GenCon 2001


This year marked the 12th year in a row that I have attended the GenCon games fair. As always, I looked forward to my four days there as a chance to see and buy some new games as well as get in a little playing. Then came this year.

This year marked the 12th year in a row that I have attended the Gen Con games fair. As always, I looked forward to my four days there as a chance to see and buy some new games as well as get in a little playing. Then came this year.

For all of my misgivings, it was a good con. I did have fun. I checked out some new games, and bought a couple. However, there just didn't seem to be any drive in the con this year. There wasn't a "biggest, best, most bad ass game ever" kind of release. The closest that I saw was Wizards giving people an early look and chance to buy their new Harry Potter CCG.

There were some cool games there, but just none of the hype that I guess I have come to expect in the last few years. I picked up a game call Agone (stay tuned for a review in the future - ed). It was just translated from French and looks pretty good. I haven't read it all the way through, but I can say at this point the back story is looking pretty good.

The high point of the convention for me was when I got the chance to spend almost 10 minutes doing nothing but chatting with Lisa Pondsmith about the upcoming stuff from R. Talsorian. I was really sad when I had read the news that they would have to go down to a part time company and that new products would be still be released, though at a slower schedule.

Talking with Lisa, I found that R. Talsorian is gearing back up and will be putting out Cyberpunk v3.0 in the next year. I was given a flier which had an excerpt of the introductory story for 3.0 and it looks good. The new rules are set about 10 years or so after 2020. The world has changed again, and there is a need for people that can survive.

I also found out that the Castle Falkenstein rules are going to be re-released with some additions from the Comme Il Faute supplement in a handy pocket size reference. This is in answer to the players that prefer to make their games more of a Live Action experience than tabletop. I was also told that there are still a couple of supplements in the line for Falkenstein, and based on the sales and response to the pocket book they will also be released. If Talsorian decides the market will not support their release as full game supplements, I have been promised that they will still be made available to fans. Probably through pdf download or similar method.

Avalon Hills was showing off their new Risk game. Risk 2241 or something like that. It looks pretty cool, and I look forward to the chance to play the game. However, for at least the second year in a row, Avalon has set up a booth, given demos of games, and then not sold the games. If you wanted to pick up a copy of their new games you were directed to another booth in the con. I hate that. If I like your game, and want to buy it right away at the con, have it at your booth. If I have to find another booth to buy your game, I'll just wait until I have the money and see it at my favorite game store. There were a couple of other companies that did this as well, but I can't recall their names.

One company that was there, without product to sell, was the German company responsible for Die Schwarze Auge. Later on this year, DSA will be putting out a 4th edition to their rules, as well as translating the rules for all of us monolinguistic Americans. They did have some copies of the supplements in the German editions. Since I can speak and read German, I checked them out.

WOW!!! Die Schwarze Auge has been out since 1984, and those Germans know how to write background material. They have released 150 supplements and adventures, 20 boxed sets, and over 50 novels. Unlike all the crap for 2nd Edition AD&D, their stuff looks like quality. If they had been selling the German editions, I would have bought them then and there. I believe the name the English rules will be released under is Aventuria. That's also the name of the main continent in the game. Check it out when you see it appear in your game store.

The lack of a big FASA booth was sort of disappointing this year. Even though I have never been a huge fan of their stuff, I still liked going over and checking out what they had to offer. For any Earthdawn fans out there, the license has been sold to another company, and they have just put out the 2nd edition rules. My only gripe with that, is they didn't actually CHANGE the rules system that was used in the original. The back story was cool, but all of those silly dice steps for abilities was just weird.

White Wolf was there, what more can I say. I used to be a big fan of their stuff, but they seem to have fallen into the same supplement trap that TSR did. I looked over some of their stuff. I hear Exhalted, their new game, is pretty good, but I wasn't overly impressed by what I saw. If I get a chance to sit in on a game, I won't pass though.

No cool bag of freebies with check in this year. What's up with that? I also didn't like the fact that names are no longer printed on the badges. Some rumors state that this is a move towards reducing costs. I don't if that's true. I kind of liked having my name on the badge, but what are you going to do?

All in all, Gen Con 2001 was ok. It wasn't a total bust, but it sure won't go down in my book as a great con. What are your thoughts and feelings?