My name is Sara Erickson and I recently joined IELLO as the Retail Sales and Organized Play Manager. This means that I will be working directly with hobby stores to make sure they have everything they need to create an amazing experience for our fans. During my first week on the job, I traveled from my hometown in Bozeman, MT to Indianapolis, IN for the Best Four Days of Gaming, GenCon. It was incredible to spend these first few days of my new job meeting so many of our enthusiastic players.
In just four days, we held 116 events with over 1400 entries. We hosted a ton of “Learn to Play” events for our current games as well as tournaments for players who wanted a more competitive experience. It seems that everyone loves King of Tokyo and were very eager to win a Space Penguin and secure a spot in our National Championship by winning one of our qualifying events over the weekend. I was so impressed to see helpful players teaching newcomers how to play even in our competitive events. We are so thankful for our awesome community!
While King of Tokyo tournaments were our biggest, we also held a variety of smaller events designed to give the players a more intimate experience learning a game. Our younger players really enjoyed learning Tales and Games Series including the Three Little Pigs, the Hare and the Tortoise, and Baba Yaga. These simple yet interesting games are each packed in a book-shaped box and have an endearing quality befitting the fairy tales they were based on. Heroes of Normandie and Mythic Battles were hits with our more military minded fans. Shinobi WAT-AAH! drew a crowd for both of our scheduled events due to the beautiful artwork and unique game play.
Along with our planned events, our rock-star demo team also ran demos on the fly at every open opportunity. We had three very busy copies of The King of New York, our latest edition to the King of Tokyo line. After checking out the demo, our players seem to agree that this new version is similar to King of Tokyo but better in many ways. If you didn’t get a chance to play it during the convention, make sure to watch The Dice Tower review. Steam Park was also near the top of our most played game over the weekend. The three dimensional amusement park rides enjoyed by robot meeples is something that I, personally, love about this game. It’s beautiful, fast, and unique. Players were rolling dice and building rides from the moment we opened the doors in the morning to the last call at night with our demo staff helping along the way.
For players who planned ahead, we had a few spots every hour for either Giant King of Tokyo or Giant Zombie 15’. These sold out events were a huge hit. The Giant King of Tokyo monsters have been traveling around the country for the past year and we were very happy to have them at Gencon. This was also the debut of our hand crafted Giant Zombie 15’ set that allowed fans to move their characters through a 3D city while listening to the booming soundtrack and narrowly escaping the horde of zombies… sometimes…
The final event of the weekend was our King of Tokyo National Championship. Winners from conventions and hobby store events traveled long and far to join us for this epic event. After two single elimination rounds, we were down to just five very happy players in the finals. With a trophy and a copy of every game in the IELLO library on the line, the finalists were competitive but still incredibly friendly. Dice were rolled, monsters were destroyed, and eventually, David Hicks was crowned National Champion of King of Tokyo!
To everyone who joined us at GenCon this year, thank you so much for your excitement and joy that you shared with our team. If you were not able to join us, we missed you! We look forward to seeing everyone next year!