GenCon 2002 was the final occurance of the fabled game industry event in Milwaukee. While most Milwaukee vendors expressed regret about the convention's departure, a homeless guy walking past me on the street told me "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out."
On that note, here's the images (the links on the right) and news we managed to capture from GenCon 2002. Hopefully our internet access situation will improve at GenCon Indy next year.
News from GenCon 2002:
ENnies Award Winners Announced
On a stage near the donut vendor and the miniatures gaming room (pointing out again how inadequate this convention center has become for GenCon's purposes), the first annual EN World d20 System Awards (or "ENnies") were doled out before a crowd of industry members and gamers. Not too surprisingly, WotC came up the dominant winner. Here's the award winners, in the order they were announced:
Best Adventure: If Thoughts Could Kill (Malhavoc Press)
Best Rules Supplement: Manual of the Planes (WotC)
Best Setting: Oriental Adventures (WotC)
Best d20 Game: Call of Cthulhu (WotC)
Best Setting Supplement: Freeport: City of Adventure (Green Ronin Publishing
Best Aid or Accessory: Dungeon Magazine/Polyhedron (WotC)
Best Free Product or Web Enhancement: Portable Hole Full of Beer (Ambient)
Best Fan Cartography: Freeport: City of Adventure (Green Ronin Publishing
Best Fan Resource Site: Star Wars RPG Network
Best Fan Campaign Site: Conan d20
Best Official Website: Wizards.com
Best Monster Supplement: Creature Collection 2 ((Sword & Sorcery)
Best Graphic Design & Layout: Call of Cthulhu d20 (WotC)
Best Cover Art: Lord of the Iron Fortress (WotC)
Best Interior Art: Deities & Demigods (WotC)
Best Publisher: Wizards of the CoastRyan Dancey, who served as MC for much of the ceremony, was also given an award by Peter Adkison for his role in thinking up the whole d20 System in the first place.
Game of Powers at GenCon
Hogshead Publishing was proudly displaying both Nobilis, the world's first coffee table RPG, and The Game of Powers, live-action rules for the Nobilis game. James Wallis was proudly showing the company's wares, and provided general estimates on the amount of beer the crowd put back at the Diana Jones Awards ceremony a few nights night before. But I've sworn not to repeat the staggering amount, so mum's the word here.
Fast Forward Speeds Along
Fast Forward Entertainment has a variety of new products selling like hotcakes at the show. Orcfest is an introductory d20 adventure that helps guide new players into the vast realms of adventure ahead. The new issues of Campaign and Games Unplugged were lurking in the booth as well, and the Encyclopedia of Demons & Devils: Volume 2 arrived fresh from the printer on the second day of the con. Like its predecessor, Volume 2 is packed with nasty beasts and great illustrations, and is a big thick book capable of crushing small animals. Also, the dice game Inning-A-Minute: Baseball was making a fair showing, and looked like a potential winner with sports enthusiasts. The game requires players to select their dice to roll according to what play they'd like to attempt, match up the results and go with whatever comes up most. Football and Basketball versions will follow soon.
New Releases Slowly Lurching Forth at Pagan
I gave Pagan Publishing a hard time about the continually-upcoming The Hills Rise Wild supplement, The Reanimated. According to Pagan, the set is ready, entirely done, but stock market changes have... delayed funding. The current estimate is to release the set by Christmas, unless someone with cash to spare wants to step up and chip in. Pagan is also plugging away at Delta Green D20, a sure sell, which is also targeting a Christmas season release. The shelves weren't bare, though, as The Resurrected III: Out of the Vault is freshly released for GenCon. This book "resurrects" ten Call of Cthulhu scenarios from the earliest issues of The Unspeakable Oath. If you don't quite remember the other volumes in the Resurrected series, that's probably because they came out in the mid '90s.
Eden Finds Paradise At GenCon
The premiere of Eden Studios' Buffy: The Vampire-Slayer RPG is going great guns: of the 14,000 print run, half were sold on preorder, outdoing Decipher's Lord of the Rings RPG. The stock here at GenCon may not last through Sunday, so if you're here or plan to be, get yours fast. Next up for Eden is the September releases of the Director's Screen for Buffy, and Unseen Hand, the Black Book sourcebook for Conspiracy X. Then October will be even busier, bringing us the Terra Primate RPG, Pulp Zombies for AFMBE and a new zombie story anthology, the Book of More Flesh.
Citizen Games Harasses OgreCave Reporter
Michael and Rob of Citizen Games tried to influence my posts while at GenCon (they got online from the computer next to me at the convention center). I resisted their offers of cash, and had already received Sidewinder and the new Masterscreen: Customizable GM Screen before the subject of bribery even came up. So the post they asked for, stating simply "Citizen Games Rox!" in two inch high letters, will not come to pass. However, I'll tell you that several companies are working on PDF GM screens to print and use with Masterscreen, including Bastion Press, Gold Rush Games, Grey Ghost Press, Living Room Games, Otherworld Creations, Paradigm Concepts, Tyranny Games, and Wingnut Games.
