It’s been over a week since Gen Con 2016 and I’m still recovering a bit from late nights playing games until 1:30AM/2AM.
It was a blast! I went with a group of friends from where I live in Nebraska from the 3rd to the 7th of August. While we were about 10 minutes away from the convention center, our hotel was right next to Highway 65 and we were able to zip in with no trouble.
My big squees were Dropfleet Commander from Hawk Wargames, and the super-pre-alpha of the Battletech game from Harebrained Schemes.
I played in the Dropzone Commander tournament that Friday…and lost miserably. But was fun to play so much DZC at 1500pts.
Friday night of the convention I had the delightful opportunity to play a game of Red Dragon Inn and Dragon Flagon with Craig Gallant and Russ and Nicole Wakelin from The D6 Generation podcast, and their friend Bob. It was an awesome time! And it was great to meet face to face with a stellar podcast team that I’ve been following for over two years now.
Saturday I got the opportunity to demo Penny Arcade’s Thornwatch rpg game from Lone Shark Games. Really interesting system, and very fun! Cannot wait for the Print and Play and/or Kickstarter.
There was a lot of other great stuff, too! Almost too much to mention. Like Weta Workshop’s new mech game, and neat games like Rumble in the Dungeon by Cool Mini Or Not, and the Portal game by Cryptozoic.
And of course there was awesome cosplay. The group that dressed up as Space Wolves were on point!
Like I said, we all had a blast, though we were pretty behind on sleep. And my lifting suffered (Mah gainz!). I cannot wait to go next year!
My plan for next year will be increased game playing. The vendor hall is super cool, but I didn’t play any Battletech (one demo of Alpha Strike). And I was hoping to try out a different RPG. And definitely getting a hotel right next to the hall. This driving thing in Indianapolis is for the birds.
Until next time…
Twas a glorious four days in August of 2014 when my wife, daughter, and brother made the long, arduous trek to Indianapolis, Indiana for Gen Con 2014.
During the best four days in gaming in 2014, my brother and I went “halvsies” on the Dropzone Commander two-player starter box. I was immediately intrigued by the game with its miniatures engineered to fit together. Most of the dropships could actually carry the vehicles they were meant to. Everything fit perfectly. The designers are lifelong geeks, and they were, and still are, dedicated to that level of detail.
The universe itself is incredible. The story of Dropzone Commander begins with D+250 with humanity, under the United Colonies of Man, fighting the vile, parasitic Scourge to take back the fertile cradle worlds, the most important of which is Earth itself. In the midst of the chaos are the Resistance fighters on each world, some friendly to the UCM, some fighting for their own power. The clan-like Shaltari, once friends to humanity, now fight for their own aims. The Post Human Republic, a race of advanced humans, fight the UCM and the Scourge, but to what ends only they know.
The gameplay is awesome. It is fast and common sense, yet still dynamic enough to force the commander (player) to sit and think of their tactics, and overall strategy. I have played 700 point games in an hour and a half, and that is quite a few models on the board. I cannot wait to play larger 1,000 to 2,000 point games.
The group I play with doesn’t know the love and joy of Classic Battletech, but I constantly tell them that Dropzone Commander is what Battletech: Alpha Strike should have been. Not the models or the universe, of course, but the rules and playability. While I’m sure playing enough Alpha Strike will help keep the rules fresh in one’s mind, they are easily forgotten. I hadn’t played a game of Dropzone Commander in a year and a half, and I still remembered 90% of the rules. (It had been a busy year and a half, and all gaming went to the wayside with family, moving homes, our wedding, and work commitments.)
I wonder what would happen if Catalyst Game Labs got license to use the DZC system…
Things that make you go: hmm…
On top of it all, Hawk Wargames, the company that makes DZC, keeps their miniatures relatively cheap. I can get a handful of miniatures for $30-$40. This is great for a family man on a budget. I can slowly but surely build the army I want. It may take a month or two, but it’s not like Warhammer 40K where just one squad, or miniature, can wipe out a man’s gaming budget for the month. In fact, the cost of getting started in DZC is $44 for a starter set, which gives you from 540 to about 600 points, depending on the faction.
Even the books are cheap. I can get the first expansion book, “Reconquest: Phase 1”, for about $20 on Miniature Market. That’s a lot better than the $40-$60 I would drop for Battletech’s latest rulebooks.
Below are some pictures of my most recent game (two weeks ago) between my Scourge and an opponent’s UCM.
Though I lost, my Scourge put up one hell of a fight!
Hawk Wargames recently wrapped up a Kickstarter for their space ship battles game, Dropfleet Commander. The smallest ship carries 100 dropships. That is an insane scale. What’s even better is that Dropfleet Commander and Dropzone Commander will be playable together. Talk about epic scale!
I highly recommend Dropzone Commander to anyone who loves miniature wargames on a large scale.
And if you want a play a game with me, I am usually at the Game Shoppe in Bellevue, Nebraska on Thursday nights.
