Gen Con got off to a big start on Thursday, with excited crowds mobbing booths at the opening.  Lines to buy new products available in limited quantities were the order of the day for the first half of Thursday, until the initial buying frenzy was sated.  Then things settled down to a more normal level of activity as gamers drifted off to the gaming rooms, but over-all it looked like Gen Con will be reporting a record attendance after the show closes on Sunday.  

Retailers, of course, have a mixed view of the advance sale of new products at Gen Con, viewing it as sales being taken from their stores, while giving an indication of the excitement that will be there when those products ship.  

The composition of the exhibit floor has moved back in the direction of tabletop games, with videogame companies not in evidence, and the last anime producer (FUNimation) now participating only with screenings.  

The composition of the crowd has also moved back to the core, with the percentage of female attendees appearing to have taken a significant drop.  

Fantasy Flight Games and Mayfair had the largest presences on the exhibit floor, with both expanding this year.  Mayfair had 2500 square feet, not including its Funfair brand, with 35 active demo tables.  FFG had 3600 square feet, up 200 square feet from last year.  

One sign of the size of the crowd.

Anime cosplayers were present in significant numbers.  

Who North America had a large booth displaying Doctor Who merchandise.

Promoting Wench at the Myndzei booth.

Giant Lego chess.

Professionally painted figure from the Dust Tactics Deluxe game ($299).  Twenty copies were available at the FFG booth at the show.

The Civilization Board Game, coming soon from FFG.

Are you dressed as a character?  “This is what I do every day.”

Tall Irish dude.

Wizards of the Coast’s booth showed its focus at the show—Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons, with no other games in evidence.

A WotC display on the second floor, previewing the launch of the new D&D Red Box next month and connecting it to the release of the original 27 years ago.