All I can say is that I am LUCKY guy (Thank you Sarah Steele for this excellent Lucky cosplay from the Dark Age universe and the great picture), not only did I get to go to my FIRST EVER GenCon this past weekend, I got a coveted Exhibitor badge for free, AND lots of FREE stuff!
Walking into this weekend, my buddies were complaining that I had made a HUGE mistake by volunteering all four days for demos. Being a broke gamer (is there any other kind of gamer?), I knew if I wandered the exhibit hall, I would end up spending money that I didn't have on shiny new games and gamer stuff. As is I probably spent more than I should have, but it was definitely worth it.
Thursday and Friday I had signed up for running demos for Gale Force Nine's Spartacus. When I initially signed up, details for what I was signing up for were sketchy at best, what I got from GF9 was: licensed product, board game, details to come as soon as available. The next weekend Spartacus was announced, and the weekend before the Con, I received a pdf with box contents and another pdf of the rulebook. I quickly downloaded these to my Nook so I had access to these all the way through the Con. I arrived at the Indiana Convention Center on Thursday and got a three to four turn demo of Spartacus just as the Main Exhibit Hall was opening up, raced against the TIDE of people to get to the miniature gaming hall and my demo table.
Spartacus is a board game based upon the Starz television series of the same name. Players choose Domini (houses of influence) in ancient Rome in a race to get the most influence (12 points) through gladiator combat, scheming and backstabbing. Turns consist of an Upkeep phase, Intrigue phase, Market phase, and Arena phase. The game play has a feel of the Game of Thrones LCG in ways, but adds miniature combat in the arena. A extremely solid game, but probably needs a few corrections with a second printing as somethings within the rulebook and cards are vague or are not covered. At $40, its a great deal, but currently only covers 4 players. An expansion was announced at GenCon, which is due out later this year, possibly expanding out to 5-6 players, some more Domini, and some more gladiators and slaves to keep your stables full!
As this is Gale Force 9's/ Battlefront's first attempt at a board game, I give it a 4 out of 5.
Along side of the Spartacus games in the miniatures hall, there was a 55,000 pt Warhammer 40,000 Apocalypse game getting set up.
Roughly 35,000 pts of Dark Angels marines versus the buggy Tyranids. Definitely one of the largest 40k games I had seen in quite a while, and it must have a been an evening game, since I was only able to catch the set-up, and huddles of what I can only assume were the players around those tables. Along those lines, I was able to catch a SUPER HULK game going, consisting of 4 Space Hulk boards.
That's an EPIC Space Hulk game, I still imagine that actual Space Hulks are even more complex and monstrous than this board depicts.
At this point, Fantasy Flight had the honors of selling out of their reprint of Richard Garfield's Netrunner card game (that only took 8 minutes after the doors opened on Thursday, a second shipment sold out as quick later in the weekend), and was having a strong showing with its X-Wing miniature game. The first time that Star Wars starfighters art true scale, TIE fighters are larger than X Wings, this game looks interesting to say the least ( I wish I had gotten a demo!). The Millennium Falcon, A Wings, and TIE Interceptors were previewed for future expansions, and judging from what I saw, X Wing is going to be a contender for my hard earned paychecks in the near future.
First off, Ron and Bones (Rum and Bones), it's originally a Spanish board game, but Cool Mini or Not has picked up the license and is in the process of converting it to a board/miniatures based skirmish game. While maintaining all the original miniatures from the Spanish release, including one of my favorites of the Con (seen above, a pirate with pig bombs, he blows up his enemies and then feasts on bacon and porkchops afterwards! mmmmmm bacon!) the rules are getting revised (they were poorly translated from Spanish and needed an update) and starters (including miniatures and some card-stock terrain) were hinted at. Rules are expected in a month or two, with games consisting anywhere from 2-6 models and ranging from 20-30 minutes. As for a rating, I will be waiting to get my hands on a copy of the revised rules before passing on a verdict....
Too soon to tell, but if things get hammered out right, this little skirmish game should see a spot in my collection!
Next up, SodaPop Miniatures' Relic Knights. While this one is currently in Kickstarter mode (with over 1,100 backers, $215,000+ of a $20,000 goal, and STILL 9 DAYS TO GO! WOOT WOOT!), I was able to get my hands on the rarely seen, demo rules *BONUS!*. A skirmish game, with a card drawing mechanic, as opposed to dice rolling. This should set the game apart from a lot of games, the only drawback for me is that it's based on colors, with me being color-blind, I would have to memorize the icons/ shapes to play this one. Rules seem light, if not confusing while doped up on bendryll (stupid allergies). SodaPop has done it again with wonderful miniatures that are unique with their anime feel.
After a solid year of sales and a second printing of Super Dungeon Explore, the Super Dungeon Explore's expansions debuted at GenCon this year. Dragon's Clutch, Caverns of Roxor, Rocktop Gang, and Fireflow Elements were available, along with the second Limited Edition hero, Princess Ruby.
If you haven't had a chance to play Super Dungeon Explore, the best thing I can compare it to, is old school Nintendo-era Gauntlet (heroes performing a dungeon crawl against insane amounts of enemies) in a Chibi anime style, it and the newly released Zombicide from Guillotine Games, another Cool Mini or Not affiliate have similiar play styles and both run around $100.
I highly recommend both Super Dungeon Explore and Zombicide with 4.5 out of 5!
Whew! That gets me through Saturday, not including the late night game sessions in the mini/card/ board gaming areas... Coffee anyone????
On to Sunday and WRATH OF KINGS!
Wrath of Kings is a 32mm scale skirmish game with 5 factions, the Teknes, the Hadross, the scarlett helmed Nasier, the oriental feeling Shael Han, and the vampire and lycanthrope inspired Goritsi. While definitely a skirmish game, with mainly individual model activation, in larger games you will need leaders whom can activate a group of warriors. The resin minis we had available for demos were of great quality and limited editions, although they had an issue with durability at the Con, a few broken pieces here and there, expect to see white metal minis in general release. Only demo rules were available here, so I can't go into too much depth, but plan on seeing a D10 combat system with combat results based on table printed on the back of each character's card. I would have loved a quick reference guide to the icons on the cards, to keep me from flipping through the demo rules for the first few runs. Minis are stunning, and if the rules stay true to the feel I was getting for the game, expect this one to be here for awhile! Rules due out soon, I will follow up as soon as I see them!
Too soon to tell, but expect a 4 or so out of 5.
And finally Dark Age! A dark, post Apocalypse setting on a distant planet. A skirmish game, with five current factions and multiple subfactions to choose from! Uses D20, where rolling low numbers is best, mechanics are fairly simple and intuitive. Bloody, quick combat is the theme here. I like the scatter dice mechanic, roll d20 and then figure out which way the top of the result is pointing. No extra templates, no funny scatter dice, plan and simple, like the game. I am planning on picking up a starter soon and look forward to get local guys going with a more consistant night.
Some friends stop over for a demo, thanks Dan and George!
Remaining Dark Age starters on Sunday afternoon!
Dark Age gets 4.5 out 5 for mechanics, a 4 out of 5 for faction themes and models (I am warming up to the mini line, but I think they are still pretty dark for my tastes!)
There you go, a wrap-up of my GenCon... looking forward to next year's Con, until then, happy gaming!