Like every year, I think I’ll have time during the show to update things but that never happens. The convention is just too busy and entertaining to stop and post so as I settle back into to post-Con life, I get the energy to recapture the magic before too much of the memories fade. Because my photos are in order, it’s easiest to just go through things each day.

Day 1 of Gen Con is always the most intense. Your body isn’t prepared to walk as much as you will, you’re hoping to do/see/play everything, and you’re mentally sapped from all the prep and stress of getting here. Luckily, the excitement and anticipation is fuel enough to propel you forward and keep you going.

This is where Thursday always begins- in a crush of thousands of gamers waiting to get into the dealer hall. Chants of “do not run!” and the ceremonial “first die throw” bring back a decade+ of memories. While I always think, nah, I’ll just watch from above and take it easy this year, the inevitable pull to be in the throng and push through those hallowed doors beckons. I never miss its call.

I didn’t have anything I felt rushed to see or pick up so after the push to get in, I just meandered around for a bit. I had an hour to kill before my first event so I wandered over to the CMON booth and caught sight of this monster. This big display piece is for a new game coming out by a partner of CMON.

The game is Dragon Gyas and even though the table was open for a demo, I couldn’t dedicate enough of the opening hour to a game. I was here to scout and make plans for later. The game looked interesting so I hoped I’d be back to see it in action but I never got the chance.

Also at the CMON booth was some examples of a 3D terrain setup they were promoting for another company. This terrain was for Zombicide: Black Plague. It was pretty amazing and really invites you in to play the game. The actual product is unpainted so it will take quite a lot of work to get it up to this level of detail.

The roof pieces come off so that the fighting can continue inside and the whole setup is pretty slick. No word on price but the size alone of these tiles makes them too unwieldy for actual home use, in my opinion. I’d love to try it out at a convention where I don’t have to worry about setting it up and storing it later.

I finished up the CMON booth by checking out their latest Song of Ice and Fire Miniatures. As anticipated, they did have demos of the new Baratheon army but nothing of the Targaryens yet (only the army on display). They even had a few Baratheon sets to sell but the rush to get those would be fierce and I didn’t have the time or patience to fight. While they had some interesting other items, there wasn’t really anything new for the factions I have so I moved on.

As I mentioned in my “anticipation” post, Era: Medieval Age was a game I was eager to see. The demo tables were full and I was running out of time but I did get pictures of the game. The publisher was pulling a little bait and switch as they had a fancy wooden box with “Deluxe Edition” on the cover but I found out that was more of a joke than anything real. They commissioned a painter to paint up all the components for a convention display edition and then went and printed up some game play mats to show off. None of those things are actually available. You can paint the pieces yourself but you’ll also have to make your own mat if you want to recreate the game being demoed.

That seemed a little silly given that the game itself goes out of its way to pimp things up. You are paying a pretty nice premium to what could be done very cheap in cardboard. Why stop the indulgence there? I’m sure if you have people paying for this, they’ll shell out for a nice game mat too. Who knows, maybe they will later.

Ah but no more time to gripe about silly publisher decisions! My first event was upon me: Song of Ice and Fire skirmish event. This event was ironic and maybe dumb but there was a method to my madness. This was a one-off game of Lannisters versus Starks using the core set. My opponent? Colton.

Yes. We flew 1000 miles to play a game we both own, using a fraction of the units we have (and only the most basic ones at that). Colton doubted my sanity when he got the full gist of what was going on. The event coordinator tried to hover and teach but I shooed him away and set us down to play a real game, not just some convention demo.

We played it out and I thought I had a commanding lead on Colton but his Starks roared back and threatened to overwhelm. We had to call the game a round short of the end with me edging out victory nine points to his eight. Still wondering why we were wasting precious Con time doing this, I told him to be patient as I knew there was swag to be had. Lo and behold, there was! A Seneschal mini and alt sculpt Roose Bolton was up for grabs but more importantly, more activation token banners. That was the real prize (though getting another game in was also great, even if we had to do it by coming out to GC).

Our event done, we wandered back into the dealer hall and stopped by Mythic Games to see what was going on. They had newly painted minis for their upcoming “1.5” Joan of Arc release and they looked as good as ever. More importantly, they were demoing a new game set in the Joan of Arc IP: Time of Legend: Destinies.

This is an app-driven narrative game that uses similar miniatures and scale from Joan of Arc in a new and interesting way. The tiles above are pre-production and will be larger (enough to make the roads fit to the size of the miniature). The app being demoed seemed interesting. I’ve really only enjoyed one app/board game experience and that is the FFG dungeon crawler, Descent.

The app has some interesting features with QR codes and being able to scan the cards to use them in the game. The scene above had your woodsman running across a pack of wolves, waiting to attack you. Having the poison bottle item and using it allowed the character to get around the normal progression of having to fight the wolf pack off and risk injury. We’ll see how the development goes on this but I’m definitely going to give it a good look before making a final decision.

As always, their painting case is truly inspiring.

Unfortunately, not much of anything new for Dropzone Commander. TTCombat had a big presence and it was nice to see the new things in real life but it’d be nice to see where else they are going.

Jumping over to the Corvus Belli booth, I got my first look at their take at the dungeon crawler with Defiance.

I’m really not sure what to think on this game. It is a 1-4 player dungeon crawl using a lot of the Aristea dice rules. Colton was able to grab a demo of Defiance later on Friday so I learn Aristea while he played. The AI seemed very robust and complex and that had me wondering if it’d be much fun running that much crunch. If anything needs an App, it’d be this game.

After breaking for dinner, we headed over to the BGG Hot Games Room and picked out Era: Medieval Age to play. With some help from a friendly gamer, teaching us the basics, we were able to knock out the full game before the midnight bells tolled. The game is fun and I want to play more of it but that bland yellow board is so bad. That’d be the first thing to pimp out if I picked this up. I’ll have to think about if it is truly worth doing though with the high MSRP.

While we were out of time, we did see this gem of a game itching to be played.

I’ll just let you read that game description by yourself.

After the BGG room, we called it a night, complete with Die Hard board game “Do not disturb” door hanger.