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GenCon Report: Day 2

19/08/2012

The second day of GenCon 2012 ended up being better than the first, and more concise too.

While I didn’t start the day with a headache, going to sleep around 5am the night before did mean my start was a little later than I would have liked. I ended up stopping in at Steak ‘n Shake for a late breakfast/early lunch. Sadly, I arrived at the end of the breakfast rush and had to wait half hour or so for my meagre burger and fries to arrive. On top of this, my server took  a break during this time, so I couldn’t call her over to see what was happening. In the end it was almost an hour before I was on my way again. Far from my best experience, but at least the food was still good.

I made it to the Dealer Hall with only half an hour spare before my first official event of the weekend: Part-Time Gods, run by the game’s creator Eloy Lasanta. I stopped by his booth to pick up the South America book for his API game. This book is the first in the line that Eloy hasn’t written himself. With four separate RPG lines currently in development, much of the API line is now handled by freelancers. I haven’t gone through the book in detail yet, but what I saw during a quick flip through certainly looked good. Monkey demons and all.

From there I moved on to the Privateer Press booth. The lines were long gone, but the basic layout of the store area still bugged me. There was barely enough room between the dividers and the shelves for people to move around. It didn’t help that some people browsing the shelves were also carrying large model cases, and had stopped to chat, and seemed to ignore others who might want to actually do some shopping. Clearly, not everyone was following my list of 10 things you should do at GenCon.

That aside, I was able to grab a couple of items I had been looking forward to. The first was the new plastic Khadoran Heavy Warjack kit. This kit is much more complex than the initial kit and it will be interesting to see if this kit has a similar level of flexibility in poses. The other model was the new Rhulic Warcaster, General Ossrum. This is one dwarf who really is “O for awesome”, both in look and in-game. And that’s not just because they have modelled him with a pipe in his mouth. I had hoped to also pick up the new sculpt for Ashlynn d’Elyse (which I have talked about previously), but unsurprisingly she had already sold out. One of the PP staffers confirmed that she would be available through the online store in a few weeks, so it wasn’t all bad.

I still had a little time before my midday game, so I stopped in at the Wyrd Miniatures booth. We have a newly minted Henchman back home, and I picked up a copy of the latest Malifaux book to help him keep up to date on all the latest models and tactics. It’s an interesting book as it introduces an entirely new faction, one with a strong asian theme, to the game. There are all sorts of nastiness in there, from zombie ashigaru, to Chinese rail workers with mechanical prosthetic limbs. There is even a terrifying Penangalan – a floating head and viscera that is almost guaranteed to lead to some interesting paint jobs and conversions.

The model that really caught my eye, however, was the new Master for the Guild faction. He isn’t yet available, but the model can easily be summed up with the following description: “Wolverine riding a horse and armed with a net gun and whip.” Sure, he doesn’t have claws or mutant healing, but his look screams SNIKT.

With my purchases complete, I headed across the road to Marriot for Part-Time Gods. We had a full table and the game was a blast. In short, the players play characters who have absorbed a spark of divine power and become the god of a particular object or concept. I was playing the god of hunger, always hungry and able to transform myself into a giant with a distended jaw. All the better to eat you with. My pantheon (the name given to a group of gods) included an Indian doctor who was the goddess of fire, a Japanese DJ who was the goddess of blood, and a rock star who was the god of music. We were a bit of a motley crew, but managed to do fairly well in the adventure. We got to a point where we could have blown the Horn of Gabriel and begun the Rapture/end of the world and chose not to. An amazing level of restraint for a one-off convention game.

Once I was done being a god I returned to the Convention Centre for a paid demo of the new Privateer Press board game, Level 7. I say paid because PP were doing brief demos at their booth. The paid demos, however, actually took place in one of the others halls, amongst the miniature and card gamers. The game pits the players against the denizens of a secret military base where a secret organisation experiments with alien technology and humans are used as test subjects. Unlike the booth demo, we got to play all the way through one of the game’s scenarios. Ultimately, we did rather well and managed to get through the game not only with all the players still alive, but in record time.

My only gripe was that the volunteer running the demo did not have a full grasp of the rules. He had the basics sorted, but had to refer to the rule book more than once for some of the more advanced rules. Sure, I can understand that there might be some less common rules that can easily be forgotten, but maybe they should tweak the demo to leave these out. Ultimately it wouldn’t change the flow of the game and would improve everyone’s experience. Wyrd does this with stacked decks in their Malifaux demos and it works really well for them.

With the second day drawing to a close, I returned to the Dealer Hall and organised dinner plans. This time it was dinner with the Exile folks at Bucci di Beppo, an Italian restaurant across the road from their hotel. Their meals are best described as shared, with the food coming out on large plates that can then be divided up as the diners see fit. It’s a great way to eat and allowed us to try many dishes at once.

In an unusual move for GenCon, I was back in my hotel room before midnight leaving me plenty of time to sleep before another big day. So far, so good.

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