Star Wars Wednesday - Gen Con 2016

Last week brought another successful Gen Con, with around 60,000 gamers packing the convention center and surrounding hotels in downtown Indianapolis. The dealer hall expanded yet again, and the show extended all the way into Lucas Oil Stadium. Despite some early concerns, I got through without straining an Achilles tendon, though I did cut down on the walking some. Fantasy Flight Games that several major Star Wars boardgame and card game announcements. My product Age of Rebellion Forged in Battle was released at the show, and should be available in stores soon if not already.

Gen Con is always fun, and it's great to see old friends and meet a few new ones. I ran games for Fantasy Flight each day from 10 to 2. I mostly around the Edge of the Empire adventure, though I did run a form of the Force and Destiny adventure on Sunday. I hadn't expected to, so some last-minute prep and discussion with others who ran an earlier was in order. Fortunately, the setting was the Acablas ruins I designed for Nexus of Power, so I had that going for me.

It had been a while since I ran some convention games prepared by someone else. It's a good thing to do from time to time, because you realize where your own games could be improved from the comparison. Notably, the Edge of the Empire adventure had a lot of time remaining cues, which kept it largely on track by at least letting me know when I ran long in one section. I could then adapt the next section accordingly. I still had to adapt the final scenes for a shorter time frame, but I was able to keep the spirit of the last encounter, if not all of the details.

Most of the tables I ran had at least one player new or relatively new to the game. I did have one entire table of newcomers, so that's always nice to see. For future reference, if trying to get into one of these games and they are sold out ahead of time, bring a few generic tickets to the room because there is often at least one table and usually several with openings from no-shows. I think I had only one entirely full table the entire time.

With so much time allotted to running during the day, I didn't run any pickup games this year. The 10 to 2 slot is a sizable chunk of time, so I had to fit everything else in around it. The number of seminars I attended was greatly reduced compared to prior years as a result. I attended a couple on digital tools like Realm Works, including the future of D&D in digital, as envision an experienced by some of the current licensees (Lone Wolf Development, Fantasy Grounds, DriveThru RPG, Syrinscape, d20pro). 

One seminar that I was very late to was thankfully recorded so I can track it down at some point. It was a history of D&D/Gary Gygax panel hosted by Gen Con and previous Wizards of the Coast owner Peter Atkinson. It featured a number of D&D historians and writers, including Mike Witwer, author of Empire of Imagination. Readers of this blog might recognize he is the brother of the actor Sam Witwer. I got a chance to talk briefly with Mike afterwards. The other authors names escape me at the moment, but I'll try and update this blog post in the future when I can listen to the seminar.

Fantasy Flight Games announced and/or released a number of new Star Wars expansions and titles.

Fantasy Flight also put together a short feature highlighting their new releases and preview demos:

I also saw the most incredible Battle of Endor set up I've ever seen at Gen Con, or anywhere else. Hosted by HMGS Midwest, it used pieces from just about every major Star Wars miniatures game produced in the last 10 years or so. The fleets consisted of capital ships from WotC's starship combat game and fighters from Armada. The ground troops were made up of WotC's Star Wars Miniatures. They even built a little replica of the throne room out of Legos, and I saw a few Star Wars Risk cards on the table. I didn't want to interrupt the game, so I didn't get any details other than what I could see, but I'll try to follow it up later on if I can track down the organizers.

There was much more of course, but all in all, another good year and a great deal of fun.