Monday, August 19, 2013

Gencon Report: Fantasy Flight Games

This year was one of the best Gencons the Gamer Wife and I have had for a long time. We played three 4-hour RPG sessions that were all satisfying in their own way, demoed some games, found some new games to love together, and picked up some amazing deals. We weren't planning on getting much this year, but this really felt like the year of the bargain, so we ended up getting more stuff than we have in the past but still not spending all of our budget. Not a bad deal!

Today though, I wanted to share what I learned about and saw at both the Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) booth and in-flight report seminar I attended Friday afternoon. It was the first year I actually attended the seminar, and the room was packed. I felt a little bad for FFG because I think a lot of people were anticipating something BIG and FREE after last year's seminar where Stormtroopers flooded the room and they gave each attendee a free copy of the beta rules for their brand new Star Wars rpg Edge of the Empire.

Still, the seminar was fantastic, and I found the first half hour or so the most interesting. We got some business-side stuff right from the horse's mouth. It turns out that FFG had their best year (by a long shot!) this past year with the release of Edge of the Empire, Star Wars X-Wing, and Netrunner. They showed a graph of their profits since the inception of the company, and the leap from 2011 to 2012 was larger than the rest, but 2012 to 2013 was probably twice as big. It was really miraculous.

They didn't (couldn't?) have a bigger announcement this year for new product than the announcement last year with the Star Wars RPG line, but we did get to see some cool new stuff.

I think the show stopper of the seminar was the announcement of the first two frigate class ships for X-Wing: the rebel transport and the Tantive IV blockade runner. You'll be able to see more below. These ships are going to be huge, expensive, and probably sell out time and again. The rebel transport is going to sell for $60.00 and come with an alternate paint-job X-Wing and the pilot card for Porkins(!) while the Tantive IV is going to sell for $90.00. They also announced two new play formats for X-Wing: special rules that account for the size/movement/point cost of these huge ships and scenario-based play that will likely see unequal point costs and objectives for win conditions.

Overall, FFG seems to have their heads on straight with the X-Wing line. They did say that they originally estimated how much product the market could handle and then doubled and tripled the estimate which still resulted in the supply shortages we're seeing today. The game's a beast. The scale of the frigate ships aren't going to be perfect. They stated that the ships Falcon size and smaller and going to continue to be to scale with anything bigger being a best fit or "feels right" scale that is also manageable to sell as a product.

Another big announcement that hit FFG's front page right before Gencon was the reveal of Battlelore 2nd Edition. It's been a long time since I've played any Battlelore, but the new edition looks to be quite the change. On a surface level, one large change was the setting. It's now firmly based in the Descent/Runebound IP that FFG has cultivated over the years. There's no more banners, and they want to give a higher level of uniqueness to each unit (not sure exactly what this means). Check out the photos below for both BattleLore and the new lieutenant packs FFG will be releasing for Descent.

Another exciting announcement was the reveal of Eldritch Horror. During the seminar it was explained that Eldritch Horror is not a replacement for Arkham Horror but rather a sister product. It spans the world instead of the small (but busy!) town of Arkham. The game should play similiarly to Arkham Horror but is reported to have been tweaked to take into account all the lessons they've learned making Arkham. I expect many, many expansions to this thing in the future.

And finally, as a big Lord of the Rings LCG fan, I was most excited to see the announcement of the next expansion/cycle of releases for the game after we leave the treachery at the white city behind. It promises to be a Saruman/Rohan heavy cycle, which I'm particularly excited for since Rohan was the first trait that got some real love and was really fun to play around with since the base set/cycle. 

I did take some pictures of some of the other new releases including the Print-On-Demand (POD) class reference card packs they're releasing for Edge of the Empire, the new Wiz-War expansion they'll be releasing, and the re-release packaging for Blue Moon, and older card game which they are putting out as a complete experience in a single box. It looks pretty nifty too.


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