2023 GenCon Report Part 1: What Was New
Last week, I attended my 29th GenCon ("The Best Four Days in Gaming") in Indianapolis, IN. As always, it was a delightful whirlwind of games, shopping, and friends, though this year you could really feel the crowds with a record 70,000 attendees. I wore a mask for the exhibit hall and any movement through big crowds in the hallways, because that's 69,992 people around me that I don't know.
One of the things I really enjoy at GenCon is seeing how the industry is changing, year-over-year. The biggest theme in the exhibit hall this year was definitely new dice. I found that surprising since there are always numerous dice vendors, with wide assortments of must-have shiny math rocks. But this year, with people able to make their own dice with resin and other materials, it really seemed a step beyond.
It's All About the Dice
There were probably 10-12 new dice exhibitors this year. Chessex, Crystal Caste and Q Workshop all had 3-4 booths with their traditional, beautiful dice. I got the free GenCon die from Crystal Caste (and ended up buying the set). From Chessex, I purchased 4d8. This was a utility purchase. Somehow, over the last five years or so, I've found that I'm running low on d8's in my standard gaming set. Rather than find them, I just bought some. This impulse buy cost me $2.56, including tax; this seemed quite the deal, given that there were polished resin dice that were upwards of $30 per die.
As for the rest, I always look at dice, but don't think I'd purchased any in 10 years or so. I'm at the point of measuring dice by the pound, so it's hard for me to really *need* new ones. I'm as much a die goblin as the next person, but when you almost never play in person, and don't even get to look at the dice you have, there's less incentive to get new ones. That said, this year, I bought some new ones.
My big find was these "Stained Glass" dice, by Gate Keeper Games. They had an amazing collection of "pretty" dice, including several glow-in-the-dark models. Firefly dice were sold out before I found them, sadly, but these were must-owns, anyway.
I was also very happy with the similar dice I got for GMing "Old Gods of Appalachia" for Monte Cook Games. These have a similar theme to the Stained Glass but are more sinister, which fits the theme of that game. (more on that later...)
Probably the biggest innovation this year was the liquid core dice, which effectively turn dice into snow globes. I don't know how reliably they roll random numbers, and I didn't get one, but they are gorgeous. The following picture is a "Disco Vibes" liquid core die by FanRoll.