GenCon is labeled as the “best four days in gaming” and with the abundance of boardgames, tabletop, card, and many other types of games, Indianapolis becomes a gamer’s Mecca. This being my second year attending GenCon, I felt that I had a good handle on what was around the convention and with my group, we made plans for games to play and booths not to be missed. As we walked through the exhibit hall though, I came to realize that GenCon is an ever-changing beast and I was surprised with new and exciting games and booths that have yet to leave my gaming dreams.
One thing that seems to have grown in popularity in the past few years is the increase of luxury gaming accessories and even “prestige” or “boutique” games. These accessories and games are evolving the way people can game, elevating the experience to something that becomes more immersive and helps to create a tangible world for the gamer. There were several booths that I stopped by that grabbed my attention including the following new and familiar items.
One of the games that I most desperately wished to walk away from GenCon with, was “Kingdom Death: Monster”. “Kingdom Death: Monster” calls itself a “nightmare horror board game” and the miniature figures for the game do not fail to uphold this description. The game itself is a survival, character building experience where the players cooperatively fight together to beat monsters, obtain gear, and upgrade your character. Along with trying to just survive, players are able to build, maintain, and expand a settlement under their control.
Looking over the game, it is hard not to fall in awe of the insanely detailed miniature figures that evoke a feeling of amazement and sheer horror. The base game itself is hard to find and currently not available for sale on the website. It was in stock during GenCon, so stalking out conventions may be the best bet for nabbing this collector’s game. The base game comes in at $400 with expansions for individual characters starting at $25 and expansions for monsters ranging from $50-150.
So now that you have the luxury game, what do you use to play? Well standard fair is whatever flat surface the group can gather around and set up the game, but for the luxury gamer; the options are endless. Geek Chic offers some of the best of the best tables designed specifically for all your gaming needs. These tables offer hidden drawers perfect for character sheets, writing utensils, gaming books, and other accessories. Many of the tables also have the option for a top that can be removed, leaving a recessed area for figurines or games to stay set up and out of the way while the table is being used for other things. Geek Chic tables offered range from full dining tables, coffee tables, game room specific tables, storage options for gaming peripheries, and even chairs to match. All of these products can be customized through different wood options and they even offer the ability for customized tables. Most items available for order can be ordered through Geek Chic’s website, with several requiring a deposit.
The last thing to really round out a fully immersive luxury gaming experience would not be complete without the gaming accessories. From custom dice boxes to dice made of rare woods and materials, the options for high end gaming gear is nearly endless. One of the well known dice making companies, Artisan Dice, were again present with a few new options in their product line. There are several different woods at GenCon, including dice sets made from “Jack Daniels” barrels, and, as a great pairing, d20s made from whiskey stones.
I also had the chance to stop in to Dog Might’s booth and check out what new things were coming up and ask about their beautiful “Settlers of Catan” custom board. For anyone looking into ways to take their games to the next level, this board is the perfect thing. Handmade and painted, this board gives players an option where not only do the tiles actually fit together, but it brings the game to life for all the trading of sheep, ore, etc. Michael and Michael, co-founders, shared with me plans for their next Kickstarter item “War Quarters”, which can be customized like the “Dragon Sheaths”, but will be for carrying miniature figures along with other gaming gear. Make sure to keep an eye out for a follow up article, closer to the Kickstarter release date! Another gaming accessory that stood out to us was Elderwood Academy for their beautifully crafted hex chests and spellbook dice cases. These, especially the spellbook dice cases, allow for the immersion of the player into their character and as such, make great gaming accessories for those who enjoy playing magic based characters. These spellbook cases also had interior options for card decks, making them perfect for “Magic the Gathering”.
Gaming is definitely a hobby and pastime that is great and entertaining for everyone. No matter what the budget is, there is a way to fit gaming into the equation. However, recent years have shown an increase in items that craft and create a more immersive environment for gaming. Whether is having highly-detailed miniature sculpts to up your role-playing game, playing your games on customized gaming tables, or owning artisan crafted gaming accessories, these products are sure to bring your games to life in a way takes gaming to the next level. These items, either being used all together, or working what pieces you can into your budget, stand out as heirloom items that after a while, not only look beautiful, but carry a story as memorable as the gaming experience of the player.