This past summer marked the third year in a row we made the trek to Indianapolis in August to attend the annual Gen Con gaming convention. Each year it gets bigger and bigger, not only taking up the entire convention center and attached hotels, but now spilling over (and completely taking over) Lucas Oil Field next door! And it still felt crowded.
Speaking of crowds, our experience this year was the same as the first – there are huge crowds, but the friendliest crowds you’ll ever encounter. Get bumped? “Sorry!” Cut off? “Excuse me!” And something I rarely see of the younger generation – holding doors so they don’t slam in your face!
Probably the most crowded area is the main exhibitor’s hall where everyone is looking for the best deal or the latest game. Many titles are released in very small quantities at Gen Con due to the logistics of shipping in hundreds of copies direct from China. But if you look hard enough, bargains are to be had. Just ask Kennedy, my youngest daughter.
If you ask her what she looks forward to the most about Gen Con, she would answer that it is visiting the various booths that sell dice. I’m not sure what her fascination is, since she doesn’t play any games that require her to provide her own (Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, etc.). But she is always on the lookout for ones that catch her eye.
The one company she makes a beeline for is Chessex. One of the more well-known dice makers, she avoids the crowds looking at the bins of new-release dice. She is there for specifically one thing – the bargain bin. While regular sets of dice retail for $10-$12, Chessex puts aside sets that are best referred to as “factory seconds”.
They may be off-colored, have bad paint on a few pips or something else that wouldn’t matter to most of us. In fact, some of these odd variations end up looking like a whole new color/design on accident. And some of them are downright gorgeous. And all of them are priced at only $3 a set!
Every photo in this article are of dice that came from these $3 sets. Kennedy has a preference for the tinier 12mm-sized dice because you get 36 of them for the price. More standard-sized 16mm dice are packaged 12 in a box and are still priced at the same discount (although they did have some priced at $4, which we still paid).
Chessex usually has three booths strewn around the hall, each with its own discount bins that need to be searched. As the show progresses, empty spaces are filled by employees. This means what you find on Thursday will be different than what is there on Sunday! Each day these are the first booths she hits!
If you’re attending Gen Con in the near future and have picked up all the games you wanted, don’t forget to check out the deals at the Chessex booth. If you see an under five foot teenager rummaging through the discount bins, move on. She’s already buying all the good stuff!