GenCon 2017: Thursday

I'm at GenCon 2017, the 50th anniversary of when Gary Gygax started it.  I thought I'd share my adventures and interesting things i've seen.


The Mayfair games area takes place on the Colt's football field.  This is the first time the jocks have been pushed out for the geeks. :-)


First, I played the Mayfair game Star Trek 5 Year Mission .  It is kind of like a better Yahtzee. You can play as classic Star Trek or Next Generation and try to complete missions (blue, yellow, or red alerts) before the ship blows up.  I liked it.


The giant games are the best here:

This is Mayfair's  King Chocolate .

This is Mayfair's King Chocolate.

Look at this crazy jousting game:

Or giant King of Tokyo:


There is a museum area where they show prototypes of iconic games, here are two famous ones from TSR:

The prototype for the 1970's game  Dungeon!   I remember playing it with my family, it got me into RPGs!

The prototype for the 1970's game Dungeon!  I remember playing it with my family, it got me into RPGs!

Internal Beta copy of Player's Handbook 3.5

Internal Beta copy of Player's Handbook 3.5

One of the things I really wanted was the new Paizo RPG, from the makers of Pathfinder,  Starfinder

But there was a MASSIVE line.  Like easily 150+ people in line.  

This is only half the line.

This is only half the line.

And I had to get to my next reserved board game.  I decided to come back later in the day and get it.  I then overheard a Paizo guy saying it was selling like crazy (it was 11:50am) what you saw on the display was all they had, it wouldn't last the show.  I was torn... to miss my event or to miss getting the core rule book.  Then I saw a paizo guy "busting" the line by taking cash from anyone who had it. ( Or it was an ingenious fan!)  I had the exact cash on me, so i was able to get the book and get to my event.  When I went for lunch a few hours later, they were all gone.  They completely sold out on the first day within 4 hours.  Seems people really want a sci-fi RPG.  Hmmmm....

I got one!  Most didn't.

I got one!  Most didn't.

I then played One Deck Dungeon, a rogue like dungeon crawler that can be played single player or coop 2 player.  It uses interesting dice pools skills, and chaining combos to defeat enemies.  Once you win an encounter, you decide to take the card as an item (more dice), skill (more cool things), or XP (to level up).  We burned through the first level too fast so were underpowered and died on the third level.  It's a very interesting game so I picked one up to "research" more for Archmage Rises.

I went upstairs and saw the Pathfinder/Starfinder room.  There are a LOT of role players.  You are not alone.

Then I went to the Paizo talk about Art.  Their artists and art director were there talking about the latest artwork from Starfinder.  Some of you may know that Rogier van de Beek of Archmage Rises also does work for Paizo.  I asked them how to manage Rogier better.  They said they had no clue, he's unmanageable!  :-)

Then in one of the playing halls i saw this weird game called Fog of Love

fog of love.jpg

As a player I love to play new kinds of experiences.  As a designer, I love to see how people have taken difficult convoluted topics and created mechanics around them.  Since I am working on the relationship aspect of NPCs in Archmage Rises I thought i'd see how this game works to see if there is anything i can steal!

Each player has some public traits, and private goals for the relationship.  The large arrow thingies in the center show behavior in various circumstances: like how reserved or extroverted.  The players take turns playing "situations" against each other like "what are you thinking?" and the opposite player chooses a response.  Based on what they chose they will score points in the arrows and the relationship will grow/shrink.  Some responses spawn a Drama card which can later be played as a fight!  It's all very interesting and I think they did a good job of modelling the seen and unseen aspects of a romantic relationship.  Unfortunately, no mechanics to steal.

Then I happened upon Larry Elmore's booth.  THE original artist at TSR who did many of the Dragonlance book covers, character designs, and this shot from the original D&D Basic Box:  

It was a huge honor to meet someone's work I have so appreciated over the years.  Larry's work set the tone for RPG artwork and the art style of Archmage Rises.  Here we are:

I bought 3 dragonlance prints which he signed.  One of them is of Raistlin never before seen!  This was the first year it's been in the public.  If you recall, Rasitlin is the inspiration for Archmage Rises:

Raistlin Defends

Raistlin Defends

Unfortunately he is not taking commissions, so Rogier you still have a job. :-)

There are a series of board games based on video games.  One of the latest is a board game version of this Atari classic!

And finally my last game was of this indie title Campaign Trail, a game about US politics:

The designer showed me and 2 others how to play.  It is simple, but very strategic and has tons of depth.  With 2 players it is Republicans vs Democrats.  With 3 it is 3 separate parties, and with 4 it is President and Vice President team game.  The game is played in 3 broad rounds where you fundraise, campaign, advertise and such.  Then when the first deck runs out there is a candidate debate.  The debate mechanics are brilliant and too hard to describe here, but it feels like a real political debate and it really matters what cards you saved up in time for the debate.  The game has been under development for about 6 years and this is the latest prototype.  The full game will be shipping in 2 weeks to kickstarter backers.

If you like in depth strategy games, and or the bizzare circus that is American Politics, this is a good game.  Even if you don't like politics it is still a solid mechanical game.

Well that is it for one day, 3 more days to go!