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Toy soldiers: The weird and wonderful wargames from Gen Con's open play hall

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

I have been going to Gen Con now for nearly a decade, and one of the highlights of every trip for me is a tour of the wargaming hall.

Months before Gen Con starts, individual game masters and small clubs submit events to Gen Con LLC. Later, attendees make a mad dash to purchase tickets to those events and participate in games they might otherwise never get to play. The small amount of money earned at each session helps the makers fund their hobby, and sometimes even their trip out to Indianapolis.

The reason these games are such a big draw is because each of them is a one-of-a-kind set, handmade by skilled hobbyists and artists. They're simply magnificent.

For four days last week I did laps through the open play hall, talking with those artists and the game masters. Consider this photo essay a catalog of gaming experiences available for your next trip to Gen Con.

For more from the floor of Gen Con, see our StoryStream.


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