Every year gaming geeks of all shapes and sizes travel to Indianapolis to participate in Gen Con, a 4-day table-top gaming extravaganza. Gamers are able to participate in all sorts of tournaments as well as playtest a variety of role-playing, strategy, miniature, and collectible card games. I am an avid gamer, but this was my first time ever attending Gen Con. Let me tell you, the experience was amazing.
Libraries that offer gaming programs or circulate games should consider attending Gen Con to better serve their patrons. Gen Con is a great place for librarians to learn about and playtest games to add to their collections. I was at the convention for 3 days, and I still wasn’t able to experience everything. While there I learned about many games I’d never even heard of. Moreover, I was able to playtest games that are currently out, as well as upcoming releases. Reading reviews of board games, and even seeing them played on YouTube, are nothing in comparison to getting my hands on the actual games themselves, and playing through with a group of people.
The convention is broken up into an exhibit hall, a large play hall in the back, and multiple rooms with different events happening throughout the convention center. Purchasing a badge allows you into the gaming area and the exhibit hall, but many of the events cost extra. Many of these events require tickets, which often sell out very early. Next year I plan on deciding what events to participate in ahead of time and purchasing those tickets as early as possible.
Librarians are able to get a special pass and attend on Trade Day (Wednesday), which I think could be particularly helpful. I was overwhelmed by all of the information and gaming that was offered throughout the website and at the convention, and I was lucky to attend with friends. I would suggest that any librarian who is attending Gen Con for the first time should partner up with someone who has been there before. Another suggestion would be to look through the programming book, available in PDF form on the Gen Con Indy website. The program book is currently for this year’s convention (which just wrapped up), but should be updated soon. Even if the program book is slightly out of date, it gives an idea of what is available at the convention.
Gen Con was an amazing experience. I left the convention with multiple new games, and an even longer list of games that I want to purchase soon. As a librarian, I am excited to get some more table-top games to add to our ever growing selection. I can’t wait to attend the convention again next year.
Cover Image Credit: SuSchu