Pretty snazzy title, eh? I went through and identified 20 booths you absolutely won't want to miss at this year's Gen Con Indy. Here they are, in alphabetical order:
1) Alea Tools (Booth 2026): Alea's magentically stackable markers are always neat to see, and they've had a dozen different uses at my gaming table. I believe they're also planning some Gen Con giveaways, so make sure you don't miss out.
2) Burning Wheel (Booth 311): Let me assure you, if you have any interest in Burning Wheel Gold, you'd best grab it immediately. When Luke Crane sells books at Gen Con, they have an alarming habit of disappearing quickly.
3) Cubicle 7 (Booth 711): C7 remains one of the best booths to visit for a diverse range of games at Gen Con. Make sure you swing by and scope out The One Ring; it's always interesting to see how a Tolkien-based RPG plays out.
4) Dark Platypus (Booth 405): Besides having one of the coolest names at the convention (I also love the name Giant Treehouse, Booths 1049-1249), Dark Platypus should have some pretty neat pewter tokens and gaming accessories, perfect as I slowly admit my time for painting miniatures has long since flown the coop.
5) Dwarven Forge (Booth 1313): Every year I visit this booth. I look at all the incredible building and dungeon models on display, and think about how they'd look on my kitchen table. Then I sigh, and turn away. For they are beautiful, but they are also out of my price range. See also: Miniature Building Authority (Booth 1637).
6) Gamescience (Booth 2009): Soul-crushingly, there will be no Colonel Lou Zocchi at the Gamescience booth this year. Speaking of crushing, ever notice how this booth is slam-packed full of customers whenever you go? The cult of Gamescience is thriving, I am pleased to say.
7) Gaming Paper (Booth 1456): Fortunately for me, I can afford Gaming Paper, which is doing its best to come up with more and more interesting, useful design. Best of all, it's cheap. Monte Cook and Ed Greenwood will also be signing at the booth at various times during the weekend, thanks to their input and utilization of the Mega Dungeon 1 set.
8) Geek Chic (Booth 1049-1249): If you’ve somehow missed out on these gaming tables before, don’t. It’s one of those booths where it’s fun to walk around, dream….and frantically estimate in your head just how much trouble you’d be in if you spent your children’s budding college fund on one of these tables.
9) GOLD The Series (Booth 2042): Our favorite webseries is back, and this time they've got a booth! Besides the series on DVD, they'll have plenty of gamer apparel and accessories as well.
10) GPA (Booth 412-413): Indie Press Revolution, Evil Hat Games, and Hero Games will all be represented in this booth block, which should make for a pretty lively (and crowded) gathering!
11) Hirst Arts (Booth 1827): This is the year, I promise. Some of us are finally going to go in together buy some of Hirst's molds. Honestly, just getting to look at the structures they make from these is an absolute inspiration.
12) Inkwell Ideas (Booth 1942): Hexographer has changed the way I do my game mapping, but Joe Wetzel will also be there with Dungeonographer product as well. Take some time to get some advice and tips for what these pieces of software can do for you.
13) Koplow Games (Booth 1513): I’m including this booth because I’ve had several questions on where to get “trick” or “cheater” dice. I will assume it is for amusement purposes only, as any use of those in a game is generally grounds for instant banishment. You can usually find them here. You didn’t hear it from me.
14) Old School Renaissance (Booth 1541): You knew it was coming, eh? Lots of publishers you’ve probably seen discussed on this site will be represented at this booth. From the brilliance of Exepeditious Retreat Press to Frog God Games to Sine Nomine Publishing, if you're of a classical mind towards your gaming, this sounds like a must-stop. Keep in mind, the Gygax Memorial Fund will be there, so save a little bit back to donate, if you're so inclined.
15) Paizo Publishing (Booth 302): Paizo's big release this go-round is Ultimate Combat for Pathfinder. They're right by a main entry of the new exhibit hall this year, so it'll be interesting to see how busy they are.
16) Palladium Books (Booth 1125): I believe Palladium will have ~100 advance copies of Vampire Kingdoms Revised and Expanded for Rifts there. Also, it's Palladium's first time back to Gen Con in a few years, so stop by and say hello!
17) Pinnacle/Studio 2 (Booth 605): Aside from Savage Worlds Deluxe Edition, this will be the home of our friend Rogue Games. Make sure to swing by and see them (as I need to do, as I need to pick up Thousand Suns Revised).
18) Plaid Hat Games (Booth 753): I'm not usually super up on board games, but Dungeon Run looks like too much fun not to check out.
19) Triple Ace Games (Booth 1523): If you haven’t seen the incredible settings like All For One, Hellfrost, or Sundered Skies, this is your best chance yet. A segment of gamers go to Gen Con looking for that next setting to run. There's a good chance this is your booth. Whether you run Savage Worlds or something else, you’ll want to check out what these guys are up to. (Hint: Brilliance).
20) Troll Lord Games (Booth 709): After sort of sliding in at the last minute in 2010, the Trolls are back with a full booth presence in 2011. Their new adventure A8: Forsaken Mountain will be available, there will be special Castles & Crusades coins available, and they're planning a ream of events at Scotty's Brewhouse through the weekend.
Of course, these are hardly the only booths worth visiting at this year's Gen Con. This is just the tip of the iceberg--lots more worthwhile booths are out there! If this wasn't enough, those with kids (or anyone who loves Lego!) will want to check out the Lego booth (108). Fat Dragon will be there once more, with their hard-to-believe paper minis (809), and Gamers For Humanity will once again be linking in to all sorts of neat efforts (1349).
Have fun exploring!