GenCon 2012: The Year I Won D&D

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on August 22, 2012

Calling GenCon the best four days in gaming is an understatement. There’s a really good chance that this year’s GenCon was my best four days in gaming ever. For four days everything went right. This was my fifth straight GenCon and without a doubt it was my best so far.


One of the most important parts of any convention is the people. You can play D&D at home, but you go to a con to meet other gamers. For me a big part of it is meeting other bloggers and touching base with some of the folks from Wizards of the Coast.

This year I managed to spend some time hanging out with a lot of my fellow bloggers. I played D&D with some of them, and I played board games with others. I had some good conversations about gaming and life in general with some, and I had drinks with a few others. Some I regretfully only got to say a quick hello to, and many more that I wasn’t able to meet in person at all (maybe next year).

Most of the bloggers and WotC staff were extremely active on Twitter throughout GenCon so even though I didn’t see everyone I certainly knew where they were and what they were doing.


GenCon brings together vendors who have great gaming stuff with nerds who have too much disposable income. It’s a match made in heaven. This year I had a few extra bucks and a two-page shopping list. I didn’t get everything on my list but I got a lot of great swag.

At the top of my list were numerous classic D&D adventures. I ended up scoring the following:

  • B1: In Search of the Unknown
  • C2: The Ghost of Castle Inverness
  • D3: Vault of the Drow
  • G1-2-3: Against the Giants
  • H2: The Mines of Bloodstone
  • H3: The Bloodstone Wars (completing my H-series as I already had H1 and H4)
  • UK1: Beyond the Crystal Cave
  • X1: The Isle of Dread

I really wanted A1-4, the Slave Lord series but couldn’t find it. About an hour after I visited the vendor hall I played a game with Mike Shea of Sly Flourish where he proudly showed off the four modules he bought earlier that day A1-4. I was so jealous.

Later that day at the Wizards of the Coast keynote address they announced that they would be making their entire back-catalogue available in digital format. Some might think I wasted my money but as a collector (comics and gaming stuff) there’s something to be said for owning original copies of these classics.

I picked up a few nerd t-shirts including “The Walking Dude” for my wife which scored me major brownie points.

Over the last year I played a lot more board games than in years past. We always use the game’s lid to roll the dice in. I decided that it was time to invest in a dice try to roll in and I managed to find one at a reasonable price. I’ve already used it for a few D&D games and I have no doubt I’ll get my money’s worth in no time at all.

There were also a few obligatory purchases including the commemorative GenCon 2012 dice, a GenCon 2012 shot glass (in this case three – one nice glass one and two plastic ones with tiny little d6s inside them), and a handful of D&D minis.

Drow Dice

Wizards of the Coast was giving away a free set of Drow Dice at GenCon. These dice were highly sought after at this year’s GenCon. The assumption that a lot of us made (based on what we read on the Wizards website before GenCon) was that if you visited each of six different Wizards areas of the convention hall you’d get free dice. This was true, but not entirely complete information. In some cases you had to play the games to get the die. This posed problems for people without tickets, especially since events like the D&D Next play test was sold out. This made it that much more difficult to get all six dice by the end of GenCon.

I had to wait almost three hours in line with generic tickets to get into the D&D Next play test. Fortunately I had time in my schedule. The following day I had to wait an hour to play Dungeon Command. In the end I did mange to get a full set of six dice. I’m curious to see how much the individual dice and a complete set are going for on eBay (not that I’m planning to sell mine any time soon).

D&D Championship

For the past four years I’ve participated in the D&D Championship. In my first year I made it to the finals. It wasn’t that hard. I thought it was something I could easily do every year. And then for the following two years I got destroyed in the preliminary rounds. This year I vowed to make it to the finals. And I did!

The qualifying round had the PCs visiting four locations in search of magic artifacts. The PCs had to stop an opposing group from getting them first. For each item you got, the final boss’s power would be reduced. Oh, did I forget to mention that you only have 45 minutes of real-time to complete each encounter? We did end up with two of the four items after four encounters. All of the heroes survived the first four encounters and we made a valiant effort in the final one. Unfortunately we timed out before we could defeat the boss monster. However, everyone in the party was still standing when the clock ran to zero.

