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Gen Con Announces Terese Nielsen as 2014 Artist Guest of Honor

Gen Con has officially announced its 2014 Artist Guest of Honor, acclaimed illustrator Terese Nielsen. For more than 20 years, Nielsen has contributed her art to the worlds of gaming, comics, and fantasy illustration. As Artist Guest of Honor, she will display her work at a special booth in the 2014 Art Show, and will host several events throughout the convention. Gen Con will release further details regarding these events when listings becomes public in May 2014. To see some of Nielsen’s work, you can visit her gallery page here. A prolific Magic: The Gathering artist, Nielsen has illustrated more than 165 cards to date. For more information on the Artist Guest of Honor, go here.

Terese Nielsen

Gen Con’s 2014 Author Guest of Honor Announced

Gen Con has announced its first 2014 Guest of Honor, author Jim Butcher. Creator of the New York Times best-selling series Dresden Files, Butcher is also an avid gamer.

As Author Guest of Honor, he will participate in several panels, seminars, and book-signings at Gen Con 2014. Dates and times for these events will be made available in early May, prior to Event Registration.

In addition to his work on the Dresden Files series, Butcher also has written the popular Codex Alera and Cinder Spires series.

Gen Con Announces Charity Partner for 2014

gen-con-logoGen Con, the annual game convention with nearly 50,000 unique attendees, has selected its annual charity partner for 2014– ­ Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. Each year, Gen Con partners with one local charity, developing events programming intended to give back to the local community.

Gleaners President & CEO, Cindy Hubert said in a release:

We are so grateful to have a community-driven event like Gen Con here in Indianapolis. The partnership with Gen Con will be a great one, and we are glad to have them assisting us in the fight against childhood hunger.

Last year, Gen Con’s charity programming generated more than $25,000 for the convention’s 2013 Charity Partner, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana. This August 14-17, Gen Con will serve as host to numerous charity events supporting Gleaners, including a charity auction, the construction and demolition of a giant “Cardhalla” made of assembled trading cards, the “Slay the Creature” balloon sculpture battle, and many other highly anticipated events.

Adrian Swartout, CEO of Gen Con LLC said:

Traditionally, Gen Con selects a charity partner that serves the youth of the Indy community, and Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana makes a daily impact on the lives of many children at-risk for hunger. Our team is honored to work with another terrific organization, and we look forward to the traditional outpouring of support from the generous gaming community.

Specifically, Gen Con will support Gleaners with their BackSacks: Weekend Food for Kids program, a youth initiative that provides weekend, take-home lunches through local schools. BackSacks are distributed to more than 10,000 at-risk children in grades K-6 in Indiana. These free lunches provide a nutrition resource to more than 230 participating schools.

Gen Con and Mayfair Games Extend Co-Sponsorship through 2017

gen-con-logoGen Con LLC has formalized an agreement with Mayfair Games, an award-winning game company, securing their Co-Sponsorship of Gen Con’s yearly convention through 2017. Mayfair, perhaps best known as publisher of Settlers of Catan has co-sponsored Gen Con each year since 2011.

Adrian Swartout, CEO of Gen Con LLC in a release said:

Whether teaming with our charity partners, running record-breaking events, or delivering a world-class Exhibit Hall experience, Mayfair Games has taken every opportunity to amplify the excitement of Gen Con. Given their amazing performance as Co-Sponsors during the prior three years, we know that they will be an integral part in our ramp up to Gen Con 50, taking place in 2017.

In 2013, Mayfair further increased their growing collaboration with Gen Con, holding a series of high profile on-site events and expanding their Exhibit Hall presence. Mayfair’s Warp Speed Tournament, a charity event benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana, featured players participating in Star Trek Catan culminating in a showdown with geek icon and celebrated Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Wil Wheaton. In addition, Mayfair set an Official Guinness World Record for most players in a single Settlers of Catan game, netting 922 players in total.

Mayfair and Gen Con hope to create more new destination programming in 2014, expanding gaming and events opportunities for attendees.

Gen Con’s Housing Block Sells Out Despite Expansion in 3 Hours!

gen-con-logoIt looks like Gen Con has hit the big time. This past week saw the opening of Housing Pre-Registration as well as tickets. And despite having more rooms available than anytime before, the allotted housing for the best four days in gaming sold out in about 2 hours. The housing block was increased 13% this year alone Last year, rooms were available through March 18, and took seven weeks to sell out.

