Live at GenCon: Yes, Virginia, there is a Mage Knight 2.0

Seemingly subtitled “The New Hotness,” the big WizKids announcement was indeed a major revision of Mage Knight. This revelation, however, was not revealed to those of us in attendance until nearly two hours of build up and odd delays. Still worth waiting through, but I never got a slice of pizza.

After urging everyone to take their seats, the WizKids crew asked everyone to stand for a headcount. Okay. Then, after all 316 people were tallied and seated again, the crowd was asked to stand, again, and sit down after their home state was called. O-kay. This was immediately followed by every single WizKids staff member coming to the microphone and stating their name, job, forum name, and home town. This came across as being very similar to the intro walk-on for all Miss America contenders. I think I saw Jane’s eyes glaze over as she and Steve sat there next to me, surrounded by the cheering WizKids Envoys revelling in their element.

In all fairness, I did glean the interesting fact that Jeff Grubb, former major TSR guy, is in charge of development for HeroClix from the introductions. Well, it was interesting to me, at least.

Finally, the presentation proper got underway. Jordan Weisman, as expected, assured fans that the merger with Topps would not change WizKids, as Topps has no games division to be folded into or integrated with. Martin Stever, the evening’s main ringmaster, got things rolling by reviewing the Origins Awards garnered by WizKids this year.

A short film/commercial showing the life-sized HeroClix event that took place at the Daredevil premiere somewhere in Florida. Then were heard about Indy HeroClix, available in September. The cool news? Indy Clix will have all the special abilities, from Marvel, DC and Indy, on one handy sheet.

Several fast glimpses of products followed next. The Liao Incursion expansion for MechWarrior is scheduled for next month, bringing the bloodthirsty clan to the fore. A number of Crimson Skies releases are coming through the end of the year, and the second wave of Shadowrun: Duels figures comes in October. A secret figure being developed for Duels was hinted at, and Jordan was overheard to say “It’s real long and has lots of powers, but we won’t talk about that right now.” Can you say “dragon”? I thought you could.

Creepy Freaks was next, starting with five minutes or so of the cartoon from the DVD that comes in each starter. Not only will Freaks have advertising on Nickelodeon and other major kid mediums, but there will be a Dannon yogurt tie-in. Ummm…. right. Moving on.

Finally, the big announcement of Mage Knight 2.0 stunned everyone to silence (or maybe it was fear of having a collection of invalid, old figures). But the crowd came back to life as they listened to all the changes: damage allocation more like in MechWarrior; a new stat window shape on the dials, to allow an extra special ability listing, making new combinations possible; abilities like Flight moved to the base itself, becoming permanent; 28 new special abilities (like Hex, Summon, Surge, Smite, Counterattack, and Parry); firing arcs that face the front of the figure, allowing the stats to be behind; unique figs with “Relic Slots” around the base’s border to hold punch-out equipment on plastic credit cards; better victory conditions, creating battles to the death rather than battles to survive. All this will be yours in November.

After hearing all the cool revisions, we could no longer ignore the rumbling hunger we were each cultivating. Seeing the huge line formed for the pizza, we opted instead to collect our Fedrin Starsdawn unique figures and Relic cards (mine’s the Elemental Totemstaff, a 35 point relic that has healing power) and go find some grub. Other than Jeff, that is.