Winners:Star Trek: Ascendancy- In my opinion, this was the big winner of the convention. That said, I already had Scythe, and decided against both Seafall and Kingdom Death, for various reasons. I participated in a demo of the game on Friday, and had a blast playing with three gentlemen that knew each other. We had a blast with the game which is a very thematic 4x game. Game length will vary based on your play group and your initial spacing of homeworlds. Each race has a disadvantage to hinder them in play style, and an advantage to help them, as well as a unique technology deck. Yes, it's only 3 player... for now, Cardassians and Ferengi are supposed to be out by the end of year.
Cephalofair Games- While they did not manage to get any copies of Gloomhaven in time for the convention, they did make an arrangement to sell copies of Scythe for Stonemaier Games. Stonmaier had a demo room, but not a booth, and thus were unable to sell games themselves. I applaud this move to be a little fleible and help another company in the community out.
Mindworm Games- This is a new company with a game that came out of nowhere for me. Exiles is their first game, part skirmish, part roleplay/legacy cooperative jumble. They make all their own components currently(hoping that continues). The only reason I didn't grab it is that I want to see a bit more from them before I dive in.
Floor Space- So, the exhibit hall was expanded a bit, but that's not the only reason it was roomier this year. GenCon expanded into Lucas Oil Stadium this year, and I believe, into another hotel or two. Cosplay and anime events were moved into the stadium, which, while it isolated those groups a bit, made for much more walking space in the con center and exhibit hall.
Near and Far- I know I've already mentioned this game here, but there was some preview material there, including the atlas. I have to say, this game looks good, and the variation within the game has me a bit eager.
Empty Epsilon- While I normally avoid computer games as outside my area, this is a starship bridge simulator using multiple stations. If you've seen the Artemis sim, this appears to be an upgrade on multiple fronts. No kinks in these systems.
Also, Columbia Games needs to thank Jeffro Johnson for his post on Wizard Kings during GenCon, which got them at least one more sale.
Stuff I Missed:Coldwater Crown- I forgot to make a note of where this was being demoed, and it wasn't in the exhibit hall. Note for next year: note where everything is that you want to see.
Moonquake Escape- Same as above. I do regret not seeing this.
Lews Pulsipher- He was presenting regarding the new edition of Brittania, which I wanted to see. However, it was at 6 on Friday, and I was already exhausted. (We parked 12 blocks, I'm out of shape, and was dehydrated.) Hopefully he'll post something on his blog.
The Future of GenConGiven the expansion of the convention, there's no running out of steam here. However, there were two things that gave me cause to think that Vox Day was right in pronouncing an eventual death for GenCon. Firstly, the Code of Conduct type of material is more prevalent, another sign of convergence, in addition to it's lackluster Industry Insider track, with a few exceptions, and one only because he's black, not because he made good games(he has). Alongside this factor was the increase of "Gaymer" , etc., tags, and a lack of tolerance for Christianity. Secondly, the level of creativity in new games seems to be down from previous years. This also is indicative of convergence, as seen in the nearby field of SFF. I hope Vox is wrong, but at this point I fear he may be right.
When you play Social Justice, the world loses.