GenCon: Day Two Overview

Now at the halfway point for GenCon and starting to understand how this convention thing works.  Today was a day of many seminars, but this was actually the relaxed version, once I realised yesterday that doing everything back-to-back just wasn’t going to work.  Here’s what I settled for:

  • Seminar 1 was on Cognitive Biases in Gaming and how human logical fallacies (and a solid misunderstanding of mathematics) leads to players make “wrong” choices, and how we can present information differently to prevent players from doing so.  Interesting stuff, probably most useful for actual game designers, but some of it will be applicable for GMing as well.
  • Seminar 2 was the Fantasy Flight Games seminar.  This was SLICK.  I like the unrehearsed informality of smaller game companies’ presentations, but it’s still impressive to see how the Big Boys do things (they had Power Point and everything!).  Lots of exclusive announcements here regarding Eldritch Horror, X-Wing and the upcoming Star Wars: Armada; all of these updates have now been released onto the Fantasy Flight website.  The most exciting news for me was the announcement of Imperial Assault – it’s basically Descent, but with Star Wars miniatures, and a different mode for 1v1 competitive play.  It can alternately be described as a license for FFG to print money.  Sadly we had to leave before the Q&A to make it to the next seminar.  I would have loved to ask what the future of the 40K RPG line was beyond the new Dark Heresy, but for now that remains a mystery.

20140815_170806An AT-ST for the new Imperial Assault miniatures game.  Without a size comparison, because I’m an idiot.

  • Seminar 3 was Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff live.  It was precisely as insightful and funny as anyone who has heard the podcast before would expect.  Man these guys know their stuff.
  • Finally I got to game again!  This time it was a four hour Night’s Black Agents game… that finished in two and a quarter hours.  Bit of a weird one this – our team of ice cold professionals were hired to get a package to a target, realised we were about to meet the target in a location teaming with zombies, and decided to call up our contact and arrange to meet somewhere else instead.  Thus triggering the immediate end of the scenario.  I guess it’s good that we weren’t railroaded into the final encounter, but I guess I expected a countermeasure for this eventuality?  Anyway, this early finish gave me time to get back to the exhibition hall, visit the Indie Press Revolution booth (buying Becoming, Microscope and a Noteboard) and demoing the beta for Force and Destiny, the third game in Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars RPG trilogy.
  • We ended the day with the Ennies award ceremony.  Very exciting to see so many distinguished game developers in attendance here.  I guess I would have liked to mingle and talk to them, but it didn’t seem the appropriate occasion for fanboy-gushing, which would probably have been all I had to say to them.  We skipped out on the second half of the ceremony, so I could go home and prepare for the game I’m running tomorrow, but I’m glad that we went so I could see the show at least once.  The Ennies Twitter account has now announced all the results – I’m sad to see Fate Core miss out on the Gold for Product of the Year, but I’ve not played Numenera, so who am I to say it’s not the more deserving winner.

Fewer, longer events tomorrow, with more actual gaming: a sneak peak of the new Feng Shui, my own Paranoia: High Programmers game, and an evening tournament of The Resistance.  Wish me luck!

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