High-Demand Games from 2018
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Posted by derekguder

Recycling a lot of the text from last year's post:

We've had a chance to compile the wish list data for this year, and that means we can take a look at it to see what games are in the highest demand, for a number of reasons.

It also means that if you would like to get the wish list data for your own events, so you can go into more detail in your own planning, just email [email protected] and ask (and remember to include your group name). If you aren't the event organizer for your company or group, ask them to do it - we won't be sending data to individual GMs or anything.

First, the same caveats and instructions from last year still apply: 

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.

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.

What is the point of looking at this list? Well... 

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.

With that taken care of, here are the high-demand games for this year:


  • Dungeons & Dragons (mostly 5th edition, but a strong showing of demand for the Tal'Dorei, the Critical Role campaign setting, followed by AD&D 1st edition, too)
  • Call of Cthulhu (almost entirely 7th edition, but some 6th)
  • Pathfinder (divided fairly evenly between 1st & 2nd edition)
  • Star Wars (mostly Edge of the Empire & Dawn of Rebellion, but also the old d6 edition, too)
  • Shadowrun, 5th edition
  • Savage Worlds
  • Dungeon Crawl Classics
  • Paranoia (spread through multiple editions)
  • Delta Green
  • Ubiquity
  • Dread
  • Starfinder
  • Dresden Files
  • 7th Sea
  • Star Trek Adventures
  • Mutants & Masterminds
  • Genesys
  • Kobolds Ate My Baby!
  • Dungeon World
  • Mouseguard
  • Numenera
  • Traveller
  • Trail of Cthulhu
  • Shadows of Esteren
  • Blades in the Dark
  • Mutant Crawl Classics
  • Night's Black Agents
  • Hero System
  • Masks
  • The Strange
  • Kids on Bikes
  • Deadlands
  • Firefly
  • Timewatch
  • Fate
  • Tales from the Loop
  • Dragon Age
  • Fall of Delta Green
  • Bluebeard's Bride
  • Outbreak: Undead
  • Clockwork: Dominion
  • Urban Shadows
  • Fiasco
  • A Song of Ice & Fire
  • Conan Role-Playing Game
  • Chill
  • Luchador: Way of the Mask 

I pulled out the RPGs that were in high demand that I don't believe will be out in time for Gen Con, so it will be hard for general attendees to run more events for them: 

  • Warhammer 40,000: Wrath & Glory
  • Legend of the Five Rings RPG, 5th edition
  • Vampire: The Masquerade, 5th edition
  • The Expanse RPG
  • Invisible Sun
  • Eclipse Phase, 2nd edition
  • The Witcher Role-Playing Game
  • Yellow King
  • Cyberpunk 2020, Red edition

I find the list very interesting for the number of smaller, indie RPGs that are recent releases from the last year or two. I feel like this list is changing faster now than it has in the past. 

Board & Card Games 

  • Arkham Horror: The Card Game
  • Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
  • Captain Sonar
  • Terraforming Mars
  • Dinosaur Island
  • Scythe
  • Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
  • Spirit Island
  • Zombicide
  • Kingdom Death: Monster
  • Dead of Winter
  • Betrayal at Baldur's Gate
  • Big Trouble in Little China: The Game
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill
  • Pandemic
  • Rising Sun
  • Star Trek: Ascendancy
  • Thanos Rising: Avengers Infinity War 
  • Arkham Horror
  • Folklore: The Affliction
  • Terraforming Mars: Prelude
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Mysterium
  • Azul
  • Dragonfire
  • Birth of Europe

I removed a couple games from this list (RoboRally, King of Tokyo, Catan) because their demand was driven by very special large-scale events.

Just like RPGs, a few of these are hotly anticipated and I don't think they'll be available before the convention. Let me know if I missed any:

  • Fireball Island
  • Nyctophobia
  • Who Goes There?
  • Coma Ward

Other Event Types

For other event types, things get more chaotic and individual.

For LARPs, unserved demand was for specific custom games or for home-brew games that are driven by the gaming group's reputation and/or the IP.

Historical minis (HMN) had War of the Ring in relatively high demand, as well as Bolt ActionNon-historical minis (NMN) were mostly spread out as well, but FrostraveShadows of BrimstoneStar Wars LegionGaslandsDungeons & Dragons Miniatures, & Star Wars Miniatures - a strong for a number of old games, as well as some new ones.

Posted by nacecoker


     If you were late submitting to GenCon to get events approved and uploaded for people to sign up and play. Is there a forum or way to let people know that new ones have been added or do we just wait and see if people stumble across them? First year and just wondering. 

