Catalyst Game Labs Gen Con 2011 Wrap-Up

As Catalyst Game Labs stepped into the Convention Center this year to start early set-up, we discussed how our yearly circadian cycles literally seem wedded to Gen Con…we could feel the click of the cycle as another Gen Con began and we marked off the beginning of another year…

As usual, there’s so much fun coolness to share, it’s gonna be a long post…

This year’s Gen Con was simply phenomenal…and as ever, that is all upon the communities that continue to love the games we’re honored to currently helm. From the seminal Shadowrun and BattleTech, to the brand new Cosmic Patrol and our casual games such as Hex-A-Gon, to the coming Leviathans…the enthusiasm, passion and support of you the fans is awesome and humbling to behold.

Below are some photos of the back of the booth before opening day and then the front of the booth once the doors were open for a few hours.



Just as Gen Con has reported a twenty-ish percent increase in attendance, we saw a significant growth in participation in all our events across the board.


This year we were blown away at the volume of Shadowrun players we moved through the mean streets and shadows. Some nitty-gritty details:

Thursday: 168 regular players, 37 Scramble players, and 30 Boot Camp attendees
Friday: 189 regular players, 63 Tournament players, 30 Boot Camp attendees
Saturday: 150 regular players, 63 Tournament players, 42 Whose Run is it Anyway? attendees
Sunday: 49 regular players

For a grand total of: 556 players through the 4 hour tabletop events, and 821 overall participants in Shadowrun events! Course this doesn’t include the in-booth demo, which there’s no way to track the numbers we ran through there as well…


As always, we couldn’t possibly run the scale of events we do without a fantastic group of demo agents and volunteers…a special thanks to those that helped us on Shadowrun:

Aaron Pavao
Ando Muneno
Andrew Coen
Brandie Tarvin
Cason Snow
Corey Hagopian
Dan Wlodarski
David Ellenberger
Devon Oratz
Galen Winkler
JR Riedel
Jean-Marc Comeau
John Schmidt
Kerry Simeon
Kevin Raleigh
Luc Villeneuve
Matt Manganaro
Matthew Kolell
Melissa Sweigart
Michael Barnes
Michael Messmer
Nick Van
Ray Rigel
Rebecca Welch
Robert Loper
Robin Sheldrake
Rusty Zimmerman
Scott Boss
Scott Schletz
Tina Vo
Tony Vodicka


As with Shadowrun, the increase in the number of people playing and the total number of hours those gamers played was up in a huge way from last year. We had 1,108 players go through events in the miniatures hall (note that is not unique players but simply how many seats players took up in all our events).

One of the most exciting details on numbers are the “intro” games:

The introductory BattleTech Boot Camp had 240 attendees
The transitional game from the Boot Camp into more BattleTech goodness, the Grinder, had 255 attendees




Look to for more photos and details about BattleTech from Gen Con in the future.

As with Shadowrun, a shout out to all those that ran endless hours of stomping-metal-titan fun (not to mention the explosive Leviathans):

Jeremy Weyand
James O’Laughlin
Alex Kaempen
Joshua Franklin
Greg Mueller
James Kirtley
Max Prohaska
Mary Kaempen
Agustín Sieiro
Sam Snell
Dan Sweikata
Rob DeHoff
James Miller
David Leaver
Jennifer Roesch
Colin Toenjes
Christopher Ings
William Pennington
Kevin Kyrouac
Salvador Prados Pérez
Andrew Schwenzer
Brian Huss
James topa
Antonio Denwiddie
Travis Friedmann
Jonathan B. Andrus
Joe Clark II
Joshua McCarthy
Amanda Mitro
Keith McDiffitt
Justin Rulton
Eric Ergen
Max Ergen
Tammy McDiffitt
Tina Vo
Sam McLean
Jon Peters
Adam Sherwood
Kyle Vancil
Amanda Andrus
Rose Goldsberry


Despite Leviathans not making it for sale at Gen Con, we scrounged up a pile of miniatures and gave them away as much as possible to anyone willing to give our game a try…and man did we run a huge pile of demos.

We had 628 players through our events in the minis hall (again, that’s not unique players but how many seats players took up). The Leviathans Shakedown Cruise (the demo game) saw 347 attendees, while the King of the Skies (the transition game that opens up more rules) had 263 attendees.

And of course we had a truly crazy amount of players run through the in-booth demo every day.

For more details on Leviathans‘ experience at Gen Con, a series of blog post can be found here (with more on the way).




We released a new light and fast roleplaying game, Cosmic Patrol, as well as a new board game, Hex-A-Gon (available for sale later this year), while we also demoed a board game still in development for release next year, Linear.




For more details on Cosmic Patrol, check out the website here, while more information on our coming casual games can be found on this site.


CGL Gen Con Experience booklet

We tried something new this year…instead of a series of hand-outs and signs that provided the details on what’s new at Gen Con for us and where to find our various events, we produced a Catalyst Game Labs Gen Con Experience booklet. This allowed us to really provide a true mountain of information for any fan of any of our games, from what’s new at the show, what sales were going on for Gen Con, what’s coming down the line, events schedules, and more.

I mentioned it numerous times before Gen Con and had enough tweets by those unable to attend requesting a look at the booklet that I’m posting it as a free PDF…click on the cover and enjoy!


As usual, a lot of other Catalyst-related things were going on as well.

Next to our booth we had Echo Chernik, ENnie Award Winning, world-renowned artist, who loves Shadowrun as much as we love her art.


Thanks to all of the wonderful authors and artists that sat at our signing table for those looking to have various items gain a John Hancock.


Catalyst Game Labs was honored to work with Melba Chaffee in selling original works of the late Doug Chaffee, with all revenue going to the Chaffee estate.


The Camospecs Online crew once more delivered a stunning diorama surrounding The Wars of Reaving among the Clans (see the following flikr album for a wonderful array of photos of this diorama by Ben Rome).

GenCon2011_CSO BattleTech Diorama.jpg

Our friends at Virtual World were back again for another year of blowing BattleMechs up in the best immersive game available…Nick and his fantastic crew always bring fun with a capital F (a photo of pre-setup…we’re jealous of how fast they’re able to set up and tear down, despite all the electronics involved…)


The Beard…apparently not a beard, but The Beard. Because photos and tweets have been running rampant…. It all started out as a bet between Matt Heerdt (our intrepid Graphics guru) and Randall to see who could grow the biggest beard over the last 10 months to Gen Con. Matt cried uncle months ago, but Randall kept pushing, growing a…well…Doug from NeonCon perhaps said it best: +5 beard of awesome. As you can see in the Catalyst Game Labs Gen Con Experience Booklet, Matt was having a little too much fun concerning The Beard…and then during tear down as Randall was away shipping some boxes, the mice…played….



Once again, thanks so much too all of those that stopped by, played a game, or just talked to us about their favorite experience. The show is made by you….

A monster thanks to Bull and Mike Miller, who helm the massive team of volunteers and tackle the insanity of running hundreds of hours of events so players can have a blast, with memories to last for years…for any of our volunteers that I didn’t mention by name, apologies you were missed in the compilation of the data….

And here’s two of our favorite photos of the entire show to end with…ooohhhh…shiny…



See you next year!