Storing Story Cubes

Two new storage options for Rory’s Story Cubes will be available this week at Spiel Essen: the orderly Collector’s Box and the easy Collector’s Bag.



Gen Con LLC released attendance numbers for Gen Con 2014, revealing that this year’s gaming convention is not only the largest of any convention held in Indianapolis, but it has also grown to be the largest (non-electronic) gaming event in the world.

In 2014, Gen Con’s turnstile attendance grew to 184,699 with 56,614 unique attendees. Internationale Speiltage SPIEL (often referred to as “The Essen Game Fair” or “Essen”) had 156,000 turnstile attendance in 2013, which was the trade show’s highest-attended year. Gen Con surpassed this mark that year with a turnstile attendance of 159,364.

Gen Con 2014’s unique attendance numbers are slightly higher than the Future Farmers of America’s last convention in Indianapolis. With FFA’s 2012 convention’s 56,176 attendees, Gen Con had just over 400 more unique attendees. FFA’s 2013 convention, held in Louisville, KY, had 62,998 unique attendees. In 2012, the Future Farmers of America’s last appearance in Indianapolis, they added $38 million into the local economy, compared to Gen Con 2013’s $47 million. The next largest convention in terms of economic impact to the city in 2013 was the FDIC (Fire Department Instructors Conference), with $35 million.

While the actual economic impact of Gen Con 2014 will not be known until later this year, the increase of 14% in growth may reach past the $50 million mark.


This article was edited to clarify that Gen Con has grown to be the largest non-electronic gaming convention. 

The days seem to be getting much longer but still not enough time to get to everything.

Today the show was a bit more crowded and we were a bit more tired, not making for a good combination as you push through the crush of people. Shuffled our way over to the Indie Boards and Cards booth to get a better look at Flash Point, the hot game, straight off its successful funding on Kickstarter. Flash Point raised more than $51,000 early this year.

We sat down and went through a game with one of the volunteers. This game is HOT to use an obvious pun. The booth continued to be crowded and as we were sitting there, the last 10 copies were sold of the 450 that Indie Games brought with them. I was able to grab a signed copy as one of the last 10. I will be giving the autographed copy away next month on my Facebook page to one of my fans. You can enter the contest by liking my page at The Game Whisperer on Facebook.

The game plays fast and smooth, with great mechanics that allow a richness of play without a complexity of rules and sacrifices for flow. You are a team of firefighters, each with a unique ability, with the job of putting out the structural fire while rescuing the seven trapped victims inside. Ignore the fire and you will lose, something we discovered quickly on the first game. As the game ended I had only one thought…I NEED to play this again. We quickly set up the board and played another game there in the booth.

This time, with better focus on firefighting skills, we entered a home where it appeared a party had been going on in the front room when the back of the house exploded. Rushing in the front door, we coordinated carrying the victims out while the guy with the compressed air fought his way to the back of the house, holding the flames at bay. I was a medic, racing to help people out. I even was able to get in near the fire and rescue the family pets, a dog and cat. The sense of accomplishment from saving all those people AND their pets was a great way to end the game.

The story that builds in your mind as you play this game will provide many hours of enjoyment.

I spoke at length with Travis from Indie Games about the decision to go to Kickstarter with Flash Point and his thoughts on why the success. He said he went into Kickstarter with a very focused marketing plan that contributed to its exposure and adoption. My interview with him will be expanded at a later time.

Also stopped by the Elfin Games booth which has gone and done something completely radical. Elfin Games is releasing Therion 011, a board game based on a book, based on a band, that morphed into a mini movie.

You can get a signed copy of the game at the web site for the Band Therion. The figures in the game are in the likeness of the band members and the entire experience of the game, the music, the book, and the movie is very unique. Kudos to Will Niebling for taking a chance on something that appears to be very successful.

During the wanderings we ran into Z-Man himself of Z-Man Games. He was looking relaxed and smiling a lot. Z-Man always smiles but it would appear that the latest corporate changes have left him a much more relaxed and happy fellow. When I asked him what prompted him to sell the Z-Man company, his answer was straight forward. “They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse”

Hard to argue with that.

We ended the day over at MayDay games, which is selling Get Bit, TikTok Woodman, and Eaten By Zombies, all successfully launched Kickstarter games. Kickstarter is the buzz of the show. Everyone is wondering the impact it will have on the board game industry. Many are taking a wait see attitude with the belief that it is a fad that will fade. My opinion is that Kickstarter will become a compelling force in the market, bringing about a new set of opportunities.

It is 1am, the day is over, and tomorrow is the biggest day of the show, with Saturday being insanely busy. We are getting up early and making the trek into the city to attempt to beat the crowd.

Look for another post tomorrow night.

Spiel Essen 2011 Day 1

It is Spiel time and for the 3rd year in a row I find myself in Essen Germany being crushed by tens of thousands of board game fans and simply loving it. This report is a very small picture of a very big event. Day 1 was spent wandering, looking, talking, resting, eating, and playing, not necessarily in that order nor limited to only doing things once…resting and playing sometimes masked as the same thing.

The show appears to be as big as always, with multiple halls with massive booths and new games everywhere. Some of the fun of Spiel is wandering

Indie Games Booth at Spiel 2011

the crowded aisles, coming upon a line of people waiting for something, getting in the line for the sheer curiosity, and emerging out the other end with something cool and coveted. In this case, it was a copy of Panic Station from Stronghold games. Their booth was a crazy blitz of Stronghold people taking money and stuffing bags with games as fast as they could. They were showing off Panic Station, Core Worlds, Confusion, and a rerelease of Outpost. Their booth was absolutely slammed, especially since it was shared with Indie games who were desperately telling people that Flash Point was in the country just stuck at customs and would be arriving in the afternoon. (Which it did to the delight of many). Flash Point is one of the success stories of Kickstarter funding this year, raising more than $51,000. You can see their Kickstarter page here Flash Point Kickstarter Page

While in the line for Panic Station we met Colin Lim from Singapore who was at Spiel to demo his new game, F3, a card game of Mahjong meets Texas Hold ’em. Their company is called Black Dove Games We played the game once, and I won with a Royal Flush…except I don’t remember what I did or how I did it. The good news is that my buddy has friends who play Texas Hold ‘m AND Mahjong so he snagged a copy for 5 Euros to take back to London.

While we were in the Indie Games booth, we spoke with Don Eskridge, creator of The Resistance. He currently lives in Korea and admitted that since releasing The Resistance we were the first ‘Fans’ he had spoken with face to face about the game. The night before at a dinner at a restaurant while out with a friend and his family, I had brought The Resistance with me in case dinner took too long in coming. With six of us, I was able to teach them all The Resistance and play a quick game before we ate. This is such a great game when looking for a quick game to play with new gamers.

Don mentioned some ideas that have been floating around in his head about the next version or expansion for The Resistance. The working title is The Resistance…Hostile Expansion. The idea is that both sides are escalating the conflict, and the new expansion would give you the ability to add new roles, new activities of assassination and sabotage, and new interactions between the players. My favorite is The Sleeper. He doesn’t know which side he is on until halfway through the game…but the spies possibly know. The game is still in the idea stage inside Don’s very creative head, but we are looking forward to seeing it. We love the game and we love the new stuff he shared.

There was much more that we saw and experienced but it is 1:40am, we leave in 7 hours to return to Spiel for Day 2 and at some point I think I had better sleep if we are to make it to the end of the week.

See you tomorrow

P.S. My eyes are blurring and I’m very tired. When you find the typos let me know and I will fix them tomorrow.

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