GenCon 2016: Day Two

Halfway through the con and I’ve still not played any roleplaying games! No games of any kind in fact, except for yesterday’s Dresden Files co-op card game demonstration. This is something I’ll definitely be fixing tomorrow, and to be fair social considerations have taken up a big chunk of my Friday – including reuniting with an old friend that I’m delighted to see again after such a long time of separation.

In between that I’ve been doing some other cool GenCon things! We finished the hall and bought some new things – mostly gifts for other people, but I decided to grab myself a copy of Pixel Tactics too. I first discovered this game last year and loved it, and recently getting to play it again has reignited my love affair, so I’m glad to now have a copy that my girlfriend will have to play with me (right?).

I also got to sit in on another one of Matt Mercer’s Q&A sessions, this one on video game voice acting, which was just as enjoyable as yesterday. Though I did realise halfway through how much he reminded me of an ex-girlfriend, which was pretty weird.

Finally I got to sit in on the Shut Up and Sit Down live podcast, a hilarious and nostalgic look back on their last five years of work. As well as providing the perfect, cheerful note to end the day on, it was also very interesting to hear their perspective on today’s big announcement…

 

SPOTLIGHT: FANTASY FLIGHT GAMES PANEL

To be honest, I thought that most of Fantasy Flight Games‘ panel was pretty unremarkable this year. A lot of context for releases that were already announced in the last few weeks… nothing at all about roleplaying games… a few new ships coming for X-Wing and Armada, game lines now old enough that the interesting stuff has already been released (the exception being the upcoming Kylo Ren shuttle for X-Wing, which looks pretty badass). The new wave of releases for Imperial Assault look cool, that rancor model in particular, but even that’s not something I’m likely to be picking up myself.

And then…

rwm01_box_left

CEO Christian T Petersen announced the upcoming release of fantasy miniatures tabletop game RuneWars, and it looks like the game that’s going to eat Warhammer: Age of Sigmar for breakfast and end the complacency of the tabletop wargame market forever.

“A fantasy miniatures game. No-one’s ever done one of those before!” Petersen joked, before outlining exactly what their mechanical aspirations are. And, well, to contrast Age of Sigmar as an example…

  • RuneWars takes the locked trays, movement trackers and command dials developed over the last few years by X-Wing and Armada to create an easy to move and set-up wargame… whilst Age of Sigmar is still using the same YGIG, tape measure for ranges, roll-to-hit, roll-to-wound mechanical core that Warhammer has been stuck with for LITERALLY DECADES.
  • RuneWars will be releasing cheap, plastic miniatures at vaguely affordable prices… whilst Age of Sigmar is pricing itself out of the market with admittedly higher quality figures.
  • RuneWars will be plugging directly into FFG’s longstanding, robust organised play and competitive scene… whilst Age of Sigmar is alienating long-term fans by shunning competitive play almost entirely.
  • RuneWars is being released by a popular miniatures producer with a hardcore fanbase, financed by the business-astute Asmodee empire… whilst Age of Sigmar is played by people who hate the game’s parent company, and only continue to patronise it because they feel they have no real alternative for a fantasy wargame.

If there’s anything that will undermine RuneWars’ success, it’s this: NO-ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT TERRINOTH, the fantasy universe in which the game is set. But perhaps FFG will be taking steps to try and address this. Whilst celebrating the success of The Worlds of Android, Petersen remarked that they intended to release similar products for other IPs created by the company, and it’s difficult to imagine what this could refer to if not Terrinoth.

Regardless, this can expect to bring an end to the company’s long standing collaboration with Games Workshop. Perhaps this isn’t much of a surprise. Petersen dodged my question about the future of the 40K RPG line, but there’s certainly nothing announced in the pipeline. And Forbidden Stars is surely one of the most expandable products FFG have manufactured, but so far nothing has been forthcoming. And end of an era it seems, but perhaps the start of something greater…

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