GenCon 2019

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arenson9
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GenCon 2019

I noticed from the GenCon exhibitor's map that GtG will actually have two booths -- a larger one (50x30, booth 1241) and a smaller one right nearby (20x20, booth 1437). They will also have their side room (room 140). I'm curious how the two different booths will be used. I wonder if this is the result of the purchase of Cheapass Games. Maybe Cheapass Games already had paid for their own booth.

 


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

arenson9
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I have once again failed to get into a Sleepy Hollow demo, but am pleased to have gotten into a Prime War game.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

Rust
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So my group has 4 tickets to the Thursday at 10AM Prime War demo but we are not going to be able to attend. I’m planning to return them that Wednesday so someone else can get those spots but if one of you guys want the tickets instead just message me and I can just give you the ones I have. 

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Message sent. :-) 


"See, this is another sign of your tragic space dementia, all paranoid and crotchety. Breaks the heart." - Mal

Until we have an H emoticon:

Rust
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Rust wrote:
So my group has 4 tickets to the Thursday at 10AM Prime War demo but we are not going to be able to attend. I’m planning to return them that Wednesday so someone else can get those spots but if one of you guys want the tickets instead just message me and I can just give you the ones I have. 

Found a good home for these.

arenson9
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Hey, ya'll! Who's planning to be at GenCon?

I'm looking forward to a Preim War vs Env demo at noon on Saturday, letters Page Live, State of GtG, and various other GtG panels/events.

I'm still not sure about the SC LARP. Would like to do it but I already have a ticket for a different game at that time, and the online system doesn't seem to have a way to sell back my already-received-via-mail paper ticket and buy something else. Perhaps I will make the exchange at GenCon itself.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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I'll be there. Last year as an exception due to the baby, Gen Con is an annual get-together for some of my college friends, so I'm often doing stuff with them, but I plan on going to the Letters Page, State of GTG Panel, and the RPG Live session and I tend to try demos of things at the booth/in the side room at various points after making my full pass of the dealer hall (assuming that there's not a thing to rush for). I also didn't get into any official Prime War or RPG events, but I may try to Generic my way in if I have a time slot free.

Edit - and I usually try to check out the costume contest, although I don't cosplay personally.

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You guys have fun.  I almost lucked into working for the gaming library this year, but had to say no because I'll be near Madison that Friday-Saturday.

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This is the first year in almost a decade where I *won't* be at GenCon.

My employer is sending me to a professional development conference in Phoenix over the same weekend as GenCon.  Not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth--"Ship me across the country to stay in a 5-star hotel and learn more about prospect research best practices?  Twist my arm, why don't you?"--I'll give GenCon the miss this year.

You guys have fun, and be sure to share any news with us!

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I will be at Gen Con, and specifcally the 10 AM Thursday PvE session for Prime War.
Getting to the point that I am having trouble concentrating at work :)
~Komori

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GenCon Day -2: The show doesn't start until Thursday, and set up doesn't even begin until Tuesday, but apparently sponsors, like GtG, have access to begin setup on Monday.

GtG have two booths this year. Their main booth has bumped to 150% of its previous size, from 50x20 feet to 50x30 feet, plus, because of the merger with Cheapass Games, they have another, smaller booth right nearby which they are using for all things digital: Handelabra, Underbite (Sentinels of Freedom), and another company I failed to catch the name of which is doing digital versions of ... um ... was it Homebrewers, maybe? ... and something else.

Also this year they have spread beyond the side room and have another room over in Lucas oil which is going to have six tables dedicated to SCRPG. There are 80-90 citizens this year. Apparently there was a GenCon staff member who was skeptical that so many badges were needed and required some data to be convinced.

There are bigger tabletop game companies, for sure, but Greater Than Games is certainly playing in the pros these days. It is still, though, all hands on deck for GenCon. Every single employee will be at the show.

And I'm not here to try to make you jealous, but I got to see a picture of Trevor's baby and he is adorable.

As I've noted in the past, GenCon seems to be as much about business to business meetings as it is about customer interactions. Sounds like many of the GtG staff will be in meetings starting tomorrow (if not today, for all I know).


