The Crystal Ball: GenCon 2013

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Ladies and gentlemen, it is that time of the year again, as GenCon is literally next week! I’m as excited as one can get without experiencing incontinency. It’s the 46th year of the biggest gaming convention in North America. Like last year, GenCon broke pre-registration records, and we’ll probably see record-breaking attendance numbers this year as well. This year in particular is going to be extra-special, but I can’t reveal why just yet. A tease, I know, but if I told now, it’d spoil the surprise for someone special!

For such an important yearly pilgrimage to the nerd holy land, one must be armed with the knowledge of just what to spend your accumulated wealth on. Let’s look into the crystal ball and divine what goodies will be available at GenCon!

ARCANE WONDERS

Mage Wars: Druid vs. Necromancer Expansion

Yeah...YOU tell them this isn't a matter of LIFE and DEATH!

Yeah…YOU tell them this isn’t a matter of LIFE and DEATH!

Ooooh, goodie!  Mage Wars is finally releasing the Druid and the Necromancer! Two new mages enter the arena, and bring a whole passel of magic goodies for mages of all robes. I expect a heavy concentration of new Nature Magic and Dark magic, and a focus on “overwhelming your opponent” from both new mages; whether it be the druid’s plants choking the entire battlefield into submission, or the relentless onslaught of undead creatures that you can’t get rid of because they literally won’t die! I have yet to be disappointed with Mage Wars, and this is definitely on my list of “must-buys.”

MSRP: $39.99

ALDERAC ENTERTAINMENT GROUP (AEG)

Smash Up: The Obligatory Cthulhu Set

Everything is right with the universe...well, at least the stars are.

Everything is right with the universe…well, at least the stars are.

Oh my God. THIS.

What happens when you make a game in which you mix together the most batshit-insane combinations of awesome things to beat the ever-living snot out of each other and do as much property damage as possible to score points? You are duty-bound to make a Cthulhu expansion out of it! Well, the stars are right, so… WISH … GRANTED! Now, all it needs is a Kaiju expansion with Godzilla and it will cover all of it’s bases. There, AEG, you get that one for free.

Do I honestly need to “convince” people to pick this up?

 MSRP: $19.99

Thunderstone: Numenera

Cross-promotion, anyone?

Cross-promotion, anyone?

So, Monte Cook’s Numenera and AEG’s Thunderstone: Advance met in a bar, had a few drinks, went home together, and nine months later this little guy shows up? Alright. At a knee-jerk reaction, I’d say this looks pretty much like the “oops-baby” I just described it as, but I happen to enjoy Thunderstone. I don’t know enough about Numenera to judge, but it was written by Monte Cook, so it can’t be bad. Personally, I’m going to give this one a demo before I’d commit to buying it.

MSRP: $59.99

ASMODEE

Dungeon Twister: The Card Game

Yep...this is a thing.

Yep…this is a thing.

Oh, Lord. Dungeon Twister is an alright board game, and I’m sure it’ll be an alright Card Game. That’s not what bothers me. What bothers me is that it’s being sold by Asmodee, and if their track record for new releases will dictate anything, it’s that:

A) They have exactly FOUR copies available

B) Those four copies have been sold already…and yes, I’m aware GenCon is still a week away.

MSRP: $29.99 (If they actually have copies of it)

MAYFAIR GAMES

Asgard’s Chosen

Now with 20% less Tim Robbins!

Now with 20% less Tim Robbins!

Mayfair games, in an attempt to avoid releasing yet ANOTHER Catan title, re-skinned their brand new “Conquerors of Catan” title and gave it a norse theme, and thus Asgard’s Chosen was born; a game of violent land domination through bloody conflict, sorcery, and sacrifice to pagan gods. Well, alright, I made that up…all except for the part of describing the game. It sounds kind of like playing Catan, but as every NPC in the game and it’s expansions EXCEPT for the Settlers themselves.

MSRP: $42.00 (apparently, this game is the answer to life, the universe, and everything…)

PLAID HAT GAMES

Mice & Mystics: Heart of Glorm Expansion

This is about as close to the furry community as I'm ever going to get.

This is about as close to the furry community as I’m ever going to get.

Mice & Mystics was a surprisingly fun sleeper hit at GenCon last year, and it goes without saying that there would eventually be more stories to tell with these little furballs. I urge anyone who hasn’t played it to give it a try; You don’t even have to turn in your Man Card™ to do it! For those that own the game, picking this up is an obvious no-brainer.

