High-Demand Games from 2017
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Posted by derekguder

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 events@gencon.com 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. 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.


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:

RPGs


  • Call of Cthulhu (Mostly 7th edition, but some 5th & 6th. Interest was also concentrated at established groups, but just about everyone had more demand than could be accommodated)
  • Dungeons & Dragons (Almost entirely 5th, but with some 3.5 or Advanced 1st/2nd edition. This isn't just a hunger for official events, either - independent GMs, as a group, were the second highest overall demand)
  • Starfinder
  • Star Wars (Specifically the new Fantasy Flight editions, all three flavors)
  • Savage Worlds (General, but also some focused interest 
  • Shadowrun 5th edition
  • Dungeon Crawl Classics
  • Numenera
  • Paranoia (2nd & 25th Ann. edition, mainly)
  • Dread
  • Dresden Files (Both normal Fate & Fate Accelerated)
  • Trail of Cthulhu
  • Delta Green
  • Fate (Pretty much just Core)
  • The Strange
  • Shadows of Esteren
  • Mutants & Masterminds 3rd edition
  • Mouse Guard
  • 7th Sea 2nd edition
  • Night's Black Agents
  • Cypher System
  • Ubiquity
  • Mutant Crawl Classics
  • Kobolds Ate My Baby!
  • Star Trek Adventures
  • Conan: An Age Undreamed Of
  • Doctor Who
  • Lamentations of the Flame Princess
  • Traveller 2nd edition
  • 13th Age
  • Unknown Armies 3rd edition
  • Hero System
  • Dungeon World
  • Mistborn
  • The One Ring
  • Urban Shadows
  • Middle-Earth Role Playing
  • Masks: A New Generation
  • Firefly
  • Clockwork: Dominion
  • QAGS
  • Dragon AGE
  • Champions

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:

  • Eclipse Phase 2nd edition
  • Sentinel Comics
  • Torg Eternity
  • Vampire: The Masquerade 5th edition

"Homebrew" would have been in the list last year, carried entirely by one Harry Potter event, but this year without that it had enough capacity for the initial demand (as a category).

Board & Card Games


  • Scythe
  • Terraforming Mars
  • Dark Souls: The Board Game
  • Dead of Winter
  • Arkham Horror The Card Game
  • Captain Sonar
  • First Martians
  • Zombicide: Black Plague
  • Exit: The Game - The Secret of the Premiere
  • Dinosaur Island
  • The Captain is Dead
  • Vast: The Mysterious Manor
  • Sword & Sorcery
  • Lord of the Rings The Card Game
  • The Godfather: Corleone's Empire
  • Blood Rage
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill
  • Pandemic
  • Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks
  • Alien Artifacts
  • Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle
  • Roll Player
  • Birth of Europe
  • Great Western Trail
  • Star Trek: Ascendancy
  • Battlestar Galactica

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

Some high-demand games that I don't think will be out before Gen Con (but correct me if I'm wrong - and I'm sure I missed plenty of other premiers/new releases) included:


  • Legend of the Five Rings LCG
  • Fallout the Tabletop Game
  • Eyrewood Tales: Thornwatch

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) did not have individual games systems at the same scale, but Bolt Action and Blood & Plunder were pretty close. Non-historical minis (NMN) were mostly spread out as well, but A Song of Ice & Fire had a lot of demand, with Imperial Assault and Space Hulk also almost making the same threshold I set for RPG, BGM, & CGM.
 

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Posted by derekguder

If anyone wants to refer back to last year to see what has changed, you can check the thread on high-demand games from 2016.

There's also the thread from 2015 about high demand games that year.

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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by nscott

Just because I like data and statistics, I'm curious about something. Is this based on a percentage unmet demand or an absolute ticket number? So would a small RPG game with one session and six tickets but 15 unmet wishlist requests (250%) have risen above the noise or would it have been washed out by larger events like a game with 10 sessions of six and thirty unmet wishlist requests(50%)?

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Posted by rutherfordr

Are these games listed in order of the amount of un-served demand, from highest to lowest?
 

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Posted by derekguder

They are roughly in order of highest to lowest, with a few possible exceptions where I took things out or merged them or added things in from another event type, and I just eyeballed those, since this list isn't really meant to be too precise.

And the list is based solely on volume of unserved demand, not relative volume. I did calculate that, nscott, and called it the "hotness index" in my notes, but while it tends to highlight games that I personally love, I figure for general use it's more helpful to just know what the greater raw number of players want to get into. That also appears to match up a bit better with available GMs who are comfortable running those particular games.

There's also the case that some of the really high relative demand games have so few available slots at all that it can easily distort the numbers.

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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by mythicfox

For the sake of keeping track, the Legend of the Five Rings LCG is having a 'limited release' at the convention (which means that FFG isn't formally releasing it but still bringing a bunch of copies to sell) and anyone attending the Thursday morning tournament will receive a copy of the core set (which is included in the ticket price) so they can play.