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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Gen Con Day -1: Presumably there was lots of set up going on today. I'm not involved with that at all so can't offer any details. I did learn that GtG, while increasing their booth size 150% and expanding to the RPG room over at Lucas Oil, have at the same time halved their side room space to just 140, but not also 141.

A few Citizens met up near 140 and we ended up walking over to Punch Burger for some dinner. Zach, Alex, and Sam (?!) went off to collectively nap and/or prep for some LCG Arkham Horror, while Mike and Kacey offered to teach me the Arkham Horror game. Thanks again!

After that I was able to meet up with Paul, watch a baseball game, and chat. I always enjoy learning more about the tabletop industry from him.

My GenCon activities will ramp up a fair bit tomorrow. I want to exchange a ticket so I can hopefully get into the Sat SC LARP session. I'm going to bring my travel Tak set and see if any of the Citizens want to learn it. I've got some local friends who are planning to meet up to play SotM.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

arenson9
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Friends, please also share your experiences, and if you're enjoying these, let me know. If I'm just talking to myself, I'm not going to bother.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

Pydro
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I enjoy them each year. Helps when I can't be there.


Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.
-Robert E. Howard, "The Tower of the Elephant"

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Pydro wrote:
I enjoy them each year. Helps when I can't be there.

+1

PlatinumWarlock
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I always like reading your write-ups, brother!

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GenCon Day 0: Hmmm ... can I remember what happened yesterday? I meant to write, but missed it.

I got to the convention center in the afternoon. A group of about a dozen Citizens were loitering across the big hall from room 140. I ended up playing some Tak and some Homebrewers. Homebrewers seems to be a great Euro. Euro games aren't my main cup of tea, so there's little reason for me to acquire it, but I think lots of tabletop gamers would like it.

A group of a dozen or so of us went over to the Claddaugh for food, and wandered back around the time of the opening GenCon festivities on Georgia Street. I've never partaken in these. A GenCon beer gets tapped. There's some sort of announcement and welcoming to GenCon. People mill around in the sun drinking, or spend a lot of time in line to get beer and then mill around in the sun drinking. Not my thing, but not unpleasant.

There was a large crowd of citizens getting their paperwork signed, picking up badges, and learning and playing games. I tried Medium. Didn't really like it. I was terrible at it, and while I dithered the people not actively playing seemed to get distracted and leave the game. I've heard from lots of other people that they really like it, though. Room 140 got really packed. I eventually took off with a few others and ended up going back to a hotel room and playing a game.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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GenCon Day 1: Got to the convention center a bit after 9 and with some time to kill before a 10am game went over to Hall B to check out a game I was  interested in. Worked my way back through Hall C and Hall D into one of the main concourses and then over to the big hall outside the exhibitor's hall, both so I could drop in and see what was going on in the GtG room 140 and also because the event I was heading to was in room 145. 140 was already full, about ten games of Spirit Island going on. Later a couple of those tables would host Prime War and one of them would have Sleepy Hollow.

I could duck into 140 from the side, but then had to go into the main concourse outside the exhibitors hall to get to 145 and was there RIGHT before opening at 10am. The entire area was packed with people, probably 30-40 deep and maybe 300-400 wide. It was intense, the most packed I've ever seen the place. I had to bellow and use elbows to get to my event. Yes, I've done the arithmetic and realize that I'm describing 9-16,000 people in that concourse. Am I overstating it? Maybe. Maybe not.

My game ran to 3pm and I had an hour to spend in the exhibit hall before my next event. Dropped by the booths: There were  10-12 stand up tables (maybe even more), almost all full, with demos of Medium, Sleepy Hollow, Brewcrafters, SotM, Spirit Island, and SCRPG. GtG are a consolidator for many other companies, and the shelves were filled with not only lots of GtGs products, but plenty of things I didn't recognize. I also went over to check out Handelabra, Underbite, and ... darn it, I've forgotten the name of the other company again! Jeremy from Handelabra was streaming an OblivAeon game when I walked by, which was fun to watch for a few moments. I'd meant to check out Sentinels of Freedom from Underbite, but I guess I got distracted. I did chat with the other company, though, who are creating a digitial version of Fate of the Elder Gods that has some sort of limited massive multiplayer aspect to it. I didn't understand it, frankly, and they didn't have a demo to see, but it somehow involves other players in other games affection what happens to you, if you happen to be in the same area at the same time. Sounded intriguing.