MSRP:  $29.95

PINNACLE ENTERTAINMENT GROUP (PEG)

Deadlands: Noir (Print Edition!)

We have detectives of all kinds! Hard-boiled, Magical, and Undead!

We have detectives of all kinds! Hard-boiled, Magical, and Undead!

Deadlands Noir will have its print edition and accessories available to the public! Nuff said!

MSRP: (sorry, no clue)

MONTE COOK GAMES

Numenera

At the very least it doesn't involve a fat kid flailing his arms to Moldovan pop music...

At the very least it doesn’t involve a fat kid flailing his arms to Moldovan pop music…

So… a spinoff game is released on the SAME DAY as the core book for the RPG it’s based off of? Is that a stoke of marketing genius, or is it jumping the gun? Either way, raising a half a million dollars to Kickstart a tabletop RPG is no small feat, but I think it might have something to do with the fact that Numenera is Monte Cook’s brainchild. All I really know about it thus far is that it’s a science-fantasy set a billion years in the future. Monte Cook is one of my favorite RPG authors, so I’ll be stopping by his booth to check it out.

MSRP: $59.99

PAIZO PUBLISHING

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords

An entire year's campaign in a single evening.

An entire year’s campaign in a single evening.

Sometimes, you want the satisfaction of completing a Pathfinder Adventure Path without having to spend the next decade playing through them all. Paizo releases the answer in their brand new Pathfinder Card Game. This thing has nearly 500 cards for just the base set, and it’s only the first BOOK of “Rise of the Runelords.” Bi-monthly, they’ll be releasing the next book in an expansion pack until Rise of the Runelords is completed.  After that, it looks like Paizo is moving on to other adventure paths. Also releasing with the base set is a 110-card Character add-on pack, containing four classes not in the base. This whole thing sounds silly, but I really am a mark for Pathfinder stuff…

MSRP: $59.99 (Base set)

$19.99 (Character add-on pack)

Mythic Adventures

Power-gamers, start your engines!

Power-gamers, start your engines!

So, have you felt like your Pathfinder games don’t have enough whoopass? If so, Paizo is releasing their “Not Epic-Level Handbook” for your powergaming delight! Not tied to character level, Mythic Characters can be played at lowly level 1, or retire-the-friggin-character level 40. There are six mythic archetypes (independent of Character Class), and ten “tiers” of mythic abilities, from the “shot of espresso” Tier 1, all the way to the “PCP-induced bloodrage” Tier 10, in which you’re basically demigods. Feats, Items, Spells, Mythic monsters….it’s all here. With all of this, I don’t foresee Paizo ever making an epic-level handbook…they won’t need one.

MSRP: $39.99

Pathfinder Adventure Path: Wrath of the Righteous

PZO9073_500

And what release of a book about being epic would be without a new Adventure Path to play though as a Mythic character? Paizo has you covered. “Wrath of the Righteous” kicks off with The Worldwound Incursion.

MSRP: $22.99

FLYING FROG PRODUCTIONS

Flying Frog is a bit tight-lipped about revealing information about GenCon; as in, I never got a return email on my inquiry. I did, however, stumble across their GenCon ad:

The Last Night on Earth: Blood in the Forest

Oh yes. There will be blood.

Oh yes. There will be blood.

This expansion, which can be added to Last Night on Earth: Timber Peak or the original Last Night on Earth board game, features new forest game boards (four corners and four straight pieces), a new double-sided forest center board (with the Airfield), two new types of zombie figures – a pack of vicious feral zombies and the menacing zombie behemoths – to hunt down the heroes, two new heroes (Sister Ophelia, the reformed nun [who looks a little “mannish” on the cover], and Agent Carter, an FBI agent who knows more about the outbreak than he lets on), as well as a host of new hero and zombie cards, counters, scenarios, and game mechanisms. Last Night on Earth: Blood in the Forest also expands on the Experience system originally introduced in LNOE: Timber Peak.

MSRP: $39.95

Fortune & Glory: Rise of the Crimson Hand

imagesFortune and Glory: Rise of the Crimson Hand is packed with new material for Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game with new cards for every deck; new dangers to face – including a new game mechanism for “deadly” tests; new villains to fight, each with a highly detailed figure; epic city events, unique to each major city, that can be triggered; devious Crimson Hand Acolyte figures that are dispatched to race the heroes for artifacts; and a powerful new vile organization to contend with!

