High-Demand Games from 2016
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Posted by derekguder

Our dev team had a chance to put together the wish list data from this year and I wanted to go through it and highlight the games that seem to be in the highest demand this year, just like I did for the data from 2015.

First, remember this list does not reflect ​overall demand, only high unserved demand - which is expressed here as the number of tickets folks had in their wish lists beyond the number of tickets that could actually be sold, based on submitted schedules. So Pathfinder doesn't show up in this list, for example - that doesn't mean it wasn't hugely popular, just that the schedule Paizo offered had enough space for most of the people who wanted to play (at least overall, I'm not digging into specific events here, but general demand).

It's also wort noting this only measures the kinds of events folks put in their wish lists. Many TCGs and miniature games (and most board games, for that matter) don't have as strong a culture of pre-registering. Many players just show up with generics. Late events obviously won't be in this list, either, nor do games that had no submissions this year, for whatever reason (even if they were on last year's list).

This is not provided to debate the merits of different games or editions, but instead to help GMs figure out what games they might want to run in response to what players are trying to get into.

Second, don't sweat the details too much. There are lots of variables and some strange artifacts can pop up in how events are listed or attendees sign up for them. Friends might double-up and put the same tickets on both their wish lists. Many people will put every session they can find on their list, even if they really only want a single ticket. So the numbers I have aren't exact and don't read too much into these rough rankings. They're not exact, but they are a useful general gauge of what games seem to have a lot of unserved interested behind them.

I'm going to break games up by type this year. Might make it a bit easier to parse quickly. If anyone has any questions or would like other data, let me know and I'll see what I can sort out.

And if anyone wants wish list data on their own events or if any publishers want data on their games broadly, just reach out to events@gencon.com and we'll send you what we have.

RPGs


  • Call of Cthulhu - 6th & 7th edition in basically equal measure, but Dark Ages & 5th are pretty high, too
  • Star Wars - almost entirely for the new FFG editions, but Saga has a decent unserved demand, too
  • Dungeons & Dragons - setting aside the RPGA/Baldman/Adventurers' League stuff, it's almost all for 5th & 1st
  • Shadowrun, 5th edition
  • Savage Worlds, Deluxe edition
  • Dungeon Crawl Classics
  • Numenera
  • Trail of Cthulhu
  • Paranoia, 2nd & XP editions, mainly
  • 7th Sea - it's all about the new (2nd) edition
  • Dread
  • Dresden Files - the Fate edition, not a home-brew
  • Hero, 5th edition
  • Fate - mostly Core, but reasonable demand for Accelerated
  • Eclipse Phase
  • Sentinel Comics RPG
  • Dark Heresy
  • 13th Age
  • Mouse Guard
  • Night's Black Agents
  • Delta Green
  • Firefly
  • Dungeon World
  • The Strange
  • Mutants & Masterminds, 3rd edition
  • Toon
  • Kobolds Ate My Baby
  • The One Ring
  • Outbreak: Undead
  • Mutant Crawl Classics
  • Cypher System
  • Achtung! Cthulhu
  • Dragon Age
  • Fantasy Age
  • QAGS
  • Luchador: Way of the Mask
  • TORG Eternity
  • Gamma World - split pretty evenly between 4th & 7th edition

It's worth noting that "homebrew" would be in this list almost entirely on the strength of one Harry Potter-themed event, were it an actual system. It also shows up prominently under LARPs, mainly due to Iocane Productions.

Boardgames


  • Scythe
  • Catan
  • King of Tokyo
  • Dead of Winter
  • Mysterium
  • Game of Thrones
  • T.I.M.E. Stories
  • Quadropolis
  • Too Many Bones
  • Pandemic
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Star Trek: Ascendancy
  • Tyrants of the Underdark
  • Arkham Horror
  • Dark Moon
  • Cthulhu Wars

RoboRally & Oh Gnome You Don't! were both in this list initially, but both were driven by interest in a particular variant, not the game in general.

Other Event Types


  • Bolt Action (HMN)
  • X-Wing (NMN)
  • Space Hulk (NMN)

The distribution of high unserved demand events among different event types speaks to player habits and the challenges in scaling some events to meet apparent demand.