Kat, whom I know primarily as being the person with the fantastic Fanatic costume, did a really excellent job teaching me Sleepy Hollow. Walking Target happened to walk up to an SotM table at the same time as me and he and I decided to take on Baron Blade in a speed run with the eight minutes I had left. We were victoriuos and finished just in time!

From there I walked down the passageway towards Lucas Stadium, but took the stairs up to the pedestrian overpass over to the Crowne Plaza, making my way to a panel that Paul, Alex, Jodie, Maggie, and a woman from Boardgametable.com  put on about Kickstarters, manufacturing, and distribution. I really enjoyed it. I like learning about how the industry works. The majority of attendees seemed to be people who had a game design and were thinking about Kickstarting it at some point.

Afterwards I drifted back through the exhibit hall and over to 140 again. Even with less than fifteen minutes left, most of the booth tables were in use, and the sideroom was packed. I had a chance to see the binder Katie was using to organize the 80-90 citizens and was suitably impressed by her organization.

After that I was off to dinner with friends and other hangouts with non GtG people. Then I rode home and did some chores and here I find me spewing out details from my day. Hmm, perhaps I'll go chat with my spouse next ...


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

MigrantP
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The other company is Campfire, they've done a digital version of Viva Java the Dice game, and are working on Fate of the Elder Gods =)


Lead Bit Flipper, Handelabra Games
Developer of Sentinels, Bottom of the 9th, and Spirit Island

arenson9
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Thanks, John!

GenCon Day 2: This is the point in the con, at the end of day 2, when all of a sudden the end seems to be rushing toward me, rather than in the distant future. Just one full day left tomorrow, and a partial day on Sunday.

I took it easy this morning, sleeping in and getting down to the convention center around 10:45. First goal was to pick up a free GenCon 2019 die at Crystal Caste. From there I went to check on the booth. There was a big crowd around the Trogdor game.The booth was busy. While I was there the last four copies of Medium were sold. They'd brought 200 copies, if I remember correctly, and only 60 had been left after Thursday. I went over to the digital booth and got a short walk through of Sentinels of Freedom. I have very little experience playing a game like this, so was fumbling with how to move versus how to change the camera position. My game had a glitch (a character embeded in a wall) and there was wording for something that I didn't immediately understand, but overall I got the sense of a product that was pretty slick and nearing completion.

On my way over to Letters Page Live I popped in to the GtG side room, 140, and chatted a moment with Russ, who was helping to run a Spiriti Island tournament. I guess some people signed up for the tournament without having every played Spirit Island before?! That's a rough way to learn the game and probably pretty dissappointing for the people who are teamed with them.

Letters Page Live was fun. It was in a huge ballroom, which made the audience feel small compared to the previous two years. And maybe it was a little smaller? Hard to say. There was no musical guest like the first two years, so insteand GtG handed out kazoos and we all played SotM theme music together. It was fun. They decided to forego anything else and just jump into the questions, since time had run out for questions in past years. I ended up singing Happy Birthday ... to myself? Presumably you'll hear what I mean if you listen to the episode. That ballroom was ridiculously cold. I later learned that the temp had been set on 55. I was struggling physically by the end of the session and how to go outside and sit in the sun for ten minutes before I felt well.

The rest of my day was filled with lots of things, but nothing GtGs related: Sarah Donner concert, trying out a coop game called Dragonfire, dinner with friends, and helping with equpment for and attending the Kittens Slay Dragons concert.

Tomorrow will be the first day I'll want to pack both lunch and dinner. Not quite sure how I'll do that.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

TakeWalker
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>tfw you're reading con reports while at a different con

I don't think they could have topped having Jean-Marc remixing live last year, so it sounds to me like they went the right route in doing something fun for music. :)

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Did they reveal anything about the future of the RPG, either in the Letters Page or in the Live Play? 

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GenCon Day 3:

First off, about the question about the future of the RPG -- I didn't attend the Live Play. As for the Letters Page, I don't remember anything that stood out in particular, but I didn't follow the SCRPG Kickstarter very closely so they could easily have said something I didn't pay super close attention to.

