5 Days in Indy

My Gen Con trip did not start well. My redeye flight on Wednesday night was delayed. When we got into Detroit, there was only the slimmest chance I’d make my connection. Then the plane sat at the gate for nearly 15 minutes because the ground crew wasn’t ready with the jetway. That meant a 3 hour layover there, which put me into Indianapolis at 11 am instead of 7:30. I thus missed the opening of the exhibit hall, which was a bit of a drag. I really like being there for that. I love seeing the doors open and the gamers spill in. It’s a nice feeling when people race for your booth to be the first to snap up the new books. I missed that entirely this year and didn’t make it to the hall until about noon.

Thankfully, it was pretty much uphill from there. We finally announced the Wild Cards license for M&M;, which we’ve had to keep quiet about since NY Comic Con in February. All 9 of our books showed up (7 by opening and the final 2 on Friday). We sold a ton of Paragons, Pirate’s Guide to Freeport, Hero High, and Hobby Games: the 100 Best. We once again did very well at the ENnies, winning 7 awards for GR’s own books, 4 for those we designed for Black Industries, and the silver award for Best Publisher. The fans were enthusiastic, the sales were great, and the show was exciting. So hats off again to Peter and crew for another excellent Gen Con.

I managed to catch up with a lot of old friends, which is one of the best parts of Gen Con for me these days. Others I missed in the madness, but there’s only so much time. Three members of my old college game group (Aaron, Bill, and Brian) made it out this year and it was great hanging out with them. We all live in different cities now so don’t see each other as often as we’d like. Saturday night, though I was dragging after working on 2 hours of sleep all day, I went to the open board game hall and played FFG’s new game Tannhauser with Bill and Brian. It was more of a minis game than I thought it was going to be, but that’s no bad thing in my book. The cleverest bit is that the spaces on the board are all color coded so you know instantly and without argument who has line of sight to whom. Great idea!

Sunday Bill and I spent a couple of hours walking the exhibit hall. I was disappointed that that there was so little in the way of historical minis, but otherwise the hall was bursting with stuff. Here’s what I took home:

Duel in the Dark: Z-Man’s new boardgame of British night bombing raids in WWII. This looks terrific and I hope to play with Ray soon.

Reign: Greg Stolze’s new fantasy RPG of power and politics.

Witch Hunter: Paradigm’s alternate history RPG of righteous puritans vs. the forces of darkness.

Legendary Encounters: Reaper’s entry into the pre-painted plastic minis market. I picked up all of the first wave. They look pretty decent, though I wish the bases were a little bigger.

Johnny Reb: This is a Civil War minis game by John Hill of Squad Leader fame. I found a first edition copy in good shape at Crazy Egor’s. It’s one of the games in Hobby Games: The 100 Best that I didn’t own and I wanted to rectify that.

Classic Battletech Introductory Box Set: Battletech’s new publisher, Catalyst, have hit the ground running with a great new entry point for the game. This is something BT has needed for some time and it’s really a great package.

Sword and Dragon: An expansion book for the above that delves into the history of a couple of Battletech’s classic opponents.

Battletech Tech Manual: A huge BT hardback with all the construction rules. Not for the faint of heart.

Battleground Fantasy Warfare: This is a “minis game on cards” by Your Move Games. I got the dwarf starter. I’ve heard good things about the game and I know Rick has a couple of starters as well so we can give it a try some Thursday. They were sadly out of the new lizardman starter with dinosaurs before I stopped by.

I was tempted by some other boardgames but I didn’t have room in my luggage so I saved those for another day. I got a quick look at Grey Ranks, a RPG about the rising of the Polish Home Army in 1944. It looks interesting, but it had no price printed on it and I didn’t have time to mess around so I left it for further investigation. I was seriously tempted by Dwarven Forge’s new water set, which has simply gorgeous underground rivers and pools, but my house just isn’t big enough to start collecting 3D dungeons.

My return flight was also pretty shitty. After an hour delay, we boarded the aircraft and taxied out on the runway. Then the plane stopped and they announced that we had to wait for another hour. I got back to Seattle hours late, totally wiped out. Now back to FLS this morning and of course there’s Penny Arcade Expo this weekend. Go go August continues!

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