This year at Gen Con, I’ll be working with Pulp Gamer, who are doing video coverage of Gen Con for Mayfair Games. We’ll be there covering the Catan North American Championship on Sunday and the totally free block party on Thursday evening (over on Georgia Street, where the food trucks are). In previous years, I post lists of stuff to get. This year, my list isn’t quite as extensive.

Right now, there are two main things on the floor that draw my eye. One is the Firefly RPG Gen Con Exclusive: I’m freelancing for Margaret Weis Productions and am doing a few graphic design things on the core rulebook for Firefly, so I’ve actually seen the digital interiors and cover for the Gen Con Exclusive. Having read this game, I would love to get a physical copy. In case you’re a bit confused about what’s in the book like I was (honestly, I thought it was just a few preview things, maybe some quickstart rules where you just play the crew from the show, and an adventure), the Firefly RPG Gen Con Exclusive is pretty much a complete game. You’ve got character creation rules (including the show’s crew and several pre-built characters), ship creation rules, four different adventures, and… well, it’s a damn good game in itself. You could run a whole campaign with just this one book. Head over to booth 1619 and pick it up (Hall H entrance, back to the major cross-aisle, between Ultra Pro and Cool Mini or Not). If you want to try out the game, your best bet is to head to the booth for a five minute demo or check the schedule at Games on Demand (ICC: 237-238) on Thursday and Saturday as scheduled events are sold out. (Edited to add: Some of the people at GoD say it won’t be there, MWP says it will. Go find out and if it isn’t, play something else that’s awesome.)

The second thing I would love to be reading on the plane back home is Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Beta book, the game that’s centered on the Rebel Alliance striking the Galactic Empire from hidden bases. (While I’ve been demoing games at FFG’s booth in the past, I don’t have any professional relationship with the company. I just like their games and the people there are great.) Last year, my Gen Con roommate attended FFG’s Inflight Report – the “what’s up with Fantasy Flight” press conference/seminar – and at the end, everyone in attendance received a free copy of the Edge of the Empire Beta book. Following that, Christian Petersen, CEO of FFG, walked over to the exhibit hall booth and that’s when they unveiled the game there. This year, they’ve announced the second of three Star Wars RPGs and the Inflight Report room is completely sold out. If the same thing happens as last year, expect the Age of Rebellion beta to go on sale around 2:45 or 3:00 on Friday. The Fantasy Flight Games booth will be a city unto itself, spanning booths 811 through 1119. Go in the middle entrance (Hall I) and you’ll see the booth right behind the Catalyst Game Labs area.

Normally, I would be excited to pick up Dungeon Roll from Tasty Minstrel Games, but I’m not: I already have my copy! This is a great little press your luck dice game (with a bit of strategy) and worth your $15 (Gen Con Thursday-only special, comes with eight extra heroes; $20 on the other days). I think the box says 8 and up, but my seven year old loves the game as do her parents. They’re bringing a ton of these to the convention and I fully expect TMG will be sold out by midday, Saturday. At the very least, you should head to their booth for a demo of the game. They’ve got six tables for demos all convention long. Tip: While you’re there, pick up Martian Dice, which is about the same price. They’re over at booth 459, kind of back by the Family Fun Pavilion (Hall K).

Last year, I ordered Mice and Mystics from Plaid Hat Games. While I and my wife enjoyed it, the gameplay was a tad too long for my girl. In a year or two I expect it will be perfect for her and we’ll get through more than the first scenario. That said, if we had played through at least a half of the campaign by now, I’d definitely be picking up the Heart of Glorm expansion. (Although rumor has it that it will be only there on display, like M&M was in 2012). Plaid Hat games is at booth 2131, all the way on the right (East) side of the hall, near the exits to the large gaming hall.

Do you love Shadowrun? Catalyst Game Labs will have a physical copy of the Shadowrun 5 rulebook available, including some super spiffy (and super pricey) limited edition versions. I’ve already got this as a PDF and I’ll probably eventually purchase it, but it’s not an immediate buy for me. Catalyst will be be at booth 903, right as you use the Hall I entrance.

Back when Castle Panic came out, I had an opportunity to play it. It’s a fun, fun, game. Ever since then, people have been bugging Justin DeWitt to have a zombie version. He finally caved: this year there are a few advance copies of Dead Panic available ($40) at Fireside Games’ booth (1707, right behind Green Ronin Publishing, directly in front of the Hall H entrance). Rush in before the horde gets there! While you’re there, try out Bears! if you love dice games.

Oh, you know how I mentioned I’ll be doing some work with Mayfair Games? Well, the one thing I really want to see at their booth is The Downfall of Pompeii, a really fun game where you get to throw people into a volcano. It’s my favorite game in the Mayfair catalog and it’s back in a new version. Mayfair’s city is centered around booth 119, in Hall J, right between Paizo’s booth (look for the line) and the Family Fun Pavilion.

I will also be looking forlornly at King of Toyko, which I’ve always wanted but never purchased. Depending on my resolve (and financial situation on Sunday)…

Edit: Also in the “things that are always there” department, my friend is working with Dagon Industries again this year. They’ve got some cool Cthulhu-related gear and silly stuff that gamers love. Despite my near-complete cluelessness about Lovecraft’s work’s allure, Cthulhu stuff works as a secret signal to other geeks and nerds: a Cthulhu Fish on a car is an in-joke for we few likeminded. This is a roundabout way of saying that when I brought home a Miskatonic University Alumni licence plate frame last year, I was chastised by my wife for not bringing another one home for the second car. I aim to correct that mistake this year at booth 1515, catercorner to the MWP booth in Hall H. (I’m also probably going to pick up a Miskatonic University parking permit sticker as well.)

So that’s my list. What are you looking forward to trying out or seeing at Gen Con this year? Not sure what’s coming out? Take a look at this list over on Board Game Geek: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/153611/gen-con-2013-preview/

 

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