ALSO, at the State of GtGs panel I decided to take copious notes instead of trying to remember everything and, uh, I've got like 10 pages of scrawled notes and it's going to be a while before I get around to MAYBE attempting to transcribe them. There wasn't anything that stood out as super urgent or surprising from what they said.

My day started off relatively mellow as my first event wasn't until the 11 am costume contest. I stopped by the GtG booth before heading over, got a little video of Strong Bad, and mostly noted that all the tables were full and Strong Bad's was packed two or three deep. Business seemed brisk in the booth. Medium sold out yesterday. Homebrewers sold out today, I think. The hero variant collection sold out. I think a couple of other things sold out, too. There's a deal where if you buy the SotM Core game you get any one expansion for free. I think that's helping spur a lot of purchases. I spoke to someone who had all the content digitally and wanted to start getting it physically, too.

The costume contest had fewer entries than years past, but was still fun. One that stood out for me was one of the Lazer Ryderz characters.

I got a chance to play the co-op version of Prime War and enjoyed it. I have no idea if it will end up being a hit or not, but it seemed like a nice combination of easy enough to play and lots of interesting choices about how to play. Our scenario involved being sent to the Block to shut down the fighting between agents and inmates. A character has one card in play at a time, and it specifies which dice are used for defense as well as what action the character can take -- usually some combination of moving and attacking. After being used, a card is put into a recovery track (I'm getting the name wrong) and is put in different slots depending on the card, so some cards are returned faster than others. Cards have speeds on them, so can occur earlier or later in a turn.

I missed my chance to playtest some cool new, secret co-op game with Adam and Peter! Got my days mixed up. :(

Spouse and I participated in the inaugural Sentinel Comics LARP tonight. The first hour was spent on learning how to safely LARP and character creation. The team handling it (Phoenix something or other) were very well organized and clear. This was the first playtest of these rules, designed to mimic the feel of both SotM and SCRPG. I haven't got the energy to go into details, and can't go into the plot, since we don't want to ruin any surprises for tomorrow's play. In general, I think they did a great job of getting the feel right, but mechanically I had some issues. Overall a very good time.

Finally, an anecdote from yesterday I forgot to mention: For whatever reason some friends started asking me details of SotM like how many cards total there are and I was practically levitating in excitement. And then today, someone in the booth was trying to determine which SotM products to buy and was asking me things like the difference between the Foil Hero Collection and the Hero Collection, and which heroes are in which expansion. I was in heaven!


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

TakeWalker
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Ooh, first info about Prime War! :O That sounds neat...

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GenCon Day4: Last day!

After not getting to bed until near 2am last night, I slept in as much as I could and just barely made it to an 11am game I was playing -- Black Orchestra, a co-op about killing Hitler. We just barely managed to succeed, but by then it was near 2pm. With just a couple more hours left, I finally took some time to wander the dealer hall extensively. I doubt I saw even half of it, and the majority that I walked past I didn't stop. My buddy Carl and I did have a pretty interesting conversation with the designer of a miniautures game about Harry Potter. I doubt I'll fork out the money for it, but it seemed like a decent game, and the minis were gorgeous. We also spent some time perusing some VERY FANCY DICE. Like, dice that cost $400 for a set -- we got a chance to feel the weight and texture of tungsten, titanium, magnesium, and others.

I stopped into the GtG booth one last time and it was still chock full, again particularly around Trogdor and Strongbad. A few more minor things had sold out -- one of the SotM mini expansions, I think, and the Spirit Island promos. Given the traffic in the booth on a year when there isn't a major release, I can't wait to see what it looks like when there's a big release in the future. I also stopped by the side room just a few minutes before 4pm and it was almost completely empty. The tables and chairs had been moved aside for the SC LARP, so there were no games, and there hadn't been any sales there at all.

So in terms of GtG my GenCon ended with a bit of a whimper ... no helping with tear down or auctions of rare SotM variants like in years of yore. A bit oddly anti-climactic, but not bad per se. My PERSONAL GenCon wasn't over yet, though, because I still had a dinner meetup followed by a planned game afterwards, so GenCon properly lasted for the full day for me.

