We realize that it’s been almost a month since Gen Con, but we attended Pax Prime for the first time this year! And needless to say, coming only two weeks after Gen Con made it a major hurdle to overcome…hence a late Gen Con wrap-up. We’ll post up our thoughts on Pax Prime in the near future, but for now…
…let your minds travel back to that wonderful 4 days of gaming where for the first time 40,000+ gamers from around the world celebrated their hobby in grand style together.
We absolutely love Gen Con. While Catalyst is only celebrating its 5th year (‘only’…sheesh, hard to believe it’s already been that long!), most of the employees have been in the industry for a long, long time and Gen Con attendance is a wonderful ‘must’.
This is one of our favorite moments. After the months-long haul to get our books and games to Gen Con, then the grueling days of travel and then set-up…to stand as the tidal wave unleashes….
Almost all of us attended Gen Con before we worked in the industry. We remember the excitement and anticipation; the huge packed crowd in front of the doors; the rush of adrenaline as you race in to see what new shocks and surprises your favorite companies have in store. All these years later we appreciated how those game companies always tried to create the best possible experience we could take home and share with all our gaming friends for years to come…and Catalyst Game Labs tries hard to ensure everyone has that same experience with us as well.
This year we also did something a little different for us…we let our inner cosplayers come out. To help celebrate the official release of the long-awaited Leviathans, we dressed up a dozen of us in various costumes from that universe.
We also ended up winning the Gen Con 2012 Hall Costume Award!
A huge thanks to Amy Michalenka, Amanda Qualheim and Shelley McKittrick for their amazing work putting these together. We’ve already got evil plans for what we’ll do next year….
We’re extremely excited that for half a decade, every year we’ve increased the number of people playing BattleTech at Gen Con!.
Let’s share some fun numbers to show off the volume of what we ran:
The Battle For Terra
This was our big canon event this year and we averaged 22 players per 4 hour session for a total of 836 hours played.
Solaris Melee Challenge
For the challenge of tackling a Solaris game we averaged 12 players per each 2 hour session, racking up 278 total hours played.
The ever popular grinder ran 14 hours a day except Sunday and racked up a crazy on average of 19 players per 2 hour session and 882 total player hours; at midnight Thursday night, almost half of the Catalyst full-time staff were playing in a grinder.
The bootcamp is where we slide players into the fun of BattleTech and we always love to see the strength of attendance here; an average of 11 players per 1 hour sessions for a total of 327 player hours.
The Trial of Blood Right and Open were almost all sold out: 32 and 29 players respectively.
Masters and Minions
The Masters and Minions were also sold out at 32 players. The Catalyst staff, authors and more, would particularly like to thank those who faced us across the battlefields of this event. It has become one of the highlights of the con for all the “Masters” involved…
This year for our seminar, in addition to discussing all the great books releasing at Gen Con, as well as future release, we had the pleasure of welcoming Chris Cleroux, Game Director at Roadhouse Interactive and the main man in charge of making MechWarrior Tactics a reality.
It’s been fantastic working with the whole team working on MechWarrior Tactics and we were showing off a video of theirs, as well as handing out posters! (The poster also included an image for MechWarrior Online, and we were showing off two videos for that coming game as well; also a wonderful team at Piranha Games bringing that game to life!)
As ever, the fantastic crew at Camospecs.com provided a fantastic diorama…this is just a small sampling of metal mayhem awesomeness.
Virtual World Entertainment
And of course our friends in Nick Smith and his great Virtual World team brought the ever popular BattleTech Firestorm Pod in full force for endless hours of insanity.
Last year we brought new, sexy banners to immerse the BattleTech and Leviathans areas of the miniatures hall. This year it was Shadowrun‘s turn and we did it in style. Two big, curved displays, the backs as though seeing Shadowrun from the outside and the fronts as though seen from the within the universe.
Here you can see the fantastic Echo Chernik tagging one of her own illustrations…
Unlike BattleTech, which loves to subdivide all of its play into lance, companies and more, Shadowrun is, well, more free form…and just about playing a boat load of sick gaming.
This year we sold 803 tickets for almost 80 events! Plus or minus a few hours, that’s 3,000 hours of mean sprawl streets action!
