Gen Con 2012: Friday

Reported by Robert Posada

Dealer Room Run Redux

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I had to rest, so today's report starts with my trip to the dealers' room around 10am. I decide to look at the coupon book.

Unless I missed something, it seems the coupon book replaces the swag bag we used to get upon getting our badge. It makes sense: no need for bag stuffing costs, no unwanted swag that would be left behind making trash after costing the game company money for nothing. One drawback was that almost all coupon items were limited. Some vendors guaranteed a certain quantity available each day, while others had it all run out Thursday. Either way, it means early arrivers get the swag. Is this good? I do not know. It seems to draw folks to the booths, which is the intent. How does it translate into interest and sales? That remains to be seen.

Cardhalla

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First reported on ten years ago in this magazine, it's back with a vengeance this year.

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The project's sheer scale is astonishing...

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...as is the dedication of the builders.

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Battlestations

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How Much For Your Planet? is new for the show.

As I roam the dealers' room, I run into Jeff Siadek of Gorilla Games. I was a playtester for his game Battlestations years ago.

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Jeff is running a sold-out scenario in open gaming using the Battlestations Huge board. A crowd has gathered and some hopefuls are waiting to see if they can get in the game. With so many, he's decided to expand the game to two Size 7 ships. No player versus player, though -- one ship is the newbies piloting the Narwhal. The seasoned players are on the ship Too Many Missiles.

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How seasoned? One of the players, Cristina Grazia, brought her Rank 12 Pilot. Jeff had never seen anyone above Rank 9.

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Both teams gather for the mission briefing. They are to head for a temporal quasar and gather 60 units of data each.

Exactly 60. If they go over, they must ungather data in the same manner as it was gathered. They must also warp out simultaneously. After the briefing the teams took their credits and did some shopping before warping to the quasar.
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(Jeff makes me an NPC for the mission.)

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The quasar affects time in odd ways. One such way is that hostile size 8 non-Euclidian blobs appear aboard the ships -- one per player rank -- angry at the invasion. The experienced team, of course, has more to deal with.

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Complicating things, each turn is a time jump, so the starting phase is determined randomly. Eventually the veterans abandon their heavily damaged ship, after spending at least 20 luck points to change phase, with only a single 1 ever rolled. (Phase 1 is important because it's the only time for powering up the engines.)

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Meanwhile the newbies are able to defeat all their invaders. Unfortunately, even though the veterans make it to the Narwhal for rescue, hull damage and hits from the space monsters eventually take their toll. The ship explodes, killing all players. But this is Battlestations, so the characters get double Prestige points for dying valiantly and their clones get to continue the good fight.

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Contrast between the six-inch-tall custom Battlestations Huge figures and standard 15mm casting from the company's miniatures line.

World Conquerors

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Another Gorilla Games entry (disclaimer: I participated in the Kickstarter project and I am a friend of Jeff's). I play with two other gamers who also have never played before. The game is easy enough to pick up without reading the rules after Jeff explains them to us. We have to ask him a few questions from time to time but otherwise the mechanics are understandable.

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The four turn limit makes for a fast game. I think this can be a transition design for non-gamers who want a deeper experience. History buffs will get a kick out of comparing how, say, George Washington would have fared against Julius Caesar.

Wandering Photographer

After I bid Jeff farewell, I head out to take more photos.
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The show seems more crowded than previous years. It could just be when I go out in the hallways.

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Here's a game called Wooden Wars. Yes, those are wooden alphabet blocks the soldiers are maneuvering around. The design seems to be home brewed -- even the judges did not know the name of the game.

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This is the sort of thing you only see at conventions...

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...a 25mm recreation of the reactor room scene from the Aliens boardgame published by Leading Edge two decades ago.

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The balloon dragon is finally complete and looks great.

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Pathfinder Society, a group that has successfully challenged the RPGA in organized role-playing, has a strong presence at Gen Con.

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It seems the Harley folks followed us to Indianapolis. During the Milwaukee days, the Harley Davidson motorcycle rally was often scheduled the same weekend as Gen Con. As I try to go to DJ Marcelo's show at Tiki Bob's, I notice first the loud noise from the hundreds of motorcycles, then the armed and armored police officers everywhere patrolling in teams of four, making sure order is maintained.

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Alas, I can't get into Marcelo's show as I walked over straight from the convention and the bouncers won't allow my backpack in. Since my room's about a mile the other way, I'm not in the mood to drop off my gear and come back. So off I go to catch some Anime at the Westin Hotel.

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On the way over, a great costume for outdoors -- a Sim!