Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gencon 2011 Want!

Gencon is generally considered to be the big release party for countless new gaming items. If you want to make a splash with your new rpg, board game, dice, or other random game bits that land somewhere between, Gencon's the last big deadline of the summer to make it happen. From Fantasy Flight Games to Privateer Press to Cubicle 7, everyone wants to get the "new hotness" to make headlines on blogs and long lines starting at 10:01 next Thursday morning.

At the same time, with the Gencon auction and plenty of used game retailers in the vendor hall, Gencon is a fantastic place to find that one item you've been searching for for years or to pick up something on the cheap that you've been meaning to give a try. While the flashier new stuff is always excited and grabs my attention big time each year, often it's the smaller, older, cheaper stuff I pick up in the auction that really makes me feel like I found a treasure. Of course the flip side of that is that sometimes you just want to see something new because you want to give it a shot before purchasing. There's no better place to try a demo of a game or to check out something you've been eyeing than Gencon.

Without further ado, I present you my Want! list for Gencon 2011. To be honest, I don't have a ton that I need to purchase right at the show (saying this now, I know I'll change my mind once I get there), but I'm very excited to see some things in action. Let the coveting begin!

Elder Sign (FFG)

The Elder Sign is just the latest cool looking game in a trend that has been making me ridiculously happy amongst FFG's new releases. While the cooperative play looks great, it's also designed from the get-go to be a solitaire game! Unlike Gears of War, which I would love but am not spending $70.00 on, The Elder Sign has the much, much more reasonable LCG starter price of $35.00.

I don't really have any experience at all with dice-based games, which is kind of ridiculous to say considering how many dice I own. Still, I'm only passingly familiar with some of the most common mechanics in games that focus on special dice. Elder Sign, which looks a heckuva lot like a lite, portable, and cheaper substitute for Arkham Horror, combines one of my all-time favorite settings with solo play. As soon as I heard about that, I knew I wouldn't be scared off by a style of game I'm not really experienced with whatsoever.

Legend of the Five Rings - The Great Clans (AEG)

This is actually a newer item on my list, but it's just the same as Elder Sign - as soon as I heard about it, I knew I'd be seeking it out. I've come extremely late the L5R party with just last year being my first foray into the world of Rokugan. I picked up the core rule book for the 4th Edition and since then I'm addicted to the books. Though I haven't had a chance to actually play a bold Lion or sneaky Scorpion in any game, these books are works of art and worth it all on their own.

I've picked up every book so far released, which isn't actually saying a whole lot since there are only three books out since the game's 4th edition premiered last year. This, I might add, it awesome. The line is extremely easy to collect, and the few number of books makes each one stand out as a big deal. I don't know a whole lot of what's going to be in this book, but the clans are definitely the most interesting part of the setting, and I can't wait to see the explorations of the clan and the character options. Not for nothing, but this also seems like a great book to help expand my little pet project to converting the clans to the great houses of Game of Thrones...

Leviathans (Catalyst Games)

Leviathans is one of those games I've been watching and anticipating the release of for quite some time. I remember hearing about how it might be out last year, and at that point all we got were some early prototype demos. Now, however, it looks like we're going to get some true demos and the game itself might even be out at Gencon.

Although I shy away from miniature games nowadays (collective or note - they just tend to take too much space, time, and cash to keep up with), I'll always be interested in the state of the subgenre of gaming, and for some reason the combination of steampunk, alternate history, spaceship-ish battles, and big honkin' ships has really captured my imagination. While the $80.00 price tag for the starter makes me real, real shy to get too invested in the rules, I am very excited just to demo the thing to see how it plays.

The One Ring (Cubicle 7)

Since the release of the Lord of the Rings Card Game LCG from Fantasy Flight earlier this year, there's only one other game which has me hyped up as much, and surprise, surprise, it's a Lord of the Rings themed game. Much like Rokugan and L5R (see above), Middle Earth is a setting that you can sink your teeth into for hours without coming up for air.

Both the card game and The One Ring have a very attractive feature in common - they're both based on the books themselves rather than the movies. I'm a die-hard LotR trilogy movie fan, but I also LOVE seeing how other people interpret Tolkien's material. See that guy to the right there? He's one of the playable races in this first set (Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild), and he's something we haven't gotten to see anything of yet in the movies - a Barding. He's one of the humans native to the Northeastern part of the Middle Earth we know, and I love how Nordic the guy looks with his furs and giant shield.

I was lucky enough to get into one of the few games open at Gencon, so even if I don't get the opportunity to pick up one of the few copies of the box set they have available at the show, I'll still get a real taste for the game and be able to come back to Wisconsin ready to play our own game that much quicker.

That's it! That's it? Of course that's not it! However, there are countless things I'm looking forward to, and it's too many to list here. Gencon is a tradition I've enjoyed with friends and family for tens years now. I can tell what time of year it is based on how excited I've gotten for the next Gencon. As I've said before, Gencon is the real reason this blog exists, and it's just one more week away. There's so much to do!


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