Gen Con 2012

Another Gen Con is behind us. Conventions like Gen Con are a paradox: when you’re working the convention, 5 days (4 days of convention + set up) is too long, but at the same time, it’s too short to do everything you want to do and see everyone you want to see. Since I have duties as Submissions Coordinator of the ENnie Awards, I have too little time to game at Gen Con. I played exactly three games while I was there (four if you count a demo): Pathfinder, Bulldogs!, and Project Ninja Panda Taco.

Pathfinder: I ran a Ptolus/Pathfinder game for some friends Wednesday evening. The PCs were reformed monsters from the Brotherhood of Redemption. There was a budding romance between the minotaur gunslinger/rogue and the troll fighter; my wife was a good sport to go along with the silly banter. It was interesting that they chose to bypass the Bluesteel door by chopping THROUGH the adjacent wall with an adamantine greatsword.

Bulldogs! Sci-Fi That Kicks-Ass: My wife and my first FATE game. I already loved what I read about the game and really enjoyed the system. My wife thought it was awesome and wants to play FATE (particularly Bulldogs!) again. Yeah, I’m down with that.

Project Ninja Panda Taco: You may remember this from the Kickstarter. We played with the creator of the game, Jennifer Steen (of Jennisodes). It’s sort of a hybrid improv/RPG. It was a lot of fun; another game my wife judges as “Awesome.” Actually, I think she may have said “Totally Awesome.” My Mastermind, Otto von Schnitzelpusskrankengescheitmeir was horribly ineffective and by the end of the game, he completed 0 projects. His minion, Larry the Loitering Lisper, however advanced to Mastermind status by the end of the game. I look forward to playing it more when I get my copy from the Kickstarter.

I also demoed a game of Edition Wars with the good folks from Gamer Nation Studios. It’s a card game that reminds me a bit of the good parts of Chez Geek, but with simpler mechanics. It was a lot of fun. I bought a copy at the con, but now I wish I’d supported their Kickstarter when I had the chance.

I bought way too much stuff. The games I’m most excited to play are Deadlands: Reloaded and Call of Cthulhu (I’m a late bloomer). I also picked up the Beta of Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, the new Star Wars RPG by Fantasy Flight Games. Despite my misgivings about the custom dice, (at least the Beta has stickers you can apply to create the dice yourself) I’m finding myself liking what I’m reading about the mechanics. I hate required fiddly bits and custom dice in RPGs, probably because I have SO many dice already, not being able to use them for a game is a barrier to entry for me. Of course, there is a conversion chart for regular polyhedrals, but that’s a pain in the butt.

The production values are really good. I was thrilled to see actual ARTWORK in this book, rather than having it crammed full of movie stills. It’s already my favorite visual presentation of a Star Wars RPG since WEGs 2nd edition (not the Expanded & Revised; I think they overdid the “Look! We can print in color now!”). For some reason, having original art in a Star Wars RPG book inspires me more than movie stills. Probably because it gets me thinking about how I can use the world instead of how it was presented to me (there’s a lesson there for people making licensed games).

The class & talent tree system reminds me a bit of The Old Republic MMO, but only so far as they have classes & talent trees. They’re not really implemented the same way. It uses a dice pool mechanic. I have no idea how it compares to WFRP, but I’ve heard it similar. It actually looks pretty easy once you get used to the symbols on the dice (and a small cheat sheet will help with that).

Edge of the Empire offers a smattering of species: bothan, droid, gand, human, rodian, trandoshan, twi’lek, and wookiee. I would have preferred mon calamari to gand, though, but it’s still a nice mix. I guess I’ll have to run a few sessions of it and see how things work.

The ENnie Awards ceremony went very well. The venue was the Grand Hall at Union Station and featured cathedral ceilings and stained glass. As Monte Cook said, we “leveled up” (the first ENnie Awards ceremony was held in an internet chatroom). You can see the complete list of winners here. Carlos, the official ENnie Awards photographer put pictures of the ceremony up on his Flikr account.

I’m still working on the Doctor Who post. I thought I would finish it up after I set up the booth Wednesday night or before I got started on Thursday. We all see how that worked out. The next Doctor StrangeRoll game will take place on Friday, August 31st, wherein the PCs will begin exploring the tomb of Pharaoh Amun-Re.

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