Brumcg's Gen Con 2018 Report... RPG Flavored?
Bruce McG
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Gen Con 2018 is over?!?

Good time, and some big lessons learned this year.

Our Gen Cons are part convention, part vacation with friends. It will always be one of the highlights of my year.

Again this year earns a ? behind the title. Again, 2018 was more of a board game Gen Con than a RPG one. RPGs were certainly a factor though...
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1. Board Game: Rainbow Fish and Friends [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Rainbow Fish and Friends
Bruce McG
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The crew - once again - was Joe, Steve, Smooth, and Gary. Joe and Smooth are locals. Gary came from Texas while Steve and I made the short trip from the Cincy area.

Joe is a hardcore board gamer; Steve is more on the RPG side; I do both types of games; Smooth and Gary are casual gamers.

In the picture below, from lower left clockwise: Smooth, Joe, Gary, me, Steve. We're playing Wakening Lair.

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2. Board Game: All About Town: Indianapolis [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Board Game: All About Town: Indianapolis
Bruce McG
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Boiler plate from previous reports:

I love Indianapolis. They have embraced Gen Con. We attended two cons in Milwaukee, and it always seemed to us that they wished it would leave. Huh.

The media coverage is fantastic. The local businesses all cater to the con goers. They simply love our money, and we hear all the time that this is their favorite convention.

Every year there's a hue and cry that Gen Con needs to move from Indy after the contract expires in 2022. I know the Con has grown huge and even sold-out this year, but I think that's at least partly because of the location. I think it's a perfect storm.
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RPG Item: Tribulation of the Dead Volume 1: Hard Times at the Greybar Hotel
Bruce McG
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The JW has a new management team since 2017. It was instantly apparent.

The staff were not in costumes. It was hard to tell Gen Con was going on (well, other than all of the gamers). My interactions with the front desk were disappointing. Here's an example:

Quote:
Me: Hi, we were supposed to have a mini-fridge in our room. It isn't there.
Vitali: Did you request one today?
Me (flummoxed): I had requested one initially and then called last week to confirm that you had the request.
Vitali: But you didn't request one today?
Me (now annoyed): I didn't think that was necessary since I had requested it and confirmed it.
I'm pretty sure they were under instructions to deflect. Longer story short, I held my ground until he said he'd send up a damn fridge. When it arrived, it was the chitty-chitty-bang-bang of fridges. It worked okay for a couple of days and then froze everything.

The other room didn't get a fridge (waiting list) or an extra blanket (out - waiting list). The bar ran out of ingredients for the Frost Mage (a geek themed drink) at least two nights. High Velocity (sports bar) and the lobby bar were understaffed.

It wasn't the same.

But... they had a ballroom for open gaming, and that was awesome. That's where the picture was taken.
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4. RPG Item: Abandoned Parking Lot: Lot A [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: Abandoned Parking Lot: Lot A
Bruce McG
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I bought five days of parking through Gen Con at Gate Ten for $75. Most parking in and around the JW is $40/day.

The shuttles looked like a circus, but it was only a half-mile or so from the JW so I hoofed it. It was a swamp when I got there and a dust bowl when I returned, but for the savings I would do it again.
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5. Board Game: Game Auction [Average Rating:6.83 Unranked]
Board Game: Game Auction
Bruce McG
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I checked my stuff into the auction in less than 10 minutes. I wasn't sure what was happening at any point in time though!

I'll do a follow-up post about how I did. I opted to have a check mailed to me and have my unsold items donated. We'll see!
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6. Board Game: Goblin's Breakfast [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:9144]
Board Game: Goblin's Breakfast
Bruce McG
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The first game of Gen Con was Goblin's Breakfast which Gary brought. I'm cool with games like this, but they tend to not go over with the group.
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7. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:332]
Board Game: King of Tokyo
Bruce McG
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We then played two or three games of King of Tokyo - a group favorite for some quick games. Always fun.
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8. Board Game: Kingdomino [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:228] [Average Rating:7.35 Unranked]
Board Game: Kingdomino
Bruce McG
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Our plan on Wednesday night was to play Lords of Waterdeep (maybe Gary's favorite game), but Joe wasn't up to it. Steve, Gary, and I played three games of Kingdomino (Gary brought it). Um, I won all three. Not sure how that happened.

