Judge Brendan’s Reflections on Gen Con 2023

Gen Con 2023: Van Life, Pinball, and Rolling Dice With The Tribe

by Brendan LaSalle

Gen Con flew by like a freight train. There was so much to do, so much to see, that for once I felt genuinely overwhelmed. Seventy thousand unique attendees made the Quest, and Goodman Games responded with our wildest, biggest, gaming-est year ever.

The biggest booth we ever had. The pinball machines. The Ziggurat. The Gong of Doom. The Wizard Van at Lucas Oil Stadium. Goodman Games flew the flag and a whole lot of gamers stopped by to salute.

I was crazy busy. I never made it to the booth while it was open, didn’t even set foot in the exhibit hall after set-up and before tear-down. Not once. In my 20+ years of rolling dice in the Hoosier City, that’s a first.

There were lots of firsts for me at this year’s Gen Con event. Much of my pre- and post-con work involved the procuring, transport, and care of various pinball machines. That was its own odyssey, and I feel like I gained a level in Transpo this year.

This was not only my first year playing in Lucas Oil Stadium, it was also my first time ever running games in the Goodman Games Wizard Van. That was an absolute delight, and I would do that again in a minute. The stadium was weirdly quiet for being so full of people – I could absolutely get used to that.

Speaking of spending four hours in a van rolling dice in a space normally reserved for million-dollar athletes: big shout out to all the Xcrawl teams that challenged Dungeon City Limits this year. I’m very proud of having had the privilege to challenge the Aristocrats, Big Battle Boom, Just Passed, the Last Action Zeros, the Slippery Eels, Team Ramrod, and the Walla Walla Wolfpack. I had an absolute blast.

The best thing about any convention is meeting up with the tribe. It was fantastic to see so many fans, fantastic to roll dice with so many of you. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: Goodman Games fandom is the very best, and interacting with so many of y’all at this year’s show reminded me of why I love this business so much. Thank you all.

I had to leave Gen Con 2022 last year before the convention actually began, so it was wonderful for me to return and play games this year and spend time with the fandom. Thanks to everyone who was a part of my convention this year – for me it was a time of healing, renewal, and so, so much fun.

For even more coverage of Gen Con 2023, have a look at our Gen Con 2023 headquarters!

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