goof off while playing. The Gentleman tried Patchwork with my husband and loved it! It is now a favorite around our house.
Steve Jackson Games – www.sjgames.com
The folks at this booth are not used to dealing with kids around 4 or 5 on a normal basis. Their games are usually meant for older kids and adults but that didn’t stop my kids from wanting to play them. It also didn’t stop anyone at that booth from showing them HOW to play some of them.
Their newer games Mars Attacks: Ten-Minute Takedown was easy enough for my Diva to play. The guy had an unlimited amount of patience with her rolling ability. She couldn’t quite flick the dice so she sort of hit it with the back of her fingers…and sometimes caused it to fly across the table and off of it. They were super nice with her and my son when he was playing their other Mars Attacks game, Mars Attacks — The Dice Game.
I know I’ve mentioned a handful of companies and I really could go on for a bit about some other ones but that would make this post even longer than it is…which is pretty long already. I honestly don’t think we visited a rude or impatience booth. No one ever complained about either of my kids wanting to play a game at their booth or about them wanting to play them over and over and over…every day either.
If you have never gone you just need to go. One day is all it will take. You will love it or hate it. You will want to go back immediately after leaving or you will be ok to never go again. Gen Con cannot really be described. I mean I try year after year and I do the best I can but Gen Con must really be experienced.Share your Gen Con adventures with us! @MyGeeklings #GeeklingsAtGenCon @Gen_Con