GenCon 2008, Part One

Saturday, August 30, 2008

It's always hard to capture the magic of GenCon in a blog post. Once again, the big show was a ton of fun -- mostly because I got to hang out with friends I don't see nearly enough, and made new friendships out of Internet acquaintances.

Speaking of friends...

Emily Care Boss, Vincent Baker, and Joshua Newman. Photo by ECB.

It was wonderful to see Emily, Vincent, and Joshua, as always. I got to spend some good hang-out time with Vincent this year (a double mitzvah!), but not nearly enough with Em and Joshua. I'm looking forward to catching up with them at Dreamation. We got to try out Vincent's game in development, Storming the Wizard's Tower, which was all manner of fun.


Tony Dowler, Me, Vincent, Matt Wilson, Brandon Amancio. Photo by Ed Heil.

We were brave adventurers who went down the river to find out what had happened to our village's copper barge. Turned out, giant, killer aquatic crows were the culprit. I was as surprised as you are. Also, Swamp People are real jerks. The game uses Mechaton dice in a cool way and captures that old-skool Basic D&D vibe very well (with Vincent-style twists, of course).


Eero, Markku, and Jari Tuovinen. Photo by Emily Care Boss.

It was a real pleasure to meet the Brothers Tuovinen from Finland. Not only do they have awesome accents, but they are interesting, fun chaps that are a blast to game with. Everyone instantly adopted Eero's pronunciation of "zombie" as "chombie" and it spread like a meme throughout the con. Eero's game, Zombie Cinema, is super fun and fast-playing, too. Highly recommended.


Graham Walmsley and Julia Ellingboe. Photo by Emily Care Boss.

The odd couple: Graham and Julia. It was great to finally meet Graham and enjoy his bone-dry wit in person. He very well may be the most British man on Earth. Julia is one of my favorite people in the world, and I'm glad we got to hang out and do some gaming together again (we bonded over Poison'd last year). Her new game in development, The Fisherman's Wife, is a delight. Apparently Julia can demo it just fine despite being (according to her) "totally wasted."

(My favorite part of the demo: Tony Dowler, as the bitter old fisherman, calmly cooking and eating the mermaid demon, even as she promised him pleasures and riches in a kingdom beneath the sea.)

Speaking of Tony...

Tony Dowler and Me. Photo by Emily Care Boss.

... seen here is the man himself, despite my attempt to eclipse him in the photo (with Ryan Macklin's hat, shark-fin like, prowling in the background). Tony's new game, How to Host a Dungeon, was a hit at the Forge booth, nearly selling out and impressing everyone with its clever and fun design.

Speaking of fun designs...

Shannon East, Gregor Hutton, Paul Riddle, Me, Matt Wilson, and Adam Reimenschneider. Photo by Emily Care Boss.

I absolutely fell in love with Gregor Hutton's new game, 3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars. I ran it five times at GenCon (for 30 people total) and played in a sixth game (seen above). It is a wonderful example of this new breed of RPGs (like In A Wicked Age and Geiger Counter) which are no-prep, fast-playing, and fun -- yet still packed with replay value, interesting themes, and thoughtful touches.


Gregor Hutton, Me, and Tony Dowler. Photo by Terry Romero.

Due to my service above and beyond the call of duty, Gregor presented me with the Expeditionary Forces Medal of Corruption (for exposing the most new players to the influence of 3:16). Fortunately, Terry was there to capture the moment for posterity and Julia fixed her hair in the perfect end-of-Star Wars Princess Leia style.


Princess Julia Ellingboe of Alderan. Photo by Terry Romero.

More to come in Part Two...

LINK: Story Games thread about the GenCon 3:16 games.

4 Comments:

Blogger Kevin says:  

Ah, I see how it is. I have to be pictured or be part of the "it" crowd, is that it? Is that how this thing goes, Harper?

Fine, be that way.

ps - Talislanta sux!!!11!!!

pps - Elves rule!1!1!!!

;)



Blogger John Harper says:  

Your chances of being in Part Two are rapidly dwindling, Denehy.



Blogger Tony says:  

Nice!



Blogger Matt Wilson says:  

I like how I'm carefully hidden from view in those pics.



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