Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Tag

Used Game Sale at Imperial Outpost in Glendale, Arizona   3 comments

It was his party.

It was his party. Darren Johnson, the man in charge.

 

On Saturday morning around 11 a.m. I packed up a bunch of Tunnels & Trolls stuff and some Shadowrun stuff and went to Imperial Outpost game store on 49th Avenue and Thunderbird. A big game swap meet was planned for that location and time. Actually, it started at 10, but I didn’t get going that fast, and I should have. Earlier might have been better.

There were a lot of people at the Imperial Outpost–probably the greatest gamers in the western part of the city. I only know a couple of them by name.  I got a table. I set up my merchandise. I took some pictures. Here they are.

The stuff I wanted to sell.

The stuff I wanted to sell.

 

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Jason Youngdale, just about the only friend I had in the place.

Jason Youngdale, just about the only friend I had in the place.

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However, there was minimal interest in my merchandise, and I didn’t sell a thing in about 2 hours.  It would have been much more fun just to go as a customer. Sometimes the magic works; sometimes it doesn’t.

I took this selfie just to prove I was really there.

I took this selfie just to prove I was really there.

 

A lot of people had a good time at this sale. Darren says he’ll do it again next January. I think he’s missing a bet, and should do it once a month. He’s charging a small fee for table space, and getting a lot of people into his game store–win/win.

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If you like to go to swap meets, or ever picked up games on the cheap, why not leave a comment?

–end

Origins 2014–Lots of banners   Leave a comment

I spent June 10 to June 16 in Columbus, Ohio for this year’s Origins convention. It was a good convention for the gamers and merchants–nothing memorable for me. There really wasn’t much in the way of hall costumes. So, this year I’m devoting the blog record to the merchants and the signs that marked their booths.

 

I’m just gonna show some of the best booth banners and maybe a few other things that justified a photo.

 

Looking at the main concourse lobby on Wednesday morning befor the crowds arrived.

Looking at the main concourse lobby on Wednesday morning before the crowds arrived.

 

A distinctive feature of the convention center is this gigantic staircase that is seven aisles wide–three escalators in the center and two wide stairways on either side. When I felt strong, I climbed the stairs, averaging about 5 flights of stairs per day.

The Exhibitor's Hall before anyone gets set up.

The Exhibitor’s Hall before anyone gets set up.

 

HackMaster was just across the aisle from Flying Buffalo. Dave Kenzer is standing by the HackMaster Banner. I just wish Tunnels & T rolls had a banner like this.

HackMaster was just across the aisle from Flying Buffalo. Dave Kenzer is standing by the HackMaster Banner. I just wish Tunnels & Trolls had a banner like this.

 

Jolly Blackburn, creator/artist/writer of the Knights of the Dinner Table comic book poses heroically.

Jolly Blackburn, creator/artist/writer of the Knights of the Dinner Table comic book poses heroically.

 

My friend, Jolly, personifies all that is best about gamers at Origins. This is the single nicest guy in gaming, even nicer than me, and I’m as easygoing and friendly as you could ever wish. Jolly is better.

Here begins the great banners of Origins.

Here begins the great banners of Origins.

 

I’m not going to comment on most of the banners.

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I told these guys I expected some tribute because I’m the Trollgod, but it didn’t happen. They even stole my acronym, T&T.

 

Heh, I'm using this cartoon as my background on Facebook right now.

Heh, I’m using this cartoon as my background on Facebook right now.

 

Fantasy cartography is getting pretty great, but not for Mac owners.

Fantasy cartography is getting pretty great, but not for Mac owners.

 

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Ya think something might be epic around here?

 

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James Ernest is still the mastermind behind Cheapass Games. I had a good talk with him at a later time.

James Ernest is still the mastermind behind Cheapass Games. I had a good talk with him at a later time.

 

I demoed this game. It was kind of fun, like a g-rated version of Las Vegas.

I demoed this game. It was kind of fun, like a g-rated version of Las Vegas.

