Planet Comicon was very successful again this year. The crowd control was better. The main hall probably had more than last year (hard to tell), and the main stage was a huge upgrade in size and atmosphere. There was plenty of Star Wars, and the light saber dealer appeared to clean up, given the number of sabers seen around the con. The 501st, Rebel Legion, and other groups were attended, complete with photo-op dioramas and even a mock up of a Rebel snowspeeder.
The gaming hall was reconfigured, but otherwise similar to last year. There was a steady stream all day, with people checking out board games from the enormous Gamer's Haven Library, and scheduled events. The RPGKC ran the dungeon delve from both ends to a virtually unreachable point in the middle of the long tables. Player registration started too close to the con to get a lot of attention, especially since it was new this year. I think all of my sign-ups came on site, though the D&D Adventurers League did draw some players ahead of time.
I ran a session of Star Wars Age of Rebellion Rescue at Glare Peak, the Edge of the Empire Beginner Game, and Savage Worlds The Last Parsec. Saturday's tables were full, not so much on Sunday. Still, I talked with a few gamers that dropped by the table to see what the game was about. I had another player buy the Star Wars Dice App at the table, which is a semi-regular occurrence. A few were new to the game, others had tried it out, but still relatively new. Using the extra characters with Rescue worked well, even with a rotating cast of players through the session.
I've become pretty good at getting players through the Beginner Game in about an hour, though another 30 minutes wouldn't hurt. This works better with players that have at least a basic familiarity of the rules. There's a lot of glossing over details in the process, but it makes for a faster paced game. To speed things up, I usually cut the Imperial patrol completely, and I'm leaning towards skipping the spaceport control, but haven't yet. I had a couple of firsts: someone finally let the dewbacks loose as a distraction, and another group unexpectedly took the junk shop owner's droid with them. Of course, the droid did sneakily point out the hyperdrive part location to them as the Triumph reward for an otherwise failed Perception check, so they had more reason to take it than most.
I made it to a few panels. I saw the end of the Micheal Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Walking Dead) and Sean Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) which was fun, though very PG-13 despite Garret Wang's (Star Trek Voyager) concerted effort as the moderator to remind them there were kids around...
After that was the Carey Elwes panel, which was a whole different vibe. Whereas the last one was a bit rowdy and bawdy, Elwes brought a much more formal feeling to the show. He does a good impression of Andre the Giant, among others. Much of it was Princess Bride discussion, with some Robin Hood Men in Tights, and others. In fact, many of the audience questions were variations of "How was it to work on Princess Bride," including a kid at the end to finish it off.
Sam Witwer and Laura Vandervoort combined for a panel on Sunday. I managed a couple of brief conversations with Sam over the weekend, fit in between appearances and so on. He was surprised when he learned his assistant for the show has known me for a very long time. Then he learned she is an X-wing fan, and the conversation was on, as I was told. Sam did a Zoolander-style entry on the stage runway (it had one, presumably for the costume contest). The panel was a lot of fun and ranged across both of their work, some of which was together, such as Smallville.
Here's the Zoolander bit:
More videos and clips of the convention are available here.
Of course, another week brings another burst of Star Wars announcements. You've probably seen them, but just in case:
- The first standalone movie title was released - Rogue One - as well as the release date for Episode VIII.
- Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Marvel announcement.
- Star Wars: Aftermath novel set right after Jedi, to be penned by noted author and famously forthright writing career advisor Chuck Windig.
- Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars Imperial Assault, Armada, and card game details.
- Fantasy Flight Games has renewed their Star Wars license "for years to come," including Episode VII (news from the GAMA Trade show).
Here's the latest Armada news, from the GAMA Trade Show today (click through for more photos, including Imperial Assault:
And finally, d20 Radio has started a Patreon campaign to help pay for ongoing expenses.