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Raine's been gaming for as long as he can remember. It all started back with his video gaming roots, and as he got older he transitioned into tabletop. A lover of all games, some of his favorites include Pathfinder, Battlestar Galactica, Magic: the Gathering, D&D Attack Wing, Regnum Angelica, and Warmachine/Hordes. Raine's been writing for many years, and loves being a part of the gaming industry.

Guest Post: The Plan – Part 31: Gen Con 2014!

This past week was my tenth Gen Con (I missed the first one in Indy) and I had a blast like I do every year. The entire convention – be it the dealer’s room, the different halls filled with games, the cosplay outfits or the game library keep me coming back year after year. I’m pretty sure that I would follow the convention wherever it goes (but considering how the city has embraced it, I don’t think it will be leaving any time soon). After four days of walking, talking and playing, I am super tired, but it is definitely worth it.

Of the 40 items placed into the Gen Con store/auction, I sold around two thirds of them. All told, I made enough to cover all my (and my wife’s) expenses for the whole convention (with money left over to buy dinner and a gift for my nephew). Unfortunately many of the games that I sold this year were games that we’ve already played from the list. They were good, but not fantastic games and I felt that I could part with them. I have a couple more that I plan on putting on eBay/Amazon/BGG to get some more cash for my under-played games. Thankfully the number of games that I added to the list is quite low compared to the number of things in the below picture (4 new games, two expansions and some additional Privateer Press miniatures).

To the list –

The only game played that was a part of the list for the week was Battletech. The Wednesday before Gen Con, there is a Battletech game called Urbielord that is played at a local game store in Indianapolis. For some reason, one of the demo crew for Battletech owns a bunch of Urbanmechs and every player gets the same mech in a glorious free-for-all. This year the only weapon we had were melee weapons and played a king of the hill scenario. We were in stitches about how many mechs were pushed, slammed and beat off the top of the hill. It was a blast and I hazard to say, the best enjoyment of all the Urbielords! So I can thankfully remove the asterisk from Battletech game that I played a couple of weeks ago now that the original game has also been played.

Battletech – Urbielord: A king of the hill scenario with only melee weapons. Note that I am the red ‘mech at the lower left of the picture.

Battletech – Urbielord: A king of the hill scenario with only melee weapons. Note that I am the red ‘mech at the lower left of the picture.

Other notable games played at the convention –

The only event that I had scheduled was a Starmada Nova edition game that dealt with a fleet of Orks attacking an Imperial planet using miniatures from the Battlefleet Gothic line. I couldn’t tell you who won since I was playing the massive Imperial battleship that was destroyed in turn 6 (two Ork ships spent two turns just blasting it with everything they had). After all my ships were gone, I left the game to go play something in the game library with my friends. Starmada is a great starship combat game that is completely customizable with tons of different options, but no actual miniature line. There is a crossover with Star Fleet Battles so you can get the needed stats for the original Star Trek ships if you desire. I own a bunch of different iconic starship fleets (Star Wars, Star Trek and BSG currently) that I plan to use in a massive crossover game!

Starmada – Nova Edition: The Ork forces are attempt to land on the planet with the Imperium forces scrambling to mount a defense.

Starmada – Nova Edition: The Ork forces are attempt to land on the planet with the Imperium forces scrambling to mount a defense.

I also played a friend’s copy of Dead of Winter. This semi-cooperative game was an amazing experience. It had everything needed to feel that you were trying to survive a winter in the zombie apocalypse. The heart of the game is the action dice that each player rolls to determine what actions their team of survivors can perform. Each player has a secret mission that requires them to look out for themselves if they plan to win the game. Another amazing mechanic is the crossover deck which has small mini-adventures/events that crop up as players attempt actions. The player on your right draws a crossover card for your turn and if the conditions of the card ever occur, you stop what you are doing and resolve the event. Most are bad, but some are good. This game just works and I understand why it was sold out as quickly as it was. It’s a great game in a series of ‘Crossover Games’ to be produced and I can’t wait for the next play.

Dead of Winter: A fantastic zombie game that forces players to constantly work to keep winter and the walking dead at bay all while trying to complete your secret mission!

Dead of Winter: A fantastic zombie game that forces players to constantly work to keep winter and the walking dead at bay all while trying to complete your secret mission!

“Telestrations Against Humanity” – on Friday, we were going to play Telestrations and we wanted a couple of additional players (it’s better with more and we had only 5 at the time). A table beside us in the game library was looking for players for Cards Against Humanity (CAH for short). I must say that I’m not a huge fan of CAH – it’s an offensive version of Apples to Apples, but I digress. In a stroke of craziness (genius), we took the white cards of Cards Against Humanity to draw in Telestrations. I have never laughed so hard for the hour the nine of us played. The drawings were offensive and crass to be sure, but at midnight with the group we had it was a perfect. My wife and I had to leave around 1 am so not to get the car locked in the parking garage that we were in.

Lastly, Fantasy Flight Games created a cooperative variant of Descent for organized play events at local retailers. In this game variant, the overlord player is replaced with an overlord track, monster activation cards and exploration cards that allow for a very different experience. I managed to play in the second of the series while at Gen Con and it is a tough game. Our group of heroes didn’t even make it past the first major encounter. After two months, these game packs are to be available for purchase by anyone and I can’t wait to play the initial pack that I bought with my group – it is a lot of fun and a great way to get more out of my (massive) Descent collection.

Descent: This cooperative variant really makes all players work for the victory.  Our band didn’t even make it through the first major encounter.

Descent: This cooperative variant really makes all players work for the victory. Our band didn’t even make it through the first major encounter.

Kickstarter report – Mantic has a dungeon crawler game currently on Kickstarter called Dungeon Saga – it’s smashed a bunch of stretch goals and looks like a good game. It will even have the ability to play cooperative with an AI for the evil player or play as the evil player with the heroes being controlled by the AI. I’ve got my eye on it since I really enjoy the recent Mantic games and as I noted before a sucker for the dungeon crawl.

This is everything that I got at Gen Con 2014!

This is everything that I got at Gen Con 2014!

Until next time – Play a Game!

Brendan Mayhugh

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