Gen Con Indy 2014 – Day 3 and 4 Enrico Nardini, Play Unplugged, 8/18/14 Sorry for the delay on an official Day 3 and 4 article! Gen Con Indy has so much to offer that I needed a minute to compile my thoughts.
Enrico Nardini – Day 3
Despite a late night (including website updates), I was up early for an event in Hall C. My Rhulic Mercenary Warmachine army had traveled with me to Gen Con Indy, and I was going to make the most of it. I played in a scenario called The Wall. This was an independently run Warmachine/Hordes event created by GRiPT Games and run by a Press Ganger. The scenario had casters defending or destroying a wall on a 2×2 board. I was worried at first because the table looked so sparse (using felt pieces instead of modeled terrain), but it turns out that an accident had destroyed their terrain and this was a last minute compromise. I decided to give it a go. The scenario was enjoyable, though I would have faired quite a bit better had I done my homework. I attempted an early alpha-strike caster kill that I did not think through at all. I did snag a copy of the scenario and hope to give it another go at my LGS.
My next stop was the exhibit hall to get more intelligence on some new releases. Paizo finally opened up their booth (making easier to get in and removing the exorbitant wait time). They have tons of new stuff on display and seem to be chugging along as strong as ever. There were, of course, new modules for adventure hungry pathfinders, a new base set for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (titled Skull & Shackles), and a sweet set of Pathfinder Minimates.
Over at the Wyrd Games booth, I sat down for a chat about the recently released Through the Breach RPG. Their initial release features books for both players and game masters. The system has some very unique elements. For one thing, everything is resolved by card flip instead of dice roll, with both card value and suit being a factor. This will be quite familiar to fans of the Malifaux miniature game, but may be new to others. In addition, the game master never flips cards for resolution and instead uses fixed values in the book. The players are always determining the final outcome. It’s an interesting design philosophy. Additionally the game is miniature friendly, allowing players to use Malifaux’s already established range of figures. I’d give it a try.
Ninja Division/Soda Pop Miniatures was my next destination. The makers of Super Dungeon Explore had a booth that also featured Hell Dorado, Dropzone Commander, and Relic Knights. After chatting with their staff I got in on a demo of Relic Knights, a recently released skirmish game that was originally funded on Kickstarter. It is a science fiction romp, deriving its themes and artistic style from popular manga and anime. The miniatures are quite beautiful, and if you are a miniature fanatic (like myself), there was a lot there to get your attention. The gameplay was fast and fluid, using a card resource mechanic focused more around powering your attacks than generating “to-hit” probabilities. I’ll be reviewing a number of their products in the future, so keep an eye out for that.
Pinnacle Entertainment Group had a nice selection of their RPGs and other Savage Worlds compatible material. As a fan of the system, I was aware of the popularity of Savage Setting Deadlands, but the number of Ennie nominations awarded to Deadlands Noir. One interesting change is the number of hard-backed, digest-sized RPG books were featured. Traditionally Savage Worlds featured large format hard-backed books and digest-sized soft-backs. I really liked the appearance of the digest-sized hard-backs, and the fact that they were only $5.00 over the soft-back retail price make them very enticing.
That night I was back in the Iron Arena playing more games of Warmachine/Hordes. I cannot overstate how much fun Iron Arena was. I mentioned it in my Day 2 update, and I returned with fellow Play Unplugged contributor Tony Borzok for more of the clash of steel and steam. This night was even better than the last. Tony introduced me to two of the members of the Counter Slam vidcast, and we played against them in a very exciting team game. Those guys were great fun to play with, and I hope to see them again at a future convention.
The last day of a Gen Con always rockets past me at a high speed. The group I traveled with needed to leave by 2:00 PM. That didn’t leave a ton of time for gaming or exploring.
Day 4 began with a session of the Iron Kingdoms RPG. I’ve owned some books in this line since their release, but this was my first opportunity to actually play it. This was also using the soon to be released Unleashed supplement. That meant that we were playing more Hordes related characters (a Tharn and a Bog Trog for example). The session was masterfully run by one of the Privateer Press staff. They were well prepared with dry-erase character sheets, colorful maps, and a horde (pun intended) of Farrow to fight. The system works very well, and those who are familiar with the miniature game will see how seamlessly those rules are blended with ones created strictly for role-play.
