I finally got back from GenCon last night at 9 pm. It was a successful and fun show and as is usually the case it helped recharge my creative batteries. It’s really nice to spend the week with other passionate game enthusiasts and see the cool stuff going on in all aspects of the hobby. The focus of my con was, of course, the Green Ronin booth and I spent most of each day there pimping our wares and talking to people about Dragon Age. We did a DA promo flier for the show and there was a lot of interest in the game, which made me happy. I don’t have the time or energy for a day by day breakdown but here are the things that stand out in my mind.
Ice and Fire: This is the first GenCon since the release of A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying and it was great to see the depth of interest in the game. We sold out of core books and the new adventure Peril at King’s Landing by noon Sunday. Jim Kiley ran demos at our booth three of the four days and all slots filled up easily. And it won two ENnie Awards. The game has got legs and once we get the Campaign Guide out it’ll really be cooking.
Girl Scouts Gone Wild: GenCon did a program with the Girl Scouts this year. I donated five copies of Faery’s Tale Deluxe for GMs and an adventure. The demos went over so well that many of the girls and their families came to our booth and bought us out of the game. I love the idea of Girl Scouts learning to roleplay at GenCon. Thanks to Faith Felice for organizing this very cool program.
Punking the Punk: After our post-ENnies dinner, I ended up at this horrible dance club with Nicole and Paul Tevis. There was a party for the Brave New World movie there and Nicole wanted to drop by and congratulate Matt Forbeck. You could hear the music a block away and inside you had to yell to talk to anyone. We found Matt and the last holdouts of the party in a small room off to the side. After a couple of minutes, Nicole went out to the main room and the others followed. This left Tevis and I alone in the room. It didn’t take long for other patrons at the club to discover it. As Paul and I tried to have a discussion about wargames, the room filled up with dancing drunks taking pictures of each other. Imagine trying to talk about PanzerBlitz and For the People over thumping house music as club kids gyrated all around. Then they started taking pictures of us and still our friends were nowhere to be found. Finally, I yelled, “Are we being punked?” We were not but we didn’t stay too long either.
Sympathy for Monte: Fantasy Flight announced Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Third Edition at the show. I, of course, designed Second Edition so this was of some interest to me. To be clear all I know about it is what was said at GenCon. I heard rumors it was in development but no one from FFG ever contacted me about it. It’s taking an interesting approach, but my gut reaction is that they should have called it something else. There have been many, many games using the Warhammer IP. If they had called it Warhammer Uberquest or something, I doubt anyone would have cared. Calling it WFRP 3E invites comparisons to the previous editions, however, and seems bound to create the same sorts of tensions that are tearing up the D&D fanbase right now.
Grub Quest: Indianapolis loves its chain restaurants, which is bad news for people who want to eat good food. I made an effort to find some decent places to eat this year, though lunches still ended up being Chick Fil A more often than not. Finds included Café Patachou, which was a good spot for breakfast; TaTa Cuban Café; and Maxine’s Chicken and Waffles, a great soul food restaurant whose only downside is its distance from the convention center. We did our end of con GR meal at Barcelona Tapas, which was also quite good. Weirdly enough, the only disappointment in the meal was the sangria, which tasted like it was missing an ingredient or two. Their tres leches cake, which I dubbed by 20th GenCon cake, was awesome though.
A Night with Dr. Evil: Rob Schwalb ran a D&D game Thursday night in which I played my minotaur barbarian. Eight players plus a bottle of brandy made it a raucous affair. We all had a good time, though I think Rob regretted running for level 21 characters. He says I’m on the hook for next year, so maybe I’ll run Dragon Age. Hal and Adam AKA “Tennessee Hal” need to sit apart though.
Stuff and Things: It wouldn’t be GenCon without bringing home some swag, though this may be the first time I didn’t bring home even one miniature. I bought Kate a Dr. Who graphic novel and myself Chronica Feudalis, which was a pretty easy sell to me considering my history with Ars Magica. I finally got Trail of Cthulhu, as well as Shadows Over Filmland and Mutant City Blues from Pelgrane. I did a trade with Richard Iorio of Rogue Games for Colonial Gothic, Thousand Suns, and their various supplements. I got the boardgame Ubongo from Z-Man Games, which looks right up Nicole’s alley. Andrew Hackard of SJG also dropped by copies of their boardgame Revolution and the card game The Stars Are Right. I played the latter with Evan Monday night and it was fun. Lastly, I picked up the second edition of Reaper’s Warlord miniatures game. I set up a trade for Starblazer Adventures and then forgot to go to the Cubicle 7 booth to make it happen. D’oh!
A Small Thank You: It’s always hard to know how much stock to bring to the show. You don’t want to run out of a title early but neither do you want to pay to ship a lot of stuff back. On Sunday a couple of the big consolidators came buy, asking if we wanted to sell our overstock to them. I could have taken the princely sum of 5 cents on the dollar but instead Steve Kenson and I carried four boxes of books to the GenCon office. These books were given away to the many volunteers who staff the convention. I figured they deserved our thanks for making the show run so smoothly.