Dungeoneer should be out around November, despite the official page still saying March '02. Way of the Witch is due in a couple of weeks, and the Citizen Games booth was proudly displaying cover art for Path of the Magi, scheduled for a December release. I also had a look at an upcoming project the company has in the works, but I ain't tellin' you until I get the go-ahead.
Spell Decks, Other Printings From Paradigm
Let's face it: TSR's old spell decks were a good idea gone horribly wrong. Paradigm Concepts has a new attempt at easy reference spell cards with three sets of Spell Decks : Mysteries of the Arcane (arcane spells), Blessings of the Divine (divine spells), and Songs of the Wild (spells for rangers, druids and bards). Each set contains 360 spell cards covering the range of core D&D3e books, plus a sprinkling of selections from Green Ronin, Twin Crowns and Ambient Press. Mastery of the Mind, a set of cards for psionic powers, is ready to go to print, but until the WotC corrects the admitted oversight in the SRD, psionic power descriptions are off limits. Paradigm expects to go to press shortly, though. Additionally, the company's website will soon have a PDF available of the metamagic feat cards, which can be printed and clipped to the appropriate spells.
Paradigm's latest releases were on display at GenCon: Carnival of Swords, a supplement for the Living Arcanis RPGA campaign, Forged In Magic, which fully details 417 new mystic items, and Lords of the Peaks: The Essential Guide to Giants, which combines efforts with Green Ronin Publishing's Hammer & Helm dwarves supplement. While I didn't hear the outcome of the Living Arcanis Assault Upon the Gate of Tears tournament, Paradigm president Henry Lopez told me that several tables were running the event, so it's a good thing Paradigm brought additional RPGA judges.
Coming up for Paradigm are two Races of Legend supplements, Eldest Sons and Unveiled Masters. Both will take advantage of the OGL Interlink with Green Ronin to double the pleasure, double the fun. Paradigm's Eldest Sons: The Essential Guide to Elves will pair up with GR's Wrath & Rage: A Guidebook to Orcs and Half-Orcs, while Unveiled Masters: The Essential Guide to Mind Flayers will intertwine with GR's Plot & Poison: A Guidebook to Drow.
Of Anti-Feats and Dwarves
Kenzer & Company had one of the nice big booths at the front of the GenCon exhibit hall. There was a long, winding table that displayed the various product lines from Fairy Meat to Hackmaster, and the traditional doodle wall, of course. The Villain Design Handbook for d20 was selling well, and when I learned of the "anti-feats" concept introduced therein (think flaws from GURPS, or hindrances from Deadlands), I was mildly tempted to pick one up. Of course, I've been wondering why someone didn't do this sooner, so it would've been more an informational purchase than a "Dear god, I've got to have it!!" But I was pulled away by the sight of a boardgame being shown off near the doodle wall called Dwarven Dig. Coming in Spring '03, the game touted itself as the "hard hitting, cave-smashing, grit-digging game of dwarves," and several gamers were deeply engrossed in the experience. I'll have to watch for that one, anti-feats or no.
Jeseret Marches to the Beat of Multiple Drummers
Just who is Jeseret Games? Well, it's a british company that was in the back right corner of the GenCon exhibit hall showing off Magical Arena. The game pits CCG players against wargamers in both skirmish miniatures and card game formats, simultaneously. Of course, the cards and minis can play separately, but why not take advantage of the opportunity to prove gaming superiority across game types? Yes, there are booster packs, and many cards have a corresponding miniature to use (if not, players can use the small plastic stands to hold the cards upright). Magical Arena isn't available in the States just yet, but with an idea like this, it shouldn't be long.
Unlocking New Map Tools With Skeletonkey
Skeletonkey Games seemed to have fallen off my radar for a few months, but was out at GenCon pushing new items. Primary among these is Campaign Construction Paper, which is exactly what it sounds like: 20 sheets of paper made to look like gaming terrain, with movement squares built into the design. Ever wanted to cut out a random shape to have it represent the map? That's exactly what Skeletonkey's counting on. The first set, Caverns, will be out in early January 2003, and retail for $6.50.
Skeletonkey had some competition in the magnetic dungeon tile market this year, as Carnivorous Plant Games made its debut a mere two aisles away. CPG claimed to be "a little more durable," while Skeletonkey was stating, "You can write on ours." Which would I choose? Uh-uh, I'm not getting into this one. "My name's Paul, and this is between y'all."