Gen Con was so full this year. Most years I help Nathan Marchand with his book table and we put our devotionals out along with his fiction works. This year he had to cancel last minute and we didn’t get that pleasure. But I had some other responsibilities. This was the first year I served as the coordinator for the events sponsored by the Christian Gamers Guild. I also got to do some cosplaying and a lot more gaming than the past couple of years. So where to start? First, to the games!
This year I logged about 20 games during Gen Con. This included a couple pick up games on Wed. night before the con, a few ticketed game slots, and some demos. The game that seemed most clever to me was called Dive. In Dive you are all divers from a local village in a competition hosted by the chief. The coolest person in the village must be the best diver, right? The game features large, clear cards that have pictures of various sea animals. Most of them are friendly to divers, at least in the game, but the sharks are not. You are trying to determine which layers have sharks and which layers have more friendly animals. If you choose correctly you keep diving, if not you rise to the surface in fear of sharks and don’t get as many points.
Another game I enjoyed this year was Pulsar 2849. This is a Czech Games Edition (CGE) product that has been out for a few years. I had not yet played it and joined the demo at the last minute. We only played a few rounds but I enjoyed it. This is a dice drafting game that has you racing to gain control of pulsars to harvest their energy. You spend dice to build technology, travel around the galaxy, and do other actions. I bought it on Sunday before leaving.
I could go on about more games such as My Shelfie, Saboteur: The Dark Cave, Fuse, Catch the Moon, etc. but there were some other things to report.
Friday I hosted the Christianity and Gaming Panel. This was a Q&A panel that discussed the intricacies of being Christians in the gaming realm. Our panelists included game designer Ken Franklin and Love Thy Nerd CEO Bubba Stallcup. Some of the discussion was about finding your limits in terms of dark material in games, the goal of sharing joy and hope in games, and being a light for Christ in our gaming circles. Each year is a bit different as the topics are chosen by the questions asked by the audience.
Later on Friday I attended the film festival for the first time. Derek White, the Geek Preacher, hosted a viewing of a new documentary he was highly involved in. The Satanic Panic and the Religious Battle for Imagination. The documentary interviewed both those who worked in the gaming industry and clergy who have played and ran events for Dungeons and Dragons. It looked at sociological influences in the satanic panic (the fear many Christians had about D&D as well as other creative outlets). The film won Best Gamer Film this year. I attended to learn and to sit with many gamers who were have been hurt by the church.
Saturday I joined in a gathering of many from the board games community. We played games and a lot of people enjoyed networking. I learned about The Spiel Foundation, which includes an effort to donate games to libraries, schools, hospitals, and even elderly homes.
Sunday morning has been my favorite part of Gen Con for many years, but this year I was responsible for putting it all together. My part was simply hosting and leading communion. Tom Vasel from the Dice Tower was preaching and we had a worship leader named Craig step up to lead the music. This was a great morning.