In the first three days available, Gen Con badge purchases have far surpassed any prior year metrics. 4-Day Badge purchases poured in less than an hour prior to housing registration opening, creating a new, unforeseen spike in total requests just prior to housing going live. The total  amount of badge purchases, to date, has increased by more than 200% from last year’s week one numbers.

As expected, an influx of people wreaked havoc on the online housing system. Gen Con is working with housing service company Q-Rooms and housing portal provider Passkey to look into the technical service issues created during yesterday’s surge in housing requests. These issues include, but are not limited to, server lag, cart timeouts, and inventory management.

The waitlist for rooms is massive with more than 1,300 voicemails and emails left by individuals looking for rooms.

Gen Con released a FAQ answering concerns and questions which you can find below:

  • Gen Con will look into ways to improve the housing registration process each year. With room demand sharply rising in the past few years, Gen Con is committed to making the process better for attendees. Gen Con reviews the message board discussions at the Community site and also through emails at customerservice@gencon.com. These are the two best ways to voice your ideas and questions.
  • Housing in the Indy metro is not limited to Gen Con’s Housing Block. Many attendees find acceptable deals throughout the Indy metro through travel booking sites. Attendees are encouraged to find the deal that best suits them, and share that information with fellow attendees. Many attendees also look for roommates, or will attend through non-traditional housing such as AirBNB.com or through other short-term housing rentals.
  • More than 99% of housing demand was used for 4-Day Badge attendees with equally high registration numbers for Friday and Saturday. 1-Day Badge holders account for less than 1% of the inventory needs and despite some speculation, Friday and Saturday received nearly equal booking nights throughout housing registration yesterday.
  • Gen Con is committed to the city of Indianapolis, and is contracted to hold its show there through 2020. Each year, Gen Con will look for ways to increase housing inventory and improve the experience for all attendees. Last year, a shuttle service deal was reached to improve access to suburban hotels, and this year, Shuttle Pass purchases are off to a brisk start. Gen Con will continue to look for similar ways to improve the overall convention experience. The team looks forward to working with Visit Indy and the City of Indianapolis to find more great expansion and partnership opportunities.
  • Q-Rooms is reviewing all calls and emails provided to them. While a new company, Q-Rooms is comprised of multi-year Gen Con and Housing Bureau partners with years of Gen Con experience. They love Gen Con, and are working hard to resolve issues created by the spike in demand.
  • In addition to expanding housing in 2014, Gen Con has expanded the Exhibit Hall space for this year’s show. Gen Con is preparing for another year of substantial growth, and has contracted additional space for exhibitors and events in 2014.

Gen Con 2014 Exhibit Hall Sells Out in Record Time

gen-con-logoDespite expanding the convention floor space, Gen Con has announced that it has sold out of Exhibit Hall space for its August 14-17, 2014 show in record time. While Gen Con has sold out its Exhibit Hall in prior years, this news arrives nearly two full months earlier than last year’s previous record sell out announcement. In addition, Gen Con grew its exhibition space 14% for the 2014 convention. The waiting list for 2014 Exhibit Hall space exceeds 30 companies.

Scott Elliott, Gen Con’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing, said in a release:

Without the great long-term relationships that Gen Con has developed with its exhibitors, the explosive growth that Gen Con has enjoyed over the past five years would not have been possible. Companies from across the globe know that Gen Con is the place to tap into the world’s most passionate gaming audience, and our exhibitors deliver a tremendous amount of value to the show’s attendees. Last year, more than 360 companies exhibited at Gen Con, and this year the number will grow much larger.

As announced previously by Visit Indy, Indianapolis’ convention and tourism agency, Gen Con Indy accounts for more than $47 million annually in yearly economic impact to Indianapolis, a figure that has only been surpassed for the city by the 2012 Super Bowl. Gen Con set an all-new attendance record in 2014 with 49,058 unique attendees.

Companies that were unable to get exhibition space at Gen Con Indy 2014 are still encouraged to discuss other promotional opportunities with Gen Con’s Sales & Marketing team. On-site advertising, signage, event organization, newsletter, and sponsorship options remain.

