Gen Con 50: RPGs

Given the nature of RPGs, I obviously didn’t play as many as I’d like. That said there was definitely a lot of buzz around roleplaying at this year’s Gen Con; definitely moreso than there has been in previous years. For me, this is really exciting and I think the sheer diversity of major titles may help to keep the momentum going. On to the games!
  • The Strange by Monte Cook Games – I’ve played Numenera and like it well enough, 1c5091c2fcf9fe1b01f307b84ff910b0_largebut the Strange had a premise that didn’t quite click with me. I figured that a con game of it would be a great way to experience the system with minimal investment. The MCG volunteer ran a great game and the other players were great fun. I really enjoyed the setting, though it definitely seems better suited to one-shots to some degree.
  • The Dark Eye by Ulisses Spiele – I’ve got a fair bit to unpack on this one. Dark Eye was the second of my two RPGs at Gen Con. The system itself is a bit odd and definitely on the wrong side of crunch for my taste. That said, some of the mechanics are really interesting even if they feel better suited to a board game. The setting is interesting and I may pick up some of the setting books as inspiration for other games. The GM was very talented and employed lots of traditional storytelling techniques that accentuated the game. However, the game was a bit awkward at places. My pre-generated character was a female elf with the stunning looks (standard for the setting). During the main altercation of the game, the GM indicated that the angry mob was interested in beating up my companions but wanted “less than PG-13 intent” with my character. Now I don’t mind adult content in my games (though there should be a notice of such). I also don’t mind, historical accuracy when it’s consistent. That said, in a game where apparently a female adventurer isn’t all that uncommon, the default assumption that all the bad guys want to rape the women is wrong-headed at best. Misogynistic and disturbing at worst. The whole situation really turned me off the game and was part of the reason I didn’t spend any more time at the PS area (regardless of how much I really wanted to talk about the new 40K game).
  • No Thank You Evil by Monte Cook Games – In contrast to my game of Dark Eye was MCG’s non-stop games of No Thank You Evil. There was a non-stop group of kids in their booth playing this starter RPG and they always looked like they were having a blast. This is the sort of thing that gives me hope for the next generation of role players.
  • Starfinder by Paizo – I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about Starfinder. Wow. Never has there been a bigger demand for a single RPG in one place. There were two locations to buy the books and they had lines throughout the con – even after they sold out!
  • Shadows of Esteren by Studio Agate – I remember this game being kickstarted and not thinking much of it. Clearly, I missed out. Their booth was constantly busy and gamer after gamer talked about the great setting and elegant rules. Definitely on my list to check out.
  • Invisible Sun by Monte Cook Games – The Invisible Sun boxed set was on display at the MCG booth and there was definitely a steady buzz about the game. I may have to reconsider my stance on investing
  • cthulhu-confidential-front-cover_350
    in the pre-order…
  • Vampire the Masquerade by White Wolf Games – White Wolf and Onyx Path (I will never fully understand the relationship between the two…) were very present at Gen Con and were heavily promoting the 5th edition of the venerable Vampire game. The art is gorgeous as ever and the early looks at some of the rules are making this one to watch.
  • Tal’Dorei Setting by Green Ronin – There was a fair bit of love for the new setting book that’s been derived from the popular Critical Role web series. It’s not my bag, but it seemed pretty popular with others.
  • Cthulhu Confidential by Pelgrane Press – I rarely buy print RPG products anymore, but when Robin Laws is involved and it’s a unique one GM with one player set-up, I’m willing to splurge. I’m looking forward to getting this one to the table.
And that’s it for my overview of Gen Con 50!

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