For those that know, live and breathe tabletop gaming in all its forms this is the mecca that thousands of gamers flock to every year. I thought like a fool that I would roll in with a press pass, cover the entire floor and walk out at around 6pm with a bunch of business cards given out and samples in tow.
How wrong I was.
The trip started roughly enough as I hit something going southbound on 69 and a $145.00 tow later I was back on the road. The directions and the delay got me into a parking garage at around 10 minutes before the exhibitors hall was going to open.
Now I had been to GenCon before and it was up in the great state of Wisconsin. The exhibit hall was large and there was tons to see and do and you could canvas the whole area in a matter of an hour or so. When I got there the doors were opening and a sea of bodies were flowing into the now open hall.
This event rivals San Diego Comic Con with the amount of people in attendance as last year there were 50,000+ at the con. And yes there were the heavy hitters in attendance such as Hasbro, Warhammer and Wizkids however, every time I tried to go by each of those booths they were packed. I do know Warhammer has a few new miniature board games that are to be released one based off of the video game Space Marine 2. However, I wanted to cover the smaller companies that don’t get enough coverage at events like this.
To start off I went by Trick or Treat Studios that not only make collectible masks, action figures and accessories but games as well! They were showcasing some amazing titles including ShadowGate which is based off of the PC and NES game of the same name as well as Nightmare Productions in which you run a movie studio. But one of the biggest releases from them has to be their upcoming board game based on the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This game looks amazing as you and your friends try to outrun the Slaughter family! Check them out at https://trickortreatstudios.com/
Rebellion is responsible for some amazing video games such as Sniper Elite and now they have broken into the tabletop space with a board game based on the franchise. However, they are not done yet as they have a new game coming out called Joyride. This game allows you to race as you will have to make it through various gates in order to come in first. However, it’s not as easy as it seems as you can pick up weapons, crash into opponents and use nitrous to leave your friends in the dust. It is slated to be released on Kickstarter later this month but you can check out the teaser trailer and more info here.
Next I had not seen this game in ages and it was Battlelords of the 23rd Century. This RPG is set in the far future as you play as under trained spies and mercenaries in a war torn universe. There are fourteen races to play from the sleek and agile Cizerack to the mighty yet dense Ram Python. The core book has everything that you will need to play as the universe is filled with things that want to kill you or worse. For more info on this amazing game go to http://www.23rdcentury.net/
Catalyst Game Labs was out in force at this year’s show as they had not only a lot of products to display but a new kickstarter that launched. Shadowrun: Takedown is a new board game / rpg hybrid in which characters are controlled by players while another player is the mastermind taking control of all the threats in the world. This kickstarter was funded in 40 minutes and you can check out some of the rewards here. If you also wanted miniatures to go with your Shadowrun or Battletech games you could also go to Iron Wind Metals over here. And before Battletech and Shadowrun these licenses were part of a bigger company called FASA and they are back with more releases here.
Most of your favorite role playing games are made by one company called Studio 2 publishing. However, there was one book at the show that was simply breathtaking and that is called Shard. This is a beautifully illustrated and unique system that allows you to play not as elves or dwarves but a variety of animal people. You can repel boarders as you fly around on a skyship or face death in the middle of an arena with a blade of amber. This is truly a game system to be experienced and more info is at https://www.shardrpg.com/.
Ravensburger is an amazing company and they were out in full force with their latest game, a CCG based on Disney characters. If you ever wanted to summon some of your favorite characters and battle against your opponents this is the game for you. Check out the amazing website at https://www.disneylorcana.com/.
Like I said in the beginning there are tons of different games at the show and while I would love to cover them all I can only cover what I saw in the few scant hours that I was at the show. The folks over at https://www.wetinkgames.com/ have some amazing products like Heckin Good Doggos where you can roleplay as your dog but they also have a GREAT product in the works called Home which is a haunted house map building role playing game and sounds wonderful! They also have another game called Garbage and Glory which looks colorful and you can check out the Kickstarter here.
