It’s almost time for the biggest gaming event in the United States. GenCon is celebrating 50 years this year, and with expected crowds of more than 70,000, it’s gonna be a wild one. I attended GenCon way back when it was held in the Mecca Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Once it moved, we were less motivated to go, plus we had a small child.

Flash forward about 16 years to GenCon 2016 last year.

I have become involved with a group call Double Exposure Envoy as a “Herald”. The Herald program lets you demo games for companies in exchange for getting the game for free as long as you agree to run it X number of times (depending on the game and company). But around these big convention times (Origins, GenCon, and several other larger cons), these game companies need help manning their booths. They turn to Double Exposure Envoy for help and offer some pretty swanky perks for doing so. You will usually get a badge to the con, and maybe a shared hotel room. Some companies pay in store credit, others give great bags of swag. I got set up to work with Bezier Games. I had a super awesome time running the games and being a part of the convention.

This year, my whole family is going. They’ll be doing some RPG’ing while I work, then we have all number of cool things scheduled to do. Honestly, we couldn’t even go through all the things there are to do. Some of our highlights include an Escape Room, Pathfinder, and a few panels. (I get to go to my first Dice Tower Live! show… squeee!)

I could spend my entire convention in the dealer room and NEVER GET BORED! It’s amazing. Trying out new games, seeing all the cool accessories for sale, wandering the artist section and drooling over the amazing art on display. I expect this year to be super crowded though, and hope to do a few other things.

If you end up with some time, scope out the first exposure playtest hall. You can help beta test new upcoming games, give feedback, and you’ll get to play games before anyone else! It’s really interesting. Last year I helped a designer playtest their rules. Oh, how I wish more companies would do that!

So what is the “cult of the new” that I want to check out this year? Hotshots from Fireside Games definately tops my list. It sounds like they won’t have it for sale, but hopefully I can get a demo in. It looks like a lot of fun. I’m planning on picking up Biotix from Smirk and Dagger. I like their games, and the collaboration between Smirk and Dagger and Tina Bongorno, the artist on the game has a special place in my heart. They were both guests at Gamicon (run by Mindbridge Foundation, whose page you are on), two years ago. While I was talking with them, Curt Covert looked at Tina and said “I may have a project for you…” I feel priviledged to have been a very tiny part of making this combo happen. ¬†One of my favorite games, King’s Forge by Game Salute has a new “Gold” expansion out, so I’m hoping to pick that one up. I’d really like to get a chance to play “Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time”. I don’t know much about the game, but with a title like that, it sounds amazing!

Lots of companies have special GenCon 50 promotions, and I hope to pick some of them up, and may even try to partake in Mayfair’s Ribbon quest. You play games and get various ribbons. Once you have collected all of the ribbons, you can get a special ribbon and promo and discounts & stuff.

If you go to GenCon, come say hi! I’ll be in the Bezier Booth from 10am-2pm every day. Ask for Michele.