Until next time…
I don’t normally back Kickstarters. My money tends to go to a specific amount of gaming each paycheck. Like recently, one paycheck went to purchase Saber Heavy Grav Tanks and Razorworms for my Scourge force for Dropzone Commander. Another paycheck went to purchase a Gekko Squadron for my Infinity Nomads. Having a family reduces miniature wargame spend significantly.
So when I do back a Kickstarter it is a special occasion.
To begin, let me ask you a few questions.
Do you like Firefly?
Do you like Wild West Exodus?
Do you like Chibis?
If you answered yes to all (or at least one) of those questions, then Rail Raiders Infinite is for you.
Rail Raiders Infinite is a table top miniature game from Soda Pop Miniatures and Ninja Division where you and your friends play as chibi raiders in a sci-fi western universe and attempt to rob a space train. (Right? Sure.) But beware! Law bots and marshals fill the train and will attempt to stop you. Do you have what it takes?
All salesmanship aside, this game looks like a blast. I am told Soda Pop Miniatures and Ninja Division put out some great games. I love the look and feel of this game. It is very Firefly-esque. And the law bots are something right out of Wild West Exodus. It looks fun and funny and I can’t wait to play it. (Maybe in October 2016? Sure. I’ll believe them…for now. Let’s just hope they’re not like Drake II…)
Even some of the raiders are hilarious. Stretch goal “Canton Cobb” is an ode to Jayne Cobb from Firefly, and “The Typhoon” is Vash the Stampede.
The train itself is a series of tiles. Instead of normal dice, the face of the dice are card faces (10, Jack, King, Queen, and Joker). And there are coins. Coins make every game better, right? Right.
It makes me smile. 🙂
Don’t believe me that this is a great game? (Or looks like a great game!?) Head over to Kickstarter and check it out now!
And give them $50.
Until next time!…
So here it is, my Gen Con 2014 blog post.
…it was meh…
Until next time!
Gen Con was a blast! So much of a blast that I’ve been going to bed super early the last few nights and sleeping 8-9 hours solid.
I wasn’t as bad as some though. I met two guys that had power gamed Warmachine for 22 hours, took a 2-3 hour nap, and then went back into the convention. Talk about gamer dedication! Not sure I could pull that one off.
My first day at the convention was kind of a wash as far as getting to see the booths and play games goes. I DID get to play the Battletech Firestorm game pods. That was a blast!! I had (3x) 2-hour blocks for play testing Ship Strike starting right at 10AM…which was when the Exhibit Hall finally opened. Play testing went great! I met some cool people and got some very constructive feedback on the game.
Then from 8PM-10:20PM I pitched Ship Strike to 22 or so major publishers. What little buying I did do that day was spent mostly at the Catalyst Game Labs booth. That night I crashed hard.
Day 2 my brother (who accompanied me) and I slept in a bit and rolled into the convention late-ish. By late I mean 9:45AM. Our hotel was a good 30min away from the convention, and morning traffic was horrendous (more on Indianapolis traffic later…). But the day was way more productive as far as gaming went. Got in a demo game of Hawk Wargames’ “Dropzone Commander” and picked up the 2-player box set plus the UCM and Scourge command units.
I won the demo game against my brother. Real fast paced, and quick die roll resolutions. For all we had we got a game done in about 20min. It would have been less but our demo guy was doing his job and answering questions as people came up. Our demo guy (I’m really sorry, I don’t remember his name) was very knowledgeable about the game and made it a really enjoyable experience.
I love Dropzone Commander so far. Awesome plastic minis that have great detail. And everything is engineered to fit together. A Scourge dropship can carry 3 tanks or 2 APCs, and the miniatures are designed to do just that. Gameplay is fun too, and I look forward to playing with the command units and cards.
Our next stop was The D6 Generation podcast “Play By Mob”. We had a great hour n a half or so with Craig Gallant, Russ and Nicole Wakelan, and Raef Granger. I can’t wait to listen to the whole podcast when it finally goes live, and I’m excited to go again next year.
Lunch from Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse was pretty good. The fiancé and her daughter stopped in and we all sat on the floor of the convention center and hung out for a bit.
Then it was back into the Exhibit Hall for more games. Got in a game of Robotech RPG Tactics, and spotted the Privateer Press Man-O-War.
From there my brother and I split and I went and hit up the Battletech ‘Mech Grinder for ‘Mechy goodness.
I started with a 3025 Panther…it was tragic. But had a blast!
That night we were tired but still up for some gaming. My brother and I knocked out a quick game of “Encounters! Bravest Warriors” from Catalyst Game Labs. THAT is a fun game. 10-15 min will get 2 players through quickly. The game is a blast and really easy to pick up and learn. I was Catbug! My brother played Jelly Kid and won with 32pts.
We finished putting together our new Dropzone Commander stuff to end our second day.
Day 3 was another fun day. While the Wizkids booth was rediculous, I checked out Dream Pod 9 and got in a demo game of the new Heavy Gear Blitz beta rules…I lost. But had fun. 🙂
I bought the beta rulebook and two G.P. Squads.