Mantic was also in attendance with such great miniature war games such as The Walking Dead, Firefight and Kings of War but they are branching out into the dice game market with Invincible and the Walking Dead! These are both amazing, fast paced games that you should check out at https://www.manticgames.com/.
Evil Genius Games recently released their newest RPG called Everyday Heroes in which you can play whatever type of game you’d like. However, they have adventures based on various movie properties such as Escape from New York and The Crow. They just announced two more releases and those are for Highlander and Total Recall! You can check them out on their website at https://evilgeniusgames.com/. Dyskami publishing continues making content for their BESM which is an anime RPG however, they also have their Absolute Power line that is based off of Silver Age Sentinels. If you love superhero roleplaying check them out at https://dyskami.ca/.
Manna Project studios is an Italian game studio that has released a book called the Seven Deadly Sins for 5E rules. This covers all manner of demons, cultists and relics and looks phenomenal as they have other games and settings for 5E including Historia, Nightfell and This is Not the End as well as having a Cowboy Bebop RPG slated for kickstarter you can check them out at https://manaprojectstudio.com/ . Next door there was a company called Panic Roll promoting their new game Townsfolk Tussle and it looks heavily influenced by the Cuphead games check them out at https://www.panicroll.com/. The folks over at Privateer Press had a lot going on as they were showing off their game Warmachine and you can get all that info at their website https://home.privateerpress.com/.
As I was running around like a chicken without a head there were so many games to check out such as the folks over at https://www.twincitygames.com/ with games like Dino Dunk and Animals in Espionage, https://pendragongamestudio.com/ releasing not only a game called Eternaut but a game based on the iconic Escape from New York and https://uvsgames.com/ making an anime fighting card game with My Hero Academia and Trigun to name a few. Iron Crown Enterprises was back with a remastered version of their Rolemaster system unified called Core Law which can be found at http://ironcrown.co.uk/. Also I tried to find Avalon Hill’s booth as they are making a 3rd edition of Betrayal at House on the Hill which you can see their website here.
Arcane Wonders has made some amazing games over the years and now they are coming out with another great game based on a famous license. There is going to be a Call of Duty board game and right now it’s on Kickstarter and you can back it here.
Monster Fight Club is an amazing company that is not only releasing scenics that can be used for your own games but they also make some great licensed properties. There are games based on the Witcher, Borderlands and a miniatures game based off of Cyberpunk Red! Check them out in all their glory at https://monsterfightclub.com/.
Twilight Creations has been making games for YEARS and their Zombies series has gotten bigger with each growing incarnation. If you love horror board games check them out at https://www.twilightcreationsinc.com/. Gamelyn games makes some awesome games that come in very tiny packages in their Tiny Epic series; however, they have a new game coming out based on the Last Kingdom show on Netflix. Check out their website at https://www.gamelyngames.com/.
Last but not least if it wasn’t for the Indie folks out there the gaming world would not be the same and the folks over at https://www.indiepressrevolution.com/ and https://plusoneexp.com/ make some of the most amazing and wonderful games out there. Shiver is one of the games to check out as it thrusts you into the strange and unknown. There is also Fallen Land from Fallen Dominion Studios as this is a board game that has a lot of story driven elements. You can work together or battle it out and you can get the game at https://www.fallendominionstudios.com/. Check them out and give them some love!
And that’s it from Indianapolis! What did I learn about going this year? Four things.
- Make a plan. If there are retailers you want to see or hit up, study the maps and events. Don’t go into this blind.
- TAKE. BREAKS. There is a LOT of walking and if you get tired, take a break. If you are hungry, eat something and stay hydrated.
- If you are local and driving check your CAR BEFORE you go. I didn’t. And paid a $145 fee for towing and a tire change because I didn’t have a jack or tire iron.
- HAVE FUN. Yes the ride down there sucked but the rest was amazing. I had a GREAT time and I wanna see if I can go next year and possibly spend the night somewhere.
So that’s it! There’s tons coming out of GenCon 2023 this year so what’s your favorite? Let us know as we love hearing from you!