If you’ve never been to a convention and have a love for any particular segment of, probably, anything; you need to go. When one goes to a convention they are greeted by a mass of people that are like-minded as them. You have a group that all treat each other equally, at all times, because they are all the same. The problem is there’s so much going on it can’t all be seen or tried in a day. For that reason I’m bringing the daily Quick-Fix. A condensed “what’s going on” based off a particular days experience.
Gencon is the largest board/card/tabletop gaming convention around. Vendors from across the country come to show off their new wares and see the public demo them for the first time. Hundreds of booths are set up for selling items from games young and old. Tournaments are held for games held in high regard (Magic the Gathering, Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride) while also not ignoring the most obscure games that have been dead for a giant amount of time (Austin Powers Collectable Card Game). You’re also faced with video games, people playing random games in the middle of the floor, stage shows, video game tourneys, etc. This place really has everything.
Day 2 and 3:
-The biggest thing one notices about Gencon this year is how much Kickstarter has changed the game. A huge chunk of the games available at Gencon for demo and purchase all came from successful kickstarter campaigns. Highlights of that segment include: Zombicide, Evil Baby Orphanage, and Killer Bunnies: Quest for the Magic Carrot Deluxe Edition. KB:QftMC has it’s kickstarter running throughout the next week still.
-The hardest booth to constantly track down is the indie RPG and game booth. They have a small piece of floor space, but always feature a great selection of unique games you’re not going to find in one place any other time during the year. These games are usually one big shot in the dark with purchasing unless you can find a small group playing the game upstairs during the “indie RPG” allotted time. I could never find a time, or it, during the con so I took a shot on HOLLOWPOINT. Hotheaded is a game about bad people doing bad things with bad outcomes. From the quick read through I did at the booth it seems to be that everyone is an evil Jason Stathman and we’re all starring in our own version of Crank.
-There was one other big paradigm shift visibly at Gencon 2012 which was Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop. Tabletop is a Youtube show featuring Wil and friends playing his favorite Tabletop games. How has this been a huge shift for the market? If Wil Wheaton plays your game on his show then your game flies off shelves. That also means at Gencon your game won’t stay in stock and you’ll be busy all day. That includes games that have been out for years. Congrats to those creators who have gotten the sales bump and Wil Wheaton for showing brand new people what this genre of fun is all about.
-AEG showed off their new game Smash-Up this weekend. Smash-Up features 8 sets of creatures (Wizards, Leprachauns, Zombies, Aliens, Robots, Dinosaurs, Ninjas, and Pirates). Four players begin the game by drafting in the 1-4 3-1 order their team of two sets of creatures. You then use your smash-up team to overtake landmarks and locations. The unique thing I enjoy about this game was that there are five locations on the board. Whenever a location is scored they give points to the person with the most power on it through the third person with the most power. This game isn’t all or nothing. This game can be an entire game of slow chipping away until the end. Pacing might actually win you the game. Smash-Up was sold out by Friday evening.
-Fantasy Flight Games showed off Star Wars: X-Wing Fighter Miniatures Game at Gencon. I’m not a big Star Wars fan. I legitamitely think they’re ok at best. I can sit and watch them when they are on but wouldn’t be able to tell you every single character and all their names. The EU and all that means completely nothing to me as well. I bring that up because I normally stay away from all board and card games featuring Star Wars because of it. THIS GAME IS SO MUCH FUN! I got one round in before watching about three more. I can describe it one of two ways:
1) Take the Gamecube and N64 Rogue Squadron games, pull them off the video game system, and put them on a table.
2) A tabletop version of Star Fox 64’s versus mode.
-Bonus suggestion Fantasy Flight: Talk to Nintendo and grab the Star Fox license for this game. You’ll print so much money together it won’t be funny.
-If your cell phone drops an entire floor before landing on the cement below, but doesn’t hit anyone on the way down, it still has the ability to ruin your camera. I bring this up because I need to pre-apologize in for my future “Pictures of Gencon” article. There won’t be many pictures of cosplayers. I was saving many of them for Saturday as that is the costume contest and costume walk. It is also the day most cosplayers dress up and spend a chunk of their day posing for anyone and everyone. I’d rather take pictures of them when they’re at the con to specifically do that rather than be one of the people who constantly bug them throughout the weekend.
-Marvel unveiled a deck-building game entitled “Legendary”. I didn’t get a chance to play it as the press booked a good chunk of the time and we could never find a time that worked within the pre-done schedule. I watched a few games of it in actions. This deckbuilding game looks to play differently from the others that have been around so far. The best thing going for it is not being a carbon copy of the forty deck building games already out there.
