GenCon: Day One Overview

The first day of my first ever GenCon is over.  Feeling pretty zonked, but still wired enough to give a recap of the fun so far.

So here’s what I did today:

  • Got into the convention centre early to have a wander around and see what’s going on.  This is also how I spent most of my Wednesday, and it’s been a useful experience – working our where everything is becomes much harder when fifty thousand nerds are overrunning it.  This was also a fun opportunity to marvel at the terrain set up for the wargames tournaments (accompanied by a twinge of regret that I’m not competing in anything myself), and get our first sneak peaks at RPGs in progress.20140814_100540The first wave of the aforementioned fifty thousand nerds.
  • Fighting my way through The Horde that descended upon the main exhibit hall at 10am.  This area is BIG, and where I spent the majority of my day.  Very very tiring.  Even after 5-6 hours of browsing, there are still things I want to go back and do.  Nonetheless, I managed to pick up copies of the new Dark Heresy and Firefly RPGs, and a cheap second-hand copy of Pandora’s Book, the bestiary for Promethean: the Created.  I’m attending GenCon with my friend Louis, and I bought him a Captain America comic book; he bought me the X-Wing miniatures game, because he is lovely and doesn’t understand proportionate gift-giving.

20140814_132147

Prototypes of Fantasy Flight Games’ new Star Wars: Armada were available to demo: hopefully I’ll get a chance to try this later.

  • Listening to the fine folks at Evil Hat talk about their upcoming projects at their “State of the Hat panel”, starring about 15 to 20 game designers.  Getting a sneak peak at the progress on Dresden Accelerated and the Paranet Papers was pretty exciting, more so if you’re familiar with the Dresden Files RPG.  Most exciting for me was talking afterwards about Evil Hat’s upcoming re-release of Monster of the Week – apparently, as part of the company’s determination to “not just be those-Fate-guys”, they are maybe looking at branching out into making two more Powered by the Apocalyse in the future.  Thrilling as this news is, it’s still very early days – we’ll see what comes of this later…
  • Attended a really interesting seminar about presentations of hacking in fiction and how to represent it with more authenticity.  A lot of laughs were had at the expense of silly US police procedurals (including this legendary example), but what was most interesting is ideas for how to do better.  Mostly this was useful research for my long-running hard sci-fi Fate Core (formerly Diaspora) game, where some degree of accuracy is genre appropriate, and Louis is playing a hacker.  We had another seminar afterwards which was an introduction to indie RPGs, but Louis needed a break and I got there late.  I’ve learned that back-to-back seminars isn’t going to work unless they’re in the same building; GenCon is just too big for me to get from one side of the convention centre to the other without missing stuff.
  • Finally, I actually got to play a game at this gaming convention: a two-hour 13th Age session about love and weddings and de-petrification of dwarfs.  Lots of fun was had, and whilst seven players was TOO MANY PLAYERS, I thought our GM handled things very well considering.  This was my first taste of 13th Age, and so far I’m liking what I see, but a lot of what happened in combat went over my head so I’d probably need to play again before having an informed opinion.  Luckily I *am* playing it again on Sunday!

Tomorrow should involve less aimless wandering around and more running from event to event: a few seminars, a Night’s Black Agents game, and the Ennie awards ceremony.  Hope to provide an update afterwards!

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