Upcoming Convention Spotlight - Gen Con - Indianapolis, IN August 15-18

For anyone that has ever attended Gen Con, you understand that summarizing the experience in a few paragraphs is a daunting task. Their own tag line is "The Best Four Days in Gaming" and  simply put, it really is.  There are game demonstrations, tournaments, family events, celebrity guests, and the list goes on and on.  The convention is held at the Indiana Convention Center and involves many of the surrounding hotels for additional events and tournaments.

I am still a Gen Con noob, having only attended for one day last year.  My initial response was "wow" and my response after having a year to process is still "wow". This is an expansive convention that has a huge list of opportunities for game enthusiasts of any experience level.  More so than a traditional pop-culture or comic con, to get the most out of your Gen Con experience you need to do some pre-planning.  Gen Con does an exceptional job of putting the different available gaming opportunities on their website prior to the show.  If you are interested in actively taking part in any specific game play, check this out and make sure you are prepared what is required to play before showing up. Tickets are usually required, (and often need to be purchased ahead of time) to take part in scheduled events. Some events have costs and some don't.  Remember the Gen Con site. Use it. It has a great search ability to find all the information you will need.Even if you aren't planning to actually sit down and play at Gen Con, there is a dynamic list of other activities to do.  Large and small game manufacturers have booth space with their games on display.  The exhibit hall is filled with vendors selling gaming supplies, apparel and lots of pop-culture and gaming-inspired merchandise.  Additionally, Gen Con has many family events, as well as some non-gamer spouse opportunities (think crafts and relaxation).

As stated on Gen Con's home page, Gen Con is more than a convention. "It's a passion, a community, and a unique experience that keeps people coming back for decades. The only way to truly understand Gen Con is to attend." And it really is. Hope to see you there!

Retailer Spotlight - Saltire Games, Indianapolis, IN

In 2009 when Phil and Chelie Herthel's favorite game store closed, they did what every dedicated gamer would do. They opened their own store. Located at 11723 Pendleton Pike in Indianapolis, Phil and Chelie have created an open and friendly location for the experienced and beginning gamer. Saltire Games features a full line of hobby games including collectible card and miniature games, RPG's, board games, card games and table top war games.  Additionally, they have a spacious play area for gamers to play their favorite game. Even with an active calendar of events, open game play is allowed anytime space is available. 

Saltire Games has been the Local Retail Sponsor of Gen Con since 2010.  The Tuesday night prior to Gen Con's opening, they host Mayfair Games at the store for a training session for their volunteers. This gives the Saltire crew a chance to play along with the volunteers on the Mayfair games that will be demonstrated at Gen Con.  When Gen Con opens, they close up the shop and jump into the activities around the convention center.  Saltire doesn't maintian a booth, as they are busy sponsoring the Boy Scout and Girl Scout field trips and hosting nightly events at The Colts Grille in the Embassy Suites located at the corner of Washington and Illinois Streets. 

Their event schedule at Colts Grille is:     

  • Wednesday 8/14 - 6pm - 11:30pm  - Welcome to GenCon Kickoff Party -  Saltire Games will sponsor Gamer Trivia-test your knowledge to win great prizes. Mayfair Games will have a variety of their classic and new board games available to play as well. Prizes provided by Saltire Games. 
  • Thursday 8/15 - 7:30pm - 11:30pm  - Snake Oil the Game Show  - Out of the Box Games brings a twist on their popular game, Snake Oil, by including audience participation.  Prizes provided by Out of the Box Games and Colts Grille. 
  • Friday 8/16 7pm - Midnight - Friday Night Magic, Colts vs. Packers - Saltire Games of Indianapolis vs. Gnome Games of Green Bay, Wisconsin in a NFL themed FNM event. This is a WPN sanctioned Friday Night Magic Event and open to all players. It will be a free to play standard, constructed deck event. Prizes from Wizards of the Coast, Colts Grille, Gnome Games, and Saltire Games. 
  • Saturday 8/17 7pm - 11:30pm - Dreadball GenCon Open - Stop by and check out the new sci-fi sports game, Dreadball, from Mantic Games. Come and play or just chat with the staff from Mantic Games. Demo games will be available. Prizes from Mantic Games.

    Don't miss the opportunity to check out Saltire Games' events if you are attending Gen Con. But if you aren't going to make the con, be sure to stop by their store the next time you're in Indy.

Publisher Spotlight - Mayfair Games

Mayfair Games, headquartered in Skokie, IL, is one of the official sponsors of Gen Con.  They are the English language publisher of the wildly successful Catan series of games, as well as a vast library of entertaining board games.  I was just introduced to Settlers of Catan in the past year (I know, where have I been?) and have been hooked ever since.  If you are a fan of historical and/or thematic games, Mayfair has an especially excellent selection.

Mayfair has one of the largest booths at Gen Con which is conveniently located next to the Family Fun Pavilion. They are hosting a block party on the Thursday evening of Gen Con at the Georgia Street Pavilion. Additionally, they will have board games available at Saltire Games' Kickoff Party being held at the Colts Grille on Wednesday evening.

In our upcoming newsletters - watch for a guest blogger and their experience at FandomFest!

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