I can’t give you a better overall summary of the show than what has already been written here, here and here. However, I can tell you what I did while I was there, what I bought, and show you some pictures.
DVO and I arrived on Friday morning. The hotel didn’t have a room available yet, so we put our stuff in storage there and went on to the show. We wandered the dealers’ room for a while until mid-day. He was scheduled to compete in a poker tournament in the afternoon so I caught up with Edige and John B. for lunch (a "Warmachine Burger" as big as my head).
In the afternoon, DVO got into another poker tourney, so I wandered around the dealers’ hall for a while, then we went to dinner at the Alcatraz Brewing Co. We decided that we didn’t want to haul all the 40K terrain and minis to one of the hotel ballrooms for 24-hour gaming, so instead we played the Monsters Menace America boardgame. He went to a late-night poker tournament, while I watched TV back at the room.
After hitting the Red Eye Café the next morning, we went back to the con for a full day of shopping (or browsing at least, we bought a lot of stuff on Friday). We managed to catch up to Kenn Kong and Dawg twice during the day. We decided to take off in the late afternoon before the Colts game traffic got too crazy, so we ended up back in town earlier than we expected.
So, what did I buy? I went looking for con specials, sales, OOP items – things that I couldn’t normally order from the FLGS. Also, since you can physically pick up nearly any RPG book in existence, I like to flip through books I've been thinking about picking up, just to see if they are worth ordering so I don’t get stuck with something awful. Here’s my haul of goodies:
Invasion of Monster Island, normally only available on PDF
Testament (on sale from GR for $10!)
True20 Gen Con print preview
Al-Qadim: Cities of Bone (sealed for $5!)
GURPS Magic, Grimoire, and Warriors (buy 2, get one free from SJG)
GURPS Castle Falkenstein: Ottoman Empire, Arabian Nights, and Cabal (SJG $5 table)
GURPS WWII, Solid! D20, Uresia: Grave of Heaven D20 and BESM (from Titan's "Buy 1 get 3 free" table, though I was kicking myself for not seeing the copies of Nyambe there until Saturday)
The Christopher Lee Filmography (50% off McFarland sale on Saturday)
From the Indie Press Dept.:
The New Argonauts
The Secret Lives of Gingerbread Men
Vs. Monsters Deluxe
…and some other odds and ends, like a partial plastic Marine Land Speeder and the pieces to make a weird Tyranid creature for about $6, and a Diamond Throne module for a buck. I would have liked to look at some others from The Forge, like The Mountain Witch, Dogs in the Vineyard, and My Life with Master, but I could hardly get near the booth. And as Derek will tell you, no copies of ESP were available.
As promised, some pics:
One of the Titans from Wargods of Olympus.
The new AT-ATs for WotC's Star Wars Miniatures Game are "impressive... most impressive".
Dwarven Forge layout for Reaper's Warlord.
A gorgeous CAV dropship model constructed from foamcore and printable exterior graphics.
Great demo terrain by Gale Force Nine.
As Edige said, this looks like a gamer fetish site in the making.
There was a weird vibe to the show on Friday. There were a lot of people there, but it felt friendlier and laid back, more like Origins. You could certainly move around easier on the dealers’ room floor. On Saturday, however, the usual crush of goobers was on in full force. I wish I could have sat in on some of the seminars; maybe next year. All things considered, it was a great show!