Smooth had a Thursday morning event, so he stood in the ridiculous Will Call line to pick up his tickets.
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9. Board Game: Bon Appetit: A Fine Dining Frenzy [Average Rating:6.62 Unranked]
Board Game: Bon Appetit: A Fine Dining Frenzy
Bruce McG
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Here's the food report:

The Eagle - Becoming a tradition! Corn nuts! thumbsup
MacNivens - Scottish pub where I had haggis for the first time. Loved it! Also had an intense Islay; everyone tasted it (and hated it except me). Good times. Great service! thumbsup
Burger Study - Part of the St. Elmo's chain. Great. Expensive. thumbsup
Rathskeller - German place. Quantity over quality IMO. So much food wasted. Also, drama (see below). thumbsdown

I ate lunch every day at the hotel. Not great but convenient.

We also had cocktails Wednesday at The Ball and Biscuit. Cool place. Interesting menu, but I stuck with a couple of Margaritas.
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10. RPG Item: Battle Maps MODERN: Rodney's Cocktail Lounge [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
RPG Item: Battle Maps MODERN: Rodney's Cocktail Lounge
Bruce McG
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My cocktail of the weekend was the JW's Blood Orange and Basil Margarita although I don't think it was served the same way twice. I'm happy to report that the Islay Daquiri was not on the menu.

I'm also happy to report that I didn't over-order. Yay.
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11. Board Game: Symphony of Pain [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Symphony of Pain
Bruce McG
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Man, we're getting old.

The ailments piled up: shoulders, backs, hips, headaches. Um, digestive issues.

On Friday morning, it took at least a half-hour for me to get my legs working properly. I felt like the kid below hit me with her bat.

I'm sure this will improve in future years, right?!?

From gallery of brumcg
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12. Board Game: Cash Flow [Average Rating:4.93 Overall Rank:19205]
Board Game: Cash Flow
Bruce McG
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The Exhibit Hall is bananas in all ways good and bad. It's a spectacle. It's crowded. No one is paying attention to their surroundings. There's so much cool stuff.

I have the same complaint each year. The flow is just awful. Huge, weirdly shaped booths create blind alleys. This year seemed worse. I would not be surprised if there were booths that I missed. I saw one for the first time on my last pass through the hall.

My ridiculous method for making sure I don't miss much is to keep repeating the aisle number as I make my way through the hall. 600, 600, 600 as I go around the huge CMON booth. Hopefully I'm not saying it out loud!
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13. RPG Item: Pulp Cthulhu [Average Rating:8.44 Overall Rank:199]
RPG Item: Pulp Cthulhu
Bruce McG
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One of my early stops was at the Chaosium booth. I wanted to look at Pulp Cthulhu and Down Darker Trails.

I liked what I saw and then noticed the prices. Most of the time at Gen Con you are paying full MSRP. Chaosium had nice discounts on all of their books. So I picked up this...
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14. RPG Item: Down Darker Trails [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:2632]
RPG Item: Down Darker Trails
Bruce McG
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and this...
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15. RPG Item: Keeper Rulebook [Average Rating:8.69 Overall Rank:12]
RPG Item: Keeper Rulebook
Bruce McG
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and this.

Whoa. Three books are heavy!
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16. RPG Item: Dice [Average Rating:9.02 Unranked]
RPG Item: Dice
Bruce McG
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Thinking that we were going to play an RPG on Friday, I picked up some dice. I paid too much, but I really dug the green and yellow Cthulhu themed dice.

Wow. I'm spending money!

External image
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17. Board Game: On The First Day of Christmas [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: On The First Day of Christmas
Bruce McG
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Other Thursday notes:

I looked at Modern AGE: Basic Rulebook a few times. It looks very good, and I'll put it on my wishlist. I wish it wasn't level based, but you can't have everything.

I talked to a person at the C7 booth. There was nothing new there for The One Ring, and she had never heard of The Laughter of Dragons. Hrm. She also told me that Moria will be a Kickstarter.

I got the pitch regarding Phoenix: Dawn Command Box Set. Interesting, but not for me.

I looked at Mythic D6 Revised & Expanded. It didn't grab me enough to pick it up there. I think the art style threw me off.

I ended up passing on the Elderwood Academy dice boxes and towers. They are very cool, but I don't know how useful they would be.

Tower of Madness was high on my list heading into Gen Con. I talked myself out of it. I think every time I saw it, someone accidentally bumped the tower and dice fell out. I'm pretty clumsy.