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This is a beautiful educational game that looks like a lot of fun to play. The designer and his family will be thousands of dollars in the red, and unlikely to appear again at next year’s Origins. Sad, but true. That is still the fate of most self-published books and games.

This guy is a talented artist. A lot of artists come to Origins. I don't know why. Gamers are mostly not interested in buying or commissioning art.

This guy is a talented artist. A lot of artists come to Origins. I don’t know why. Gamers are mostly not interested in buying or commissioning art.

 

2014-06-11 19.04.51

 

2014-06-11 19.05.18There was some great steampunk costumery stuff. You had to be rich to afford it.  $80 vests. $500 coats.

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2014-06-11 19.09.03Technically, this is more of a toy company than a game company, but you could certainly use these toys in games.

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2014-06-11 19.09.41Henry Lopez (seated, white hair) is a man who produces quality games. His Witch Hunter 2nd edition rpg is one of the few things I brought back with me from Origins.

Cute!

Cute!

 

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2014-06-11 19.16.14I’ve played King of Tokyo. It plays fast and is good fun. Brilliant game!

There were a lot of zombies at the show. Zombie games remain popular.

There were a lot of zombies at the show. Zombie games remain popular.

 

Steve Jackson games was there, of course, doing their highly irritating "Exact Change" song and dance whenever anyone paid with cash in the exact amount asked for.

Steve Jackson games was there, of course, doing their highly irritating “Exact Change” song and dance whenever anyone paid with cash in the exact amount asked for.

 

2014-06-11 19.18.00

 

Will Neibling Sr. is a Hall of Fame game designer with a deep interest in World War II and military simulation. He still runs his own game company.

Will Neibling Sr. is a Hall of Fame game designer with a deep interest in World War II and military simulation. He still runs his own game company.

 

 

 

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It was a big panel and took 2 photos to show it.

It was a big panel and took 2 photos to show it.

 

Arrrrgh!

Arrrrgh!

 

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3D open dungeon on display at the Kenzer booth. The pieces are modular, and can be built into any pattern you wish. Great for miniatures, and so pretty.

3D open dungeon on display at the Kenzer booth. The pieces are modular, and can be built into any pattern you wish. Great for miniatures, and so pretty.

 

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Where do they get those marvelous toys? I'm not in the Exhibitor's Hall now. I'm off in open gaming where the mini-gamers have set up.

Where do they get those marvelous toys? I’m not in the Exhibitor’s Hall now. I’m off in open gaming where the mini-gamers have set up.

 

If I had a lady, I would buy her one of these gamer jewels.

If I had a lady, I would buy her one of these gamer jewels.

 

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I do so love fantasy art featuring warrior women. Not sure I wanna be married to one tho in the modern world.

I do so love fantasy art featuring warrior women. Not sure I wanna be married to one tho in the modern world.

 

A good thing about the dealer halls these days are the many demos going on. Tired? Sit down and learn a new game.

A good thing about the dealer halls these days are the many demos going on. Tired? Sit down and learn a new game.

 

Speaking of warrior women, there weren't very many hall costumes, but this woman had the best one of all. Awesome to look at, and a killer smile when I talked to her. I wanted her so much.

Speaking of warrior women, there weren’t very many hall costumes, but this woman had the best one of all. Awesome to look at, and a killer smile when I talked to her. I wanted her so much.

 

This is what the main concourse looked like after Origins had ended on Sunday afternoon.

This is what the main concourse looked like after Origins had ended on Sunday afternoon.

 

Finally, a selfie picture of me just to prove I was there. Crom! I look more like a gnome or a goblin than a troll these days. Maybe it will look better if I grow my beard back.

Finally, a selfie picture of me just to prove I was there. Crom! I look more like a gnome or a goblin than a troll these days. Maybe it will look better if I grow my beard back. I started working on it for the whole week of Origins travel and show.

 

And that was my look at Origins 2014.  If you were there, and have a comment, please leave one. What did you like best and least about this year’s Origins?