Posted by derekguder

You can post in the Events forum and any other communities where you think folks might be interested, like the unofficial Gen Con reddit, etc. If you tweet a link to our Gen Con twitter (@gen_con), Kristen may be able to promote it there, too.

And we'll have future streams and newsletters to try to get the word out about specific events, as well.

These high demand events are likely to have enough interest that folks will find them naturally, though.

Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

Posted by nacecoker

Thank you, that was the information that I was looking to obtain. Appreciated. 

Posted by ifw1968

Will there be any emphasis on events run in Lucas Oil Stadium? It doesn't get the walk through traffic that the main halls get and miniatures games depend a lot on walk ins to replace the ticket holders who oversleep or overbook. I was at the Horticultural Hall Museum last year and ran one event of Little Wars and the area was sparse on bodies compared to the regular halls.

Posted by derekguder

That's not really relevant to this thread, so if you want to go into more detail, you'll want to create another thread, but what emphasis are you asking about, specifically?

If you are wondering about the density of events, that will be much increased this year, with lots of gaming groups having been moved to the Stadium for this year.

If you're asking about direct promotion of Stadium events, I don't think we've singled them out, per se, so much as focused on highlight cool events in general all around the show. There aren't many more opportunities to highlight those events between now and show anyway, unfortunately.

Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

Posted by nebelwerfer41

As I finalize my plans for running games in 2019, this has been helpful. Derek, have you noticed any particular TIMES that are unfulfilled?

Posted by derekguder

I haven't measured unmet demand across times, but I'll try to make a note to do that.

Ultimately, we're pretty full-up during midday in most locations, so it's usually better to plan to be done by noon or starting after 6 pm to maximize potential space.

Derek Guder
Senior Event & Program Manager
Gen Con LLC

Posted by nebelwerfer41

That does make sense.  Thanks for the reply.

Posted by freebiegrabber

From a player (not GM) standpoint:

  • Players are hesitant to start an event at 8:00 AM on Thursday, what with the "wait in line for several hours at Will-Call to get your badges and paper tickets" mess and all.  Even if an 8:00 AM Thursday event "sells out" waaaaaay ahead of time, that doesn't necessarily mean that all of the registered players will actually be able to make the event on time!

  • Players are less likely to register for an event that overlaps (or is ~30 minutes before / after) a major, only-happens-once Con event (such as the official Costume Contest, the destruction of Cardhalla, etc.)

  • For "underserved" (yet highly-rated / favorably-reviewed) RPGs such as: The Dresden Files; Mouse Guard; Numenera; Dogs in the Vineyard; Deadlands: Reloaded; Blades in the Dark; Houses of the Blooded; Tales from the Loop; Mutant: Year Zero; Night’s Black Agents , etc., players are less likely to register for those event that "compete" with each other.  Players are often forced to "choose" between events simply because there are only a small handful of them offered at all, and those few that are offered are scheduled at the exact same time on the exact same day.

Posted by triad1

Curious.   If/when will this be updated and re-posted for the 2019 events for reference?

Posted by derekguder

It will be updated, just haven't had a chance to. Most likely be able to do the numbers for this year after Origins.

Derek Guder
Senior Event & Program Manager
Gen Con LLC

Posted by msteinbo

I'm sure this is the last thing on the list with good reason, but remain curious about this.  Hope all goes well so we can hear any insight on this.  Thanks and we understand if there's not time to do this data dive and share at this point.   

Posted by kingsshadow

Will this be updated before the event submissions hit? Just curious because i'm opting to pass on running RPG's this year and I want to know what's looking to be requested board game wise, I have an idea but the list is still nice.

Posted by endra1

I have a question about adventures, can you run a published adventure if you are not part of the publishing company or the original writers? I would like to run a published Dragon Age adventure but am unsure of the steps I need to take in order to do this. I have previously written my own and will do this again but have really enjoyed some of the Green Ronin Published adventures. Any help in the right direction is appreciated.

Posted by derekguder

Yes, you are welcome to run almost anything without any association with the publisher.

I often encourage folks to directly volunteer for the companies so they can include those events in their schedule, but it's by no means a requirement.

Derek Guder
Senior Event & Program Manager

Posted by xarla

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Posted by ruopgdze

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Posted by dianeberlus

Any new list of games for this year?

Posted by derekguder dianeberlus

dianeberlus wrote:
Any new list of games for this year?

Not yet. It's obviously been an odd year and we haven't really had the time to dig into the data from 2021 anyway.

If we have a chance to prepare something like this for 2022, we'll likely post it around the end of the year or early into next, as event submission opens up.

Derek Guder
Director of Events
Gen Con LLC

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