Wednesday, August 11, 2010

GenCon 2010: The last two days

You might be wondering what happened to my blog posts about GenCon. Turns out, I got busy on Saturday and didn't have a chance to post anything more from the con.

Saturday morning I spent some time in the booth, then it was off to run a game of Godlike. The game was "Sinking the Lutzow", and it was my first time running it. It worked pretty well. Ironically, I thought it was going to be the stronger of the two Godlike games, as it had way more potential for roleplaying, what with lots of French contacts, Berber encounters, and Nazis. In actual play, the players were more interested in getting to the the shooting bits. It was fun, but not quite as intense as I had expected.

Afterward, I ate supper at Steak 'N Shake and then it was back to running a game. This time it was the second running of "Repo Men" for Wild Talents. I had two players show up with tickets and two with generics, even though the game was sold out. Ah, Saturday night, you temptress. One of the guys with generics wandered off to get something to eat, and was never seen again. (Dude, you could have just told us you got distracted, so we wouldn't wait for you!)

I recognized two of the players. They were a father and son. I ran a game of This Favored Land for them in 2008. It was the first time that the father had ever played a roleplaying game. They bought my book and now they were in my Repo-Men game. The game started a little slowly, but once it picked up it really picked up. There was plenty of mayhem and insanity. The three players figured out the central mystery, but it took until near the end. There was much cheering and everyone enjoyed themselves, which was the best praise a GM can receive.

I made my way back to the hotel, talking to Alana. While there, I got a call. The rest of the Arc Dream Team was at the Embassy Suites about to play Fiasco. I'll write more about Fiasco later (it's a story telling game). It was about 4 hours of intense insanity and enjoyment. We got to sleep around 3 am.

Next morning, I spent more time at the booth, and picked up a die for Alana to replace the d8 she bought last year mistakenly (it got mixed in with the d10s she bought). Then, off to my final game. This was "Sinking the Lutzow". The group was a bit smaller, 4 players instead of the previous 6. But it played very well, with two players having played Godlike before and two as newcomers. They sunk the ship, stopped the Nazis, and escaped Casablanca following a short E-boat chase. Good times.

Back in the dealer's room, I tried to buy Fiasco, only to find it had sold out largely due to a positive tweet by Wil Wheaton. Then, the show as over. We started packing up the booth, and then Kevin and I were shooed out as we only had GM, not exhibitor, badges.

I crashed briefly at the hotel, then we went off to dinner. The Alcatraz (San Fran themed restaurant) was hideously slow. The food wasn't bad and the company was wonderful.

Several of us helped finish packing the rental truck with pallets of product. We retired to our room for an hour or so of yapping, then it was off to bed.

Monday morning we were up early (5:30 Eastern) for the trip home. I dropped Ben Baugh (of Monsters and Other Childish Things and Kerberos Club fame) off at the airport and then I drove back home, listening to the rest of Use of Weapons on audiobook and singing to The Tragically Hip.

All told, a very good, fun convention. But I'm glad I'm home, so that I can get some sleep!

Here's the stuff I got at the con, which is a bit less than previous years as we were on a budget:

  • Setters of America: Trails to Rails board game.
  • a box of 15mm Black Devils Brigade figures
  • Death Angel, a Space Hulk card game
  • Psi Duel. This is a two player card game by a small company who was stuck in the worst part of the dealer's room. It was inexpensive and it's apparently a good little game.
  • Progenitor for Wild Talents
  • eCollapse for Wild Talents
  • Kerberos Club for Savage Worlds
  • a Monsters and Other Childish Things t-shirt
  • Delta Green: Targets of Opportunity (I had pre-ordered this)
  • Bigger Bads for Monsters and Other Childish Things (I had also pre-ordered this)

Friday, August 06, 2010

GenCon 2010: One of the best adventures ever

I had a blast playing Wild Talents today and Godlike yesterday. But today's game of the Sessano scene from The Black Devils Brigade was the best convention game I'd ever played. The group just clicked, they had some horrible misadventures due to bad dice rolls, they did some awesome stuff, and within the last half hour of the game they lost 3 characters to enemy action (one had their head knocked off, one had their head blow away with 20mm shells, and the third was shot through the forehead). But everyone had a blast, and in the end they killed all the German ubermenschen.

I played my "Repo Men" game for Wild Talents earlier. It was a lot of fun, too. They did some awesome stuff, and managed to bankrupt a major super villain while not destroying the city of New Orleans. I run that one again tomorrow night.

Other than that, not a lot that I could get into. I had only about 30 minutes in the dealer's room today. I bought the new Settlers of America: Trails to Rails board game. I also found 15mm scale First Special Service Force miniatures, which I'd only been looking for for about a decade!

The convention centre is buzzing right now (where I'm typing this), but it's hard to get into anything. I cruised through the board game section. All the games were full up and in progress, and no one was looking for an extra player. If I had some other people around I'd maybe pull out the new Settlers game and give it a try. It's a little frustrating being around all this action but not being able to get involved.

It's after midnight now, so I think I'll head back to the room and see if I can get up a bit early. I was so exhausted from yesterday that I slept in until 8:45 today. Yikes! That's no way to go to a convention!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

GenCon 2010 - One down, five to go

I ran the first of my 6 games today. This was from the upcoming The Black Devils Brigade book. The players took on the Germans in the Italian town of Sessano. Though they almost lost a character due to a nasty German superman, they all survived intact. I believe the entire group (7 of them, which is 2 more than the stated capacity for the game) were all friends. It was a little different running the game for a large group who all knew each other, but it was a lot of fun.