–end

Tabletop Games Day 2014   5 comments

Saturday, April 5, 2014 was National Tabletop Games Day, an occasion for people to get together face to face and play board games, card games, role-playing games, miniatures. Savvy game store owners all over America promoted this event by making space available for people to come in and game. I say it proudly. I’m a gamer. I would not miss it. What follows is my record of the day. I hope the rest of you had as much fun as I did.

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Here I am at the front door of Imperial Outpost Games at 49th Avenue and Thunderbird in Glendale, Arizona, ready for action.

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Darrenn is owner/manager of the Imperial Outpost. Hard to find a friendlier, nicer guy. He has done more to promote the cause of face to face gaming in Phoenix than anyone else I know, and in the process has built the best game store and hangout for gamers in the city.

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It’s a room full of gamers having fun.

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Yes, it’s true. Gamers are mostly male, but look there’s a woman in the mix enjoying herself, and also an elf.

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Shelves full of games . . .

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Elf playing Firefly, a science fiction game based on a Joss Whedon television program and movie. Is that Family Guy sitting next to her?


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Finally, some people I know. Starting with the purple t-shirt and going clockwise: Jessie Foster, Unknown Gamer Guy, Will, Devon, Heather. (I admit that I am terrible with names. I’ve never met Unknown Gamer Guy, and it’s only thru years of friendship that I know Jessie’s last name.)

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A second room full of gamers.

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The first game I played–Ticket to Ride, USA. I took second (out of five) in this game.

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The second game I played. Sushi Go. I learned more about sushi in one game than I had ever known before. Came in tied for last out of five players.

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Bwa ha ha ha ha! I am a terrible photographer. My plan was just to get the t-shirts without heads because I wanted to focus on t-shirt messages, but the camera’s field of view was a little higher than I knew, and so I caught the excellent gamer beards of James St. Andre on the left and Jessie Foster on the right. It’s kind of weird how they both assumed the same stance for having their pix taken. I did not notice it at the time.

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My friend, Vic, stops by to say hello to Jessie during our game of Bohnanza. Believe it or not, this is a German game about being a bean farmer. Supply side economics meets Diplomacy and the Wall Street Stock Exchange. The real action is in bean trading.

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Munchkin was there.  It was kind of hard to get Devon away from computer games on her Kindle.

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I don’t know this woman, but she has bright green hair. That comes straight out of Japanese anime.

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Jason Youngdale and Vic are playing Qwirkle. Something like a non-numeric form of dominoes. I don’t know the game, but it looks like fun.

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I don’t know this game either, but it’s impressive in its complexity and graphics.

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Starting with the guy in the red shirt, Rob, James, Nathaniel and the empty seat is mine. The game is Seafarers of Catan, and I won by a single point. This was the last game I played at the Outpost. I had been there for over 7 hours, and was getting very hungry.

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I saw this great miniatures setup on the way out. Look at those dice pyramids in the background!

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John Wick (black t-shirt), his wife Ro (in purple), Gillian and two guys I don’t know were having supper near the front door as I exited. This was the last shot I got, but it shows gamers still having fun even when I was calling it enough for the day.

The gaming party probably continued until midnight or later. I had a great time. I saw some friends. I got some laughs. I exercised my brain (yeah, gaming makes you think.) I pronounce Tabletop Gaming Day in the Phoenix area a great success.

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If you did some face to face gaming on Gaming Day, why not leave a comment? This is the perfect opportunity to boast about your victories or moan about your defeats and mention the games you played. We’re gamers. We’ve all been there, and we know how you feel. As Wil Wheaton says, “PLAY MORE GAMES!”

–end

Laughing Moon Con 2014   Leave a comment

Today’s entertainment was a trip to Litchfield Park, west of Phoenix, for a mini gaming event held by a high school gaming club. It is called Laughing Moon Con, and is named after the Laughing Moon rpg created by Todd VanHooser, a high school teacher there. This is the second time I’ve gone.  I like it a lot. Go in. Do some gaming. See  your friends. Leave when you’re ready. No muss, no fuss. A good time is had by all.  I had my little camera and took a bunch of pix, and this is how I spent Saturday, March 22, 2014.

