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Posted on Sep 11, 2012 in Boardgames

GenCon 2012 – A Photo Essay

By Charlie Hall

Every year after I get back from GenCon I line up my collectible dice. The markings on these polyhedrals tell me that this was my fifth consecutive “best four days in gaming.” And I have to say that it really was the best one yet. Official turnstile was up over 134,000, meaning that the 41,000 badge holders came back for many days each. The truly amazing figure is that the numbers are up 30% since 2010. Much of that has to do with the expanded Indianapolis Convention Center, and the expanded number of hotel rooms available in the city.

But in reality it has the most to do with the expanding hobby games market. Not only are the big boys, like Mayfair and Fantasy Flight, getting bigger, but the little guys are getting bigger as well. Much of the impetus behind that is Kickstarter. It seemed like every single booth at the convention had a flyer, sign, or QR code touting their fundraising effort for some new and exciting game they wanted to bring to market. For just the price of a cup of coffee a day you, kind sir, could help bring a new game to life. And there was truth in those words. Games like D-Day Dice and Agents of SMERSH didn’t exist twelve months ago. A game like Zombicide would be endlessly pitched to larger games publishers, held back by a glut of undead-focused games, when in reality the market wanted it so much that they beat their funding goal of $20k by $761k. That’s more than 39x what they originally asked for.


So while game manufacturers like Bolt Action went to the retailers and said “please stock these games on your shelves,” entrepreneurs were there on the floor of the convention like buskers on a soap box appealing directly to the consumer. There’s a new democracy in gaming, and in my opinion gamers are better for it.

These photos tell my GenCon 2012 story, and I hope they make you as excited about 2013 as I already am. See you in Indy!

About the Author

By night Charlie Hall is a writer for Gamers With Jobs ( His relevant interests range from pen-and-paper role playing games, to board games and electronic games of all types. By day he is a writer for CDW Government LLC. Follow him on Twitter @TheWanderer14, or send him hate mail at He, his wife, and daughter make their home in far northern Illinois.


  1. If you never been to GenCon or other game popular game conventions

    go, lots of fun…

  2. The Rohirrim are from the Games Workshop LOTR set.

    • what are the dismounted archers in the rear of the formation? Were not all the Rohirrim mounted at the battle of Pelennor Fields?

      • I think they are models of the Minas Tirith troops.

  3. Hi Charles,
    I’ve just noticed your photo of a Napoleonic game. It’s a beautiful picture and the figures are beautifully painted, and it might even be using The Games of War, but it certainly wasn’t the game I was running that year. I used cardstock minis from, purposely because I hope to encourage people to take up the hobby who either can’t paint minis or don’t want to. I don’t recall getting an email from you but considering the the typical number of emails I receive in a day, it’s possible I missed it. Please email me again if you like. Look me up at GenCon this year.