Badges for the 2014 show go on-sale during Gen Con’s Pre-Registration, beginning January 26, 2014.

Gen Con 2013: Dungeons & Dragons Dominated Gen Con Indy

image001(1)Wizards of the Coast brought a hell of a presence and a bit of flair to 2013′s Gen Con Indy. They absolutely kicked off the show with a bang with a night with Dungeons & Dragons. The event was the official kick-off to their next big event, The Sundering, which promises to change the realm of Forgotten Realms forever.

Travelers from across Faerûn were invited to spend the evening in Baldur’s Gate at this one-of-a-kind event where guests mingled with D&D designers, authors, and other industry luminaries while enjoying food, drinks, music, adventure and more.

Before that event opened to the public, the press was invited to go over recent announcements about the product. There was a lot of focus on digital releases, especially video games. The Lords of Waterdeep was announced for the iPad, the DSCN3362franchises for game for the platform. The award-winning and critically acclaimed board game from Wizards of the Coast will make its digital debut in a high-quality, faithful adaptation from Playdek Games. Designed for 2-5 players, the game will offer offline play against others or computer opponents or online asynchronously or in real time.

One of the few reveals was a new Dungeons & Dragon Kre-O figure. the figures were first announce and unveiled at San Diego Comic-Con but some future figures were announced like the one I snapped a photo of. The line launches from Hasbro in January 2014.

Mike Mearls, Senior Manager, Dungeons & Dragons R&D, provided a hotly-anticipated update of the status of D&D Next, the latest installment of game play rules for D&D. Fans worldwide have been helping to create this new set of rules by participating in playtests and sharing results with the D&D developers. Mearls announced the final packet distribution, thus concluding the D&D Next Playtest.

With the end of those announcements, the event opened to the public, filled with D&D fans, the event was pretty impressive with an amazing setting. You can check it out below.

Gen Con 2013: The Convention Where I Entered My First Tournie

PIC_4247I’ve been going to conventions for quite some time now and after a few years at Gen Con, I finally had the urge to enter a tournament at one. The prospect was interesting, but to make it really fun, I felt like I should live Tweet it as well. I reached out to a few game publishers and the folks at Wizkids loved the idea. After a bit of brainstorming we decided I might do my best playing in a Heroclix Battle Royale, where four players hop on a mat and beat the crap out of each other for an hour and some change.

For those who don’t know Heroclix, it’s a miniature game where you build a team based on points and roll dice to determine the dice of actions. Those figures tend to be based on comic properties, though there’s some variations. Think chess where dice are involved and instead of a bishop, I get Bishop from the X-Men.

I knew a little about the game, having played a few demos at conventions, and that’s about it. I have a box of figures I’ve picked up over the years, but other than that, I couldn’t tell you any of the intricacies of the game. This was a good thing, because the more I know about a game, the more I tend to manipulate things and get really good really quick. So, the less I knew, the more fun I’d have in general instead of actually focusing on winning. Actually, let’s be honest, I’d be focused on crushing my opponents.

I waited in line waiting for my turn to be matched up and luck would have it, they needed a person to play in a Marvel game. There’s two major lines of miniatures based on Marvel and DC Comic characters, and the figures can be played against each other. I’m more of a Marvel person, so I was hoping I’d be able to get in on a game of that, mostly since I know the characters a lot better.

I was matched up with three other players, two have been playing over 10 years and one since the game launched. That’s some experienced players who began chatting about strategies and figures and combinations. I told them I’ve played a few games and had little experience, cut I was doing this “for science.” They were cool with it and would walk me through as much as they could. I knew how to move and punch, and that’s what I felt I needed to know. The basics.

The theme that was being played was a recently released set based on Spider-Man and horror characters from Marvel. Spidey isn’t my strongest suit, so I wasn’t as familiar as I hoped.

This was a draft where we each chose figures and passed them around to draft one at a time. Instead of focusing on combinations or powers, I decided to have some fun and try to draft as many versions of Spider-Man as possible. I was able to pull off three versions in the end, if you count Spider Girl, and two Marvel monsters. Find some weak opposition and punch him or her a lot.

The game began and the figures started to move. I zeroed in on my target, Miles Morales (sorry Miles). I figured a bunch of figures should easily beat up a kid. Oh how wrong I was. Surrounding him with everything I have, I punched, a lot, and punched some more, a lot.