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Jessie Foster, leader of the Arizona Men in Black, is, I believe, the best known, and most popular gamer in Phoenix. He was the  fourth person I saw that I knew at the con, and the first to get his picture taken.
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I spent a little time teaching Purple Warrior Girl how to fight. Great costume and makeup!

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I spent a couple of quality minutes with my favorite pirate queen author. Her trolls aren’t quite as big and mean as mine.

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I invented anew game for the occasion. Troll Race used components from the Cave Troll game to serve as a board. Used some minis that Trollhallans sent me as game pieces. The combat system was rock/scisssors/paper and worked well. It was a game about trolls. It started as a race, but always ended in thuggery, with the winner of the last fight also winning the game.

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The Arizona Men in Black were playing Munchkin.

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Jim Miller spent his time playing Dust–sci-fie World War II action.

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You know, Frankenstein’s monster was a zombie.

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Kitt, the car in the old Knight Rider TV series, lives in Arizona now, and sometimes shows up for car shows and game conventions.

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Con Chairman Donald Jacques was promoting the upcoming (May) LeprecCon with firings of his home-made trebuchet.

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Don let me shoot it once. You see that tree behind the Con pavilion. My 5-pound shot knocked a piece out of it (just a branch) As a gunner, I was no threat to whoever might have been living in the target castle.

I spent a little over 3 hours at the Convention, had a good time, left when I got hungry. James and I went home, got some pizza, and went back to doing computery things–my life most of the time.  Wrote a blog, this one, so it’s time now to adjudicate turn 4 of the Dominance 12 game I’m running for members of Trollhalla.

If you’ve ever fired a trebuchet, or gone to a mini-gaming event like Laughing Moon Con, or hugged a pirate queen, why not leave a comment?

–end

Gamers doing what gamers do best–HuntCon the Reanimation   2 comments

Last Saturday morning, Feb. 15, I went to a quarterly gathering of gamers called HuntCon. This is actually what my friends and I used to do every Friday night back 40 years ago when I was a young troll, but now once every two or three months is plenty.

So, this is not a very exciting blog, but consider it a slice of life, gamers in their natural habitat.

A nice home in the northern suburbs of Phoenix is the scene of a 2 day gaming party.

A nice home in the northern suburbs of Phoenix is the scene of a 2 day gaming party.

So nobody has to answer the door.

So nobody has to answer the door.

Gamers spotted.

Gamers spotted.

Jesse Foster, leader of the Steve Jackson affiliate in Phoenix--the Men in Black--invited me to play Chupacabra with him.

Jesse Foster, leader of the Steve Jackson affiliate in Phoenix–the Men in Black–invited me to play Chupacabra with him.

The place was well provisioned.

The place was well provisioned. I ate a lot of those nuts.

Video games happen in the den. It is only midmorning. Nothing is happening yet.

Video games happen in the den. It is only midmorning. Nothing is happening yet.

Chupacabra comes in a can. Steve Jackson Games is doing very well with its dice games that come in a can.

Chupacabra comes in a can. Steve Jackson Games is doing very well with its dice games that come in a can.

A tip of the trollish hat to Morgan Hunt. He owns the castle and hosted the event.

A tip of the trollish hat to Morgan Hunt. He owns the castle and hosted the event.

Shadow Hunter was my second game of the day. I was one of the winners. The Hunters won and so did I.

Shadow Hunter was my second game of the day. I was one of the winners. The Hunters won and so did I.

My last game of the day was Tikal, a German resource management game with tiles.

My last game of the day was Tikal, a German resource management game with tiles.

By noon the place was getting kind of crowded. In the background Jesse Foster was running his Troll Hunter game. Oddly enough, though I am a Trollish champion of sorts, I have never managed to get into one of his Trollhunter sessions. i guess I don't want to be hunted.

