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Gen Con 2016 Retrospective 
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Red Cap
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Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:00 am
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Location: Indianapolis, IN
Post Gen Con 2016 Retrospective
Those of you who might not realize, Gen Con is a local con for me (Indianapolis, born and bred), so it’s an absolute natch that this is my favorite con… the sheer amount of people is always astounding, as is the sheer amount of available games and fun-- and while we can never stay and enjoy it all (being local means that real life intrudes a little more every night), my wife and I absolutely adore Gen Con.

Like I’ve tried to do the last couple years, I ran three sessions of Castles & Crusades-- one each on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. And me and my wife managed to get into Todd’s Thursday morning session, which made our freaking weekend. This, without a doubt, was the best year ever for a person to be at Gen Con and love TLG. There were plenty of available events on the grid, from C&C to Amazing Adventures-- there may have even been a Victorious game event here or there; I didn’t think to check. But there was definitely more of a footprint than I’ve seen in times past, and this was an awesome thing.

So Thursday morning, we made our way to the Mariott Ballroom C (I think we can more or less call this C&C Central… all my games were here, as were at least three others that I know of. We flat owned that room!) and played in Todd’s Heart of the Master C&C game and had a blast! Full table, a loud drunken barbarian, a gnome illusionist that had multiple disguises, and some downright fun times in the wards of Ihlsa.

After lunch we dropped by the TLG booth (I always make it a point to make this one of my first stops, while we still have plenty of money to spend), and had a talk with the gang, dropped off a couple gifts, and picked up some goodies: the hardcover Lost City of Gaxmoor, and softcover Undercaverns of Gaxmoor, Elemental Magic and Expanding Classes books. Out of these, Lost City and Undercaverns are obviously going to be huge faves. Elemental Spells is a pretty nice expansion of new spells for spellcasters of all sorts (it’s kind of like a Tome of Magic for C&C, but its only focus is the spells. No new manners of doing magic, no breaking the system; very cool!), and Expanding Classes does a pretty reasonable job of detailing and expanding classes by using new variations of Class/Halfing or Multiclassing.

5 PM each day meant my games of C&C, Thursday with the Missing Ring scenario-- I’ve run in smaller cons but never at a venue as large as Gen Con-- Friday with the Stone’s Wager section of Giant’s Rapture, and Saturday with the Escape from Malkentnor section of my own (blatant plug) Shards of Memory module for C&C. All three went beautifully. I was lucky enough to have some wonderful players for each and every game I CK’d, including people who had barely heard of the game but were willing to have a great time and learn all at once. We really ran right up to the edge of the 8 o’clock end time frame just about every session (Sorry about that, TylerMo-- he was unlucky enough to have the table after me two of those times, so that involved a lot of last minute shuffling), but everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves. More than a couple said they were going to make their way to the TLG booth afterward to learn a little more about the game.

Natch, every session started with me going over the basics and really talking up the game. It’s really easy to talk up C&C and the Trolls, because the game is everything I like in my RPG’s (fast-paced combat that doesn’t take all session, easy and pretty all-encompassing rolls, focus on the narrative rather than the mechanics and easy conversion to other systems) and very little that I don’t, and the Trolls are some of the nicest folk you’d ever want to meet. And every session, those players that weren’t familiar picked it up easily, and in some cases, you could really see that spark of “I really LIKE this” going on. That always makes the sessions and prepwork worth it.

My wife and I played a couple other games this Gen Con. We tried out WOTC’s D&D 5E, with some mixed feelings about it-- some mechanics we really like (the advantage/disadvantage rolls and trinkets, for instance), but it’s still very skill-roll and feat-tied and I imagine it’s only a matter of time before added books make it as swingy as Pathfinder unless a DM is very tight on what they allow. Its a step in the right direction, but it’s really difficult to put the genie back in the bottle. We also tried Writer’s Blocks by Eschaton Media and utterly loved it. It’s a game of shared storytelling, done up almost like scenes from a movie, and it makes for some very awesome freeform Role Playing, with very little needed-- a set of double-twelve dominoes and some index cards, and some friends willing to learn a very simple system. Highly suggested from an independent developer. We also bought Dungeon Fighter, Dominion (base set), Phantom Society, and a couple games for the little one from Peaceable Kingdom that she adores already.

At any rate, that was Gen Con 2016 in a nutshell for us. Hope everyone that came enjoyed themselves and made themselves at home in Indy, and we always look forward to seeing everyone back here next year!

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Tue Aug 09, 2016 6:59 pm
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Red Cap

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 7:00 am
Posts: 213
Post Re: Gen Con 2016 Retrospective
ArgoForg wrote:
...Friday with the Stone’s Wager section of Giant’s Rapture...


That was a good time! Had fun using my bard (with a little help from the magic user) to sing to a stone so well that it moved. :D


Wed Aug 10, 2016 2:36 am
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Greater Lore Drake

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 7:00 am
Posts: 2579
Post Re: Gen Con 2016 Retrospective
It's all good. We managed to finish my games after yours. Mind you, that hour long drive back to the hotel wasn't fun. ;)


Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:04 pm
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Cleric of Zagyg
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Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 7:00 am
Posts: 10753
Location: Somewhere in Time
Post Re: Gen Con 2016 Retrospective
Thanks for that great report, ArgoForg!

Lost City Gaxmoor and Undercaverns are fabulous - hope to run this for my online gaming group in the future.

My nephew lives in Indianapolis, and we've talked about going to the CON (never been there) . . so, mebbe next year.

:)

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Tue Aug 16, 2016 3:15 am
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