I spent the better part of the day navigating the exhibition floor talking to the vendors and manufacturers. It felt like there were fewer exhibitors compared to last year. Many who attended opted for smaller booths – or even sharing booths with other exhibitors. A number of booths stood empty. A silent reminder that this convention still has a little ways to go.
One attendee observed that boardgames seem to be somewhat underrepresented this year. It was an interesting observation. With Out of the Box Games not attending and Playroom Games holding down the fort, it does seem like there is less emphasis on boardgames.
Okay, that’s enough of the gloomy crap. Despite the lower exhibitor attendance and the smaller booths, the exhibition hall yielded a surprising amount of new things, some of which had been shipped to warehouses this week. Here are some of the highlights:
Rushed in for this convention, Hero Games had copies of Hero System 5th Edition Revised. Hero Games sold out two print runs of 10,000 copies. So, they made a new one. This one is a fricken’ monster. There’s no other way to describe it, but I’ll try. Hardbound. 120 additional pages. Never before seen artwork. Index tabs just in case you get lost in it’s 592 PAGES! It contains the material in Sidekick and an FAQ. You could probably kill someone with this book. It’s yours for $49.99.
Also on hand were copies of Vibora Bay, an adventure setting in an area with strong occult and mystical traditions. DEMON was also fairly new for this convention and covers the arcane cabal of the same name. It also serves as a companion book to VIPER and UNTIL. Both Vibora and DEMON look pretty good and are in the $25 range. For those of you waiting for Hudson City: The Urban Abyss, look for it around January.
The Game Mechanics
I really like The Game Mechanics. Why? You want the book RIGHT NOW? Download the .pdf and print it yourself. You want the professionally printed version with the nice glossy cover? No problem, they have that too.
These guys have the most downloaded .pdf in gaming: the double Ennie award winning Initiative Cards. Now they are going to do the work for you. Available for download in three weeks: Initiative Cards already filled out with the stats of monsters and other random encounters.
They are currently trying to figure out to how to release an official print version. Also available for download in 3 to 6 weeks: Temple Quarter – the followup to Thieves’ Quarter. It will be released sometime later softbound with a new cover.
I dropped by and said hi to Hal at the Green Ronin booth and it was a good thing I did. Egyptian Adventures: Hamunaptra may have already hit the stores. But it’s in a box. In fact, it’s the first Green Ronin product in a box. So, you can bet that that sucker is shrink wrapped at your local game store. What’s in it?
Good question! For forty bucks you get three books: The Book of Days, The Book of Gates and the Book of Law, and a large full color map. Book of Days covers characters specific to the Hamunaptra adventure setting, Book of Gates covers locations and Book of Law describes the world of Hamunaptra and contains a lot of GM-only material. It looks great. But you won’t know that unless you get your own copy.
Also new from Green Ronin is the Advanced Bestiary. This book offers a bunch of new templates to overlay on to any creature or monster to change them up a bit. This is great for GMs whose players have sussed out all the monsters in their game and think they know everything. 256 pages. $36.95. Hal says they will have copies of Noir for Mutants and Masterminds today. Tomorrow, they expect copies of The Black Company.
There was a lot of new stuff from White Wolf,
and Marketing Director Philippe Bouille walked me through it. Nomads is out. You got a preview of the cover if you bought the GM screen and it looks really good. Antagonists is also out for Worlds of Darkness. Rites of the Dragon is also out, now resplendent in an embossed red leather-like binding. A Hunger Like Fire, a novel by Greg Stolze, is also now available. I read the free sneak preview excerpt last night in the hotel room. It’s entertaining, and I’m tempted to get the novel and read the whole thing just to see where he goes with it. There were new dice sets for Werewolf and a new t-shirt as well.
But the latest and greatest are the Vampire: The Eternal Struggle 10th Anniversary Sets. They are giving these as first place prizes to the winners of the V10 Tournament being held here. Each set has anniversary editions of a fixed selection of 90 out-of-print cards, plus anniversary editions of 10 new cards, for a total of 100 cards.
The alloy box is sized to accommodate the larger decks of VTES. I don’t even play Vampire: The Eternal Struggle and I want these things. I can’t imagine what’s going though the head of someone who’s really into this game.
That’s all I’ve got for now. Stay tuned for more breaking news from Gen Con SoCal 2004.