By noon the place was getting kind of crowded. In the background Jesse Foster was running his Troll Hunter game. Oddly enough, though I am a Trollish champion of sorts, I have never managed to get into one of his Trollhunter sessions. i guess I don’t want to be hunted.

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Although most of the games being played were very current, there were some really old ones availbale also.

Although most of the games being played were very current, there were some really old ones availbale also. I took the picture to show the jar of money where attendees could contribute a bit to help cover expenses for the party.

And now farewell to all the games I didn't get to play at HuntCon. This is a fairly modest gaming closet. You should see mine some time. :)

And now farewell to all the games I didn’t get to play at HuntCon. This is a fairly modest gaming closet. You should see mine some time. 🙂

After a little over 3 hours of gaming and hanging with my friends, and with about 40 people in the house, all talking loudly, I wearied of the scene and took my leave. I had a great time while I was there, and I thank Morgan Hunt and Jesse Foster for giving the gamers of Phoenix, another great get-together.

If you know any of the people in these pictures, or have ever attended a HuntCon, or would like to, why not leave a comment?

–end

Posted February 19, 2014 by atroll in HuntCon, Jesse Foster, Morgan Hunt, Uncategorized

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2013-09-01 05.12.27The future of conventions is media cons–big ones like Phoenix ComicCon and SabotenCon.  The anime-themed party was held over the Labor Day weekend at the Renaissance Hotel in Glendale Arizona.  The hotel is just across the street from the Cardinal’s football stadium, and next to a huge shopping center.

On Saturday I grabbed my camera and went to check it out.  I had a little trouble finding it and getting a parking spot, but then I just walked right in.  SabotenCon is chiefly an excuse to put on your best hall costume, and go show your stuff to both friends and strangers.  The attendees were mostly young–lots of high school kids, and I think every Asian kid in Phoenix was there.  Anime is an Asian (mostly japanese) artform, and they came out in droves to support it.

I went to take pictures.  There were plenty of great costumes that i didn’t get, but let me just show the people having fun.

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This thing came up and said "Hi, Ken!" to me.  I had no idea who recognized me.

This thing came up and said “Hi, Ken!” to me. I had no idea who recognized me.

Most of it was anime, but Nightwing showed up. This guy really looks like a superhero. The joker was also present, but I did not take his picture.  (He wouldn't hold still long enough.)

Most of it was anime, but Nightwing showed up. This guy really looks like a superhero. The joker was also present, but I did not take his picture. (He wouldn’t hold still long enough.)

Could this be Lina Inverse of the Slayers? I’m not sure.  Gorgeous costume–gotta be really hot inside all that cloth.

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This is Mia. I don't recognize the Dr. costume, but she looked half dead with all the ghastly black make-up, and she sat next to me when I played Illuminati in the Game Room.  They let me in even though I didn't have a badge for the Con.

This is Mia. I don’t recognize the Dr. costume, but she looked half dead with all the ghastly black make-up, and she sat next to me when I played Illuminati in the Game Room. They let me in even though I didn’t have a badge for the Con.

Hair colors are extreme and vivid in anime.

Hair colors are extreme and vivid in anime.

Who was that old wizard?

Who was that old wizard?

The girl in the cat costume was cute, but I was really amazed to see this old 60s version of Sorry being played at the con.

The girl in the cat costume was cute, but I was really amazed to see this old 60s version of Sorry being played at the con.

The Queen of Hearts and Alice were there. Of course, I bowed and paid my copliments to Her Majesty.

The Queen of Hearts and Alice were there. Of course, I bowed and paid my compliments to Her Majesty.

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There were a lot of horny demons at the Con. This hellish group took over a table in the gaming room.

There were a lot of horny demons at the Con. This hellish group took over a table in the gaming room.

I played Illuminati with the legendary Jesse Foster and the Men in Black.  Did not win, or even come close, but had a good time.

I played Illuminati with the legendary Jesse Foster and the Men in Black. Did not win, or even come close, but had a good time.

I would have rather played SPANC with Angie. We were all tellingher she should dress like the catgirl on the cover when she ran the game.

