So July and August have come and gone but one of my yearly highlights occurs during summer so I’d like to go show off a game pimper’s view of my favorite gaming convention: Gen Con. For those that don’t know it, Gen Con is one of North America’s largest gaming conventions. This year, it’s attendance topped Essen Germany’s Spiel convention. Since Spiel occurs in November every year, I’ll be interested to see if their numbers improve to edge out Gen Con.

How big is this convention? The latest numbers came in at a staggering 56,614 unique attendees over the 4 days (August 13th-17th). This was my eighth year and it was good to see that the convention still holds its charm and I still find a lot of great things to do.

There are a lot of reports out there on the convention from both a casual observer to a full on game “reporter” so I won’t try to rehash what has already been said about the experience. Instead, I’ll look at it from a game pimper’s perspective and I’ll start with some of the best custom games I saw or experienced.

First, and likely my favorite pimped game, was Aaron Jenkin’s 3D super-sizing of Fantasy Flight Games’ A Game of Thrones: the board game.

This beautifully crafted board faithfully represented the original 2nd edition game board from Fantasy Flights game in painstaking three-dimensional detail:

The beauty about having this appear at the ‘Con was it wasn’t just eye-candy, Aaron actually hosted multiple events during the convention, allowing up to 6 players play the full game out on this amazing creation. I was lucky enough to have a chance to play on Friday night and it was a great experience. It was my first time ever playing the game and Aaron and the other players were great at teaching me the game. My only issue now is, if I pick up the game, will it ever match the immersion that this custom version created. Maybe I’ll have to try to craft a pimped out version of my own…

Aaron has set that bar exceedingly high though. Not only was his board amazing to behold and fun to play on, but he also had custom miniatures to replace the regular wooden pawns, custom boats to replace the wooden versions in the game, large Game of Throne replicas of key pieces like the Iron Throne, the Raven, and Valyrian Steel. Those game pieces made me not care about the actual game play at times and just had me go nuts and bid on the option just to have those cool set pieces near me.

Aaron has more on the creation of this gem on his blog so definitely check it out.

Next time, I’ll highlight some other gaming experiences at the ‘Con. Super-sizing seems to be all the rage and I’ll jump into some other “giant” versions of games that I saw and played.