Last year, the skies over Anaheim were unusually cloudy and overcast. Later that weekend, there was heavy rain. This year, however, temperatures in the low 80's, blue skies and a warm wind greeted attendees at this year's Gen Con So Cal.
Of course, gamers don't care what the weather is like - they want to know what's going on inside the convention.
This year, Gen Con changed their format slightly. The first day, Thursday, was given over to open gaming with no charge, while the vendors set up in the Exhibitor Area. The convention began in earnest on Friday - a day when many of the local gamers will take either a half or a whole day off of work to attend. Gen Con hopes to have a slight increase in attendance this year, after a 13% increase in attendees at this past Gen Con Indy.
I arrived on-site at 11 o'clock Friday morning, and joined the other attendees who were trickling in. I walked past the huge Marvel Heroes display and the TCG & CG areas to the miniatures area, which occupied about a third of the rear of the hall. This year, GenCon occupies a single exhibit hall - however, this is not a bad thing, as it has reduced the empty areas between sections with a much more efficient use of space, and makes it a lot easier to go from one area to another quickly.
The Paint and Take table was already crowded with people - some experienced painters, and others just learning with help from the volunteers (including TMP's own Dearcy and Pyrogal. Miniatures were donated by Adiken, Alliance, Black Orc Games, Crunch-Waffle, Dark Sword Miniatures, Dark Tortoise Productions, Iron Wind Metals, Ironclaw, Magnificent Egos, Mongoose Publishing's Starship Troopers, Privateer Press, Reaper and Tactical Miniatures.