Day 1 at Gen Con: The Big Picture

gencon-duke
The giant-size edition of Duke, in the Exhibitor Hall

Gen Con is big. Whether you count in attendance (more than 120,000 people), events (more than 11,000), or dollars (more than 50,000,000), it’s the largest annual consumer fantasy, electronic, sci-fi and adventure game convention in North America.

It’s also just quite literally big. Each time I’ve been able to attend, I’ve enjoyed all the extra-large versions of games and giant installations.

Brickworld's giant edition of Robo Rally
Brickworld’s giant edition of Robo Rally
Gamers playing the Giant edition of King of Tokyo
Gamers playing the Giant edition of King of Tokyo

In the gaming areas and the Exhibit Hall, there are some eye-catching and gigantic displays.

Giant sheep watch over the Catan players
Giant sheep watch over the Catan players
Wyrd Miniatures is living large, too.
Wyrd Miniatures is living large, too.
The Dalek at the Dr. Who merchandise booth is a staple of GenCon
The Dalek at the Dr. Who merchandise booth is a staple of GenCon

Besides playing big and buying big, Gen Con is also about giving big.

Among my favorite iconic moments at Gen Con are two charity events: Cardhalla and the Balloon Sculpture “Slay the Creature.” This year they (and other charity events) are contributing to The Julian Center, an organization that “provides a network of support and a safe place for the men, women and children who suffer every day at the hands of abuse.”

Cardhalla XVII is a structure built entirely of cards by convention-goers over the course of the Con. I love to check on it and watch it grow daily, and see it torn back down at the end. Build. Donate. Destroy.

Cardhalla, as it stood on  Thursday afternoon (Day 1)
Cardhalla, as it stood on Thursday afternoon (Day 1)

The Balloon Sculpture “Slay the Creature” is created each year by Tim Thurmond. Over the course of the Con he builds an amazing creature, which is then auctioned off and sold to be destroyed at noon on the last day. He’s promised us a giant octopus/squid this year.

The balloon sculpture in-progress
The balloon sculpture in-progress

Gen Con, not only “The Four Best Days in Gaming” but some truly big fun.

Get the GeekDad Books!

   

Samantha Bryant is a middle school Spanish teacher by day, and a novelist by night. Her Menopausal Superheroes series is available from Curiosity Quills Press. You can find her on Twitter @mirymom1