WHEW! As expected, I'm a bit strung out and ready for some recovery. With evening outings Mon and Tue, then ramping up on Wed and four full days of the show itself, it sort of feels like GenCon is normal and the prospect of going to work tomorrow the strange dream. Sadly, I know that will change quickly, but for now I'm still basking in the glow.

Let's see, other thoughts ... I've begun to look forward to the last couple hours of GenCon, just wandering the dealer hall with little agenda. I tend to run into people I hadn't seen all con and it's just very chill. I, of course, should probably bake more of that into the rest of GenCon, but it's very hard to resist the urge to schedule all the things. I did not go to Lucas Oil at all! I didn't make the long treck and see the field and whatever interesting decorations or displays they might have had out there. True Dungeon barely seemed to exist in my brainspace, though I know it was there because friends had done it. The cost is apparently up to like $80/person?!?! Monday night there was some rain, and it was maybe a bit hot on occassion, but overall the weather was fantastic. 

The SC LARP ...

Plot: A banquet is being held at Freedom Academy we're all invited. A sapling of AkashThriya is there and needs to be protected. The proper heroes are off dealing with a situation, so us guests are left to defend when the banquet is attacked.

We went through character creation, which involved choosing from amongst about 16 principles, and getting two cards, based on the principal, that could be any of five colors: Orange for intrigue, yellow for action, red for danger, green for mystery, and blue for defense. We could also choose any one additional card of any color. We took some time to think about what our powers were, what our name was, and whether we were interested in being a student or a teacher at the academy. We did a bit of an ice breaker where we talked to each other to form a line, three times, based on three different questions: How experience we were, how much we thought bad people could be reformed, and how much we thought it was ok to break the law.

Gameplay involved engaging with a situation by saying what you would do and either playing a card or powering through (PLAY, POWER) and then if you did something that matched your principle you might get a card in return (DRAW). 

Overall, I had a really good time. I enjoyed the character creation process and the sort-of ice breakers we did. I am primiarly a method actor when playing an RPG, and I got lots of opportunity to think about what my character would do in a situation and do it. I felt like I got to do heroic things and got to work as a team. I enjoyed feeling connected in real time to the story of Sentinel Comics. It was fun to have things from SC that I recognized by part of the game. The best part of this, and my apologies for burying the lead, is that after like 3.5 hours of the game, Adam and Christopher popped in as Citizens Hammer and Anvil and engaged us in battle. They'd been sitting in the back room listening to us the whole time!

I didn't like the mechanics all that much. I don't generally like it when RPGs try to incentivize me to roleplay. I'm going to roleplay anyway, if my roleplaying is tied to the mechanics (like you have to roleplay to get a card), it takes me out of the moment. I didn't like how I couldn't do something unless I had a card. If I'm a hero who's good at punching something, it seems lame to not be able to punch something just because I've already punched something. I think the mechanics were trying to introduce an ecomony in the game that incentivized people to act in order to get cards, but I think it's far better when an RPG/LARP has players getting their motivations from their interests and background, not because they want a card or point or whatever. I've played a few LARPs in the past and I've really liked the ones where a set of pregen characters with interleaving motivations are let lose to discover what each other wants and try to form alliances to get things done.

I wonder if some of the mechanics came from the idea of trying to have PLAY POWER and DRAW be a part of the game. If so, I'd say forget it. Focus more on the SCRPG than SotM for inspiration for mechanics.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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Here, in no particular order, are my notes from the State of GtGs panel:

Panelists:

  • Jeremy from Handelabra
  • Paul
  • Maggie
  • Adam
  • Christopher
  • Chris Kirkman
  • Darrel Louder
  • Jen

OblivAeon fulfillmemt lessons:

* Have an extensive shipping section of future Kickstarters

* Spent an extra $100K on shipping for OblivAeon due to changes in how shipping was charged, from volumetric to weight

 

Things in the last year:

* KS for Jagged Earth

* KS for SCRPG

* KS for Homebrewers, fulfilled before GenCon, and sold out at GenCon

* Acquired Cheapass Games

* New staff: Ruby in warehouse, drives forklift; Katie doing customer service and scheduling Citizens -- part of Maggie's Marketing dept. Darrel Louder has recently gone from part-time contractor to full-time contractor. He does a variety of thigns -- game design, graphic design, sales. He's happy to be getting back to doing more design.

