GenCon Swag

It’s just not a GenCon if I don’t bring home some new games and such. Sadly, I did not have a whole lot of time to walk the exhibit hall this show. I got in maybe two hours of browsing time across four days. I paid cash money for two games (the minis games AE Bounty and War Rocket). The rest I either traded for or was given by friends. It is good to have friends. Here’s the run down:

AE Bounty: This is a scifi skirmish miniatures game from Darkson Designs. Basically, designer Matt Hope took his system from AE World War II and ported it over to scifi. You have your choice of three types of crew: bounty hunters, mercenaries, and pirates. All are quite customizable, so though the game is designed for Darkson’s minis you can easily use other scifi figs you already own. If you liked Necromunda, you should check this out. It’s a little spendy at $25 for a 98 page digest sized book, but it is color throughout and print on demand color is not cheap. The rules are also more complete than 98 pages might suggest.

Battles of Westeros: This is the first new BattleLore board game that FFG has published since acquiring the line from Days of Wonder. I love BattleLore and I love A Song of Ice and Fire, so this should be a win win. I have not had a chance to play it yet, but a read of rules showed that is more complicated than the original BattleLore game. I will give it a spin and see if that’s for good or ill. Components are of course quite nice.

Duel of the Giants: Paul from Z-man hooked me up with this board game before the exhibit hall even opened. It’s another World War II game from the team that did the groovy Duel in the Dark a couple of years back. This has some similarities to Memoir ’44, but concentrates on Eastern Front tank battles in 1943. Nice components that include 11 plastic tanks (Tigers and T-34s, and their turrets even rotate). It’s like Paul somehow divined that I might enjoy a WWII game. What gave it away?

Fantasy Craft RPG: This is the fantasy port of Spycraft from the fine fellows at Crafty Games. Basically, they have taken the core d20 rules, broken them down into component parts, and reassembled them into a highly customizable system for fantasy roleplaying. The results are quite crunchy, as you’d expect, but everything seems sensible and flexible. If you liked the guts of D&D3 but felt Pathfinder didn’t change enough for your tastes, Fantasy Craft may be what you are looking for.

Icons RPG: Green Ronin stalwart Steve Kenson, who designed Mutants & Masterminds and DC Adventures, decided he had to design a completely different supers game. He was nice enough to hook me up with a copy of the print version from Adamant/Cubicle 7. I haven’t had a chance to dig into it yet, but as I understand it’s a supers riff on FATE. I like Steve’s designs and I like FATE, so I look forward to reading it.

Legend of the Five Rings, Fourth Edition RPG: I remember playing first edition back in my WotC days, so I’m curious to see how it looks ten years later. Physically, it is a beautiful book. The page design drips with Japanese flavor and the art is excellent (you go, pinto). I was also glad to see the book devotes some pages to different ways to play the game (something the first edition sorely needed).

Realms of Cthulhu: This is a Savage Worlds RPG sourcebook from Reality Blurs. I believe I have Sean Preston to thank for it, as I discovered a book with my name on it while packing up our booth at the end of the show. Thanks, Sean. Haven’t done more than flip through it, but I’d presume this is meant for a more pulp style Cthulhu game. That seems best suited for the Savage Worlds rules anyway.

Shattered Empires RPG: Veterans of the d20 era may remember the world of Arcanis from Paradigm Concepts. Those rules were never the best fit for the setting, so Paradigm has taken advantage of the post-d20 environment to launch their own rule set customized for Arcanis. Although labeled as a “Quicklauch,” Shattered Empires is a full RPG and over 200 pages at that. It is perhaps better to think of it as Book 1. Again, haven’t really had a chance to dig into it, but it looks interesting. Thanks to Henry for the hook up.

The Ultimate Unofficial Fan Collector’s Guide to D&D: I believe there are three of these books out now and I got volumes 1 (OD&D and Basic D&D) and 3 (AD&D 1st Edition). Each one breaks out the products from the era, providing a cover shot and fairly comprehensive description (page count, levels covered, authors, etc.). They also include some non-TSR stuff (like Wee Warriors, Metro Detroit Gamers, etc) and checklists at the back. Gamers Rule, the publisher, could use a little help in the graphic design department but overall these appear well-researched and quite handy for those interested in all the nooks and crannies of D&D’s history.

War Rocket: This is a new minis game from a fairly new company, Hydra Miniatures. I know nothing about them but was immediately sold on the concept. War Rocket is advertised as “Space Combat in the Atomic Age.” 1950s-style rockets in a fast paced minis game? I’m there. The rules look easy to pick up. There is not a lot of Starfleet Battles type damage tracking. A rocket is either OK, stunned, or destroyed—that’s it. There are four fleets to choose from and what makes it interesting is that each has rockets with a different mode of movement: flying, thruster, pulse, or saucer. This gives each a different flavor and means they fight differently as well. The graphic presentation of each ship’s stats is quite clever and let’s you see in an instant what your ship can do. I didn’t get any of the minis that go with War Rocket, but I may if I can convince a friend to do the same. This really looks like fun.

So what did I miss? Well, this may be the first GenCon I didn’t bring home any miniatures, though to be fair I wasn’t looking for a whole lot either. I had my eye out for a box of Immortal’s plastic Greek hoplites, but I didn’t find them anywhere. I meant to pick up Red Sands, the new Savage Worlds Space: 1889 book, but didn’t get around to trading with Shane. Always liked the setting but the original rules left a lot to be desired. I would have picked up Blitzkrieg, the first early war book for Flames of War, but it wasn’t out yet. I will be patient until its September release, since I have plenty to keep me busy in the meantime.

Originally published on LiveJournal on August 15, 2010.

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