Seen and heard at GAMA Trade Show 2008, part 2

Okay, I had to work this weekend, but I’ve finally had a chance to sit down again and really try to mention as many GTS ’08 releases as I can recall. If you’re just joining us, start with my first GTS post, then head back here.

By the way, GAMA seems to be sticking with the just-after-Easter start, proceeding with the theory that starting Monday instead of Easter Sunday itself will solve the scheduling problem. Never mind that many retailers and exhibitors will be watching over their kids for spring break… In all, the Easter timeframe still seems like a very bad plan for GTS 2009 and 2010.

To the games:

  • White Wolf is working away on Hunter: The Vigil for a Gen Con release, but I didn’t see any previews at the show. Meanwhile, WW’s other lines are going strong – Dogs of War for World of Darkness, some Exalted setting books (and an Exalted boardgame, Legacy of the Unconquered Sun, in June), Scion: Ragnarok this summer, and other RPG goodies. The Mwahahaha! boardgame of mad scientist mayhem looks fun as well.
  • Mongoose is about to hit with Traveller any day now, and start powering the return of Starship Troopers, Judge Dredd and others with the same system.
  • Though I mentioned this in the comments of my first show summary post, two of the biggest RPG releases on the horizon are Green Ronin’s George R.R. Martin licensed games. A Song of Ice and Fire comes out this summer, sporting a new game system and two support products in the fall. Wild Cards, a campaign setting for Mutants & Masterminds.
  • Games Workshop will have a boxed set later this year with over $300 of Warhammer 40K figures for a mere $60. They’ll also have an awesome Hydra figure, with custom head/neck pieces available through direct ordering. After all, you want to see two heads growing back where one was chopped off, right? Ah, if only I could paint…
  • The Indie Press Revolution booth had an assortment of new goodies on display: Spirit of the Season from Evil Hat Productions; the hardcover edition of Arc Dream’s Monsters and Other Childish Things; Greg Stolze’s Reign; and Profane Miracles for Pelgrane Press’ The Esoterrorists, among others. In the larger hall, roleplayers were also drooling over Mind Storm Labs’ Alpha Omega RPG, a 404-page full-color tome of dark futuristic beauty.
  • Days of Wonder was showing off the Ticket to Ride Card Game, due out next month. The Merlin’s Company expansion for Shadows over Camelot, which comes with Merlin and Sir Bedevere figures, was also on display well ahead of its July release.
  • Though I didn’t see them at the show, Smirk & Dagger’s flier announced plans for two more Cutthroat Caverns expansions – Relics & Ruin (around GenCon), and Tombs & Tomes (Oct).
  • Ninja versus Ninja, baby. Out of the Box Games has a hit with this two player boardgame of positional strategy, due out in August. John Kovalic’s ninja and sensei figures, hand painted for the game (though probably not by Kovalic himself), are perfect.
  • Atlas Games was proudly displaying Mad Scientist University (which we’ll have a review of soon). Michelle Nephew was kind enough to give me a look at Where the Deep Ones Are, Ken Hite’s “story of childhood terror”,¬†illustrated in 32 pages of full color by Andy Hopp – creepy in all the right ways.
  • Speaking of Andy Hopp, Mutha Oith Creations will continue to explore the Low Life setting this summer in a card game called Dementalism: The Low Life Memory Game. For 2-12 players, expect this one to sell for $19.99.
  • Shadowcircle Press had one of the show’s little gems, the Adventurer Card Game. Special cards were designed by Gary Gygax, Tom Wham and James Ward, respectively. Gary’s card, a character named Shade the Trickster, is one powerful fellow. Expect to see this in distribution soon, with an expansion later this year.
  • Miniature Building Authority, intentionally or not, is playing into the excitement surrounding the next Indiana Jones movie – models like the Rope Bridge, the Old Temple, and the River Trading Post look like they came straight out of the films.
  • Catalyst Game Labs had the biggest tech manual Classic Battletech has ever seen, Technical Readout 3039. This baby is absolutely massive, and packed with every vehicle and mech you could need.
  • Griddly Games brought Wise Alec to the show, a younger-players’ trivia boardgame that had a crisp, bright-looking board, questions in history, science, and spelling, as well as two difficulty levels. They weren’t in distribution yet when I spoke with them, but GTS is the place they could score a deal.
  • I knew Dragonfire Lasercrafts had gone into creating laser-cut wooden ship templates for use with miniatures, but I had no idea things were so far along. The company has numerous ship designs now, and will have a Viking Longship in May, and a multi-deck Deluxe Galleon in June. This is in addition to all the useful wooden RPG tokens and medieval boardgames in the company’s collection.
  • Midnight Syndicate, the masters of RPG soundtracks, had the recently-released soundtrack to The Dead Matter, a horror flick coming later this year. As with all Midnight Syndicate releases, many tracks on this CD can add cool, creepy feel to your game sessions.
  • Bucephalus Games will have a metric ton of releases this year – 23 titles are listed on the handout for summer ’08 releases – from a variety of designers, including Mike Selinker (as he mentioned here). Three different Mad Scientist games (Frankenbuilder, Lab Rats, and Final Exam) prove the theme’s a popular one this year. The inkblot game Rorschach sounds like it will have gameplay similar to Apples to Apples. The two party games Top Ten: The Bill of Rights and Top Ten: The Ten Commandments have Selinker influence, and each involve achieving individual goals for the final set of rules players vote on. None of these games were retail-ready yet, so packaging style and production quality remain to be seen.
  • McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds had several themed expansion sets for You’ve been Sentenced, the only game officially endorsed by Miss Delaware (no, really – weird and unexpected, but any PR is good PR).
  • Chessex will be importing some sweet dice pendants, made by a company in Italy. Each holds a Chessex-sized die of a certain type, which can be swapped out for another die of the same type. Customizable dice jewelry seems like a sure-seller.
  • Darkson Designs was running demos of the AE-WWII Miniature Wargame, which stands for Alternate Events WWII. I nearly got crushed by some sort of cyber-gorilla, while undead soldiers charged my battle armored warrior. The figures for this look excellent.
  • Gozer Games brought Collateral Damage: The Anime Board Game. Players each take the role of a gang boss trying to take over Neo Japan, all while fighting, falling in love, and accidentally causing – you guessed it – collateral damage to sections of the city, making them less valuable. If I remember correctly, over 50 characters were available in the game.
  • Blue Orange Games had collector’s editions of Double Shutter and Bendomino (which we reviewed here), and a nifty penguin-themed kids game Pengoloo, as well as some new packaging for certain titles.
  • Red Juggernaut was showing off Battue: Storm of the Horse Lords, which we recently posted a review of here.
  • Chad at Your Move Games showed me the two-card Red Dragon, Hydra, and other beasts for Battleground, as well as the Rome versus Carthage historical sets (elephants!), and mentioned the fall release of the random mission deck for quickly creating campaigns. Good stuff.