 

Primary goals for next year (this list is not in any particular order):

* Deliver Legends of Sleepy Hollow

* Deliver parts of SCRPG

* Deliver Jagged Earth

* Deliver Prime War ... ?

* Other exciting things they don't want to tell us about now.

 

Medium sold out Friday morning, and is proving that they can be successful without using Kickstarter for at least some types of games, in particular cheaper games.

Will be updating some Cheapass Games games to colorize/modernize.

Trogdor is not a Cheapass game, but was co-designed by James Ernest. It's co-op and selling well.

For Spirit Island, did the mechanics come first or the theme?

short answer: theme

Christopher worked w/ Eric on development, on his own time, because of his personal interest. When Eric went looking for a publisher, he didn't want to look elsewhere. Signing Spirit Island in Jan 2014 was the first time GtG signed a contract for a game they weren't making themselves.

Goals: (Paul) Have a diverse, well-curated collection. (Maggie) Get into family market; (Adam & Christopher) Delivering on games -- Sleepy Hollow, SCRPG, etc.; (Paul) (something about Dice Hate Me games?) and Prime War are midterm goal, rather than near term. (Jeremy) SotM just about done. Waiting on some info for Challenge Mode. Looking at Story Mode. Good chance they'll do Sentinels of Earth Prime. Have done 6-8 months of pre-work for Spirit Island. Contract w/ GtG finished this week. Kickstarter coming soon.

Paul's been meeting with wholesalers/distributors at Gencon.

(Jeremy) Using Unity for development. Steam first for Spirit Island, but also will provide tablet options

(Christopher) Underbite is making Sentinels of Freedom. GtG didn't know what to expect when creating a video game.

(Paul) Campfire created the Vivajava dice digital game. It's very cute. Campfire is creating a game inspired by Fate of the Elder Gods.

(Kirkman) Uses core system, but now more of a stealth game. If you're caught, you're dead.

What can you tell us about Dawn and the Citizens of the Sun in the RPG timeline? (C&A) We know where Dawn is and what's going on, but not providing any details on that.

Any plans to create other RPGs? GtG is focused on SCRPG for now. GYRO is a Critical Hits system. Want to see how SCRPG sells. Have ideas for other RPGs in the future, but probably not through a reskinning of GYRO. Interested in fitting a genre to the mechanics.

Timeline for SCRPG: Core - soon; GM Kit & dice at same time as Core; Would be surprised if ALL of the rest of the SCRPG KS were fulfilled even by GenCon 2021, in two years.

Learning a lot about doing RPGs. It's useful to be the licensee, so don't have to rush to meet someone else's schedule, can avoid rushing and thus avoid errors.

 


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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State of GtG notes, continued:

New physical space for the company: Have been working on it for a while. It's been worse than pulling teeth. Have some prospects. Probably move some time next year. Have ougrown current space, particularly the warehouse. Have two auxiliary warehouses and everything is overfull. Main lease is up in 2020. Things are so packed that a forklift was missing for about 30 minutes before it could be found. A FORKLIFT. They are not small.

The warehouse is, however, very well organized. Everything is catalogued and findable in the computer. It is the first part of GtG to reach 'no secrets', meaning that there isn't any information that's just in one person's mind. Working on achieving the same in other areas: Game development and production; marketing & sales.

How many actual comics might GtG make? (Christopher) Would love to make them, but time to make them is not as worthwhile as time for other things. (Paul) GtG is not going to become an indie comics publisher.

(Kirkman) FoEG expansion, Investigators is about 95% done, but thinkig about what to do with it. Need maybe a couple of days w/ Richard Lanius and a piece of art to finish development. Might do a Kickstarter -- trying to figure out how to capture new fans. (Paul) Like Sentinel Tactics, GtG liks it and it has fans, but the question is how to make it financially viable. Hopefully the FoEG video game will boost interest.

(Paul) Games get lost in the shuffle of so many games. 5,000+ new games last year. (ADA: For comparison, I remember that in 2013 it was about 1,500 new games/year). The typical sales chart looks like a dramatic initial spike followed by an immediate cliff. Looking for ways to create evergreens and a long tail of sales.