One particularly awesome thing about this session were a set of specially cast plastic characters. These miniatures are beautiful and should really come to market if at all possible. Could this be the beginning of an Iron Kingdoms RPG line? I hope so! Also, these bases had facing markers (like the ones provided from Battle Engines, Collosals, and such). I’d love to have those included on every one of there bases from here on out.
I then headed back to the exhibit hall to check out a few more things and say my goodbyes. While there I stopped to watch a bit of a giant-sized The Duke game. Catalyst Game Labs had a great looking booth all the way around, but this was definitely a highlight on size alone. I also tried to get a demo of the Legendary Encounters deck-building game based on the popular Alien franchise, but alas, it was not to be.
Is there anything more sad then leaving the “best 4 days of gaming?” I don’t know, but I am definitely already missing Gen Con.
Matt Snodgrass – Day 3
For the third year, I played Prolific Games’ Tricked Out Hero, and it seems the more I play it, the more I enjoy it. If you’re looking for a hybrid trick taking/dungeon crawling game – look no further. This one’s easy to pick up, easy to learn, and easy to teach. I should know, I spent several hours during the con teaching it to people – that’s how much of a fan I am.
Wild West Exodus from Outlaw Miniatures is a skirmish game that takes place in an alternate history of the post-Civil War era. I didn’t get to see any game play, but the models themselves are gorgeous. If the two-player starter set hadn’t been $130, I’d have probably picked it up.
World of Tanks Rush from Asmodee is a quick deck builder in which you’re buying armored vehicles to destroy your opponents’ bases. Each turn you can decide whether to use the tanks you’ve drawn for attack or defense, either protecting your own base, or assaulting someone else’s. Victory points are in the form of medals and are earned by destroying bases, destroying tanks, and gaining achievements. The gameplay was simple, and it looked easy to teach; I could see this one being used as an introductory deck-builder.
I spoke with Jason Huffman from Battlehardened Games and learned a bit about their first game, 1750: Britain Vs.France. It’s a light 2-player historical game that plays in about an hour. The game takes place in four theaters: The Caribbean, India, Africa, and North America, representing the colonies that were being fought over at the time. Holding colonies will provide you resources which, in turn, will provide you money to buy new cards. You’ll play leader cards that provide you with specific actions abilities and will assist you in battling for supremacy of each colony. You can also attempt political objectives to do things like forge alliances with the Native American tribes, secure the support of Sweden, convince Prussia to enter the war on your side, etc. Each of these objectives confer certain bonuses or abilities during various stages of the game.
The cards are filled with period artwork, which lends a certain severity to the game, but it also truly immerses you in the time period. The leader cards are all real people who were influential during this time period, such as Lord Pitt, Armand de Vignerot du Plessis, James Wolfe, and George Washington. It’s interesting to see how they interrelate, given the political climate of that time. 1750 will be heading to Kickstarter in the next few months, so keep an eye out for it.
Day 4 started with an epic Star Wars Miniatures Battle for Hoth. As the Empire, we thought for sure our AT-ATs and AT-STs would make short work of that pesky rebellion, but just like in the movies, we were thrown back. By the time the dust settled, we had completed only one of our four objectives, and the Rebels had completed all of theirs. We never even made it into Echo Base. Verdict: resounding victory for the Rebels.
I spent the last few hours roaming the hall, picking up some last minute things: a few figures from Dark Sword Miniatures, Roll For It from Calliope Games, a couple X-Wing minis from FFG, the Rivet Wars promo from Cool Mini or Not, and a couple games for review.
On the way out I snuck in a game of Bling Bling Gemstone, which is really just a reskinned version of Tok Tok Woodman. It’s a mindless, anyone-can-play, dexterity game that’s fun the first couple times you play it. Not something you’ll really sink your teeth into but great for when you have to fill 15-20 minutes and are up for a laugh.
I also played a couple quick games of Cypher from AEG. I’ve been told that Cypher is Lost Legacy on steroids and that Lost Legacy is Love Letter on steroids. Did you follow all that? I’d never played any of those games so we just plowed ahead. In Cypher your goal is to have the most points from the three face-up cards in front of you once the Cypher Anomaly is played, ending the game. Each card is worth a particular amount of points and also has an ability that’s triggered when it’s played. To further complicate matters, each card belongs to the upper, middle, or lower class, and they interact differently with the various classes. It feels like it would play better with 3+ but we only had two, so we made do.
And that’s about it. Another year in the books. Another Gen Con. Another week of being surrounded by tens of thousands of other gamers. Another great time. Until next year, keep playing!