My GenCon 2013 Experience
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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This is my usual personal experiences-at-a-con geeklist. It's not posted to the front page so's not to annoy folk with my useless chatter, but to allow my friends to follow my experiences if they so choose.
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1. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:269]
Board Game: Love Letter
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Wednesday

Flew in and made it to the Marriott Downtown, scarfed down some fresh fruit and mixed nuts for dinner at the Concierge lounge, and met up with friends at a Starbucks inside their hotel.

We tried a 5-handed game of Love Letter which worked well (although each round was over even sooner than usual). We all enjoyed it and I expect keeping to the recommended 2-4 players would make it even better.

Back at my room I streamed Gamers: Hands of Fate (released today to Kickstarter backers). I watched them filming some of it here at Gencon last year, so I'm probably somewhere in the background of some shots.
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2. Board Game: Firefly: The Game [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:332]
Board Game: Firefly: The Game
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Thursday

After a quick breakfast at the hotel, ran into the dealers' room as soon as it opened and made a beeline for the Gale Force Nine table to get my copy of Firefly for two reasons: I had heard the number of copies was limited, and the GenCon copies contained a figure for an Alliance Cruiser (although they had stickers that made it look like this was a special deal, the figure is depicted in the rulebook so it looks like all the copies will have it).
EDIT: All copies will include the Alliance Cruiser, but the Gencon copies are a higher quality resin cast; the later copies will be a softer plastic that doesn't hold the detail as well).

The components look nice, and while the Alliance cruiser is (by necessity) a much smaller scale than the Reaver and 4 Firefly ship figures, they're all adequately detailed.

There's a promo ship variant available in Game Trade magazine that allows this to be a 5-player game (includes an extra Fire

Edit: Read through the rules on the flight home, this looks like they've captured the theme pretty well.

I look forward to playing.
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3. Board Game: Myth [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:2415]
Board Game: Myth
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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I hung out at the MERCS booth and asked questions about Myth, met the artist who created the distinctive look of the figures and cards, looked through various decks, watched a demo game then got to play a story-mode Arc (this time I was the Archer).

It captured a little more of the roleplaying aspect of the game than the combat-only Slaughterfield scenario I had played before and I enjoyed it even more than my previous experiences with the game.

I've updated my review to reflect what has changed since Origins as well as what I experienced today.

I don't want to hog a seat at the demo table while there are others who want to try the game, but I'm going to spend some more of my precious convention time playing this if I have the opportunity.

I really can't wait until this ships.
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4. RPG Item: Gaming in the 'Verse: Gen Con 2013 Preview [Average Rating:8.62 Unranked]
RPG Item: Gaming in the 'Verse: Gen Con 2013 Preview
Bill H
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New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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I swung by Margaret Weis' booth to get the GenCon preview of the Firefly roleplaying game, the newest incarnation of the Cortex Plus system created in the game's predecessor Serenity RPG.

Margaret was her usual enthusiastic self and was nice enough to autograph the book for me.
 
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5. Board Game: Battlestations [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:2004]
Board Game: Battlestations
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Another fun scenario. We were dispatched to investigate an area in space containing a pocket dimension. As soon as we appeared, someone fired a blast of energy at us and launched a couple missiles. This was repeated periodically, and we marines shot half of over a dozen missiles before they hit us, and our Tricky engineer destroyed the rest as they reached us.

Meanwhile, we were periodically boarded by aliens in the form of glowy lines which infected the area of the ship each was in, animating pieces of our equipment. Each time a crew member encountered one of these bizarre creatures, we had to make a sanity check that left several members of the crew in pretty bad shape.

There were various glowy areas of space we were scanning and flying through, most were wormholes to other glowy spots in this strange pocket. Eventually we worked out which was our way home and warped back to civilization for debriefing having suffered no casualties, an overwhelming success!
 
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6. Board Game: Starship Troopers Miniatures Game [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:7568]
Board Game: Starship Troopers Miniatures Game
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Took a cab to see Rifftrax riff on Starship Troopers, then caught a ride back with some other Gencon attendees.
 
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Family: Dungeons & Dragons
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Had my first True Dungeon of the con. I got to play a Druid (my favorite) and it was a good group including two first-timers.

It was a fun adventure (we were chased through a dangerous forest by a group of werewolves) featuring lots of combat and some tough puzzles, but we beat the boss and all survived!
 
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8. Board Game: The Big Breakfast Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: The Big Breakfast Game
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Friday

Attended Hickman's Killer Breakfast. This is an event scheduled at breakfast time but featuring no food, where Tracy and Laura Hickman invite members of the audience onstage, give them fully developed characters and inventory, then kill them in interesting ways. There is an occasional song break and audience participation.

This was very funny. Tracy is quick-witted and could riff off of whatever the players threw at him. This will be a staple event at my Gencons to come.
 
