By Christopher Helton
So, Gen Con happened, and then my computer broke. It has a been a busy couple of days here at the convention, but because of my computer issues, the articles won’t be day by day like they were last year. It has been a busy convention, and one that has been full of highs and lows.
One of the best high points to report is that everyone that I have talked to has been busy. Publisher Green Ronin Publishing sold out of their new releases on the first day of the convention. The semi-generic Fantasy AGE fantasy RPG, and the first supplement for it, co-written by Wil Wheaton and Green Ronin’s Chris Pramas sold out within a few hours, and staff had to drive up to a Ft. Wayne warehouse to restock for the rest of the convention. It has been selling fairly steadily since then.
The big announcement has to be the new licenses announced by Pinnacle Entertainment Group: they will produce Savage Worlds-based games based on the Fear Agent comic from Rick Remender, Tony Moore and Jerome Opeña, the Goon comic by Eric Powell and a Flash Gordon game. No details were released yet for any of these games, but the announcement of the Flash Gordongame was accompanied by the music of Queen.
One of the low points was issues coming out of a controversial Creating Comics For Women panel. Much like at the last Denver Comic-Con, the first wave of controversy was due to the fact that the panel only featured male creators. As first announced, the panel would be Bill WIllingham, Gene Ha, Chris Roberson, Jim Zub and Darryl Gregory. When this was pointed out on Twitter and the Mary Sue website, Gen Con organizers made changes, and added women creators to the panel. Controversy then arose again panel moderator Willingham repeated spoke over female panel members and audience memebers, as well as other acts of insensitivity and rudeness. I wasn’t at the panel (I couldn’t find the location of it in the program guide), but reports coming out of it have been troublesome. I have reached out to some of the panel members for comment, but at the time of this writing have not received a response.
The ENnie Awards managed to pull themselves out of the slump from the earlier controversy of nominating an unlicensed, copyright infringing fan product for the awards. As could be expected, the big winner of the night was Wizards of the Coast, with various of the core rules and supplements for the new edition of D&D winning multiple awards. The Strange RPG from Monte Cook Games also won a number of awards. The shocker of the awards was Zak Smith’s A Red & Pleasant Land, published by Finnish small press publisher Lamentations of the Flame Princess, winning 2 gold and 2 silver ENnies, including Best Writing and Best Setting.
In addition to the Green Ronin books mentioned above, I also saw some great new games from Atlas Games, Robin D. Laws’ Feng Shui 2 and the gorgeous Heroquest: Glorantha book from Moon Design.
The shocking news of the convention was the announcement that the principles of Moon Design, who have produced the Heroquest books, as well as the Guide To Glorantha (which on Wednesday night won the DIana Jones Award for excellence in gaming), would be taking over as the principles of Chaosium Press, working with Chaosium creator Greg Stafford, and Call of Cthluhu creator Sandy Petersen.
Here are some pictures from the first two days of Gen Con:
On the non-RPG front, Green Ronin also released their party game, Love 2 Hate, a more family-friendly game in the style of games like Cards Against Humanity and Steve Jackson Games released the Car Wars card game. I had the chance to demo both of these, and they were both fast paces and fun. We played a four player game of Cars Wars in about 15 minutes that unfortunately ended with my losing (I had to eject my driver from the car to avoid a missile killing it). Love 2 Hate was an interesting game too, and something that will be fun for people of all ages at parties. I’m going to need to play this a bit more than just a demo before I can talk about it more fully, but it made for an interesting demo.
More pictures and information on the rest of the convention to come tomorrow, but first some important swag from the show. Also, I have some interviews and follow up stories from the convention that will roll out over the next few weeks.
Christopher Helton is a blogger, podcaster and tabletop RPG publisher who talks about games and other forms of geekery at the long-running Dorkland! blog. He is also the co-publisher at the ENnie Award winning Battlefield Press, Inc. You can find him on Twitter at @dorkland and on G+ at https://plus.google.com/+ChristopherHelton/ where he will talk your ear off about gaming and comics.