(Darrel) Compounded Lab Notes -- Have gone through about 19 different builds, getting more and more complicated, but have recently trimmed it back down to much more simple. Working at Panda (sp?) for four years cut into creative time. Now that he's full time for GtG, he's blowing the dust off various games. Have a printable prototype of Lab Notes. Next year is the 10th anniversary of Compounded. Working on an anniversary version.

Who to talk to about helping to run an event?

Organized play for SCRPG? Want it. Talking to people about it. No plans yet.

How much are C & A managing people rather than designing? (Paul) Interested in C & A & Kirkman being creative. You can hire people to manage and organize, but you can't hire people to have what they have -- particularly something like Christopher and Adam's friendship.

What benefits has being in STL had? Shipping from middle of country is relatively inexpensive and fast. All but one class 1 railroad comes through St. Louis. Three of the major distributions have warehouses in STL. The 2nd biggest industry cluster may be in STL. Geekway to the West is there. Not sure if it benefits from having so many companies there or vice versa. Probably both. There are more retail game stores in STL than in, say, Indianapolis.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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State of GtG, continued 3:

Steel & Mithril are the only remaining metal-named secret projects that are active. The others have either been developed and published or dropped. Chris Burton names games as 'Project <some type of parasite>'. Dice Hate Me just uses actual games. Jen uses codenames. Medium was called Venti. Christopher thinks names should be given late in the process, to avoid the name leading the game design.

Cheapass is not an imprint, in part because some places are shy about writing the word ass on a project. There will be James Ernest-branded games.

GSF -- Lots of love. No digital version ... yet. GSF, Tactics, LazerRyders, Fate all followed standard sales, but GtG didn't understand that yet and printed too may copies. Fate looks like it was going to take off and might well have if it had come out just a little earlier, but the market keeps changing. Retailers are being more demanding. The number of new games is starting to be reined in. It's good for an established publisher, like Gtg. Increasingly, retailers and distributors are demanding that games are established before they're willing to carry them. 

(Jeremy) Determining if something is a good opportunity to become a digital version includes looking at the sales curve and the number sold.

What's the future of the Letters Page? have gone through all of the characters. Currently creating new things live and adding to older stuff (Writer's Room). Not yet ready to talk about RPG stuff that hasn't come out. With most episodes being a Writer's Room, the Letters Page will actually become much more like a real Letters Page, with questions being based on stories that were just created a few weeks earlier.

(Jeremy) Would love to do a fighting game.

(C&A) There are lots of chapters for Sentinels of Freedom. They came up with a big story, but Underbite is starting with just chapter one.

Eric Reuss has declined to be on the podcast. He also declined to have Spirit Island intertwined with other properties. The connection of the Nexus of the Void to Spirit Island is one way. From within the world of Spirit Island, there's no knowledge of it.

Sentinels of Earth Prime is waiting on art work. Unlike when C&A work together, Green Ronin waited until Christopher provided finished decks before starting to source art. It's a far slower process.

The number of pitches that GtG have been taking (for potential new games) is going down. GtG is getting more selective, and the design community is starting to understand better what GtG is looking for. Kirkman is involved in Unpub and likes to find designers rather than have people come to him w/ pitches. There are also more people at GtG taking pitches these days. Chris Burton was schedueld for nine pitches during GenCon. Maggie typically forwards pitches to Burton, but has taken some when he's not available and also just to get a better sense of what's involved, particularly at UKGE. These days, if one person likes a game, it still needs to be put in front of other people to make sure there's a consensus.

GtG has a production timeline that goes into 2023, but it's possible for something small, like Medium, to be fast-tracked. If GtGs gets into more smaller games, than a sort of separate pipeline for those could start filling up, too.

GtG is working w/ someone at UKGE to help set up some sort of seminars to ... honestly I don't remembe what this is for, perhaps something related to building a game design community.

Minis take a lot of time and creating them takes a lot of expertise. There are many, many steps to get a mini made. You'll need a steel negative mold. And a positive mold that can handle molten steel, like ceramic. And a negativemold to hold the ceramic, perhaps silicone. And a mold to make the ceramic from, etc. At some point you've got some sort of original that is somehow reproducible or not in danger of breaking when being used as a mold. And there are many different types of plastic. And you may need to assemble pieces together.

