Gen Con is the mecca of gaming events. Each year it gets bigger as more people descend on Indianapolis for “the best four days in gaming”. I want to highlight the best miniatures that Gen Con has to offer but please note this is by no means a comprehensive list. These are simply the games and the minis that got my hobby juices pumping.
Red Republic Games had an even bigger showing than at Adpeticon earlier this year. They had new Arena Rex models on display for almost every faction along with some gorgeous gaming mats. The game mat features a full three foot diameter arena as the play area with a detailed crowd in the stands along the edges. It is exactly what Ben and I were looking for and I was compelled to pick one up.
Blood & Plunder
I had the chance to play a demo of Blood & Plunder by Firelock Games and I am very impressed. As with any Kickstarter game there is the issue that when the game finally arrives after months, sometimes years, of waiting that it will be a major disappointment. For Blood & Plunder I can confidently say that there is no need to worry.
My demo was played on a sea 4×4 table and consisted of two evenly matched sloops blasting cannon and musket volleys at one another and eventually launching a boarding action followed by fierce hand-to-hand combat. The game uses cards to activate your units each round with new cards being drawn for each unit after each turn. Even though my game was only a short demo I walked away both impressed and confident that a quality game was being produced.
I was impressed by the miniatures as well. Even though the models are 28mm scale the bases, which as cast as part of the model, are much smaller than your standard 25mm round bases. This is to allow for more models to fit onto the decks of the ships. The bases also feature the wooden planking molding right onto the base. This will ensure that the models look at home on the decks of the ships.
Warlord Games had a disappointingly small presence at Gen Con this year. There was one demo table set up for the hot off the press Konflict ’47 and that’s about it. I was very much looking forward to a sneak peak at the Bolt Action Second Edition release and the possibility of purchasing a copy of the rulebook, but alas. Looks like Gen Con was just a few weeks early because the pre-order for Second Edition went live on the second day of Gen Con and it is slotted to release “mid-September”. Of all the amazing games, demos and booths, Warlord was a major letdown. Even the demo table was pretty bland. In the past Warlord has always gone above and beyond with their demo tables. A few years ago they had a massive Battle of Berlin table filled with amazing ruined city terrain. There was not even a Warlord Games booth, their presence was folded into The Warstore area. I walked away completely underwhelmed.
GCT Studios had a massive booth with multiple display cases showing off the entire range of Bushido miniatures. I regret not snapping more pictures as the studio armies are simply beautiful. I have had my Savage Wave models built but in the bare metal for a while now and they deserve some paint. Seeing the fantastic studio models on display certainly inspired me to get mine painted. Of course, I am still not very keen on the actual game. I was less than impressed with my first play but once I get my force painted up I am sure I will give the game another go.
With Konflict ’47 just now hitting the shelves there has been a lot of attention back on Dust. Dust Studio went big this year with a large booth and stacks of models. Dust always fell in the strange not-quite-a-miniatures-game-but-more-than-a-boardgame space and I don’t think it ever found it’s footing. Fantasy Flight Games dropped the license a few years ago and stopped supporting the line. But, it looks like Dust Studio is pumping resources into the game and I am sure the soon to be popular Konflict ’47 is having an impact as well. If Bolt Action Second Edition was not mere weeks away I would be must more interested in Dust and K47. There is no denying that the models are cool and they really captured a great old-but-still-sci-fi aesthetic but the quality is just not there. The moment you hold on these models in your hands you instantly think “boardgame”. And when you are asking for a price point on the same level as a full table-top miniatures game, it’s a tough sell.
And there you have it folks! GenCon is an absolutely massive show and there is a staggering amount of amazing minis that I did not cover due to lack of time and photos. I am sure I missed all kinds of great stuff!
What did you like the best? What did I miss out on? Let us know in the comments and keep your eyes peeled for part two of my Gen Con coverage – board games.