In all, no earth shattering announcements this year, but a great time catching up with folks in the industry, and getting acquainted with the games we’ll be seeing throughout the coming year.


  1. Thanks for these reports! I hated missing the GAMA Trade Show this year, though it was fortunate indeed (for personal reasons) that I took a pass.

    Sounds like it was a great show.

    I myself have no issue with the Easter dating, but indeed, it may well cause some difficulties for some retailers and publishers. But with the big boys backing out of support for GTS, and the general economy going the way it is, GAMA must do what it can to economize. Otherwise there won’t BE a GAMA Trade Show…

  2. Hi James,

    While some of us might be fine with heading to Vegas right after Easter, don’t you think GAMA should steer clear of dates that could cut attendance even further? I don’t know the specifics of the deal made with Ballys, but it seems like a big risk to wager the show’s success on whether folks will have family obligations or not.

    On the other hand, I applaud GAMA’s attempt at adding value to buying a show badge – this year, GTS attendees could also use their badge to get into two other conventions in town over at the Hilton, those run by the National Retail Hobby Stores Association, and the National School Supply and Equipment Association. I only heard of one person who went to look at the other shows, so I’m not sure this particular experiment worked, but it was a worthy idea.

    By the way, folks: we’ll be spending a couple podcast episodes going over GTS ’08 as well. Keep checking the OgreCave Audio Report page, and we’ll have something special for you ASAP.

  3. Hi Glen,

    Ah, Pinnacle, I missed them. The Sundered Skies setting for Savage Worlds was mentioned, and according to the catalog, it’ll be 176 pages of full color goodness. It might be interesting to see PEG’s take on flying ships in a fantasy steampunk setting.

  4. Allan,

    It is certainly not an ideal choice, but knowing the level of cash infusions that advertising and sponsorships by the big boys brought (and now no longer exist) I’m sure GAMA had to make some tough choices. As the decision-making process is not transparent, I honestly can’t say they made the best choice. I would hope that they balanced the losses incurred by the dates against the losses incurred by the even greater expense of having the show on other dates and found that the losses due to the post-Easter dates were projected to be fewer. If so, that’s the only decision they could make.

    Of course, if the reverse is true, then it is a bad decision. The only way to know is for them to post the new (higher) costs for the post-Easter dates and the costs that would have been for the non-post-Easter dates and do some sort of survey. If, as a hypothetical exhibitor, my costs for post-Easter dates are only 50% greater next year rather than 150% greater than this year’s, it’s a great deal; one might be doable, the other not at all. If as a retailer the sign-up cost to attend is doubled rather than tripled, I’d say it was a winning choice, too. We just don’t know.

    I’ve dealt enough with the current management team at GAMA to know that they probably made the better choice.

  5. James,

    If there is one thing I can say, there were several exhibitors, and MANY retailers who instantly and without hesitation said “I’ll be skipping next year due to the dates.” I can see what you are saying, but I can tell you people didn’t have a similar reaction during the show.

  6. Exactly what I heard from several folks, Chris, mostly exhibitors. Maybe they’ll change their minds before next year, but the reaction each person gave was so certain… well, I’d be rethinking the dates if I were GAMA.

    If the decision process was more transparent, or at least explained more thoroughly, maybe potential attendees would be swayed to try coming out next year. But it’ll be a hard sell during hard times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.