I would have rather played SPANC with Angie. We were all telling her she should dress like the catgirl on the cover when she ran the game.

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Cat girls! Cat girls everywhere!

And barbarians too! I wouldn't have the nerve to walk around  2/3 naked like this and carry big phallic symbols, but these guys were having fun.

And barbarians too! I wouldn’t have the nerve to walk around 2/3 naked like this and carry big phallic symbols, but these guys were having fun.

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There were a few real furries in attendance. This one was very friendly and patted my tush after I took her picture.

There were a few real furries in attendance. This one was very friendly and patted my tush after I took her picture.

This dark fairy queen stole my heart.

This dark fairy queen stole my heart.

The legendary Jesse Foster, leader of the Men in Black, also has a few Women in Black at his beck and call.

The legendary Jesse Foster, leader of the Men in Black, also has a few Women in Black at his beck and call.

I'm not sure what this uniform is for/from, but there sure were a lot of these troopers in the halls.

I’m not sure what this uniform is for/from, but there sure were a lot of these troopers in the halls.

Dangerous women lurked around every corner.

Dangerous women lurked around every corner.

my choice for Best Use of Cardboard in creating a costume.

my choice for Best Use of Cardboard in creating a costume.

A very pretty, and complicated new board game called Arena.  The playing pieces are all characters from anime.

A very pretty, and complicated new board game called Arena. The playing pieces are all super-deformed characters from anime.

I chatted with this guy for a while. He owned an Arena game and tried to explain it to me.

I chatted with this guy for a while. He owned an Arena game and tried to explain it to me.

Looks like a questing party to me.

Looks like a questing party to me.

Awww! This volunteer was working so hard at her table and too cute to pass by.

Awww! This volunteer was working so hard at her table and too cute to pass by.

Convention staff all seemed to be in costume.

Convention staff all seemed to be in costume.  Lady Thor seemed out of place in the anime world.

Friendliest furry in the hall.

Friendliest furry in the hall.

Tic Tac Toe is a very heavy game in anime circles.

Tic Tac Toe is a very heavy game in anime circles.

Many characters carried great staff weapons.  This was a fine one.

Many characters carried great staff weapons. This was a fine one.

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I don't know why she has so many tails.

I don’t know why she has so many tails.

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Actually, this was the first picture I took when I entered the hotel. You have just taken my 4 hour tour in reverse.

Actually, this was the first picture I took when I entered the hotel. You have just taken my 4 hour tour in reverse.

Everyone seemed to be having a very fine time.  The costumes were great, and I’m glad I went out to see it. I’m sure the promoters made a lot of money from it.  This is where media fandom is going today, and it’s a wild trip.

If you’ve ever indulged yourself in cosplay, whether it was anime-inspired or not, why not leave a comment?

–end

Games I Got at GenCon 2013   Leave a comment

Going to GenCon is all about doing some serious gaming.  It’s also all about getting some new games and stuff to take home with you when the show is over.  Though I spent most of my time running Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls for gamers who signed up to play with me, I was able to spend some time networking, and I did pick up what looks like some pretty cool stuff to keep me entertained for the rest of the year.

The number one acquisition in terms of uniqueness was the two-player Settlers of Catan variant from the Big Game at GenCon.  that Mayfair sponsored on Friday evening.  Rick Loomis, Steve Crompton, and I all participated in this event, which set a world record for the Guinness Book of World Records for most players in a single board game.  We helped set a record with 922 participants in a single game.

We sat at long tables and played head to head with one opponent across from us. We could trade with people to our left and right on both sides of the board. Winner had to amass 25 victory points.

We sat at long tables and played head to head with one opponent across from us. We could trade with people to our left and right on both sides of the board. Winner had to amass 25 victory points.

Participants got to take the game home with them.  I got a map, a set of pieces in a beautiful purple color hitherto unseen in the Catan universe.  And I got the Catan cards: sheep, wood, brick, ore, and grain in one deck and the regular development cards in the other.  They have special backs to commemorate their importance to GenCon and the development deck has an extra card–1 victory point for GenCon.

