Games were not only the topic of Wednesday evening’s banquet presentation, they were the activity. Amidst the clusters of green balloons, and accompanied by the sometimes deafening sound of party horns and maracas, retailers were kept on their toes with a word search contest, a guess-the-number of jellybeans contest, and other games. After all, they were sitting through a presentation on St Patrick’s Day. Best to keep them entertained.
Eagle Games had hidden cards under random seats in the room which determined the players in their contest. Using Odds’R, Eagle’s new party game of, well, guessing the odds of very odd things, several retailers earned themselves copies of the game. Then the winner of Eagle’s annual contest to create the best looking store display was awarded a $1000 prize. The maracas and horns continued unabated.
Rackham stepped up, said “Our miniatures speak for themselves,” promised catalogs on the way out, and sat back down. Someone at the next table muttered “That was the best speech ever.” Looking through the catalog, he was right. Absolutely beautiful stuff in there.
Then Guardians of Order’s president, Mark MacKinnon, took the helm. After introducing the company and describing its product lines and steady growth since 1997, he got to the really juicy stuff: this year’s tentative schedule. The Slayers d20 will be along at the start of April, followed in May by d20 Military. Also in May, BESM d20 Revised will give retailers another chance to move BESM products, while updating the system to 3.5 and adding rules originally found in d20 Mecha. In June, The Authority RPG will hit stores, bringing all the DC/Wildstorm lovin’ it can muster from the popular comic series. Tekumel will follow shortly thereafter, bringing back the rich history and cultures that hardcore fans have come to expect from the deeply detailed world. Ex Machina will be a Tri-Stat DX genre book with four campaign settings by industry verteran writers.
Then the applause kicked in when the Game of Thrones RPG was announced. Coming this August, the game will be presented in three different, distinct books: d20, Tri-Stat, and a Deluxe edition which will be full-color. Then in the months beyond, GoO will present additional books based on the other books in the novel series: Clash of Kings in the fall, Storm of Swords in spring ‘05, and Feast of Crows in summer ‘05. Some joking about whether the fourth book would even be out by then was heard here and there, but was drowned out by the maracas.
MacKinnon went on to announce a new anime license for the first time: Neon Genesis Evangelion. My friend Steve, who’s been helping out on this trip, was floored. Apparently, any serious anime fan knows the series, and can tell you why it’s used to induct new anime fans. This is no mere anime license, this is an anime LICENSE.
Finally, GoO has plans for BESM Third Edition in November. When you consider how each incarnation of the game has improved dramatically on the one before, you know the Third Edition will be no different.
ACD Distribution, represented by the same fellow who gave the brief Rackham pitch, did the same for ACD. Two warehouses to better serve the retailer public.
Last but not least, John Zinser, CEO of Alderac Entertainment Group, addressed the rowdy room. He spoke of Inquest giving its Vanguard Award for Best RPG to Stargate, and how Warlords of the Accordlands had over 1,400 pages laid out and ready to print when D&D 3.5 came out and threw things for a loop. Expect Warlords products to begin showing up in September.
On the CCG front, L5R Diamond Edition is selling better than any previous set. Finally, the Spycraft CCG will be arriving in July, and AEG has plans to make it “player interactive”. What does that mean? Secret notes, cell phone calls, and other spy tricks were mentioned, though how they’ll be used remains unknown.
Parting gifts in hand, and green shirts fluttering as they walked, the retailer crowd went their separate ways again, until the next presentation.