-Huge shout out to my friends who competed in the WWE Raw Deal World Championships over the weekend. The game has been dead since around 2008. The fan community that still exists over at TeamCanadaOnline.net have kept the game going with virtual sets that are fully playtested by the same playtesting group that did the game when it was official. This is the game that sucked me into this world and into the world that is GENCON. I still play the game and continue to build decks to this day. The game is solid.
-You can go check out the new sets and how the game runs over at TeamCanadaOnline.net
-Video of the Raw Deal World Championship Finals from Gencon can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDzCVXj9oto
-Retailer booths that are there to throw out their extra stuff are always great. You can find dead games you might have never heard of as well as games that have just died over the years. My friends and I picked up MLB Showdown, NFL Showdown, WCW Nitro, and some UFS.
-Speaking of UFS, Jasco games unveiled their newest set for the game featuring King of Fighters. This is the first licensed set of fighters since Jasco Games bought Universal Fighting System from Fantasy Flight.
-Video game fans can watch some enjoyable tournaments at some cons. I’ve sat through many of all sorts before. This year I got the chance to sit and watch a Dance Central 2 tournament. It was captivating watching people of all sizes just throw down on hard and not miss a dance step.
-Homeless people sort of gravitate towards the convention center over the weekend. South Park’s Dawn of the Dead parody feels very true once you’re there. Sign of the weekend: Give me money or I’ll vote for Obama.
-Friends of mine played their first RPG ever this weekend then subsequently purchased said game. The game is called Panty Explosion. Yes. Whatever reaction you have is probably close to mine. Needless to say we played it Saturday night in the hotel room and got some of the biggest laughs of our weekend. Everyone plays a Japanese School Girl (or crossdressing boy) at a school that has very weird things happen to it. You work together to tell a story and using one D6 find out what happens when conflict arises by letting your best friend or rival finish the story. Our game involved a slightly mentally handicapped school girl and a ninja that had a thing for upper-decking. I’ll answer your question right now: I don’t even know.
-Gencon ran out of their official dice set by Saturday morning.
-Chikara Pro held their event “The Ring of Wax” featuring the Young Lions Cup finals Saturday night right next to the convention. It was a great event full of comedy and action. The night was highlighted by ACH winning the Young Lions Cup in a fantastic 30 minute match with Mr. Touchdown.
-The Least I Could Do webcomic debuted a game at Gencon as well. Their booth was busy throughout the weekend and the towers built of the game dwindled down steadily throughout the four days. Least I Could Do features you as one of the characters from the comic going to a bar and trying to pick up the most chicks. You’re all basically trying to be Barney Stinson while cock-blocking your bros. The game was simplistic, fun, and pretty cheap. Easily something one could throw down to get a few games out during a night of just having drinks with friends.
-I, finally, bought some dice from Game Science. I actually made my way to the original creator of the company, whose booth is separate from the full on company, where he colors in the dice himself. An awesome guy I’ve ran into for years but never bought from as I didn’t get into RPGs as much.
-Settlers of Catan: Star Trek made its debut at Gencon. The game is fundamentally the same as Settlers of Catan but features a space setting and enterprise figures. There is a slight difference because each player chooses a single character that gives them a small ability, but I personally did not try the game to find out what it was all about.
-Z Man Games had two brand new games arrive at Gencon this year: Atlantis Rising and Alcatraz: The Scapegoat. Both are cooperative games with the later having a HUGE backstabbing element to it. I watched a play through of Atlantis and it looked very, very solid. The guy afterwards gave me a solid descriptive comparison for gamers. Atlantis Rising can be compared to Arkham Horror hard but in half the time. I’ll speak of Alcatraz more later as I purchased it after just watching half a play through.
-Quick look: Alcatraz features four players who are trying to escape Alcatraz. There’s a problem. You need someone to stay behind and take the fall. Just make sure that one person isn’t you.
-Cardhalla was great this year featuring the Seattle Space Needle as well as other card buildings. It fell to its death at noon on Sunday.
-A pure balloon dragon was put to death by children at noon on Sunday as well. May he rest in peace.
-To the designer of the boffing Captain America shield – THANK YOU!
-The artist whom was doing the bead art will do custom sprites for people. I will put her information in another upcoming article. Needless to say I’m totally getting a Community sprite set.
-You’ll never sleep better than the day you arrive home from Gencon after spending four nights sleeping on the floor.