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Posted by derekguder

Yeah, but it won't be out before Gen Con, so it will be difficult for most folks to feel comfortable enough to run an event around it - though it would be great for some enterprising souls in that inaugural tournaments to share their copies later in casual games with other excited attendees :)

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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by nscott derekguder

derekguder wrote:
They are roughly in order of highest to lowest, with a few possible exceptions where I took things out or merged them or added things in from another event type, and I just eyeballed those, since this list isn't really meant to be too precise.
And the list is based solely on volume of unserved demand, not relative volume. I did calculate that, nscott, and called it the "hotness index" in my notes, but while it tends to highlight games that I personally love, I figure for general use it's more helpful to just know what the greater raw number of players want to get into. That also appears to match up a bit better with available GMs who are comfortable running those particular games.
There's also the case that some of the really high relative demand games have so few available slots at all that it can easily distort the numbers.
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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC
Thanks! This may end up in one of my classes one of these days. I'm always looking for examples to use to try get students to ask questions about how a study was done rather than just accept what someone tells them the final answer is. Since they probably won't see this as "science" they might be more willing to say "hey what about..." in a discussion.

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Posted by derekguder nscott

nscott wrote:Thanks! This may end up in one of my classes one of these days. I'm always looking for examples to use to try get students to ask questions about how a study was done rather than just accept what someone tells them the final answer is. Since they probably won't see this as "science" they might be more willing to say "hey what about..." in a discussion.

Yeah, event data provides a wealth of "well, maybe this means that, but it could mean this completely other thing, too..." I spend a fair amount of time poking at it each fall.

Based on comments I've seen elsewhere, I should also probably mention that just because something isn't in this list doesn't mean it didn't have unserved demand, possibly even many times it's actual capacity. This is just the list of games that had particularly high demand - hundreds of potential players that couldn't get seats.

It also doesn't meant that individual events follow these patterns. There were Call of Cthulhu or D&D 5th edition games, for example, that did not have high demand and sessions of games that didn't make this list that could have fit many times its max players. This is just overall trends for those games in general.

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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by brian_83

Does this data make its way to the event sponsor before wish lists are processed so they can add more seats/tickets/space if they know ahead of time that wish list demand exceeds event capacity?

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Posted by trask

One item struck me as interesting. "The Strange," "Numenera" and the "Cypher System" are all on the list as separate games, but in fact are more like flavors of a single game system.  If combined, where would the combined game sit on the list? 

Thank you,

Vic

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Posted by derekguder brian_83

brian_83 wrote:
Does this data make its way to the event sponsor before wish lists are processed so they can add more seats/tickets/space if they know ahead of time that wish list demand exceeds event capacity?

By it's very nature, it cannot - this is a snapshot of wish lists just before they are submitted. As explained in a recent EO/GM email, the intent is that event organizer will use this data (as well as general feedback from attendees and hopeful players) to adjust their schedules in the couple weeks following event registration, reducing some games and boosting others, shifting resources around.
trask wrote:
One item struck me as interesting. "The Strange," "Numenera" and the "Cypher System" are all on the list as separate games, but in fact are more like flavors of a single game system.  If combined, where would the combined game sit on the list? 
Thank you,
Vic

I appreciate the curiosity about the specific numbers, but I'm not going to combine different games (even if closely related or using the same rules) to adjust the list. It's not a leaderboard - it should be sufficient that they are all in the list.

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Derke Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by john_51

Hello.  I am talking to Stronghold Games about an official, sanctioned Terraforming Mars Tournament.  I was thinking 64 players but... I'm starting to think this thing could actually be a whole lot bigger, especially seeing it so near the top of the list of in-demand games.  I could use some help in putting together a proposal to them.  I'll email as well.

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Posted by parody

Note that this is the list of in-demand games from before Gen Con 2017, so demand may well have changed over the last year.

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Posted by rutherfordr

Also, the number of GMs you have will establish a practical limit for the number of players you can accommodate.

As an extreme example, if you only have one GM, you won't be able to handle 300 players.
 

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Posted by derekguder

It's also worth nothing that "bigger" does not always equal "better," by any stretch.

High demand doesn't automatically mean that a single big tournament will be successful, for example. There are lots of factors that go into folks attending a game, and - broadly - we suggest a relatively conservative approach: larger events can be fun, but keep those restrained so they fill up and run other events throughout the rest of the weekend to even out overall capacity so it's not just one big spike.

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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by nesbit37

Derek, anyway you would be willing to share some of the datasets you used for this?  I would love to make it accessible as part of the www.best50yearsingaming.com along with the event schedule data if Gen Con is amenable to it.

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Posted by derekguder

Unfortunately, we can't really unilaterally release final attendance data or full event details for all events. There are lots of factors to consider there.

If you want to get anything beyond what is released in the event catalog file each year, you'll probably want to send us an email with a full run-down of what specific data points you are looking for and what you intend to use them for, so we can review those with you as necessary.

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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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