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Gen Con 2010 recap

By John Kaufeld
By Tim Kidwell
Published: August 12, 2010
Bastion Ex Illis
Attendees check out Bastion's new wargame, Ex Illis.
Looney Labs Fluxx
Andy Looney (standing center) of Looney Labs plays his award-winning Fluxx card game.
Mayfair Games
Mayfair Games had a huge presence at Gen Con 2010, and plenty of room for demoing new games.
Nexus Games Mage Storm
Nexus Games debuted its new tactical board game, Mage Storm.
Z-Man Games
Zev Shlasinger, owner of Z-Man Games, explains the new tactical combat game, Earth Reborn.
If you didn't attend Gen Con Indy, then you missed a great opportunity to expand your business and grow your knowledge.

This year's show set a new attendance record as it broke the 30,000 attendee mark, with a final total of 30,046 people. That includes Gen Con's traditional game players, as well as trade attendees and participants in the relatively new Family Fun program.

Increases in the Family Fun program demonstrate the public's growing interest in games as a family activity, which means a market opportunity for hobby and game stores around the country.

The exhibit hall featured many new game companies, along with a strong presence from the well-known names in the market. Companies showed many line expansions, but several new games looked very promising as well.

On the family games side, Hecho (Glowfly Games) played very well in a 15-20 minute timeframe. Mayfair Games showed several products in their Funfair line, while Mindtwister USA demonstrated its strategy and puzzle titles to a receptive family crowd. Newcomer P&G Games showed Gems of Virtues, a solid-playing game which will definitely appeal to the female audience in your store.

Playroom Entertainment continued expanding the gigantic Killer Bunnies franchise, and discussed plans for a soon-to-be-released series of party games at a $15.00 retail price point. Asmadi Games showed off their new Innovation party game, which has players growing civilizations based on different technologies — all in 30 minutes.

Miniatures and tactical board games were also a big draw this year. Wyrd Miniatures’ Malifaux gothic Wild West game piqued interest, as did the company’s new Terraclips modular 3D gaming environments. Fantasy Flight Games’  new Dust Tactics pits players against each other in an alternate universe where World War II never ended, using scale miniatures that rival plastic models in detail.

Privateer Press was hopping this year, with the release of Hordes Primal Mk.II and the news that Monsterpocalypse is being made into a big budget film.

Trade Day, Gen Con’s day devoted to retailers, librarians and educators using games in the classroom, had several seminar tracks, covering topics such as customer rewards, building community and understanding the decision-making process. Other highlights included using games to improve student engagement and teaching how to write using popular books and film.

In a panel discussion, Dan Yarrington, managing partner of Myriad Games, Manchester, N.H.; Leah Sugar, vice president of marketing at Out of the Box Publishing; Pat Fuge, CEO of Gnome Games, Green Bay, Wis.; and Alliance Game Distributors' Vice President of Marketing Mike Webb, talked about new retail opportunities due to  increases in Title 1 funding (federal grants for local education agencies and schools with high numbers of poor children); responsible community involvement as a means of building a strong consumer base and a sense of belonging; and starting game nights either in the store or at another venue such as a library or school.

Photos courtesy of John Kaufeld.