Apparently 11 teams played on the first day. One team beat the boss. We were the only other team to begin the final encounter with a full party. We felt confident in our chances of advancing to the finals. We later learned that there were a total of 30 teams vying for the championship. The top six made the finals. Our team (#307) was listed third. I don’t know if that’s because we finished third in the scoring or it was just listed in the order you qualified. Either way we were pumped to advance.

For the finals everyone had two-and-a-half hours to complete the final encounter. We blew a couple of very important skill checks early in the match and that made things extremely difficult from there on in. Only one team completed the encounter (the same team that completed the adventure in the qualifying round). We managed to last the longest going 2 hours and 10 minutes before the final PCs died. We didn’t complete all of the objectives but the DMs (there were two for each table in the finals) told us we scored well. It was all over but the waiting and the crying.

While we killed almost two hours waiting for the award presentation I said to my teammate that I would be ecstatic with a third place finish at this point. We knew we weren’t finishing first, but we were hopeful for a second or third place finish. In truth I just wanted to win a copy of the new Menzonberranzan book. It took every ounce of my fiber to not purchase it before GenCon. Winning it would be total icing on the cake.

Before the winners were announced they laid out all the prizes so we could see what each team would win for finishing first, second and third. Menzonberranzan was included in all three prize packs.

1st place prizes 2nd place prizes 3rd place prizes

When they announced that we’d finished third I was overjoyed. I really didn’t think we’d place in the top three, but we finished in third. We’d won D&D. We’d earned free stuff and bragging rights for the next year. What a way to finish off a great GenCon.

Our third place finish netted each of us the following prizes (approximate retail value totaling $100):

Congratulations to the members of the teams finishing first and second. Thanks to Wizards of the Coast for putting on the event and providing the great prizes. And a huge thanks to the DMs for running the adventure. Without solid DMs the tournament wouldn’t be the thrill ride that it is every year.

As I said at the top, this was without a doubt the best GenCon I’ve had so far. And as great as this year’s GenCon was, there’s still more. Visit Dungeon’s Master later today to read all about our experience playing in the 2012 GenCon Fourthcore Team Deathmatch. Find out how Team Moose Hockey Maple Syrup Eh did in the head-to-head match against other players.

How was your GenCon? What treasures did you score? What event was the highlight of your con experience?

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1 rwaluchow August 22, 2012 at 10:02 am

Congratulations on your third place finish!

This was my first Gencon and I was absolutely blown away by how much fun it was. I’ve never been surrounded by so many people with similar interests before. It was intoxicating.

When I return next year I’ll definitely be fielding a team for the D&D Championship!

2 Alphastream August 22, 2012 at 11:20 am

I was so glad to hear this! Congrats!

3 dude August 22, 2012 at 11:56 am

sounds like a great time. i hope someday i can make it to Gen Con. glad to hear you won some great free stuff. good job.

4 Sunyaku August 23, 2012 at 1:03 am

So jealous of everyone I know that went to Gen Con this year (can’t afford honeymoon and con in the same year… and although she is quite geeky, she insisted on a tropical location). I hope to catch you at this event in the future.

5 Sndwurks (David Buresh) August 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Dude! Congratulations on the third place! And on winning the FTDM!

I owe you beer next year, when I should (barring disaster) be able to visit GenCon again. Until then, seriously, congratulations!

6 Paik the Kenku Monk August 24, 2012 at 10:36 am

This sounds so awesome and a great time. Congrats!

PS. There is only the dice bag on eBay as of this writing! LOL!

7 Radiating Gnome September 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Congrats on your 3rd place finish!

Our team finished second for the second year in a row. And the team that won finished third last year. So, if that pattern continues, it’ll be YOU I’ll be secretly hating with the fire of a hundred suns next year….. 😉

-rad. gnome

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