For those of you that haven’t been to GenCon or haven’t been in a while it’s a truly awesome experience. We spent the vast amount of our time in the trade hall. One cavernous room filled with all the manufacturers, sellers and purveyors of gifts. This room, though massive, is so packed with display cases, demo games, staff and consumers that it would often take us 10-15 minutes to wind our way from one meeting to the next. The above photos I took standing in one spot waiting for Lance to catch up. I just rotated 90 degrees between shots. Also understand that this is just 1 room of the overall convention. Probably no more than 1/6 of the footprint in the convention center without taking into consideration the rest of the hotel spaces etc. GenCon LLC said that this year was the largest ever for preregistrations and exhibitor booths. I can believe it. It won’t surprise me if they also announce it has the largest overall attendance once all the numbers are crunched.
But you’re not here to read how big the show was, you’re here to read about what goodies we uncovered, so let’s push on!
Several manufacturers had life sized versions of their games to demo with. Calliope Games had a fun, human sized version of Tsuro where you got to walk around the board rather than move your piece. In The Duke from Catalyst Game Labs Players got to move huge chits around a life sized board.
The Duke is a current game but one I’d not tried so here we were trying a life sized, in your face game for the first time. I w3ant to make mention at this point that for most of the games Lance and i took to demos together. With a mounting number of victories under his belt I resorted to the tactic of informing all our opponents “I don’t care if you guys win just help me ensure HE…” I pointed to Lance “Doesn’t win again”. How’d that work for me? Lance went on to win that game too.
Next to Next…
I think all my D&D campaigns have had Drow in them at some point. Be it back in the 1st Edition days or with the latest 4th Edition, Drow have always seem to be plotting against us or I use them to great effect in a campaign I run. Therefore no surprise I found a Drider fronting the D&D Next play area. I dropped by to catch up with my old volunteers and crew from Wizards of the Coast and Baldman Events. Sadly the footprint was extremely small. Dwarfed by the number of games going on in the Sagamore Ballroom for Piazo’s Pathfinder Society. I have to think this is because D&D no longer has a robust Organized Play Campaign game. Players get introduced and excited by playing D&D Encounters. They then want to play more and only have Pathfinder to be pointed at for an official campaign. Something I hope Wizards will address for the launch of Next. Talking of Next they were all closed lips about a possible launch date, so we all get to predict more on when that will be though they did announce they had just sent out the last round of Beta testing packets. From that move you have to assume that a final product will be soon after the end of the Beta reporting period.
Cute enters the Arena
Now I’m a traditional gamer when it comes to minis. I like them to be well proportioned and highly detailed. More Mantic than Warhammer. The over sized armor and weapons akin to World of Warcraft has me often passing on a line than getting excited. So why was I attracted to Krosmaster Arena? I simply can’t answer that. Colorful large sized character pieces that are more models than miniatures, made me think I was playing a manual version of Zelda I guess. Terrain is simplistic but functional, totally in keeping with the game.
A turn based strategy game for 2-4 players. Each side uses a small band of “warriors”, characters from the DOFUS and WAKFU universe, vying for victory over your opponents using bonuses that feel like powerups. I actually liked this and can see myself playing this with my daughter for years to come.
Ponies for Bronies
EnterPlay has got together with Hasbro in making a CCG for My Little Pony. Now before you stop reading that this game might be for the younger player you’d be wrong. They had 60 seats for their tournament each day and each day it was full. Not with children or your girls but Bronies. As you can see from these two photos I took on Saturday this was pretty much full of older male Bronies and they had a great time.
EnterPlay had two sample decks at the show and each competitor played one and their opposition the other. Cards weren’t final and they were keen to stress that many things could and would change from the show cards to release. This was essentially a stress test on the core mechanic as well as a great marketing opportunity. If I was a betting man I’d have a sizable chunk of change on this product being a hit as another note was that UltraPRO had My Little Pony playmats for sale and sold out by day 2 of GenCon!
Watch for this product around December 2013.
Tomorrow we’ll wrap up our GenCon coverage before moving on the review games we are stocking.