It felt like Kickstarter usurped the Gen Con vendors this year. I go to Gen Con mostly to see the new games, and it seemed like most of the prominent new games were Kickstarter successes, waiting to fulfill delivery from Kickstarter, about to start a Kickstarter, or on Kickstarter now. The others were delayed and maybe available for a prototype demo. Overall, a disappointing time checking out new games this year. I should have kept a tally of the number of times I heard “only available to backers” as I walked around the exhibits hall.
How about some examples? Friends were very excited about Scythe, and that’s a Kickstarter link. I said I was going to look at the GameFolio system, and that’s a Kickstarter link. I had on my list to see One Deck Dungeon, not yet released, and that’s a Kickstarter link. Okay, I am getting tired of saying that. BetaBotz and Giga-Robo are two current Kickstarter projects that were there, and I cannot give you links to upcoming Kickstarters that were being promoed. As I look back through the BoardGameGekk preview, it was not that severe, but it certainly felt like Kickstarter was taking over the role of pre-release game promos. Certainly there are publishers using Kickstarter heavily to gauge interest and collect pre-orders.
Other differences in the world noted at Gen Con:
- Geek Chic remains the big name in gaming furniture, but they seem to be staying at the high end while competitors arise at lower price points. Carolina Game Tables was at Gen Con, and I did not see BoardGameTables.com but they recently had a successful Kickstarter. Google tells me there are also a few companies in that space in the UK.
- On the cosplay front, in one day at Gen Con, I saw only 19 Deadpools and Harley Quinns, which seems like a big drop from previous years. All but one of the female Harley Quinns went with the Suicide Squad style; all but one of the male Harley Quinns went with the classic costume, sometimes a skimpy version.