Another year, another GenCon in the bag.
In the past couple of years, GenCon has felt much too like a convention dedicated to promoting currently active or soon to be active KickStarters. Now, while there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to promote upcoming products, there is something to be said about being able to demo a game, ask how much and take it home then and there on the spot. This year, we can happily report that, while KickStarters were still at the forefront of many companies, that wasn’t the case for the majority of the show.
By now, there are hundreds and hundreds of articles floating around online regarding the news, games and drama of this year’s festivities. Originally, I’d planned on doing daily recaps and news updates on the go this year. However, I was there as a fan and gamer first and foremost. As such, I tended to get carried away and spend more time at one booth than another, demoing something multiple times or not at all. So as opposed to a purely news article, I wanted to highlight a couple things that stood out to me this year.
Privateer Press and Monsterpocalypse
I’m going to be completely upfront and honest- I don’t remember the original game at all. My local comic/game shop had a large banner in their game room (before they demolished it for trade paperbacks) and I think I recall seeing a random booster or two in their closeout/clearance section. Beyond that, however, I don’t remember ever seeing this game new on the shelf or being played. Granted, the original ran from 2007 until cancelation in 2011, which was a roller coaster of a time for me in terms of hobby gaming.
Happily, I can say that won’t be a problem for me this time around.
Originally, we were just going to look at the game. The models were on display at the Privateer Press booth and they looked rather stunning. Demos were standing room only on Thursday, which was completely understandable. The game was just releasing and there was to be an event held that weekend for those skilled enough to build and get their starters to the table. We demoed the game on Friday, having a blast with it. Saturday morning, we demoed it for a second time with a group of friends. Later that day, we bought into it with both Agenda starter boxes and an extra blister of minions. By Sunday, we did go back and buy a second minion box as a 1v1 monster battle works best with 15 minions.
I’ll be posting our clean up and building of the starters over the next few days.
Renegade Games and Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid
GenCon is a nonstop whirlwind of game demoes and reveals. No sooner a game is announced, its on display in some form. Some of them are things you see coming a mile away, others are games that blindside you. Evidently this is one that decided to blindside us. We wandered over to the Renegade Games booth to check out their latest roleplaying game, Overlight, only to be surprised by this sight in the cabinet:
They made the announcement early on the first day of the show. As of writing this, the game’s Kickstarter is live, funded and well on their way to their fifth stretch goal. Sadly, there are zero gameplay videos yet, but hopefully we’ll see some in the coming week.
Fantasy Flight Games and Star Wars Legion
Announced during their Flight Report on the first day, Star Wars Legion is finally adding a much needed character to the game- Chewbacca! Not only that, but we’re getting Wookie Warriors units as well! I just want to field an army of Wookie Warriors led by Chewbacca and Han Solo. Remember, always let the Wookie win!
They also showed off some Rebel and Imperial themed packs to add a bit of variety to your factions of choice.
Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast and Transformers TCG
Not going to lie, this was one I didn’t expect to actually like. I heard the comparison of “Star Wars Destiny without the random dice elements” and its not too far off. Playing with a set of oversized character cards and a small deck (featuring weapon and action cards), players take turns going back and forth battling out until one player is left standing. The transformation mechanic really sells the game for me. Plus it looks like the art is from the IDW comic line.
So far only a two-player starter and convention exclusive booster pack (made avaliable at San Diego Comic Con and GenCon this year) are out. I think one thing that is going to be a determining factor for the success of this game is what the actual booster packs look like on the store shelf (both in terms of pricing and space). I really hope it doesn’t turn out to be a flash in the pan, money grab situation.
Stand Up My Vanguard
This was actually something I’ve been looking forward to for some time- the Drive Check Podcast Cardfight! Vanguard meet and greet. It was a very casual, laid back event were everyone got one of the new reboot starters (I had to represent my boy Kai) and a booster of Unite Team Q4. Lost first round, but it was nice to play Vanguard with a group not from our usual stomping grounds. Plus, after listening to the podcast and different Twitter/Facebook conversations, it was a treat to finally meet Will and Cole.
Sadly, in all the excitement, forgot to take any pictures of the event.
You Never Know Who You Will Run Into
Another fun thing that happened was we had run ins on the floor with two awesome superstar gamers. The first was John Manganiello, hardcore celebrity D&D gamer. We knew he was going to be there that weekend to promote his new gaming clothing line, Death Saves. Sadly, every time we went by his booth, either the line was too long or he was away from the booth. Luckily we ran into him on the show floor and he was polite enough to pause for a quick photo.
The other quest run in we had was extremely random but it was none other than Shaggy himself, Matthew Lillard. He was there promoting a new high end Dungeons & Dragons accessory line. That in and of itself was cool, but Scream and Their13en Ghosts were a couple of my favorite horror movie guilt pleasures. Plus…he’s Shaggy!
In the End
GenCon 2018 will definitely go down as one of the more rememberable years for us. Fitting that it was also our 5th GenCon Anniversary! With lots of new games to play and so many cool announcements for stuff on the horizon, the next year is going to be a great one for gaming. We cannot wait for GenCon 2019!
Until next time, keep your dice warm.