Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gen Con 2010 Report

The semester is over, which means I have a chance to write a post-Gen Con report.

The Good

Attendance appeared to be up, from the crowds I saw. All of the publisher reports that I have read said that sales were good, and the con officially broke the 30,000 attendees mark. Very good news, indeed.

I was able to see just about everything that I wanted to and pick up the items I was most interested in. I also found a few surprises.

My main goal was to get a copy of Shadow, Sword & Spell at the show. Their booth was my first stop, and I had my copy signed by one of the authors. They took my name and email address and I got the PDF of the book by email two days later. $12 for print and PDF -- bonus! Rogue Games is building more online support for the game and really pushing customer service.

I found a copy of Villainy Amok for half-price at Chimera Hobby Shop's booth. This is Hero Games' sourcebook of seven classic superhero scenarios, packed with dozens of variations on each. I've wanted this book for quite a while. The plots and story ideas can be lifted and dropped into almost any genre of RPG. I've had a certain one of these in mind since the start of the Freeport campaign, so the book will be used!

BoardGameGeek wins the Diana Jones Award! Very well-deserved!

In all my years of gaming, I've never owned any Gamescience dice. I could hardly call myself a goober without owning some of Col. Zocchi's precision-edge dice. I found a good deal on one of their "Color Explosion" sets. It includes 12 different dice -- translucent, opaque, glow-in-the-dark, all different colors and sizes -- the usual seven, plus some odd ones, including a d20 marked 1-10 twice and a d16. I think these are overstock and/or seconds. Two of the colors are discontinued, and a couple have gouges where the usual mold flash would be. They will all need some sanding, but it's still a good deal for $6.

The booth that is alternately labeled "Adventure Gaming Retail" and "Cthulhiana Corner", Steve Jackson Games and Atlas Games' Gen Con presence, had all of the usual good stuff. DV and I think that they moved last year's regular-priced GURPS books into the 3-For-$10 section this year. It sure seemed that way to us. We went in together on the 3-For-$10 deal and I walked away with GURPS 3rd. Ed. Compendium II and Suppressed Transmission 2, two more books I've wanted for a long time.

On Sunday we finally got to the Paizo booth, and I looked around for any of the Planet Stories series. The selection was sparse (they needed the room for Pathfinder, of course), with the latest in the series and...several copies of Robert E. Howard's Almuric, one of the first books they published. I hadn't picked it up yet (I'm far behind), so now, finally, I have a reading copy of this novel. And I love that cover.

As I mentioned to D., based on the booths at the show and the attendees in costume, I'm calling it: Steampunk is the new Goth. Not that I mind...

The Bad

Another book on my list was Hamlet's Hit Points, Robin Laws' new book on story beat analysis in RPGs, using the plots of Hamlet, Dr. No and Casablanca. I saw it on the table at Adventure Gaming Retail once, Friday afternoon, but then copies were scarce. I missed out on the book and getting it signed. Next year...

When I got back home, I discovered that I didn't get the commemorative d6 in the free swag bag. DVO and Mrs. Kaiju didn't get one either. It appears to have been a widespread problem. I emailed Crystal Caste but they were completely out. Not a big thing, but I do like collecting the dice.

White Wolf's "booth". Really?

It wasn't until after I already purchased Villainy Amok that I spotted it on Chimera's Buy-One-Get-Three-Free shelf, along with various Freeport books that I could have used and the reprint Judges Guild d20 books.

I spent more on food than on gaming goodies, and that includes Mrs. Kaiju's blue anime wig.

I don't mind the cos-players, the more con attendees the better -- they are helping to subsidize the stuff that I like. However, I don't know if it's necessary to wear a costume that takes up a lot of space for the entire weekend. I usually enjoy walking through the con center, but this is the first time I found myself walking outside so that I could move from one end to the other at a standard walking pace.

Speaking of space... the convention center expansion looks nearly finished. This is going into the area where the RCA Dome sat. I'm hoping that having this extra floorspace available will help to spread out the con in a more reasonable way. Many of the events have been farmed out to the hotels. It would be nice to have more of the con held under the convention center roof, yet also giving us room for everyone and their massive cos-play props.

Soon, some photos.

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