I headed over to the Corvus Belli booth to see if I could get in a game of Infinity. No demo game, but they had a gal doing some awesome Pan Oceana cosplay.
Didn’t buy the starter box “Operation: Ice Storm” because I already pre-ordered mine on the Corvus Belli website.
Looked around a little more, bought the “Encounters! Bravest Warriors” blue deck box, played some more Battletech ‘Mech Grinder, tried out Shadowrun 5th edition (sorry I’m not a pencil-and-paper rpg player), and then called it a day. I was wiped out and ready for bed.
All in all a great three days. Driving there was a little redonculous. 9 hours from where I live to Indy.
What will I change next year?
First, get a hotel near the convention. That 30-40min drive was stupid, not to mention people in Indianapolis have no idea what proper driving is. I don’t think anyone there had heard of a blinker…that and when I got tired I had to go sit somewhere. It would have been nice to just walk back to the hotel and be able to grab a nap in the middle of the day.
Second, I will not playtest in the First Exposure Playtest Hall. It was a great experience and I met some really cool people. But it was draining and I missed out on a lot of gaming. Thinkin I’ll save my pennies and play test here in my home city for the price of 1-2 Little Ceaser’s Hot n Ready pizzas.
To anyone who hasn’t been I would definitely recommend going to Gen Con. Games from casual board games to miniature wargames are available and the people, cosplay, food, and beer is awesome!
So Gen Con is just around the corner and like most people I am stoked. Weather.com shows that the weather will be mostly sunny with temps in the upper 70s/lower 80s the whole time the convention is going on. It’s going to be an awesome four days of gaming, First Exposure Playtest Hall, and Designer & Publisher Speed Dating.
What I’m Excited To See
There’s going to be a ton to see at Gen Con, and I’m sure more than there is to see in just 4 days. Note that this is my very first Gen Con. But consulting the Gen Con Exhibit Hall map and checking on other events that are available, I’ve already got a lot I want to see:
– Catalyst Game Labs: I will be haunting them. 🙂 No this is not creepy. (This is creepy.) But I cannot wait to meet their team and see all the cool stuff they have coming out. Shadowrun: Crossfire looks fun and I’d love to see/play a demo game. And of course Battletech. Duh. When in doubt, Battletech.
– Iron Wind Metals: Co-located with Catalyst Game Labs. They will probably be taking the second half of my monies.
– Corvus Belli: I’ve already pre-ordered my copy of Infinity Operation: Icestorm. But I’d love to see the other goodues they have.
– Privateer Press: ’nuff said. But rather than looking forward to just the stuff they have at the convention, I’m also heading over to The Ram for the tapping ceremony of the Everblight Ale!
– Table Forged: These guys are cool, and have a great game called Iron And Ale where you drink beer and beat the crap out of your friends. Oh there are cards to do fantasy stuff, too. 😛 But they threw down an arm wrestling challenge, and I answered it!
– Hawk Wargames: Dropzone Commander looks like an amazing game and I cannot wait to play it. I’ll be stopping by to see what they have, and maybe try my hand at a game or two.
– Mantic: Love the games these guys are putting out. Huge Deadzone fan, and already pledged for their Dwarf King’s Quest Kickstarter.
– Fantasy Flight Games: These guys are game making machines. Love their Star Wars game and may pick up a pack or two.
– Gale Force Nine: Everything I’ve heard about Firefly the Game is great! And being an ardent browncoat I wanna try my hand at it.
– Welovefine.com: Because I need a Catbug T-shirt.
– The D6 Generation: Recently started listening to their podcast and I am a huge fan already. Who knew there were people who talked about all the cool stuff I love? Gonna try to squeeze into their recording Friday with the other mob of people trying to get in. But would just like to meet ’em in general.
– The Cardboard Republic: Another great site and podcast that I instantly got addicted to, and would like to meet their team if I get a chance.
These are just a few of the companies I’m looking forward to seeing. The list is long and I have only a rough plan on how I will navigate…perhaps even astrogate this convention.
May have to break out those Delta-V calculations…
First Exposure Playtest Hall
If you haven’t already heard/read, my game Ship Strike will be debuted in the First Exposure Playtest Hall, located in ICC 107-110. If you’re there stop by and get a game in!
Schedule is as follows:
Thursday, Aug. 14: 10AM-12PM, 1PM-3PM, 5PM-7PM
Friday, Aug. 15: 3PM-5PM
I will be running two games at once, so four people can get in per time slot.
Work on Ship Strike has come along great. I’ve gotten some awesome feedback from playtests from friends, family, and the gaming group I belong to.
Probably one of the smartest thing I did was laminate the stat cards. It’s a lot of mind numbing work, but the endstate of what this is, and what it could become, drives me onward!
And So It Begins…
The final countdown to Gen Con has begun! I look forward to meeting a lot of fellow gamers and have a blast!