Thursday, August 21, 2008

GenCon 08 - Day 2

Friday I woke up early enough to get downtown to the ICC before the XH opened. That is, if there hadn't have been a shitload of traffic going into downtown and accident induced back-ups. I rolled into downtown proper about a quarter after 10, waded through traffic and used my favorite trick to score a decent space.

By the time I reached the XH and the WotC booth, the huge line had formed. The KOTOR scoreboard went to line-lurkers 2, Oz 0.

Killing time in the XH, I ran into some of guys I know and our meandering took us to the Geek Chic booth, featuring the monstrous Sultan Gaming table. While the initial impact is drool-worthy, design flaws cropped up after the initial awe wore off. The first thing I noticed: no holes to run power cords and networking cables. It was suggested that since it was wood, I could just bore my own holes. Somehow the notion of having to take a drill to an almost $10k table seemed wrong.

The longer we looked at it, the more issues arose. It was too large, the size of a billiards table, once it was in your house it was there for good. It was too high, requiring players to stand around the table or perch on tall stools. For many gamers, this physically isn't practical. Rolling areas were too deep and far back. While the underlit map surface was neat, it would be a pain to change, requiring suction-cup grabbers. So if the price tag didn't put you off, there are several other flaws that might.

Nicole brought Ainsley to GenCon (Ainsley was born during last year's con... well not at it, but in the same time frame), so Nicole is making GenCon a birthday tradition for her daughter.

Greg/TheStormKing and I had been haunting Turbine's booth and pestering the LOTRO devs, trying to pry info regarding the upcoming Mines of Moria. Unfortunately the Marketing Ninja required them to keep their secrets. :(

After a couple of more random encounters with people I only see at GenCon, a sat in on a Paizo seminar regarding their Pathfinder RPG. They seem keen on getting fan feedback, and the room was full of anti-4e gamers. One problem I see is that some of the most vocal advocates of any iteration of 3.5 may not be so for reasons of game balance. Some of your most a-type alpha-wanna-be gamers like having a system they can torque for their own min-maxing ends, and experience on MMO forums have shown me that the loudest advocates or detractors of any given side are rarely the most rational.

Since I was by myself for dinner, I snuck into an empty spot at the bar in the Ram, a big advocate of GenCon. I got to watch the antics of the rather stressed staff while geek-friendly movies played on the big screen. I felt sorry the girl stuck pouring beers, as the tickets kept flying out of the printer, the waitresses were slow to pick up the drink orders, and everyone seemed to be giving her a hard time. My sympathy had nothing to do with the fact that she was cute. That also had nothing to do with why I lingered for almost an hour.

In my defense, I was killing time until the Turbine party at Jillian's. I got there early to snag a table and hold it against all comers until Greg, Weasel and Nicole arrived. Turbine was nice enough to provide two drinks each (mmm... black and tans) and a buffet. Since we tipped our waitress (and I think she was hitting on Weasel), she kept us in soft drinks for free after the free booze ran out.

We got to meet other players, discovering some that lived local that we didn't know, and Greg did a lot of schmoozing. I was hoping there would be some sort of presentation regarding Moria, maybe with Beta invites, but they just looped the same promo video that was at their booth.

After the party, Nicole and I went in search of the Gorilla Games crew, who were supposed to be playing Deadlands. As luck would have it, two players had just bailed from their game, so we were invited to take their places. My gunslinger disproved the myth that I was cursed as a dice-roller or that I jinxed dice I came into contact. The system itself is interesting and the basics are fairly easy to grasp. The biggest flaw that we saw was that it would require a lot of different dice, as opposed to just a set of polyhedrals and/or a brick of d6s. As an example, my gunslinger required 5 d12s.

Despite my rolling redemption Nicole won't let me touch her dice.

The night ended very late, with a creepy dungeon-crawl into one of the parking garages. Seriously, I half expected a pack of kobolds led by a hobo to jump around the corner as we descended a passage right out of a horror movie and a startled the crap out of some yuppie couple on the way back up.

Wait, do I look like a kobold-leading hobo?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sigh, maybe me life won't be a living clusterfuck by next GenCon? Riiiiight.


11:09 AM  

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