Aug 3, 2023 - Things to Do

Gen Con gives Indianapolis first look at Disney Lorcana game

A woman holds a box containing the new Disney Lorcana trading card game.

Gen Con attendees can try the new Disney Lorcana trading card game before it goes on sale to the public. Photo: Felix Kästle/picture alliance via Getty Images

America's top tabletop games gathering returns today, bringing a massive product launch and long-term implications for Indianapolis' economy.

Why it matters: Gen Con is the largest annual convention in Indianapolis, drawing more than 60,000 people, and an increasingly influential power broker in city and state affairs.

Between the lines: Gen Con threw its weight behind Mayor Joe Hogsett's controversial move to publicly finance a Signia by Hilton hotel adjacent to the Indiana Convention Center after the private market failed to move the deal forward.

  • Gen Con threatened to exit Indianapolis if the hotel didn't get built, saying it is outgrowing the city's capacity.
  • CEO David Hoppe appeared Tuesday at the hotel groundbreaking ceremony, an indication that Gen Con intends to stay for years to come.

State of play: This year's event at the convention center and Lucas Oil Stadium is a launching pad for Disney Lorcana, a new game being mentioned in the same breath as wildly successful hits "Magic: The Gathering" and "Pokemon."

  • It features Disney characters and songs in a world where "players take on the role of 'Illumineers' and use magical ink to summon 'Glimmers' (copies) of Disney characters from various stories to help them collect 'lore' (victory points)," per gaming news site IGN.
  • It's a partnership of two entertainment and marketing behemoths, Disney and German game developer Ravensburger AG, and it goes on sale Aug. 18.

Meanwhile, publishers will drop plenty of other games, including Catan Soccer Fever, a well-timed soccer-themed game that lines up with the FIFA Women's World Cup.

Be smart: Gen Con has a reputation for cosplay, but regular attendees say costumes are rare.

  • The event is more about trying new games and interacting with players.
  • Think of it as a tabletop game trade show.

What they're saying: Ben Bishop, an Indianapolis tabletop game enthusiast, has attended Gen Con three times and offered tips for Axios readers:

  • Sign up for events. There are a ton of free things to do.
  • Join the Fans of Gen Con Facebook group.
  • Don't wear those board game backpacks.
  • Time your visits to the Block Party carefully (off-peak times are best) or you'll wait 45 minutes for mediocre noodles.

If you go: Gen Con runs through Sunday, with badge prices ranging from $17 for Sunday only to $135 for all four days.


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