These cards are just brighter and better looking than those in the basic game.

These cards are just brighter and better looking than those in the basic game.

Anyway, I was happy to play in this event, and I even got quoted and filmed talking about how cool the event was for a local newspaper on-the-spot blog. I found it online, but I was terrible, so I’m not going to give you the link.

Actually the Catan game was the only thing I got to play that I didn’t GM.  I did, however, acquire the following cool stuff.

 

Here's a game that lies dreaming until the stars are right.

Here’s a game that lies dreaming until the stars are right.

I was walking around the Exhibit Hall and stopped to chat with my old friend Charlie Krank.  We discussed Kickstarter projects for a minute, as Chaosium has done a KS this year roughly 10 times as successful as my own. He smiled and gave me this prototype version of the new Call of Cthulhu edition.  I have only skimmed through it, but Call of Cthulhu was always a great game, and the new version is going to be even better.

(Historical note: Sandy Peterson, who is a friend of mine, created The Call of Cthulhu game at the same time as I was creating Stormbringer.  They came out at roughly the same time, and wound up sharing the Origins Award for best rpg of the year.  I am a little bitter about that. I think Steve Perrin and I would have walked off with the prize of best rpg of the year if Sandy hadn’t produced his masterpiece at the same time–I wonder if he felt the same way about Stormbringer.  The two games are wildly different in concept, setting, and game mechanics but both have their adherents/cultists.)

I saw Sandy and talked to him a little at the North Texas RPG convention in Fort Worth in June.  He and Cthulhu remain the best of friends, and he was showing off the prototype of an Elder Gods conquer the world board game that had the most amazing pieces, and really looked like fun.  I was running dT&T, and he was running Cthulhu, so I didn’t get a chance to play in any of his sessions, but if he gets it produced, he is going to have another mega-blockbuster success with it.

In Call of Cathulhu, heroic cats oppose the efforts of various mystical forces to undermine human civilization and the feline rule.

In Call of Cathulhu, heroic cats oppose the efforts of various mystical forces to undermine human civilization and the feline rule.

I was talking to John Wick at the Independent Gamers Association booth when Joel Sparks came up and said hi.  He was showing off the mini-game that he made for GenCon, and when I saw it, I declared that I must have it.  It was his last copy, but, being the magnanimous and Great Guy that he is, he gave it to me, and signed it o me to prove it.  I gave him my product which was the reprint of Tunnels and Trolls first edition.

This game is brilliant, but cutesy.  Young people, especially young ladies with a fondness for cats, will love it.  I hope I get a chance to run it for some teens and pre-teens some time.  Original in execution, design, and writing style, this is a family friendly game that everyone can enjoy.

A new sourcebook for John Wick's decadent rpg: Houses of the Blooded.

A new sourcebook for John Wick’s decadent rpg: Houses of the Blooded.

The game trading between designers wasn’t quite over yet. When I promoted Cathulhu from Joel, John came back and presented me with the Wilderness manual.  He owed me one.  I had given him a copy of my new board game Dwarves and Dragon two weeks earlier at MaricopaCon.  I thought at first that this was another of John’s gamebooks–the man is so incredibly prolific–but it turns out that Wilderness is written by Jesse Heinig with some additional material by Fabien Badilla, Jessica Kauspedas, and John Wick (himself).  I probably know Jesse by sight, but I don’t know him well.  I do know all his co-writers well enough to  greet them in passing (grin).

This is a 193 page sourcebook for running Wilderness Campaigns for Houses of the Blooded.  Houses is primarily a larp rpg, and I participated in it for several months in 2012, helping to  create the House of the Boar as its first lord.  I doubt if any of my live-action role-playing had any effect on this book, however.  It is very well-written and contains some fiction by way of examples that is a total howl to read.

Dungeon delving isn't all rpgs. There are also board games and card games and card games that are board game like this one.