I had a nice conversation at the Mantic Games booth about Hellboy: The Board Game (which I backed). Looks great. Also disappointed that the Dreadball 2E rulebook was $40.

I considered Drop It for purchase several times during the con. A check-in with my wife changed my mind (see below). Gary did end up buying it.

My Little Scythe looks great. I didn't pick it up, but it's firmly on my family wish list.

Spy Club is another one that looks good and stays on the wish list.
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18. Board Game: The Reckoners [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:995]
Board Game: The Reckoners
Bruce McG
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I'll be honest. I was pretty tired when Joe plopped down The Reckoners for us to play. It was so... big.

I went in with low expectations. It took awhile to get things straight. By mid-game, it started to click.

We barely won...although we might not have had everything completely right. I'm counting it!

I'd play again when not-so-tired. I'd probably rate it about a 7.
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19. Board Game: Hero Realms [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:211]
Board Game: Hero Realms
Bruce McG
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This was not on my radar at all. I think I confused this company with another; I thought we had played Star Realms, but that's not the case.

I got a good pitch from someone at the booth and after walking away decided to do a demo. Score. This will be great for Steve and me.

I picked up the base game, all of the character packs, the box/sleeves, and...
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20. Board Game: Hero Realms: The Ruin of Thandar Campaign Deck [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
Board Game: Hero Realms: The Ruin of Thandar Campaign Deck
Bruce McG
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this as well.

I have high hopes!
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21. Board Game: Sagrada [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:154]
Board Game: Sagrada
Bruce McG
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At some point, I decided to get a game for the family. I checked in with my wife, and she picked Sagrada. After watching videos, she greatly prefers it to Azul.

So I picked up Sagrada and...
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22. Board Game: Sagrada: 5-6 Player Expansion [Average Rating:7.72 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.72 Unranked]
Board Game: Sagrada: 5-6 Player Expansion
Bruce McG
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this.

Bonus: the group does want to play it.
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23. Board Game: Return to Dark Tower [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:9473]
Board Game: Return to Dark Tower
Bruce McG
United States
Lawrenceburg
Indiana
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I forgot about this news that dropped while we were at Gen Con.

The original Dark Tower was a key element of my early Geek life. I loved the damn thing. I always regretted giving it to my cousins and never seeing it again. That had nothing to do with the monetary value - just pure nostalgia.

I always knew Restoration Games was heading in this direction. I can't wait.
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24. Board Game: Friday [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:428]
Board Game: Friday
Bruce McG
United States
Lawrenceburg
Indiana
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Other Exhibit Hall notes from Friday...

I checked out The Witcher early in the day. They were allocating each day and it had sold out on Thursday. High production values. Steve waffled and then picked it up.

I saw Fragged Seas on Thursday at the IGDN booth - not Modiphius - but all four copies were shrink wrapped. I asked on Friday if they could open one up and eventually they did (they were super nice about it). This... is a weird one. I'm intrigued but not enough to pull the trigger. I'll wish-list it and keep my eyes open.

I saw someone with That's Pretty Clever! and got excited... but they had purchased online from Germany. Ah, I can wait.

On Friday Steve and I stopped at the IGDN booth to look at Beyonder. It caught me off-guard. I thought I had never heard of it before. For an "indie" game, it has some nice production values. It turns out that I had seen it previously and wrote about it in a What's New? article. Huh.
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25. RPG: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (4th Edition) [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:138]
RPG: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (4th Edition)
Bruce McG
United States
Lawrenceburg
Indiana
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This goes down as a giant mea culpa.

I was hesitant about the event we had scheduled for Friday. I decided to scout the Thursday events to see if I could gain some confidence. The early afternoon event... I couldn't find the game being played in the room. The late afternoon event... I was sitting at the table next to the scheduled table. No one showed up. I went around the rest of the room and didn't see a WFRP event. WEIRD.

So we canceled. I kind of assumed the event had been canceled, but it was still active in the catalog.

On Friday morning I was in the Starbucks line and struck up a conversation with the dude in front of me. Small world, he tried to get in one of the WFRP events with a generic, but someone showed up at the last second. WHAT? I even confirmed that I had been in the correct room. By that time, I couldn't herd the cats to change course.

Another regret... no one went to the Graeme Davis seminar. We were toast.
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