And now I'm beat! Time to go to bed.

GenCon 2010 - That was a little weird...

...and by weird, I mean watching someone else run a roleplaying game that you wrote. Kevin Pezzano ran the first part of my Black Devils Brigade book. He did a really good job, but it's kind of weird seeing someone else run "your" game. The players appeared to enjoy it, even if it did devolve into Inglorious Basterds at one point (perhaps even because of it).

I made it through the dealer's room for a first pass. I stood in line for 15 minutes at Fantasy Flight to buy Death Angels, the Space Hulk card game. That was way down from earlier today when there was a big rush to buy some of their new games.

Other than that, I picked up some dice for Dustin. There are a few things I'm curious about. I'm debating picking up the new Settlers of Catan game; it looks good, but it's a little pricey.

Anyway, I'm done eating (Steak 'n Shake has free wifi). Now it's off to grab my stuff for my evening game.

GenCon 2010 - Free stuff

Made my lunch after showering this morning. This is something new I'm trying: packing a lunch each day at GenCon.

After that, I traipsed down to the convention centre. There is a massive throng waiting to get into the dealer's room already (and it doesn't open for another 20 minutes).

I'm sitting in a lounge area. They did not lie, they have free wifi! Woohoo (again). I don't have an exhibitor's badge this year, so I have to wait in line like the other peons. While I wait, let's look at this year's free swag.

Well, you can certainly tell there has been an economic downturn. Not much of any worth in the GenCon bag.

There's a free 6-sided die by Crystal Caste. They make a commemorative dice set each year. I bought one 2 years ago. Didn't get the set last year, as I didn't care much for it. This year's is okay, so I'm on the fence on it. (They do this deliberately, of course: one free die to coax you into buying the entire set.)

Mayfair have a free little draw string bag advertising Settlers of America, part of their Settlers of Catan line. I plan to get this, as we are big Settlers fans. I'm hoping the little bag is actually useful for the game.

Other freebies include a card for the Universal Fighting System CCG and a Dungeons and Dragons comic.

That's it for free stuff in the bag. The rest is an oversized Magic, The Gathering card (not sure the use in that, except that it is apparently a "plane" card, and so it might actually be of use in the game). There is a bunch of advertising that's going to get trashed forthwith. And, there's a coupon book.

The coupon book isn't bad. There are a couple of really cheap or actually free things in there, but you have to swing by a specific booth to get it. For instance, Paizo is handing out Pathfinder buttons. They are free, but you have to get them from the booth. That's a smart idea.

Some of the other coupons look useful, most aren't. A couple of standouts:
  • An ad for free downloads from
  • A free set of 10 train tokens from a company that sells Eurogame card sleeves. This might be for Ticket to Ride, so I'll swing by there.
  • 20% off a Settlers of Catan "gaming surface and storage case". Looks interesting; probably expensive.
  • A starter set of The Spoils CCG for $5. I think they had the same deal last year, but I missed it. Might look at that.
  • Ah, good ol' Troll and Toad. They are an online game store that has a lot of old games. They also charge collector's prices on said games. ($110 for Glory I from GMT? I don't think so.) If you spend $20 there, they will give you a free game worth $30 from a specific list. One of the games they list is Vapor's Gambit, a hoverboard (like a flying skateboard) race game. They were selling these for $15 last year... then $10... then $5... and then at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday they started giving them away for free. I have a copy (unplayed) from last year. Now it's a "prize" worth "$30". *L*
Now it's 4 minutes until the dealer's room opens. Time to post this, grab a convention guide book, and head inside.

Ciao for now...

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

GenCon 2010

I'm at GenCon!

Once again I'm in the Westin – hope the elevators work okay this time. Once again, they want to charge you $10 for wireless internet in the room. The Red Roof Inn in West Monroe charges $49.95 a night with free wifi. The Westin charges $150 a night (fortunately, since I'm sharing with a bunch of other Arc Dream guys I'm here for free), doesn't have rollaway beds (I brought my inflatable) and still wants to charge you for wifi in the room. I think there's free wifi downstairs. I may get to use that. There is supposed to be free wifi in the convention hall itself.

The trip was long, 12 hours long to be precise. I made good time up until the traffic jam in Illinois and the bad weather in Indiana. The police are thick on the ground in Illinois. I saw more police in Illinois than all other states combined. This is staggering as there were four police cars in Louisiana as I left, Mississippi is usually pretty bad for them, and Memphis police are notorious for pulling over vehicles for minor infractions.

I noticed that the parking has gotten incredibly pricey in Indianapolis. I went to an Indy web site before coming here to find cheap parking. There were a few lots listed, but the prices are out of date. It looks like a bunch of them recently bumped the price up to $20 a day. I'm not parked at the hotel, as they want $22 a day. Sounds cheap, but I'm going to save between $8 and $10 parking in another lot, the same lot that 2 years ago charged $12 a day. *sigh*

Otherwise, it was a good trip. I listened to Iain Banks' Use of Weapons on audiobook. I'm about 2/3 done.

Ben Baugh and James Knevitt are running a game of Monsters and Other Childish Things tonight as part of a prize for some folks who bid extra money on one of Arc Dreams' ransoms. John Marron and I are chilling in the room.

Tomorrow, I have the whole day free until 6 pm, when I run my first game (an adventure from my upcoming The Black Devils Brigade campaign book). I'll see what I can get into, do some face time at the booth, and probably cruise the dealer's room. Need to get some sleep, soon.