Gen Con begins this Thursday...technically -- the unofficial festivities have spilled over into Wednesday in recent years. For me, Gen Con begins Friday morning, when our caravan pulls into town. Really, though, the Gen Con season starts when the buzz for new products begins, when guests and events are announced, and the anticipation starts to build. Two months ago, maybe? I'm already in the Gen Con state of mind.
The title of this post might be misleading. What I look forward to most is the camaraderie, the fun, the shared stories and the shared history. Gen Con is the place where the members of Geek Nation can assemble and wave their freak flag high, for four days at least.
The shared history is particularly important for me. It's a continuous living connection to the past of our strange and wondrous hobby. Stop in and watch the Gen Con Auction for a history lesson, not only from viewing the vintage items but listening to the matching stories from the auctioneers.
More Gen Con nostalgia later. This posting is really about what games, products, and general silliness I'm most looking forward to this year. I was inspired by Zach Houghton's Gen Con vendor previews over on RPGBlog2, which helped me look at the company sites for several interesting new products, along with my notekeeping and bookmarking for the past few weeks as the announcements and previews filtered out. Another important resource is the 2010 Exhibitor Website Directory over at Livingdice.com.
First of all, Eden Studios will be at the show. Buffy, Angel, zombies... go to their booth and buy stuff!
Fireside Games will have scratch-and-dent copies of their popular co-op boardgame Castle Panic for only $20.
The main book I'm looking for this year is Shadow, Sword & Spell from Rogue Games. From what I've read about it (A Primer, interview), it appears to be a new perspective take on old-school pulp fantasy. By "pulp", I mean The Big Three of Weird Tales: Howard, Lovecraft, and Smith. This might be the rules I've been looking for to run a Conan RPG.
When you walk the the length of the dealers' room twice and then drag your backpack to the next game, you're going to be thirsty. Grab a Rootjack, the pirate energy drink. It prevents scurvy!
And after walking all day, hit the Geeky Clean booth for soap with a d20 inside.
Speakin' o' pirates, matey... Scotty's Alehouse is having a Pirate Gatherin' on Saturday night. I've never been there, but from what I've read this year it sounds like they are getting into the spirit of the con as much or more than even The Ram. While supplies last, Scotty's is handing out one of four commemorative dice with the purchase of a gaming-themed entree. Freeport Sea Biscuits and Gravy?!
So much for the silliness. Tomorrow I'll write more about the books and products I believe will be the highlights of the show for me.