How will the Sentinels of Freedom and the SCRPG timeline interact? A & C have a spreadsheet -- it was easier creating it in advance, then creating it after the fact, as they did for SotM. WalkingTarget has shared his timeline spreadsheet w/ Christopher to see how accurate it is, but Christopher hasn't had a chance to compare it to theirs -- and isn't about to share theirs with anyone.

 

WHEW! I hope someone appreciated all of that ...


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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Yep!


Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.
-Robert E. Howard, "The Tower of the Elephant"

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arenson9 wrote:
MANY MANY THINGS

Thanks, Andy!

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Thanks for the summaries Andy. 


Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and laminate their women! - Guise, Prime Wardens #31

 
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On the Sentinels of Freedom front, I'll note some stuff I learned talking to the developers (some of which I've shared on at least the TLP discord already).

  • As of very recently they will be releasing it on Switch and from what they know now it should be available there at launch.
  • The recent delay mentioned on the Kickstarter update is because of changes to the combat system itself. I played the demo and I think it's coming along nicely, but they need to get it to the place they want it and then rebalance all of the encounters for that new system. They are still fairly confident that they can hit a Jan-Feb release at this point, but we should keep in mind that delays can happen.
  • They plan on getting the character builder out to us ASAP - playing around with it it shares many features with the RPG (power sources, etc.).
  • They plan on making a closed beta of the tutorial levels and first set of story missions available to backers if/when they figure out a way to actually provide access to such a thing.
  • In addition to "your" character, you can also create a couple of additional characters (just with less direct customization) that you can choose as members of your team for the game, which I think was a neat idea.
  • As Andy reported, they have lots of plans for additional story content (since Christopher planned way more than they could feasibly do for the initial game) provided that the game does well and it's financially viable to do so.

Beyond that, it was a lot of fun continuing to run into Pricey Provinces and Andy around the con (after the 8-minute speed game we played at the booth) and meeting a few of the other familiar names. Ansel G. Moreau (in-character at the Letter's Page recording) was also Scholar in the costume contest, so I had to ask him if he was "The Scholar" or if it was rather "Ansel G. Moreau as John Rhodes in The Scholar, coming soon to a theater near you". After the costume contest ended, the Wraith (with her hair dryer in a holster) and I ran into each other at the GTG digital partners booth. Apparently she was a physical-only player and wasn't aware of the soundtracks. My gushing about descriptions of Jean-Marc's work was enough to prompt a purchase for all of the CDs, so that was a thing that happened.

Another random thing that happened was that when my friends and I were setting up some SotM at a table a random onlooker came over to look and we invited him to play as our fifth. I didn't catch his name, but he did mention that he was one of the creators for The Cauldron at one point, so that was cool.

Trogdor was the only game purchase for me this year (Medium was sold out by the time I tried to get it), and while it's not a GTG product I'm glad that they gave it a place at the convention. I was unsure about it during the Kickstarter and didn't back it, but having tried it I can say that it's a pretty easy recommendation for gamers who are fans of the Homestar Runner content. It's just full of little in-jokes and whatnot as well as being a pretty solid game (a friend said that it has no right being as good of a game as it is, I replied that it has at least one reason and that reason is named James Ernest).

Oh, and apparently the tote bag they had at the booth for completing all of the punchcard tasks is just big enough to fit the Ultimate Collector's Case if you turn it on its side. They didn't intend it for that purpose, so you may want to be careful when attempting this maneuver (especially if the cards are sleeved as that adds considerably to the weight of the overall box), but it is possible (although I haven't yet attempted it).

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Thanks, Jesse! Really enjoyed reading your writeup.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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Oh, Andy. You mentioned that you wound up having a glitch in SoF where the enemy got stuck in a wall? The same thing happened to me when I actually played the demo on Saturday and, while taking notes on where it happened, the guy mentioned that it had happened to one person the previous day too, so I guess we're the lucky ones.

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Just lucky I guess ...


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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Thanks, guys! I'm not "with it" enough/workplace blocks too many sites for me to follow the Discords, so I appreciate you reproducing things here. :)