If anyone is thinking about running some events at Gen Con and not sure what to do or if you're a gaming group/company looking to expand, hopefully this can be a bit of a guide: pick something from this list and you shouldn't have much troubling finding players.

Let me know if you have any specific questions and email events@gencon.com if you want your particular data.

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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by mu skulls frank

Hi Derek, thanks for providing this information. Is the list arranged in an order or ranking of any kind? 

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Posted by helenbb

Thank you for posting this updated list!

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Posted by derekguder mu skulls frank

frankrussell wrote:
Hi Derek, thanks for providing this information. Is the list arranged in an order or ranking of any kind? 

The RPGs and boardgames are in rough descending over of demand in excess of supply.

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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by garhkal

I am once again surprised to see shadowrun 5e on that list..

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Posted by derekguder garhkal

garhkal wrote:
I am once again surprised to see shadowrun 5e on that list..

I suspect anyone trying to sign up for Shadowrun events is not.

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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by biffindy

Thanks to the GENCON event crew for providing this data.  It is greatly appreciated.  I will have a few follow-ups regarding specific events / game systems, which I will inquire about directly.

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Posted by paleogamer

Doing what I can; I'm already running Delta Green (2), Trail of Cthulhu (2) and Numenera (2), but I'd kinda like to see some of the con myself too :).

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Posted by tmessnet

Seeing that Call of Cthulhu is at the top of the list, readers of this forum may be interested in signing up for In Memoriam of Leo Song which is listed under the LARPs.  The group running this event has been running both the Cthulhu Masters and Novus Ordo Seclorum tournament (also Call of Cthulhu) at Gen Con now for almost 30 years.  Our RPG events sell out in a matter of minutes.  As one of the long time organizers, writers, and GM's, I continually get people asking us to run more.  We created this round specifically to fill that demand.  Don't be dissuaded because it is called a LARP.  While it falls into that style, it is very similar to the smaller productions we run which are very difficult to get into.

Leo Song is our way of doing more and filling the need for more Call of Cthulhu.  We have close to 70 open tickets between the two rounds as of today.  They took a while to sell out two years ago as well and the players from 2014 still send me notes asking when we are going to run a new LARP in the same vein as Leo Song. 

This is not your average LARP.  I honestly shy away from most LARPs because the few times I have played them in the past they were either boring, too crowded, or I didn't get a central character.  I believe that most people are like me and have had bad experiences and now shy away from these types of events.  

We actually created Leo Song because we knew LARPs could be better.  We spent hundreds of hours (no exaggeration) prepping this round.  The material (character backgrounds, handouts, & stories) approaches close to 600 unique pages when printed out.  We are running the round with at least 10 GM's per session and hope for something like a 4 to 1 player to GM ratio.  In short- we went all out and after running it 2 years ago to really rave reviews, we are running it again this year.

I know it may look to be a bit expensive at $40 for 6 hours but compared to some of the other events at similar price points, I will stand behind this before all of them.  We think it is worth every penny and are pretty sure that if you like CoC and role playing, then this round will be a blast.

Anyways- I just wanted to throw it out there that if you are one of the ones demanding Call of Cthulhu, then you should play in this event.  If you've ever wanted to get into one of our Call of Cthulhu RPGs, this round is a lot of what we do there- only bigger in most every way.

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Posted by firvulag

Agreed.  Thank you for taking the time to make this list for us.  Amazed to see even with the huge influx of Paranoia and CoC games that they are STILL underserved.

I'm running my first board game events this year and may stray into running rpg's depending on their success.  I'm happy that Cthulhu Wars made the list, I was quite (pleasantly) surprised to see all three sessions selling out in the first 45 minutes of pre reg.

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Posted by parody

Actually, there were less Paranoia slots available this year (97 tickets for 12 events) than last year (123 tickets for 18 events).  It's up from 2014 and earlier, though.

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Posted by firvulag parody

Interesting.  I was not able to attend last year unfortunately.  

parody wrote:
Actually, there were less Paranoia slots available this year (97 tickets for 12 events) than last year (123 tickets for 18 events).  It's up from 2014 and earlier, though.
Interesting.  Unfortunately I was unable to attend last year but I noticed a huge increase over 2014 and previous years.

