By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
This is the time of year when the entire board gaming world shifts its attention to Indianapolis and Gen Con.
Gen Con Indy is the longest running — at 44 years — and best attended gaming convention in the world.
A year ago, more than 120,103 visitors came through the turnstiles to experience Gen Con. One of the primary functions of the convention is to check out the newest games and get a sneak peek at the latest editions.
Gen Con began as a meeting between some friends to play games in Lake Geneva, Wis. which led to the name Gen (Geneva) Con (Convention).
The convention will again be held at the Indiana Convention Center, 100 S. Capitol Ave. For more information, go www.gencon.com.
Wizards of the Coast will host the first-ever keynote address at Gen Con on Thursday to share with Dungeons & Dragons fans what’s in store for that trend-setting game.
Consistently Gen Con’s most requested media guest, Wil Wheaton returns this year. His best knowm film work was “Stand By Me” but his TV notoriety came in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Wheaton will sign autographs Thursday through Saturday in the Exhibit Hall.
One of the best gateway party games is Apples to Apples and the first-ever bash for that game will be held at Gen Con by Mattel Games. It will be an evening of game play, prizes and fun. One lucky fan will be crowned Apple King and get a big grand prize. Registration will take place at the Mattel Booth in the Dealer Hall.
Gen Con has always been a place where products are available for the first time and this year is no exception. Some new products available this year are listed by company and game title:
Asmodee Games: “Timelines,” a simple strategic card game of putting things in chronological order; “Seasons,” a combination dice and card board game, and “Cities,” the second expansion for the tremendously popular “7 Wonders” game.
AEG: “Smash Up,” a non-collectible card game where different factions of cards are smashed together to form an unlikely army aimed at vanquishing all of the other similar-formed armies.
Clever Mojo: “Alien Frontiers Faction Pack,” the first expansion for one of the past year’s best-selling games.
Days of Wonder: Releases an extensive equipment pack for its enduring and versatile “Memoir 44” war game.
Tasty Minstrel Games: Offers “Village” in very limited quantities. The game has been nominated for several awards and offers a game mechanic where a player’s workers not only can, but will die of old age rather than combat.
Gary Games: The fourth installment for Ascension, this one titled “Immortal Heroes.”
Iello: Brings two big releases to Gen Con. First is “Mythic Battles,” a fantasy combat game that has been generating as much excitement as any game this year and “Power Up,” an expansion for the monster battle game “King of Tokyo.”
Mayfair Games: Will offer “Star Trek Catan,” a new choice in the popular Catan line that will also feature a two-day appearance by Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura in the original “Star Trek” series.
Rio Grande: No game has changed the gaming industry to the degree that “Dominion” has. This Gen Con will see the appearance of the game’s largest expansion – “Dark Ages.”
Twilight Creations: Will offer a pair of new games; “The Current Number of the Beast” and “Zombies!!! The Card Game,” the latter an entry into the game long-standing thrill ride “Zombies!!!”
GenCon runs Thursday through Sunday. A four-day badge is $80. A single day is $50 with a Sunday only badge going for $30. The dealer hall is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day except Sunday when it is 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
But there is gaming going on 24 hours per day beginning Wednesday evening.