Live and mostly conscious from Gen Con Indy 05

Troll Lord claims to be doing really well with their OGL-adaptation Castles and Crusades. They mentioned how they let online fans in on the development of the game – Daniel Chenault specifically talked about how, no matter how smart a designer is, he’s never going to be as smart as the whole Internet. Good man – I wish more design processes would let fans in. C&C looks simple and sharp – a basic old-school fantasy RPG romp. Good times for those who seek good times in such.

Shifting Forest does what they call “Parlor LARPs” – live game books designed for four to eight players, which I can imagine would materially change the LARP experience by a lot. And they’re doing a lot of the darn things. They handed me The Queen of Hearts, a murder mystery with intriguing atmosphere, and an adultified, dark take on Snow White. They still look a little systems-heavy to me, but Steve says they’re the LARPs for people who hate LARPs. Because apparently Steve hates LARPs. I’d link to their site but they told me it was broken and to try in a couple days. Google is your friend.

Forge-a-mania! The great thing about the Forge booth is that whatever you pick up from that little stand full of books, some game designer standing nearby will point to it and go, “Dude! I love that game. I stole a mechanic from it for my game! Plus if you like that you should really check out this other guy’s game over here! And yip yip yip yip arooooo!” (Note: small-dog barking and howling added for emphasis) Thing about the Forge books is that each is small (good) and more expensive than you’d think (also good and sensible in my opinion), but so many of them look worth owning that you actually end up spending a hell of a lot. I picked up Emily Care Boss’ Breaking the Ice (“A Game About Love, For Two” – I was too scared of it to not buy it), Under the Bed by Joshua Newman (the spare, tiny visual design got me to buy it, and it looks similar to Puppetland), and the No Press RPG Anthology (eight standalone games in one big ol’ green book I’ve never seen in a store). Tomorrow I might go back for The Mountain Witch (phenomenal buzz on this), Dogs in the Vineyard, or, God help me, something else. It seems like half the RPG energy at the show is focused on the Forge (and stuff like it, such as Wicked Dead), with the other half split between the Serenity RPG and Green Ronin.

The Torg Revised-and-Expanded “1.5” edition is indeed in print at the show. Not so much energy there, but hey, yay for products on time.

Demoed the City of Heroes CCG. There is a tremendous amount going on in this game, even in slim 25-card demo decks, but the design still feels really elegant – probably as elegant as a make-your-own-super card game could be. I know I’ve said this kind of thing before, notably about the luckfest that was Initial D, but I was impressed and I think it might have legs (by depressed CCG standards anyway). Have not yet demoed WizKids’ High Stakes Drifter nor, I’m very sad to say, Clout Fantasy. I hope to at least fix the latter situation later tonight.

My legs hurt.