Is Gen Con Becoming a Board Game Convention?

Posted by Labyrinthian in , ,


 One really has to wonder if the focus of Gen Con is moving from Roleplaying games to Board Games.  Take a look at the Dealer's Hall map.  Wizards has one a single sizable booth, Paizo also has a single (but smaller) booth.  Yet Mayfair games has an entire section of the dealer room floor and Fantasy Flight has an entire neighborhood. 

Then there is the disparity in events.  This year there are almost nine hundred more board game events than RPG events.  Maybe this has been coming for a while.  Take a look at the number for the last few years..


(Year: RPG - Board Game)

2006: 1453 - 1043
2007: 1738 - 1275
2008: 1781 - 1234
2009: 1614 - 1326
2010: 1809 - 1931
2011: 1940 - 2833

Now I'm not saying that board games are bad.  Hell, I like them as much as the next guy, but I've always seen Gen Con as an RPG first convention and it seems like that might be changing. 

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at Tuesday, June 21, 2011 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

9 comments

I noticed that as well. A resurgence in f2f boardgaming?

June 21, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Historically, Board Games/War Games have always been a big part of Gen Con since it's inception. I think there was a move away from that in the past. However with mergers and other deals many companies have both RPGs and Board Games. Fantasy Flight is a good example. Also, seeing how there actually is a noticeable resurgence in the playing of board games in the general population, I'm not surprised to see such a large turnout at any game convention. The 900 more events your seeing, reflects this trend.

June 21, 2011 at 11:28 AM
The Unspeakable Gnome  

There are more RPGs being played than in previous years. It's just that board games are doing well at the moment.

June 21, 2011 at 3:16 PM
Anonymous  

I don't believe it's becoming a "board game convention." As Bonemaster said, companies like Fantasy Flight and Privateer Press (with their returning Iron Kingdoms RPG) support board, miniature, and RPG games. Also, the number of board game events can be large because the timeslots for those games can be significantly smaller than those for RPGs or Miniature games. With regard to Mayfair, they take up a ton of space because they are basically running events in the middle of the exhibition hall in addition to any demos, not because they necessarily have a ton of product.

June 21, 2011 at 3:44 PM
Anonymous  

Well, wizards isn't really an RPG company as much as they are a CCG company.

June 21, 2011 at 4:40 PM

I haven't been able to go for the past couple of years, but the last time I went it seemed to me like it was trying to move to more video games.

I also thought that Gen Con started as a Wargame/Boardgame convention and RPGs were added later. I never went to a Gen Con until it moved closer to home (Indy) so I can't say what the old ones were really like.

June 21, 2011 at 11:46 PM
Umbra of the Hunter's Moon  

The game that is being played in the picture is Dungeon Lords which is a little bit of a parody of dungeon-crawling RPGs in that you are the monsters in the dungeons trying to get points by killing adventurers of different levels using traps, minions, etc. I find that the best RPG players are also avid board gamers although there are board gamers who refuse to cross over to RPGs (I was one) and RPG players who refuse to cross over to board games (some members of my current D&D group). Having both means that both my gaming group and my D&D group would have something to do there.

June 29, 2011 at 8:34 PM

@Umbra - If you mean the picture in the post, that's actually Arkham Horror.

June 30, 2011 at 11:18 AM
Anonymous  

Pushing the RPGs out to the hotels the past several years hasn't exactly helped...if boardgames are what people see in the conventional hall, you will end up with a lot more boardgamers!

August 2, 2011 at 8:53 AM

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