Gen Con is always an incredible spectacle. It's amazing to see so many people in one place that share our passion for games. With about 61K attendees, it's by far the biggest event that we go to each year with a booth, staff and games to sell. It's also one of the most important events not only because it kicks off the holiday season, but also because it gives us a chance to catch up with all our fans, friends, and colleagues in the industry.
This year was especially awesome and we wanted to share our experience you!
Day 1: Set up
We arrived in Indy late Tuesday night and by Wednesday morning we were all awake and ready to work! We found our booth all our pallets of brand new games. Although we'd been working on them for almost a year, we'd never seen production copies of many of our newest titles. It was like the holidays came early! After joyfully ripping open boxes, we remembered that we actually had a booth to put together and decided to dig in.
After many hours of incredibly hard work, our booth staff had created a beautiful booth ready for all our visitors the next day. I'm always so impressed by how quickly it all comes together but we certainly couldn't do it without everyone on our amazing team.
Wednesday evening, we also had a few pre-Gen Con events to attend. Half the team when to the Trade Day demos to show off our new games to retailers, teachers, and librarians from all over the world, while Scott and Sara went to the annual Diana Jones Awards. We were so happy to see Eric Lang proclaimed as the well deserved winner this year.
Day 2: Sold Out!
When the hall doors opened at 9:00 am, only a few members of the press and the VIGs were allowed to enter. We quickly began selling our hot new titles including Clank, Covert, Lotus, and Dicey Goblins. We were busy but under control when we realized that it was 9:55am and the door to the whole crowd were about to swing open. After that, we were basically crushed by people for the next 4 days. It was awesome!
Kane Klenko, (Designer of FUSE and Covert) was a huge help demoing Covert to loving fans. He's so talented, a great teacher, and incredibly humble. Also, he's a pretty darn good spy.
We were also joined by the cutest couple in gaming, Jordan and Mandy. Together, they designed Lotus, which sold out in the first few hours on the first day.
Another great surprise on Thursday was the instant success of Clank! We co-published Clank! with Dire Wolf Digital. They ran the demos at their booth while we sold copies at ours. Our entire stock disappeared before the end of the day as practically everyone who played the demo walked straight over to pick up a copy.
Dire Wolf was also showing off the digital version of Lanterns: the Harvest Festival that will release later this year to iOS and Android. Fans loved getting a first look at the very polished beta!
When the hall doors closed, we quickly packed up to move on to join the Nerd Nighters at their annual charity event for the Pour House. They had a fantastic auction and hosted an all night live stream for the fans at home. Sara was invited to join in and got to chat about Covert with some of the BGG / Nerd Night team. These guys were so much fun and it was great to meet Tiffany in person! It was also a joy to see Andrew (ACE) from the BGG team and hear that he'd been teaching Covert in the BGG Hotness room all day (more on this later!).
Day 3 - One Big Happy Family!
Friday was a blur as we demoed a ton of games and quickly sold out of our last few remaining copies of Covert. We were also joined by a few more incredible designers including Steve Ellis (Dicey Goblins), Christopher Chung (Lanterns: The Harvest Festival), and J. Alex Kevern (World's Fair 1893). the devoted so much time to connecting with fans and demoing games. It was so fun to see peoples eyes light up as they asked for signatures from these incredible designers.
Steve Ellis (left) with a copy of Dicey Goblins, hot off the press!
J. Alex Kevern (left) chatting with some fellow designers and fans.
Christopher Chung (left) carefully considering his next move during a demo of Lanterns.
After a long day at the con, it was time to meet up with some great friends in the evening. The entire GeekDad crew invited us to join them for appetizers at a quite a relaxing event to show off some of our games. They did a great write up about it here. We were so honored to be invited and had a delightful time with their crew.
After spending some time playing games and chatting, we headed off to one of our favorite annual traditions of the Con, our Designer's Dinner. Each year, we gather all the designers who have worked on Renegade games, and invite them to a casual dinner. It's a great way for the designers to network, hatch new ideas, and for us to say "Thank You" for all their hard work. We were overwhelmed by the amount of talent at one table!
Day 4 - Saturday Super Fans!
While we thought all the previous days had been busy at the hall, we had no idea what we were in for on Saturday. It was impossible to move around the booth without squeezing between a loyal fan, a glowing designer, or hard working staff member. In the afternoon, we did a few fun giveaways. Kane Klenko had designed a scavenger hunt for attendees. Each collected clue, granted them a chance to win a free copy of Covert. The clues were tough but we still had a whole spy hat full of entries by Saturday! The winner was beaming with delight!
Jordan and Mandy also spent the weekend handing out Seed Packets for their upcoming game, Lotus. The packets reminded players to plant the seeds so that when the flowers bloomed, it would be a good reminder to check their local store for a copy of Lotus! Fans were also encouraged to share their love for Lotus on social media for a chance to win a free copy.
After drawing a winning name, we spent a few minutes chatting with the couple that won. They mentioned that every year since they got married, they pick a game on their anniversary and write the date inside as a reminder. It just happened to be their anniversary and this was the perfect game for the day! The winners were meant to be!
Saturday evening we finally had a chance to stop by the BGG Hotness room where copies of all the newest games were available for Gen Con attendees to scope out and play. We were told that many of our games were popular there but we had no idea how hot they were. When we walked in, many of our games were out and being enjoyed. We even had a group ask us a question about FUSE only to realize that Kane (the designer), was ready to jump in and answer. It was wonderful to see players enjoying our games even outside of our booth!
Day 5: Humbling Experience
On Sunday morning, we realized that several of our games were really gaining steam on the BGG Geek Buzz list. We had been demoing and selling games all weekend to fans and they were loving them! We had so many votes for so many of our games that we started hearing attendees walking up to the booth saying "I saw these games on the list, will you teach me before I vote?." It was a humbling experience to realize that our games were affecting so many people. Even at a huge event like Gen Con, our little tiny booth was a destination. Our hard work was paying off!
By the time the hall closed, we were honored with 2 of our games in the top 5 and 5 of our games in the top 25 on the Geek Buzz list.
We had a great Gen Con and could not have done it without our amazing staff. Sunday evening we all went out to our traditional Brazilian BBQ to indulge in some well deserve meat on a stick. These men and women travel to exciting events and spend the whole time demoing our games instead of running around the exhibit hall. We are so incredibly grateful for their time and effort. We couldn't do it without you guys!
Thank you all who joined us at the booth, read about our adventures online, participated in GenCan't, and love our games! Until next year, have fun!