Dungeon delving isn’t all rpgs. There are also board games and card games and card games that are board game like this one.

Sunday was my trade-with-other-game-designers day.  You wait till the end to to this kind of gathering of free stuff because you want to give everyone a chance to sell all they can to the gamers at the show.  Aaron Kreader is a fantasy game designer who does very entertaining card game variations on the whole men and monsters in the middle ages theme.  He has also done Traps and Treasures and Villages and Villains.  He dropped the alliteration this time to posit the idea that there are Cosmic Forces involved in your average dungeon-looting expedition.  The Hero is the one that is trying to make off with the treasure in the dungeon.  The Guardian is the one that is trying to protect it.  Both sides work through minions.  The Hero force uses Adventurers.  The Guardian force uses Monsters.  When the Looters meet the Guardians, who will win?  Play the game and find out.

Aaron and his lovely wife Lisa epitomize everything good about the independent gaming movement.  They are friendly, funny, and absolutely immersed in the world of gaming–living the dream, and seem to be on the rise.  I wish them well, and am always happy to see them and their games at the conventions I attend.

You would never guess from the cover, but this is a game about starring in horror movies.

You would never guess from the cover, but this is a game about starring in horror movies.

Speaking of free things that just came to me, Crawlspace-13 materialized in my hands while talking to my friend Tom Loney on Saturday.  Tom is married to Chrstina Lea and is also a talented game designer.  They use their own Peryton Press to publish their designs, and they also do some Tunnels and Trolls publishing there.  I really like Crawlspace.  It appeals to the extrovert in all of  us–the idea of starring in a movie.  It gets away from the standard tropes of fantasy role-playing as if we all lived in Middle Earth or Trollworld.  It shows the American imagination at its finest.

(Just one thing, Tom.  If you hope to sell this wacky, fun game, you need to get better covers.  I am not really a fan of the understated look when it comes to game design.  What this really needs is a picture of Johnny Dep with a hatchet embedded in his skull grimly strangling Pamela Anderson while off to the side you see a movie camera and the silhouette of an overweight director yelling “Cut!”)

And this is the final Piece de Resistance of my GenCom games grab.

And this is the final Piece de Resistance of my GenCom games grab.

2013 was a good year for pre-release versions of games at GenCon.  The industry is so big now that it would be a full-time job to try and keep track of all the new games coming out.  I only really try to keep up with my friends, and even at that, I do a very poor job.  TOO MUCH GOOD STUFF!

But Christina Lea is a friend of mine, and a member of Trollhalla, and with her showing her newest game at the con, I felt I should support her efforts, so I made a point of buying a copy of  Qalidar: Resistance from her Peryton Press.  You would not think from looking at Christina that she would have such a weird imagination.  She is an attractive woman with a dry sense of humor, but inside these pages she comes off stranger than Madame Blavatsky.  That’s good.  I like WEIRD.  

Sometimes I wish my imagination was as good as those of my younger friends.  Qalidar is a marvelous name for a world, but in Ms. Lea’s hands it is more than a world–it’s a whole multiverse where everything is more than it seems, and GREATER SIGNIFICANCE fairly oozes out of the pages of text.

I have actually read (almost all) of the Resistance rpg book, and I have to say, I’m impressed, intimidated, and confused by it all.  Impressed by the concepts, intimidated by the creatures (this seems like a very difficult rpg to survive), and confused by why she would want to stay with the D20 style of game mechanics.  I associate D20 with THAT OTHER GAME, and so don’t care for it much.  Perhaps she thinks that is its strength.  Oh well.  I have gamed with Christina in her (sick and twisted) universe, and would be happy to return any time–D20 or not.

With all that loot, and considering that I sold out of 1st edition, Saving Fang, and Dwarves and Dragon, I would say that 2013 was a very good year for me at GenCon.

If you have any GenCon experiences, or comments on the good stuff you picked up while  you were there, or even if you didn’t get to go, and are just jealous of the glamorous game-filled existence of we GAME DEISNGERS (snort!), why not leave a comment?

–end