This year I was fortunate enough to get to go to San Diego for Comic Con 2011.
Unfortunately, a good deal of the video footage I took of the con (and D&D events) was corrupted, and I'm still trying to sort it out. I guess you all will have to just read all of the copious amounts of text I provide and use your puny imaginations to conjure up the gilded radiance of the spectacle I bore witness to.
That or go do some Google image searching. Either way.
Comic Con 2011 was good! There was a great deal of representation from all the major gaming companies, and they all had gaming demonstrations and tables set up in the Marriott for the public to see and try out.
Wizards of the Coast had the biggest tabletop gaming presence at the convention, though this was primarily with Magic: The Gathering, which I've been told is some kind of magical card game or something. "Tapping" is also involved somehow. This card game outnumbered D&D's presence by 3 to 1. Speaking as someone who knows absolutely dick about Magic, all I can guess is that it's an easier sell to people than a game where you pretend to be dwarves and wizards.
It was also a little disappointing to see that their booth in the Exhibitors Hall was comprised of four TVs, all showing off their mediocre downloadable video games. Then again, when WotC's booth is pushed back to the far corner, behind everything else in a giant Hasbro area, I guess you can't really expect much.
That said, their D&D stuff was pretty good too. I got a chance to play a couple of games, as well as try out WotC's line of board games. I played a round of Castle Ravenloft: The Board Game, and was pleasantly surprised.
It's a solid dungeon delving board game that doesn't skimp with its miniature pieces and boards. It's a little too complicated for my tastes, but its a decent mix of Type IV D&D and some random dungeon exploration. The best aspect of the game in my mind was that as you play, you're revealing more of the dungeon randomly, by drawing from a 'dungeon tile' deck. We were all dreading putting a new tile down, as it might contain a bunch of monsters or instant death traps. It gives the game a sense of exploration and dread that is lost in so many new D&D games.
The highlight of WotC's presence at Comic Con was the Dungeon Master panel with Chris Perkins. Chris is a great dungeon master, bringing the best of both old school and new school sensibilities to the table. This is a guy who's genuinely passionate about the game and introducing it to new people. He holds no prejudice against any previous edition of the game, nor does he present himself as some kind of gaming elitist. He answered the audiences' questions with surprisingly little company PR bullshit, and didn't spend the panel hocking new products or services. I appreciated that. Also, winning a D&D Essentials: Rules Compendium book at the end of the panel didn't hurt either.
All in all, Comic Con was pretty good for tabletop gaming. Other people gave me the impression that it was lacking a little, but I've got nothing to compare it to. Speaking as someone who's never been to Gen-Con, I kept getting the impression that most of the gaming companies were holding back a lot of their big announcements and reveals. I guess when it comes to serving their audience, Gen-Con is a safer bet.
Still, fun was had. I managed to leave San Diego with a bunch of free swag. Met up with the Penny Arcade/PVP guys and got the lot of them to sign my DM screen. That's pretty cool.