From the ConNewRecaps, Reports & Reviews

Gen Con 2023 : One Hot Ticket

by Transmute Jun

Dragonlance Signing

Gen Con is the premiere tabletop gaming convention in North America, and it was held for the 20th year in Indianapolis, August 3-6, 2023 (although the convention itself has been running since 1968, starting in Lake Geneva, WI). Over 70,000 people came to play board games, CCGs, Roleplaying games, LARPS, and more. Entertainment events such as Gamers:Live and Magic Sword drew crowds, while long lines snaked through various locations for multiple Dragonlance novel signings by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis. 

Gen Con is also a hub for professionals and companies in the gaming industry. Retail seminars and demos take place, while new products are literally playtested and/or launched on the exhibit floor. 2023 saw a Gen Con first: overnight lines. Since events are ticketed, lines to enter rooms are rare, and as such, there is no line culture at Gen Con. However, the launch of Disney’s new Lorcana CCG broke all molds, creating massive excitement amongst gamers and non-gamers alike. Thousands of attendees braved long waits to pick up promo cards and to be amongst the first to play and purchase the game. Longtime attendees could not recall such excitement for a game launch since early Magic: the Gathering releases back in the 1990s. 

Gaming in a suite at Lucas Oil Stadium

Gen Con was bigger than ever this year, and expanded further to take over even more space in the downtown area. Gaming and events were held in 6 different attached hotels, as well as in Union Station. Additionally, Lucas Oil Stadium opened up even more space than ever, with attendees playing in its conventions rooms, on the floor of the arena, and (for the first time this year) in the club lounges and stadium suites overlooking the field. Corridors were crowded with happy faces and large bags of gaming-related merchandise.

One negative that marred the convention was the theft of over $300,000 of CCGs. Two men were entered the convention center on August 2 (the day before the convention began, when vendors were setting up on the exhibit floor). They took a pallet jack and loaded up boxes of merchandise, before leaving the building with their ill-gotten gains. Indianapolis police are currently looking for the suspects, whose antics were recorded on security cameras. 

Food Truck/Block Party area outside convention center

Despite this incident, attendees and vendors with whom Gen Con spoke were pleased overall, and everyone seemed to feel that this was the first year to surpass the energy and excitement of the 2019 event. 

Gen Con returns to Indianapolis August 1-4, 2024. Con organizers recently re-negotiated their contract with the City of Indianapolis, and signed a contact agreeing to hold the event there through at least 2030.

Did you attend Gen Con?Plan to check out the con in 2024? Join the conversation on the FoCC forums!

Transmute Jun

Transmute Jun has an addiction to pop culture conventions, and attends as many as she can each year. When she's not traveling, she likes to stay at home reading a good book, playing a video game, or binge-watching a TV show. She can be bribed with pizza, Coke Zero and Belgian milk chocolate.