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…
Before last Wednesday (February 17th) I had never played a Tabletop RPG.
I had played plenty of video game RPGs. The Final Fantasy series. Skyrim. Balder’s Gate. World of Warcraft. Warhammer Online. Just to name a few.
And of course I’m a tabletop game player. Battletech, Warmachine, and Infinity are just some of my favorites. I’ve played Star Trek: Attack Wing, and the Star Wars fighter game. And I love board games like Takenoko.
But tabletop RPGs never attracted my attention. Maybe some of this was the stigma of the people who played tabletop RPGs – then again that same stigma is attached (or at least used to be) those who play miniature war-games. For whatever reason I was just never interested in getting into tabletop RPGs.
That changed recently – and by recently I mean GenCon 2014. I decided I’d try to get RPG’ing a shot and went to a Shadowrun character creation seminar at GenCon ’14. It was interesting but I really should have gone to a RPG session seminar. While waiting to start the seminar I was talking to three guys that had just wrapped up playing some D&D 5th edition. At that time 5th edition was relatively new and they were ecstatic about it. On top of that, they broke the tabletop-RPG’er-mold. They looked like normal bros doing bro stuff. And if they were down for D&D, then I could be down, too.
Fast forward a little over 18 months later and my gaming group has been disbanded for a while. I was being a bad member myself and, though I paid my dues, I was not attending with any regularity. Other members were going regularly – but not paying dues. And overall the group had shrunk and money in the war chest wasn’t matching rent for the store front. The gaming group closed, and I was left flapping in the wind, tabletop game-wise.
Within the last two weeks I had begun to adamantly look for a new gaming venue. I need tabletop gaming like some people need to watch their favorite shows weekly. It’s both an escape, and a mental exercise that keeps my mentally sharp. Previewing the events at the local game shop (called The Game Shoppe) here in Bellevue, NE I saw there were D&D demo games every Wednesday. After about a year and a half, I was ready to try a tabletop RPG.
My wife lovingly gave me a lot of crap for it. 🙂
And so, February the 17th I ventured into the cold Nebraskan night to try Dungeons and Dragons.
Overall it was fun. I created a human barbarian named Lothar (of the Hill People) and played with two other people who had low-level characters. Our DM was asked by his group at the last minute to be the DM for the newer, lower level players, and so he was unprepared and had trouble reading the quest notes on the tablet he was using. But we killed some wild dogs and saved a tiefling adolescent, and killed some red-furred goats. I got 100XP out of the whole ordeal. The other players seemed like good guys and we quested decently together.
The group was very inviting and helpful. They offered assistance and resources (like miniatures and pencils) freely and made sure I generally felt welcomed.
I plan to go back this coming Wednesday in order to get more experience. Hopefully things are a little more organized and our DM a little more prepared, or at least ready to DM on the fly. If not, I can watch the group play and see how they play.
Next I may get into Battletech: A Time of War RPG. Who knows?
And if you’re in the Bellevue, NE area and want to game let me know!
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!
Finally everything is set for Gen Con 2014! Ship Strike will be available at the First Exposure Playtest Hall, and I have the days and times right here:
Thursday, August 14th
Friday, August 15th
If you’re going to Gen Con 2014, stop by the First Exposure Playtest Hall at any of these times and get in a rousing game of Ship Strike! I’d love to meet everyone and see what you think about the game.
So I’ve made some decent progress on getting Ship Strike ready:
Progress seems slow. But I have to remember I’m the only one working on this.
That said, using foam core instead of cardboard has been a great improvement over the cardboard I was trying to scrap from boxes and packages we had lying around the house. Though not pristine, edges are cleaner. I printed the tiles onto cardstock instead of using graph paper, making the tiles themselves look cleaner.
So where do I go from here? First I will finish cutting the foam core and gluing on squares. I actually have doors and stuff so I need to make those, too. Then comes the really hard part: making cut-outs of the dudes (read: miniatures).
Dudes are important for this game.
They are sorta the focus.
Hard to play a miniature wargame without your dudes/dudettes. (Disclaimer: Ship Strike is an Equal Opportunity game)
I’ve considered purchasing and painting up some cheap minis from somewhere, but I’m not sure where to look and I’d hate to pitch this to a big company and have them look down on, or even reject, my game because I’m using someone else’s – perhaps even a competitor’s – models. I’m not sure what route to go there. If anyone with real industry knowledge/experience has input on that I would greatly appreciate it.
And then more playtesting. While I’ve firmed up the rules for the most part, and the troops for each faction are pretty tight, there is always room for improvement. And you never know when something will come up where you and your playtesters will go,”What the deuce?!”
I have also decided to post the rules on the http://www.boardgamegeek.com forums.
Many people worry about piracy and having their idea stolen, and I had this worry, too. But Adam Ferrel, creator of the game Havok and Hijinks, made an excellent point on The Cardboard Republic podcast when he was asked about it. First, Adam stated that he didn’t believe piracy really existed. If someone snagged and played his game for free, oh well. But he made a much more important observation. He stated there are three types of gamers.
First, those who would never buy the game. They would print off his rules and cards and play for free forever. And he doesn’t care. He’s just happy someone is enjoying his game.
Which leads to the second category of gamer, those who will first play it for free, and then go out and purchase it. Whether they download and print everything themselves, or are introduced to the game by a will-never-buy-friend, this individual will, theoretically, become a customer.
And finally there is the gamer that will always buy the game to support the creator and to get all the cool stuff you don’t get when you print and play.
In Adam Ferrel’s mind, all three types of gamers are good for his game. Word of mouth and PnP gaming sessions will spread news of his game and increase its popularity.
I’m inclined to agree with Adam Ferrel.
The Ship Strike rules will be posted in the next day or so after I give them a once over and ensure the majority of spelling errors are corrected, and that any changes to rules/stats are updated in the official documents and not just my notes.
It’s all coming along, and I’m getting really excited about it! Playtests this weekend. I will update with pictures and results.