6 Things I’m Looking Forward to at Gen Con

Geek Culture Places

Ax me if I'm a geek. See you at Gen Con.

I’m headed to Gen Con, the granddaddy of all gaming conventions. The big d20 throwdown runs Thurs-Sun, August 4-7 in Indianapolis, Indiana. And I’m pretty excited to go (it’ll be my second time). Here are some of the highlights I’m looking forward to seeing and experiencing:

1) The annual Gen Con Auction, what the organizers say might be “possibly the longest running yearly auction in gaming history!” (their exclamation mark). In particular, I’m stoked about the Collectables Auction (Friday at 7:30 pm) where celebs from the old D&D TSR days — Tom Wham, Tim Kask, Frank Mentzer, and the like — are rumored to appear to run the show.

Perhaps you are in the market for an old Chainmail rule book, a first-printing Monster Manual or D&D Basic Set, or the rarest of the rare, an Original D&D “woodgrain box” set. Going, going, gone. Details here.

2) The Kickstarter for Adventurer Conqueror King. Game publisher Autarch is renting a penthouse suite in one of the convention hotels to run a continuous mini-campaign of Adventurer Conqueror King, what looks to be a cool new game system/complete tabletop RPG that supports all the goals those whinny characters in your campaigns have set for themselves. Autarch says ACK lets players build strongholds, lead armies, scour the wilderness, start a thieves’ guild, even name a spell after themselves. Seats at this demo are mostly for backers of the company’s Kickstarter crowd-funding effort, but they’d love to have you stop by and check it out; if a spot opens up you’re welcome to jump in. Stop by the Old School Resource Group, booth #1541, for more info on where to find the location.

3) The Gygax Memorial Fund, an effort to build a memorial to D&D co-founder Gary Gygax, is raising money, via a few ways: A) debuting a new book, Cheers Gary, a collection of Gygax’s answers to fan questions; widow Gail Gygax and editor Paul Hughes will be at their booth signing copies; B) other merch(bribes?) for donors to the fund include an original D&D monster infographic poster; a Gygax Memorial T-shirt, a Tower of Gygax” T-shirt, and a signed copy of Fantasy Freaks & Gaming Geeks (by yours truly). Come and stop by the Old School Resource Group, booth #1541, or see the Gygax Memorial Fund for more info.

4) As always, Wizards of the Coast, the makers of D&D, occupy serious acreage on the exhibitor floor. According to my sources, WOTC will unveil an “extensive suite of products and in-store play offerings around the legendary city of Neverwinter.” These are to include a comic mini-series, a board game, organized play sessions, and a new novel from New York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore. The setup alone for their booth is super-cool and castle-like. You can’t miss it. More deets.

5) If you’re a fan of Ed Greenwood (the dude who brought us the Forgotten Realms campaign setting and many of its best-known characters, including Elminster, Larloch, Manshoon, and Szass Tam) will once again be leading his “Spin a Yarn with Ed Greenwood” seminar (officially, SEM1127817, Friday, 2:00 PM, Marriott Indiana Ballroom G), which promises “a rollicking group storytelling experience that’s always memorable and highly amusing.” A chance to see a master storyteller in the flesh.

6) The Artist Alley. I can’t help it. I love fantasy art. Elves, caves, towers silhouetted against a moonlight night, devil-faced foes snarling as they hold battle axes dripping with slime. Here’s a chance to indulge yourself.

Shameless self-promotion: I’ll also be signing copies of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks at the Troll Lord Games booth (#709) at Gen Con. Exact time TBA. Check here or follow me on Twitter (@ethanfreak) for updates.

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