As with the excitement of having Chris Cleroux talking MechWarrior Tactics in the BattleTech seminar, it was an honor and a pleasure to have the legendary Jordan Weisman (along with Mitch Gitelman) from Harebrained Schemes talking all things Shadowrun Returns.
It was also fantastic to have Shadowrun Online fund on Kickstarter right as we were starting to set-up for Gen Con…the Sixth World is as strong as ever!
Check out Shadowrun.com to keep up with all these great developments!
Did we mention Leviathans released!!!!
And then we ran a pile of fun games.
For our Shakedown Cruise we had an average of 12 players per 1 hour session for a total of 336 player hours. We also ran an average of 11 players per 2 hour sessions for The King of the Skies for a total of 428 player hours.
As with the Masters and Minions BattleTech game, last year Randall ran a “Come Play With the Master” Leviathans game and this year’s game was one of the absolute highlights of the show for him.
And Other Coolness
We had a pile of other cool things going on at the show as well: showing off our new Leviathans and Cosmic Patrol promo videos (as well as running Cosmic Patrol demos and games); giving away print & play copies of The Duke; demoing the Linear board game and showcasing a video for the Facebook/iOS game that’s coming for Linear; the long awaited Balance of Power board game finally released!
Thanks To Our Volunteers
As always, there’s no possible way we could make Gen Con such a success without a pile of volunteer work from a fantastic set of people. I hope I don’t forget anyone’s names, but here we go!:
Our RPG folks: Aaron Pavao, Andrew Coen, Dan Wlodarski, David Ellenberger, Devon Oratz, Doug Luman, Duncan Macneil-Burton, Galen Winkler, Grendel, Herb Schuttler, Jean Marc Comeau, Joe King, Katherine Fosso, Leigh Johnson, Luc, Villeneuve, Marc Johnson, Matthew Beard, Matthew Kolell, Michael Barnes, Michael Messmer, Nick Van, Ray Rigel, Ray Croteau, Rebecca Welch, Robert Thomas, Robert Loper, Shaun Burton, Steven Tinner, Tim Patrick, Tony Vodicka, Travis Brock, Vincent Catanzaro, Zach Lancaster.
Our miniatures folks: James Kirtley, James Miller, Ryan Dwornik, James Topa, James O’Laughlin, Dan Sweikata, Joshua McCarthy, Greg Mueller, Christopher, Ings, Jennifer Roesch, Sam Snell, Craig Gulledge, Robert DeHoff, Alexander C. Kaempen, Mary Kaempen, David Leaver, Jeremy Weyand, Andrew Schwenzer, Henry Chen, Jason Rhodes, Kevin Kyrouac, Colin Toenjes, Justin Rulton, Joe Clark II, Travis Friedmann, Nicholas Charland, Paul Bryan, Paul Sjardijn.
A few more for our Exhibit Hall booth: Talon Coleman, Kevin Jones, Kristian Frosig, Bryan Bills, Anson Killiany, Daya Killiany, Tina Vo.
And we can’t forget the Camospecs guys that helped this year: Matt Edwards, Matt Frederickson, David Allen Kerber, Brian Plunkett, Todd Farnholtz, Phil Hays, Peter Wort, Mark Maestas, Joel Hardwick, Fredric Lagoanere, Michael Holtzpfel, Ross Hines, Chris Dolega, Ray Arrastia, George Blouin, Roy Carl, Aaron Mardis, Ben Rome, Paul Sjardin.
Finally, as always, need to thank Steven “Bull” Ratkovich and Mike Miller for heading up our demo staff…a huge, huge job…can’t thank them enough for their contributions.
To The Future
And of course we always love ending these with a peak at the future gamers. Just as the BattleTech Masters and Minions game was about to take off, this young man and his father walked by. The boys eyes were drawn by the large Mad Cat banner and then he saw a table of cool miniatures and stopped to ask a question. Like anyone passionate about your hobbies, immediately pulled more out to show him…and hopefully a life-long gamer is born. The future’s never been geekier!
Wew…that’s a big, big update…but we always love to share the excitement of Gen Con as much as possible. Also, feel free to check out the Catalyst Game Labs’ Facebook page and Google+ page, where there’s many more photos than what we have here (and I’m adding more each week).
Thanks to absolutely everyone that played in a game or talked to one of us…we hope you had a Gen con to remember…and see you next year!
Catalyst Game Labs