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Posted by garhkal derekguder

derekguder wrote:
garhkal wrote:
I am once again surprised to see shadowrun 5e on that list..

I suspect anyone trying to sign up for Shadowrun events is not.-
Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

Which makes me wonder..  How many shadowrun events DO we have this year?  I know the past 2, had practically all the top level above where the event reg was going on...

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Posted by kidlidar tmessnet

tmessnet wrote:
Seeing that Call of Cthulhu is at the top of the list, readers of this forum may be interested in signing up for In Memoriam of Leo Song which is listed under the LARPs.  The group running this event has been running both the Cthulhu Masters and Novus Ordo Seclorum tournament (also Call of Cthulhu) at Gen Con now for almost 30 years.  Our RPG events sell out in a matter of minutes.  As one of the long time organizers, writers, and GM's, I continually get people asking us to run more.  We created this round specifically to fill that demand.  Don't be dissuaded because it is called a LARP.  While it falls into that style, it is very similar to the smaller productions we run which are very difficult to get into.
Leo Song is our way of doing more and filling the need for more Call of Cthulhu.  We have close to 70 open tickets between the two rounds as of today.  They took a while to sell out two years ago as well and the players from 2014 still send me notes asking when we are going to run a new LARP in the same vein as Leo Song. 
This is not your average LARP.  I honestly shy away from most LARPs because the few times I have played them in the past they were either boring, too crowded, or I didn't get a central character.  I believe that most people are like me and have had bad experiences and now shy away from these types of events.  
We actually created Leo Song because we knew LARPs could be better.  We spent hundreds of hours (no exaggeration) prepping this round.  The material (character backgrounds, handouts, & stories) approaches close to 600 unique pages when printed out.  We are running the round with at least 10 GM's per session and hope for something like a 4 to 1 player to GM ratio.  In short- we went all out and after running it 2 years ago to really rave reviews, we are running it again this year.
I know it may look to be a bit expensive at $40 for 6 hours but compared to some of the other events at similar price points, I will stand behind this before all of them.  We think it is worth every penny and are pretty sure that if you like CoC and role playing, then this round will be a blast.
Anyways- I just wanted to throw it out there that if you are one of the ones demanding Call of Cthulhu, then you should play in this event.  If you've ever wanted to get into one of our Call of Cthulhu RPGs, this round is a lot of what we do there- only bigger in most every way.
I know what you mean.  My wife and I are running 2 40 player LARPS

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Posted by kidlidar

Sorry I hit the submit button by accident.  My wife and I are running w 40 person LARPS this year and I've put over 100 hrs of work into it.  Each character has about 2 pages of background information and another with their character on it.

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Posted by del_grande

Are any of the games besides Star Trek: Ascendancy pre-release demos?  It's hard to run a game that nobody owns yet.  (It also explains why it's on the "more wishlists than spots" list...)
 

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Posted by armadilloal

Scythe, Too Many Bones, and Tyrants of the Underdark are the only other board games on that list that have not been released yet, as far as I know.  Quadropolis was released very recently, after the event submission deadline.

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Posted by brotherbock kidlidar

kidlidar wrote:
Sorry I hit the submit button by accident.  My wife and I are running w 40 person LARPS this year and I've put over 100 hrs of work into it.  Each character has about 2 pages of background information and another with their character on it.

It's comforting to hear people say this. Every time I hand out a larp character sheet over one page, I feel bad. But then I still do it more often than I want. :) 

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Posted by derekguder

None of these events are actually demos, I don't think, they're all normal events where you actually play the game, instead of just getting a brief taste.

There are some RPGs that are not out yet, as well: 7th Sea, Sentinels Comics, TORG Eternity. Not sure when the latter two are officially launching, but I know 7th Sea is shooting for a Gen Con release.

It can sometimes be hard for a company to have much event support for a brand-new or unreleased game. A lot of those companies may be focusing on their booth or don't have enough copies of the game to run much. It can also be difficult for those games to appear in this list since it takes time for word & hype to get out and build demand.

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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by zaphod

Scythe will be released in late June, so there will be copies around if people want to schedule an event.

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