Thursday, March 15, 2012

IndyCon Article in the DBJ

This article is from the Daily Business Journal at my work. Steve Lawson wrote it for the Journal and gets all the credit for it. He had never heard of any of these games and so interviewed me and a couple other people about IndyCon and also came and visited on Saturday of IndyCon. Since I can't directly link you to our internal intranets, I thought I'd post it here. Perhaps an interesting read for some people, especially those from outside the hobby.


INDIANAPOLIS, March 13, 2012 – In a crowded room with background chatter, DFAS Indianapolis Human Resources employee Adam Daulton is providing training instructions to three other people in his group.

“So, basically, you’re building your deck up,” Daulton said, “and at the end of the game, the person with the most victory points wins. But the victory points aren’t worth anything during the game, so you have to time how many to hold during the game.”

This isn’t your typical DFAS training session, though. Daulton’s instructions are to his group of four playing a card game among about 100 people attending the Fifth Annual Indy Con gathering March 3 at the Drury Inn. These games are not your typical “Stratego”-type games you may have grown up on.

“This is a much greater scale than those type games,” Daulton explained. “A typical game, as they term it in the gaming world, is a ‘Euro’ or ‘designer’ game. Probably the most well known of these type games is one called ‘Settlers of Catan’ or ‘Ticket to Ride.’”

Range of games

For the participants, the games can range from quick 10-minute card games to longer four-hours or longer games.

Some of the games involve just cards, others include game boards and still others involve some activity. But there is a distinct difference between the typical board games and the designer games.

“In the designer game,” Daulton explained, “there’s usually not the type of elimination like you would find in Monopoly or Risk. So you’re not playing for an hour, get eliminated and wait around for everyone else to finish. Everyone’s in it through the end of the process.

One of the other differences is that when you pick up one of the designer board games you’ll find the name of the person who actually designed the game rather than just the name of the game. People who enjoy these games look not just at the game, but who designed it as well when looking for a new game to purchase.”

As co-host Dave Koch explains, the attendees at Indy Con are a fairly close-knit group.

“The event is all based on friends of friends,” Koch said. “It’s an invitational so everyone much to one handshake away from us. The first year we had about 15 show up for the event, this year we’re expecting over 150.”

A mixed group

Koch and Daulton both host small groups at their houses as part of Indy Board Gamers. The idea for the gathering of gamers is the result of an idea they hatched about five years ago to get everyone together to play over one weekend, Koch said.

The atmosphere is light so the emphasis is on fun and enjoyable for everyone, which leads to about a quarter of the participants being women.

“The first year we had wives and girlfriends join us,” Koch said, “as they played games they enjoyed, they became gamers and we are proud of the fact that we have a lot of women here.”

Koch continued, “And we have a lot of husbands and boyfriends who were brought here first by their wives and girlfriends who are now hooked as well. Our age range starts at around 11 and ranges up from there.”

Koch also said that the range of occupations was wide as well.

“I think we’ve got doctors, lawyers, and more here,” Koch said. “They are all here to have fun and relax.”he participants in the event have a choice of games to pick from for the weekend event as is evidenced by the large stacks of games in the room.

“We use everybody’s collections,” Daulton said. “Some of the games are worth $5; some are worth closer to $300. That’s one of the reasons we keep the attendee list invitational, so everyone can feel they don’t have to worry about their games.”

Daulton said that the group with 400 to 500 different games to choose from during the weekend. “It will just depend on what other folks bring in. I think I might have a couple thousand dollars invested in my games.”

Competition, camaraderie

Chris Funk of Human Resources at DFAS Indianapolis attended his second Indy Con at Daulton’s invitation. His favorite game involved a little bit of action.

“My favorite game at Indy Con was Crokinole,” Funk states. “Crikinole originates in Canada and involves a round, wooden board with concentric circles on it. The players have to flick little disks and try to get them to slide onto the circles that are worth the most points, while knocking the other players’ discs off the board. It’s very addicting.”

Indy Con participants receive gift bags and they enter the event and are given the chance to register for door prizes donated by Indianapolis local gaming companies as well as other local sponsors.

Daulton’s wife, Krista, joins him for both the in-house groups and participated at Indy Con as well. Daulton’s daughter is already showing an interest in board games too.

“Our daughter is just 2-and-a-half right now, but she really wants to play daddy’s games,” Daulton said. “We bought Candyland for her; so, I going to teach her about taking turns and understanding game concepts. I’m looking forward to seven or eight years down the road when we can have family game night.”

For more information on designer board games, check out (Editor’s note: Because there are some online games as part of this site, the link is blocked at DFAS sites).

General board game information can be found at

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