Monday, August 20, 2012

Gencon 2012 Retrospective


I'm still a bit dazed from the whirlwind of Gencon, and since we pulled an all-nighter driving home yesterday, it'll take a day or so to get back to normal.  I visited the OSR booth on Thursday, mainly to say hi to Tavis and find out what were the plans for ACKS at Gencon.  We never did get to drop in on any ACKS games; Bo and I had our kiddos along, and the timing never worked out for us to leave them at the hotel with one of the other mom's that came on the trip.  I didn't fit in any Black City games either;  we ended up doing a massive late night game of Zombie Munchkin instead.  There were a bunch of OSR books I was hoping to see at the OSR booth, but none of them were there this year, so there are no OSR Gencon purchases to hype; my hopes got up when I saw Frog God stuff at the OSR booth this year, but the one I really wanted, The Black Monastery, was notably absent.

I briefly met Roger from Roles, Rules, and Rolls while at the OSR booth, and ran into Trey (author of Weird Adventures) while at a history seminar at the convention.  This meet up was fairly serendipitous - I had listened to one of Trey's round tables on G+ (it was on using "America as a fantasy setting") and he's got a distinctive mid-Southern accent - I want to say, Virginia or Tennessee.  We were sitting right next to each other at the seminar anonymously, and when the guy nearby asked a question, I realized it was Trey from Weird Adventures sitting right there.  Funny stuff.  It's always a pleasure to put a face and a human presence with the online persona.

Night's Black Agents:  Keep your blood on the inside
I had a chance to visit Pelgrane Press on Thursday before things got too busy, and Kenneth Hite graciously allowed me to interrogate question him on some upcoming books he's writing.  I'll get those notes together tomorrow.  I picked up my pre-order of Night's Black Agents and the Zalozhniy Quartet (a mini-campaign for the game) and got a picture of the offspring with the author.  It was a moment of  celebrity author fandomania:

Kenneth Hite and the kid:  celebrity fandom moment
Pagan had a wide range of products, including a bunch of hard-to-find hard backs of Delta Green.  I guess with the move to RPG Now, they're breaking the secret stash out of Area 51.  I was able to get Delta Green, Delta Green Eyes Only, Mysteries of Mesoamerica, and Bumps in the Night, the latter two featuring collections of short scenarios.  I met Greg Stolze and had a nice conversation with Scott Glancy at the booth.  One can't laud the Delta Green setting enough, so expect a review or retrospective this week as well as a discussion of the other books.

Awesome Delta Green and horror goodness
I tried to ignore WOTC as much as feasible, but the offspring is struck with Drizz't-love, and we needed to visit the booth and get him some pictures of the giant Drizz't statue and Lolth statues.  It was nigh impossible to drop in on a 5E play test without waiting a few hours on line (assuming you didn't pre-register for it).  We dropped in a few times but split after discouragement by WOTC's staff.  A few guys in our group did tough out the long waits for a drop-in 5E play test, and confirmed it featured super-heroic characters similar in power to 4E guys.  That's probably old news to readers, but I'm trying not to pay too much attention to D&D Next and keep an open mind until books actually get printed - assuming it's going to use actual books, and not another weird online subscription.

One thing new was Dungeon Command, a new D&D miniatures game promulgated at the WOTC booth.  I was dubious about it, but the kiddo insisted on spending some of his own cash to pick it up (the Drow themed starter sealed the deal for him), and it's actually really, really good.  It blends miniatures gaming with a Magic the Gathering style card deck.  If you have a lot of the previous D&D minis, the figures are all repaints of existing sculpts.  Nonetheless, Dungeon Command was one of the surprises of the convention for me, and I'm glad the kiddo got it - we'll have a ton of fun playing.  Plus, he found it for $25 in the dealer hall (WOTC was selling them for $40).  It's non-collectible, too, which is a bonus.  Expect a detailed review.
Dungeon Command:  DDM meets M:TG
I spent a lot more time in the dealer hall checking out board games this year, including extended plays of Star Trek Settlers of Cataan, and the 4E version of Talisman; I ended up getting Trek Settlers for Wifey, as she's a closet Trekkie.  Bo and I also got in a bunch of Heroclix games with the kiddos in the main hall.  Wizkids really ran a good convention this year; there were minimal lines at their events and they were consistently sitting nearly 400 people at a time.  Plus, the volunteers and judges were super nice to the kids.  Below are some of the great pieces we got in the sealed events that we needed for our collection of plastic men in capes and tights.

Heroclix:  plastic toy superhero men!
More details to come this week as I get caught up with work (and sleep).