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9. Board Game: Full Thrust [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:2951]
Board Game: Full Thrust
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Finally "did" the dealers room, row-by-row. Got to chat with some of the designers, hung out with the Myth folks again for a bit, and bought some t-shirts.

Then I wandered through the gaming halls to watch anything that looked interesting, including some Full Thrust (which is a fast space combat game, with simple starter rules that play even faster) where someone had statted out more recognizable spacecraft. It looked like thematic play with rules much, much, much, much, much simpler than others.

I wandered out for a barbecue lunch at Weber's (brisket was a little fatty and the grilled corn on the cob was cold, but it was so tasty I really didn't mind).
 
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10. RPG: InSpectres [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:71]
RPG: InSpectres
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Took a quick nap then headed out to the premiere of the InSpectres (sort of Ghostbusters fighting all kinds of supernatural problems) movie that turned out not to be a showing of the film. Some sort of issue with their distributor who didn't want them to build up buzz by premiering it in front of an enthusiastic audience already familiar with the game and used to seeing independent films, but to introduce it into a normal theater filled with Muggles. Good luck with that.

Left early to catch dinner.

Ended up at Weber's again, and had excellent baby back ribs, delicious fresh pretzel bread, and roasted strawberries over vanilla ice cream for dessert.
 
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Family: Dungeons & Dragons
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Hurried back for another midnight True Dungeon adventure, this time through a gnome tinkerer's tower.

Another good group, and a complete success (solved all the puzzles, beat all the monsters) without losing a single party member!
 
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12. Board Game: Fortune and Glory: Treasure Hunters Expansion [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked]
Board Game: Fortune and Glory: Treasure Hunters Expansion
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Saturday

Back to the dealer's room, wandering around the halls checking out costumes, just enjoying the Gencon atmo (pics to follow).
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13. Board Game: RoboRally [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:428]
Board Game: RoboRally
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Saw the radio-controlled giant RoboRally setup, but no one was playing at the time.
 
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14. Board Game: Star Trek: Attack Wing [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:1292]
Board Game: Star Trek: Attack Wing
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Saw people playing a giant version of this with ships a foot across and a map the size of a room.
 
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Family: Dungeons & Dragons
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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More True Dungeons.

This time, it was "True Grind", straight back-to-back combat using the True Dungeon shuffleboard system.

We had a guy who was a 5th level Druid show up with nothing but his Druid gear, so I let him be Druid and switched to Cleric.

Our group was split at first, half in each room to fight the bulk of the creatures (which was OK with me, see below). On the last fight before the bosses, I took a lightning bolt that killed me. But, fortunately, I was only mostly dead, and a party member revived me with 1 health point (I healed myself back up to a reasonable level).

Our party reformed into one big group to fight the bosses, an angry unicorn and a very vicious rabbit (doesn't sound like much, but it was a pretty badass bunny). One member of the party was Mr. Suitcase with all kinds of powerful gear that kind of overshadowed what the rest of us were doing ("I have the Buttplug of Awesomeness, I get +100 to melee combat and never take damage ever for any reason.").

We killed the bosses quickly and easily. It was still fun, but we really should have played at "Difficult" level.
 
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16. Board Game: Romance of the Nine Empires [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:9693]
Board Game: Romance of the Nine Empires
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Dinner at a Fogo de Chão for all the steak, pork, chicken, lamb, bacon, etc. that I could eat. It was excellent.

Came back to watch two rough cuts of new Gamers shorts, Natural One and Humans and Households, then a question-and-answer session with the cast and crew. Afterward, I got to go up and talk with them.

Then we saw an extended version of the third full-length Gamers film (I saw them filming a couple of the scenes at last year's Gencon; the movie premiered here Thursday), The Gamers: Hands of Fate. I backed the Kickstarter to finance this film. At the end it scrolls through a list of most of the Kickstarter backers (some of us were accidentally left off this version of the film, but will be put in shortly).

Afterward, there was another Q&A with the cast and crew, and opportunities to meet them.
 
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17. RPG Item: The Most Dangerous Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
From gallery of Shijuro
Bill H
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New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Started reading the Dangerous Games trilogy ("How to Play" is the first book), a murder mystery set inside Gencon. It features a crossover from The Gamers: Hands of Fate film.

Wandered down the street for some 1am noodles (had mac'n'cheese with sliced mushrooms drizzled with truffle oil).
 
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18. Board Game: Home You Go [Average Rating:4.16 Unranked]
Board Game: Home You Go
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Sunday

I had an early flight home and had to leave before the dealers room opened.

After an uneventful pair of flights, I was home again.

The highlight of Gencon for me this year would probably be the Gamer's "Hands of Fate" premier, with True Dungeon, Killer Breakfast and playing Myth again close seconds.
 
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