MSRP: $39.95

CATALYST GAME LABS

catalyst-logo

Catalyst is pulling out a lot of stops this year (It’s The Year of Shadowrun, after all), and everything they’re doing is too much to put into this meager article. Between the Shadowrun 5th Edition print release, the book giveaway drawings for cosplayers, free swag, Crossfire demos, Battletech releases, and their brand new game The Duke, it’s just too much to list in full here. Be sure to check out Catalyst this year!

Read about everything they’re doing, and how to get ahold of all the goodies HERE

The Short List: (Lots more available!)

Shadowrun 5th Edition Core Rulebook: $60

Shadowrun 5E Gear Cards: $10

Shadowrun 5E Spell Cards: $10

Shadowrun Sprawl Wilds: $20

Shadowrun Firing Line: $20

BattleTech Alpha Strike: $40

BattleTech Alpha Strike Unit Cards: $15

Technical Readout 3145: $40

BattleCorps Anthology 4: $15

Cosmic Patrol: The Moon Must be Ours!: $25

Leviathans: Ship Quirks/Crew Abilities deck: $15

The Duke: $35

WIZARDS OF THE COAST

Wotclogo

Oh, how the mighty have fallen…

Speaking of secretive and tight-lipped, Wizards isn’t revealing crap about their lineup. It’s a wonder if they even HAVE anything to show off, considering they don’t even have a presence in the VENDOR HALL this year!!!  Yeah. WotC has decided to seclude itself from the unwashed masses and get their own little ballroom outside of the main vendor hall. I’m not sure if this is the most arrogant thing they’ve ever done, or if they just gave up and decided to become the industry pariahs.

With D&D Next still in the playtesting phase, I know of only ONE WotC release this year:

Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport Expansion

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Yes, this is one of my “must-buys,” as I LOVE Lords of Waterdeep. However, if you want to see anything else WotC has to offer, you’ll have to travel off the beaten path to their own little corner of the Con.

MSRP: $39.99

FANTASY FLIGHT GAMES

FFG-Logo-Blue

Last, but most certainly not least in the department of companies who are “tight-lipped,” Fantasy Flight Games gets the award for “Most secretive game company.” They answer NO inquiries as to what the new releases are! I’d half expect that if I somehow DID learn what’s on their top-secret release list is, I’d be dragged from my bed in the dead of night by men in black suits and be discovered floating face down the next day in a nearby river. I didn’t even get a return email with the standardized corporate “we’re not allowed to comment at this time” response. Hell, I would’ve been happy if they sent an email back telling me to “shut my whore mouth and be surprised by what they’re unveiling!”

Looking at the “upcoming” list on their website doesn’t really provide any hints, either. Their most recent big announcement is for Eldritch Horror, the newest addition to the Call of Cthulhu family. Two weeks ago, I was telling some friends that I think it’d be great if they made an Arkham Horror game that had you trotting the globe instead of being stuck in a single city….not a week later, up pops Eldritch Horror on the FFG front page. I think at this point I’m wasted on blogging. I should just submit an application to work at a game company as a designer.

Anyways, that news article announced that one can demo this new game at GenCon. I was worried at first, but Eldritch Horror isn’t listed as an event…which means if I wait patiently, and perhaps chloroform some of the people in front of me, I’ll get to play it early!

No, if you really want the inside scoop on Fantasy Flight Games’ future lineup, you have to attend the Fantasy Flight Games “in-flight report.” It’s here that you learn all about the new hotness, and all of the BIG reveals that Fantasy Flight Games has for the upcoming year. Last year, we were treated to the reveal of Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Roleplaying game. The best part? Everyone there got a free copy of the BETA RPG book! That is nothing to sneeze at! What tickles my sense of speculation, however, is the fact that FFG plans to release a new Star Wars core book each year (until all three are released). We JUST got the Edge of the Empire corebook only a few weeks ago. If I were a betting man, I’d place my money on the announcement of the next core book, Star Wars: Age of Rebellion at the in-flight report. It would only make sense to announce it now at GenCon to get the ball rolling for the big Beta test, right? Well, I hope so. It makes me wonder if they’re going to be as generous with those Beta books as they were last year?

What surprises does FFG have in store this year? I dunno. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. Maybe I’ll see some of you there.

If they do hand out free BETA copies of Age of Rebellion, and announce that they’re doing something as awesome as resurrecting Heroquest, you may see this from some poor bloke in the audience:

…be sure not to step on his unconscious body on the way out, because that would be ME on the floor; A drooling, but happy mess.