I was doing some damage, but clearly not enough. The dice were rolling, the conversations were having and I found myself having a really good time. While it was clear my opponents where a bit more focused on winning, I was there to see how the game was played and have a good time. Rounds passed, punches were thrown and Miles still stood. Though I drew first blood out of everyone, it didn’t seem like I was going to finish Miles off. The little dude just wouldn’t go down.

After a few rounds, I really have no idea how many, the judge came around to have us wrap the game up. I clearly did not win this little tournament. I think I came in dead last if anything. But I came away seeing exactly why people enjoy this game and tournaments in general. They give you the opportunity to go up against some of the best players out there, and do so under pressure. Heroclix gives you the opportunity to live out battles with some of the most iconic characters out there, and do so in a game where anything can happen.

Coming out the game, we all got to choose what figures we wanted to keep. The three players had them all except a couple, which they grabbed, leaving me with almost everything. They wanted to give me a chance to start off right and put a best foot forward when it comes to my new Heroclix addiction.

Did I do well? No, I kept up my craptacular Gen Con 2013 streak of losing in every game I played. But, I had a lot of fun and walked away wanting to check out what I missed. I think Gen Con 2014 I’ll be back, this time with a clue and god help whoever I get paired with.

Facebook Fandom Spotlight: Dungeons & Dragons 8/26/2013

A few weeks back I took a look at who the Gamers were in the lead up to Gen Con. I decided to look at a subset of that for this Facebook Fandom Spotlight, fans of Dungeons & Dragons.

The list was long but included game terms, settings, modules, famous characters, monsters, classes and more. Overall the list was long and exhausted everything I could find on Facebook. For this report, we’ll compare it matched up to the previous larger set of gamers.

Facebook Population: Over 2,400,000 in the United States

The fandom for Dungeons & Dragons is about a third of the gamer population, not too shocking and about what I’d expect. Spanish speakers account for now 112,000 fans, 4.67% in the United States that’s a bit lower than the gamer fandom.

Gender and Age

Gamers skewed a bit more towards men compared to comic fans (61.54%), but fans of Dungeons & Dragons put both of them to shame. Male fans of D&D accounted for 78.33% of the population.

D&D Fans

d&d gender 8.26.13

For many of the breakdowns we’ve seen women become the majority of fans as age increases, a quirk of Facebook’s demographics. This isn’t the case of D&D fans, showing the gender gap even more in comparison.

D&D Fans

d&d gender age 8.26.13

Below is the raw data of above.

D&D Fans

d&d age gender raw 8.26.13

Relationship Status

Compared to gamers, fans of D&D are very similar. There’s a bit more that are single and a bit more that are “in relationships” both taken from the “married” designation.

D&D Fans

d&d relationship 8.26.13

And for those that like pie charts.

D&D Fans

d&d relationship pie chart 8.26.13

Education

D&D fans percentage wise are more “college grads” than the average gamer, with slightly less “in college” and “in high school.” With the age breakdown shifting a little older, this isn’t surprising.

D&D Fans

d&d education 8.26.13

Gender Interest

And in a twist from the greater gamer population, there’s more men interested in men and vastly more men interested in women. Both are likely due to the imbalanced breakdown in gender.

D&D Fans

d&d gender interest 8.26.13

Gen Con 2013: Dungeons & Dragons Arena of War: Pre-Registration Bonus & Debut Trailer

Following Wizards of the Coast’s recent news at Gen Con of the yearlong Dungeons & Dragons event The Sundering in the Forgotten Realm’s setting, DeNA has released the debut trailer for its future mobile game release of Dungeons & Dragons: Arena of War.

Fans can pre-register for the game and upgrade their character with a free Ultra Rare Power CAUSE FEAR. To earn the exclusive pre-registration bonus offer, and to be alerted via email as soon as the game is available for free download, please visit: http://www.dndarenaofwar.com

Arena of War, the first ever free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons game for mobile, is a 3D battle-RPG developed by DeNA in partnership with Wizards of the Coast. Set in the Forgotten Realms, Arena of War features iconic D&D locations such as Baldur’s Gate and monsters such as the Beholder. The live events in the yearlong Sundering event will evolve in the game giving an ever-changing experience to players.

Arena of War will be available soon for free on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android.

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