Audio report: coming down from Gen Con ’06

Chris and Mike got out to Gen Con Indy this year, as you’ve already seen from the set of audio interviews. But what did they really think? We sat down a few days back and discussed everything that came to mind, rational thought or not, which resulted in our Gen Con ’06 impressions show. As always, tremble in fear.


  1. Howdy, guys. Thanks for the shout out. I’m glad you had fun playing Powerstorm. Allan, I’m glad you got your copy from Chris.

    Let me try filling in the gaps. I’ll talk about board games, the Spoils, Eve, and I’ll answer a question raised regarding Powerstorm. Each paragraph is for a different game, so that you can skip games you aren’t interested in. I’ve also got the post divided up into categories.


    The coolest game I saw at the show on sneak preview (it wasn’t there on sale) was a Jack the Ripper game from Septieme Cercle. It was incredibly cool and, in my opinion, is a game to watch, particularly if it is translated into English. John Nephew was there talking with them, and hopefully he imports the game and translates it. The premise is that one of the players is Jack the Ripper (only the Ripper knows who he is) and everyone else is trying to reveal him to bring him to justice and to document who the monster is for history. Chris, you are on notice to track down info on this game and demo it for your store.

    The coolest board game I bought for $20.00 (normally $29.00) was Sevinpold. It needs a couple of rules clarifications for rules lawyers like me (they are releasing a tweaked PDF of the rulebook). But it’s great fun. There are knights (Valiants) questing for lost treasure to restore a ghostly leader back to power to save the land of Sevinpold from the Darkness who sends out Nazgul-like Darkness figures out to haze the Valiants and to defeat them. It’s primarily a fun, light family game. Since Valiant players can only be temporarily be eliminated (not permanently), and since it has a DVD and tons of cool components, I think kids would love it. If Hasbro had this it would make a lot of money. If you are a retailer who sells family games, definitely pick this up — but you’ll need to leave an open copy setup to really move it, in my opinion, ’cause it looks pretty.

    One of my business partners tried the Marvel game out at the Fantasy Flight booth. He said that the city map was boring, but the figures were nice and the overall feel of the game was quite good. The game’s premise was a little complicated for me to describe, but suffice it to say that the villains are on the loose and the heroes have to track down their enemies and capture them.


    Regarding the Spoils, It is, however, I think easier to learn than Magic currently is, so you may be able to introduce people to the game, Chris. And heck, retailers are getting free product to run tournaments with during the Open Beta period. It DEFINITELY solves a lot of resource management issues with Magic in a very clever way. Definitely worth a look for Magic players. I’ve got some of the Open Beta cards. I think the game has a fun, darkly humorous, fanciful steampunk setting. The flavor text is tremendous, and you get a heckuva lot better feel for their world than you do for Magic’s game world. If you do not like Magic at all, then you won’t like this game. Here’s the real tough problem with the game — if you print out the freely downloadable faction card, you can play the game fairly well using your Magic cards. It’s also trying to overtly steal tournament Magic players from

    Regarding Eve, they gave away a free booster pack in every swag bag. I believe (if memory serves) that in the coupon book there was an Eve coupon for a free starter deck if you did a demo. They had huge lines. The game looks interesting. I haven’t made it through the rulebook yet. If you want, I’ll post a review later. I’ll tell you one thing — coupon book entries are cheaper than full page ads and are CLEARLY the better investment for a game company exhibiting at GENCON.

    Regarding how “positional” Powerstorm is. It can be positional, but positional in the way a D&D party fights (not in the way that Battleground maneuvers around a field). Some powers work in Touch range (to a character’s left and right in the same Row); think about how Clerics needs to be close to people to heal them in D&D. Many powers have range so that you can shoot over other characters to hit your target. Again, think of how the D&D mage hides behind the fighters to shoot people. Some Mind Control powers can make you turn your powers onto your own characters. There’s a limited character reorganization phase, but teleporters and speedsters move around the team quite a lot. That’s what I meant by “it can play like a wargame with cards”.


    Qin (by Septieme Cercle) is a gorgeous, gorgeous game that lets you run a campaign in mythic China. I think this is definitely a game to watch if retailers are smart enough to push them.

    Burning Empires (Luke Crane, over at the Forge) was also a beautiful book. If I had had more money, I probably would have bought it.

  2. Oh, my gosh. I’ve got to check the holy books. When Mike is making Hollywood Squares references on the Ogre Cave Audio Report that has got to be a sign of the coming apocalypse!

    Seriously, though. Great coverage on GENCON, guys. Allan, I wish we’d gotten a chance to meet face-to-face.

    I stopped by the Forge Booth and I too felt it was claustrophobic, guys. They needed to rethink it. If it had been less claustrophobic I might have browsed and bought something. As it was, I flipped through one or two things, talked to Luke Crane and Greg Porter, and then left.

    Hell, the Veritas Games booth was claustrophobic. Sometimes we had 10+ people in a 10 x 10 booth. We really needed more space for much of the day.

    Regarding booth space and placement, this is becoming an issue for a number of small companies. Mike, you may want to keep yourself posted on the upcoming Game Publisher’s Assn. elections. People want the GPA to become a destination area like the Forge. Right now GPA members are scattered to the four corners of every convention they attend.

    However, if we pool buying power there are enough of us to have a big GPA island in the future.

    So, that may be a news story worth following IF it comes to pass. I think it may be an election issue for some of us.

    One last point — I was so excited by the Horrorclix figures that it made me wish I had money to spend on the product. The figures look interesting.

    As for Pirates, Chris. I don’t get it. The minis look great, but Wiz Kids gave away some free packs, I put them together, and the slots were not cut perfectly and I broke two ships assembling them. Now, maybe it’s that I’ve got troll hands lacking in dexterity, but I think it was that some of the ships were poorly machined. Wiz Kids had the fat packs that Chris has been talking about, with a lot of pre-picked ships to start a collection with.

  3. just saw the preview for the movie midnight, based of the role playing game. It’s ok, hopefully it’ll do well, altho i dunno who their target market is. (didn’t one of you guys say no one plays this game). The trailer i think would work a lot better if they didn’t end it with “based off the role playing game” caption, thats about as good sounding as “based of the video game”.
    I must say on the plus side, all the actors look like real people, and not hollywood pretty boys.

  4. The portions of the Midnight movie I saw at GENCON looked pretty good. Certainly much better looking and acted than most Saturday night Sci Fi Channel movies.

    I think that, regardless of sales, they have developed some really interesting IP behind Midnight.

    Anybody know how they are gonna distribute the films? They were talking DVD maybe.

  5. If they’re smart, they’ll put it up on iTunes for sale. I know I’d certainly buy a copy that way.

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