Covering Gen Con Indy 2009

I enjoy my work.  That’s no secret, but sometimes I enjoy it even more when my work overlaps with my personal interests.  The two came together this past weekend when I covered Gen Con Indy 2009 for The (Muncie) Star Press.

Though Gen Con is in its 42nd year, it’s been held in Indianapolis since 2003.  Indianapolis is 60 miles from where I live, so it’s an easy drive.  I’ve discovered that it provides a great opportunity for me to combine my work and personal interests.  Gen Con includes just about anything gaming related: electronic games, card games, board games, role-playing games and more.

A few years ago, I went from being a gamer’s wife to being a gaming wife.  Games have long been an interest of my husband’s, but they didn’t interest me too much until a few years ago.  He’s still the biggest gamer in our home, hands down, but I enjoy playing along with him sometimes.

We first went to Gen Con four years ago as attendees.  I was only half interested, if even that.  Once I was there, though, I found myself enjoying the experience.  We spent the day traipsing all through the Exhibit Hall in the Indiana Convention Center.  It was that year I realized the potential of covering the event for publication as well.

As a freelancer, I am always on the lookout for new markets and new “gigs.”  I look for stories everywhere.   Gen Con had its share of stories.  Since then, I’ve done some work ahead of time and found editors who were looking for articles about Gen Con.  Last year and this year, I wrote articles for my local newspaper.  I’m hoping to expand even more next year.

And since the articles are newsy rather than personal, I decided blog a bit about my own experiences at Gen Con this year.  It was the first year that I was able to go for two days instead of just one.  Going for one day always feels like we’re rushed to get everything in, and we still have stuff we want to do when we leave.  Going for two days was pretty similar!  We had a chance to do more this year, but we still had things we wished we would have had time for when we left.

One difference I’ve noticed since the first Gen Con I went to is the smaller amount of free stuff given out.  That first year we were heavy laden with free goodies.  Each year since the offerings have gotten smaller and smaller.  This year had very little free stuff.  However, this year did include a coupon book.  We got free dice keychains with one coupon, a board game for $1 with another and a card game for $5 with yet another.  That was nice.  I’m willing to give any game a try for the right price!

We spent the first day walking through the exhibit hall checking out everything.  The electronic games probably had the most impressive booths.  A booth for a new game based on Dante’s Inferno definitely caught attention as did the Atari booth promoting Champions Online, a computer game launching Sept. 1 that has received much hype.  The Atari booth was especially crowded at 4 p.m. each day when a raffle took place to win a lifetime subscription to the game.  My husband was hoping for that one, but neither of our numbers were called.  We’re just going to have to bite the bullet and pay for that ourselves.

The second day was spent mostly doing game demos.  We haven’t gotten to do that much in the past because with one day there just isn’t enough time.  We did a game demo through Upper Deck for a new Marvel card game coming out the first part of next year.  As a die-hard Marvel fan, I was thrilled to do the demo, but disappointed with the cards I drew.  My husband easily beat me fair and square.  The game is based more on the Marvel movies.  One thing that bothered me was the main character (in my case Wolverine; in my husband’s case Iron Man) could be pulled out and used as many times as you wanted.  It doesn’t make sense to me to have more than one Wolverine.

Our second game demo for Gen Con Indy 2009 was a Penny Arcade card game.  The game is based on a comic about two guys, Gabe and Tycho, who are typical gamers.  My husband enjoys the comic.  I’ve read a few that he’s sent to me.  Basically, we ended up trying this game because it was produced through Fantasy Flight, and we were waiting for a demo of Descent.  However, I’m glad we tried it.  First, I’m glad because I won and I like winning!  I was also glad, though, because it was a fun game.  We enjoyed it so much that we picked it up for $25 from the Fantasy Flight booth.  It will be a good one for family vacations or quick games on weeknights.  It was probably my biggest surprise of Gen Con.

The third game demo was the aforementioned Descent board game, also from Fantasy Flight.  This board game is pretty unique.  We actually purchased it a few months ago and played it once.  But as a newer gamer, I was easily confused by it and even my husband needed some clarification, so we did a demo.  For those who have played role-playing games, many of them require a Game Master (GM).  This game is different.  Basically there is a Warlord who is trying to kill the heroes in the game.  My husband and I played along with two others as heroes.  Our Warlord was great at instructions and has been involved with creating expansion packs for the game.  We had a great time and learned more about the game.  I especially loved at the end when I defeated the final two monsters in one round — a first for this year’s Gen Con, according to our Warlord.  Score!  We had such a good time that the day after our return from Gen Con, we sat down and played our own Descent game and had a blast.

Overall, Gen Con was fun.  I spent time on Friday (our day one) conducting interviews for my article and then put it together at lunchtime.  I got it sent off to my newspaper editor before dinner that evening so it could run in the next day’s paper.  It was definitely great to combine work and fun.  My wheels are already turning about how I can get even more work based on next year’s Gen Con!

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  1. Just blowing some time on Stumbleupon and I found your article . Not typically what I prefer to learn about, but it was certainly worth my time. Thanks.