Gen Con 2023 Highlights
Welcome to Unscripted – a lighthearted, unrehearsed, and sometimes silly Q&A series with Rose Gauntlet Entertainment founders and tabletop game designers Isaac Vega and Lindsey Rode.
In this edition of Unscripted, we’re talking about all the feels from this year’s Gen Con – best moments, favorite things, plans for next year. Let’s go!
How did Gen Con 2023 go for Rose Gauntlet?
Isaac: Lindsay, you wanna start us off?
Lindsey: It went so well! It was my favorite Gen Con ever. It was the most people I've ever seen at Gen Con, and there was something about the energy at this show that I haven’t felt since the Gen Con where I first got hired as a full-time game designer. That level of excitement and hype and love for the industry and just the feeling of success is what I felt for Rose Gauntlet this year.
Top that Isaac.
Isaac: I was telling Lindsay and some other friends this week, normally after these shows, I'm just incredibly happy to be home, it's over, and I’m just grateful we made it through Gen Con. This year though, I already miss it!
I miss it so much – I miss being there, seeing all my friends, having that camaraderie with everyone – it just felt so much more like home and like everything that we were working toward was worth it.
We met so many amazing new people we want to work and collaborate with in the future, we really found our footing with the Rose Gauntlet Foundation, and the BIPOC Lounge was a huge success. Also, our booth was bumping the entire show and we received a ton of compliments on our games, especially Wild Gardens, which did fantastic with pre-orders.
It just all went so well and I was so happy. We were also very busy, but I think we did a really good job of pacing ourselves better this year and having enough help, and our entire team was fantastic and everybody was just delivering all the way through the show, so I was ecstatic with the results and it was such a good time.
Lindsey: Yeah, it was by far the best show Rose Gauntlet has had yet.
Isaac: Yeah. One hundred percent.
What were the best things you saw at Gen Con?
Lindsey: So, one of the best things I saw at Gen Con is something that we can't talk about – we saw so many good game designs that were brought to us! It's super exciting and it's really cool to see the talent that's in the industry right now and the up-and-coming designers of the next generation.
On top of that so many games I wanted came out at this Gen Con. I picked up Freelancers. I was really excited about that. Asmodee really had a hopping booth. It was like an entire city block this year. Very cool.
So many of the booths were amazing this year. The level of quality was incredible. I spent more than I probably should have on games for sure. Definitely Pandasaurus’ booth and then Plaid Hat Games with Freelancers are two of the most exciting things that I saw this year.
Isaac: Yeah, I agree with all those points. One other thing was definitely all the wonderful human beings that we got to meet who are trying to learn about the industry, become designers, and were looking for mentorship and things like that. It was just so wonderful to meet all these new creators. The new energy in this industry always gives me energy as well.
And then number two was Artist Alley. It fricking killed it this year! All the artists were incredibly talented, and I bought so much art and spent way too much money, but I was so excited and I'm so happy with it. I already have everything framed and I just keep looking at it – I’m just very excited!
Lindsey: You got everything framed already?
Isaac: That's how excited about it I was. This is very not my personality. Usually, things sit in the corner for six months and maybe get framed. I was just so excited to get everything on my walls because it just looks so good.
What were the best games you played at Gen Con?
Lindsey: I should have saved my last answer for this one! Shoot. Well, there was this one game I played. I tried to find it and I don't know if you can buy it anymore, but it's called Viking Seesaw. It's a pocket game, like Oink Games-style pocket game where you just take different weighted objects and you try to balance them against other players who are flipping sides on this little tiny ship that's balanced like a seesaw. I loved it. That was one of the unexpected really cool games. The other one was Beacon Patrol, which by the time I realized how good it was, I rushed down to Pandasaurus’ booth and they were sold out.
Then I went online and they were also sold out. I did finally find a copy and it's getting shipped to me. But Beacon Patrol was amazing. And then, I'm trying to think if there's anything else. What else did we play Isaac? Anything else that was really good?
Isaac: I don't think we got to play too much. The only game we got to play together is the game we're very likely going to sign, [title redacted]. We really like [title redacted], but we can't talk about it yet, but we will hopefully soon.
I only got to play like a handful of games, but my number one game that I got to play was Castles by the Sea. I thought that was really cute and very well done. I really enjoyed just moving around my blocks, building my little sand castle, scoring points, and just enjoying the gorgeous design.
That one was from BrotherWise Games [who we also partnered with on an indie Gen Con magazine!]. That booth was also bumping at Gen Con – highly recommend checking them and Castles by the Sea out.
Lindsey: There was also the new release of the Lost Ruins of Arnak expansion, The Missing Expedition. Not only did nab my expansion at the con, which I was so pumped for, it was the only thing I pre-ordered for the show, but I also got to meet both the designers. I asked them where to go pick up my copy and then looked up and realized that they were the designers of the game and they were signing things and I was like, “Oh my God, I'll be right back!”
Isaac: Yeah. And they were so sweet.
Lindsey: They were so sweet. They were so nice. So that was a really cool unexpected moment. The Avatar Legends RPG had a massive presence this year too. I can't wait to get that on my table.
I picked up some other cool RPG stuff too like the new Werewolf The Apocalypse. I played that as a teenager, so I'm excited to see what the changes are now that, you know, it's 15 years later, and to see if I still enjoy running around playing a teenage werewolf. And then I also got the Cypher System, which I'm really excited about trying out.
Isaac: Did you get to play Forbidden Jungle? I sadly did not.
Lindsey: Me neither, but I heard it was amazing.
Isaac: I did get to play Oh No, Volcano. I like that one quite a bit too. I'm going to pick it up for friends and that I know are going to LOVE it.
Last question – any secret plans from Rose Gauntlet that you can tease for Gen Con 2024?
Isaac: Ooh, tease? I guess it’s not much of a tease if you’ve followed along with our timeline, but we will have copies of Wild Gardens available for sale at Gen Con next year.
We can tease that we're going to have way more accessories at the show like new pins and plushies. Visitors were very excited about a lot of our Wild Gardens characters and wanted to see more variations of that. So we’ll be coming up with new possibilities for what we can do with accessories and things like that at our booth and present some really cool stuff alongside more games.
We're also very likely to have at least one more new game to preview.
Lindsey: Yeah, I think we'll have an announcement or two for everyone next year for sure.
One last note to say a HUGE thank you to everyone, from the volunteers in the BIPOC Lounge, to the staff in our exhibit booth, to everyone who visited and engaged with us all weekend long – thank you for making this year’s Gen Con so special!