According to the staff, there are 920 registered attendees. The con takes up nearly the entire conference space of the hotel.

And yet, BGG.con opened smoothly and strongly. Aside from a few delayed boxes for the vendors – which was the post office’s fault, not the con admins – everything seemed to run amazingly well.

The con was supposed to officially open at 10:00. At 7:30, lines were forming. I admit to arriving at the line at 8:00, myself; in my defense, I thought the con opened at 9:00, not 10:00. In the end, it opened at 9:30.

When I arrived it wasn’t a line so much as a conglomeration of blobs. People sat in circles playing games, at various distances from what would be the two registration desks. By 8:45, the “line” turned around the corner and stretched back the foyer of the hotel, roughly 300 feet or so.

Entrance to the con got you a schedule, a badge, a ticket for the Thoughthammer midnight giveaways on Thursday and Friday nights, a ticket to the Saturday night giveaway, a ticket for one or two free games (only a quarter of which were prized), a card for the game I am running, a pen, a map of the area, and I think that was it.

Aside from the gaming halls, there are halls dedicated to large dexterity and wooden games, halls for “hot games” from Essen, an unofficial war gamer room, vendor rooms adjoining the main hall and various scheduled events, such as Poker and a Treasure Hunt. Sign up sheets. Dedicated game teachers. Food kiosks. And so on.

I talked briefly with several vendors, and I hope to have some longer discussions tomorrow. When the vendor areas opened at 12:00, there was a mad rush to buy games: the newest Agricola Moor, Dungeon Lords, Stronghold, Endeavor, At the Gates of Loyang (the new Uwe Rosenberg title), and others went quickly. Z-Man’s booth was the most rushed, followed by Thoughthammer, which was selling games at the same price as their online store (minus the shipping). It took an hour to get through the line from Thoughthammer to actually buy the game. Booths from Rio Grande Games and Mayfair Games were much less in demand, as they were selling retail; they both had some lesser discounting or incentives to play or buy.

Big players: the above mentioned hot sellers, as well as Dominion, Tichu, Race for the Galaxy, Small World, Shipyard, Chaos in the Old World, Tobago, various forms of Power Grid, and Terra Prime (via a promotion). Other promotions also got games played: Mayfair Games, GMT Games, Queen Games, and others.

The hotel ran a lunch buffet for $15 which seemed like a big step up from what I remember two years ago. Looked like decent food, too. Tasty Minstrel was one of those vendor’s whose games got stuck in transit for a while; they moved an event scheduled for earlier in the day to much later.

Lots of good faces, noise, and available gaming. Some more pictures; I will add explanations for these, and links to the games, later.

Games played