Now, I have but ONE request of all of the game company vendors this year; Please, for the love of everything you hold dear, PLEASE limit how much of a product people can buy! That fat, sweaty asshat wearing the Cheeto-stained VIG-badge does NOT NEED 15 copies of your newest release! This accomplishes nothing other than pissing off your customers and allowing the trolls to laugh their way to the bank…

…sorry. I hate scalpers.

Alright, folks, my spell is done, and the fog of divination was quite thick this time around. GenCon releases seem slightly lackluster this year. However, for those making the trip to Indy, be safe, take care of yourself, and have a blast!

Happy Gaming!

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Posted on August 8, 2013, in Board Games, Card Games, Conventions, Miniatures Games, News, Role-Playing Games and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Hello, the tight lipped Wizards Of The Coast does have many releases this year. From The Vault 20 (Magic the Gathering) is releasing on the 23rd of August. This special edition set is suppose to retail at 39.99, but with the break of Jace, The Mind Sculptor is in it, expect retail to be no less than 200 a box. Also wizards will be telling more on the soon to release set in September called Theros! This new set will bring about new elements to the Magic world. Wizards also put their own site seperate from the GenCon group due in fact to their doubling the number of tournament available to play this year. One to two of whic will be Pro-Tour Qualifiers!! Super exciting, so don’t count Wizards down and out yet. With Hasbro owning them, Wizards is pressured to produce product that will be very desirable. Both for new and old players in the DnD, Magic, and Kaijudo world.

    • Well, Jed, you of all people would know about everything coming out from Wizards. Regardless, no exhibitor hall presence is VERY awkward. Wizards’ booths over the past few years have grown smaller and smaller, and now it looks like they’re secluding themselves. If this behavior is Hasbro “pressure,” then it’s leaving a sour taste in peoples’ mouths. It’s really looking like Wizards is becoming a “one-trick pony” (i.e.: Magic the Gathering) rather than a gaming giant they really SHOULD be. In a more perfect Con, the holy trinity of vendor hall space should be Paizo, Fantasy Flight Games, and Wizards of the Coast…and now Wizards is strangely absent.

  2. Pat; I totally agree with you. Wizards has very much either purpously or not, slowly withdrawn. Based on knowledge I have gathered, they are a bit upset over organization for tournaments and vendors. The last few years for magic have been very profitable at GenCon, but with how the last few organizers handled said tournaments, wizards among others have been upset. This coupled with the lack luster DnD 4th edition wizards I feel has been a bit annexed at times and blamed for lack of organization that isn’t in their control. Also from what I have been told, wizards does not like competing with other vendors for sale of their product. Unlike games workshop who polices the heck out of their sales. Wizards has taken a new approach. Simply put as “let the second hand market thrive”. This so far has been great for the success of many stores! With wizards taking a back seat it lets the other “major” distribution and sales companies thrive as well as the “lower down the food chain” store and vendors. Wizards biggest booboo was making 4th edition what it is! Plainly put they made a subpar product for experienced gamers. While trying to bring new players into DnD they just ignored and laughed at experienced players! This really hurt the future credibility of DnD for those of us loyal to 1st-3.5 edition. This I blame on Hasbro, they bought wizards and then decided to make a “kid friendly” version of DnD. Hasbro designers (non gamers but great toy makers) have been “back seated” and almost replaced for this new edition of DnD. I hope with its onset and release it will re-establish wizards as yet again one of the leaders in RPG design and creation. Not a “one trick pony” by leanin heavily upon MTG and Kijudo. Which by the way Wizards will be holding a lot of “free to play” Kaijudo tournaments! This game is a re make of the Duel master game and I must say a better version. Definentally check this product out, considering that the pre made decks have cards in them selling on eBay at about 10-100 dollars a card! For a free 10-100 card it is worth the look see!

    • Which “Hasbro” designers made 4E? All of the names I see on 4E products are names on 3E products and/or D&D Next products.

      I swear. People imagine all sorts of strange things in order to justify their preference for one edition over another…

  3. A simple look at the dungeons and dragons website over the last two months would have showed you that there are several products being released at Gen Con, including a Gen Con exclusive D&D Next Playtest Adventure.

    I don’t know what manner of irrational hatred would compell you to claim a company is tightlipped When you haven’t even visited the website, but I suppose cynicism of that level is something I will never comprehend.

  4. My apologies that my website is not up to the most basic of standards, Mr. Younce.

    I am humbled, however, that my blog was important enough to someone to warrant a response.

    I shall take the advice of my betters and hit the library a little more often before I run my mouth. Your constructive criticism has been noted, and will be put to use to create a better experience for my few readers.

    Thank you, sir. I hope you had a wonderful GenCon.

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