Category Archives: Gen Con

Articles about Gen Con

Ascension at The Throne of Games – Long live the King!

The ENnies at GenCon 2014
The ENnies at GenCon 2014

As formerly noted, one of the secrets of the gaming industry, comparable to “The Emperor has no clothes!”, is that the former King of roleplaying games, Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeons and Dragons, was deposed from, or more abdicated from the Throne of Games and dropped out of the top five roleplaying games.  The gaming mega-con, GenCon 2014, was held August 14 through 17 and it was clear there was no vaccuum of power left in their absence at the ENnie Awards.

Evil Hat Productions, publishers of the Fate Core System, ranking #4 in ICv2’s top five role playing games, received eight ENnie awards at GenCon, including the Silver award for Best Publisher.

Monte Cook Games, LLC, Numenera ranked number five of the ICv2’s top five role playing games and took nine ENnie awards including the gold for Product of the Year.  Monte Cook formerly worked on Wizards of the Coast’s on their newly released version of their dungeons and dragons genre game, “Next” but left due to differences of oppinion with the company.

From this year’s ENnie awards it is clear that Evil Hat Productions and Monte Cook Games have truly risen to the level of Lords of Gaming but who has risen to the top?

The Paizo Publishing Company‘s Pathfinder ranked number one on the ICv2 list of the top five role playing games and at the GenCon Ennies their pathfinder products took eight ENnies for Paizo as well as two for Whiz Kids for their Pathfinder miniatures.  Among their eight awards, all gold, was the gold award for the Best Publisher.

According to the ENnie Awards website:

“The ENnies were created in 2001 as an annual award ceremony, hosted by the leading D&D/d20 system fan site, EN World in partnership with Eric Noah’s Unofficial D&D 3rd Edition News. Since they were originally conceived the ENnies have expanded from an Internet-based awards selection to an annual award ceremony at Gen Con Indy.”

So, while Hasbro’s Wizards of the Coast failed to produce anything worthy of a nomination by the dungeons and dragons playing community at GenCon’s 2014 ENnie awards, Paizo’s Pathfinder has clearly risen to claim the throne with Monte Cook Games, LLC and Evil Hat Productions at their sides.  While Hasbro’s Wizards of the Coast struggles to keep their brand alive, the dungeons and dragons genre thrives on without them.  So, in the meantime, if your kids say they are playing dungeons and dragons, chances are high that it is Pathfinder from Paizo.  The King is dead!  Long live King Paizo!

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The King is dead! Requiem at the Throne of Games

Winners of the Ennies at GenCon 2014 - Can you find Wizards of the Coast? Nobody could.
Winners of the Ennies at GenCon 2014 – Can you find Wizards of the Coast? Nobody could.

On Friday August 15, 2014 at GenCon in Indianapolis, Indiana the Wizards of the Coast held a party to mark the launch of Tyranny of Dragons for their latest release of their dungeons and dragons genre role playing game.   Wizards of the Coast are copyright owners of the original Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game, once the undisputed king of role playing games.  Now the Wizards of the Coast roleplaying division doesn’t even make the list of the top five role playing games.

GenCon 2014 attendees hit the food trucks while the Wizards of the Coast music drones on
GenCon 2014 attendees hit the food trucks while the Wizards of the Coast music drones on

The Wizards held their launch party under a tent on Georgia Street where the food vending trucks were selling their wares.  As far as parties go it was more lively than a typical wake but less celebrative than a New Orleans funeral procession.  They had distorted music blaring on substandard speakers and it was difficult, at best, to enter the tent without earplugs.  The exciting gift for those attending was a cardboard face mask.  While most of the folks on the street were there for the food trucks, the attendees of the party were kept moving as they looked at the few cases of items on display, much like an open casket viewing.

A few members of the press were on the fringes of the tent discussing how much Wizards of the Coast had dropped the ball in terms of marketing and, indeed production of quality gaming.  In 2012 they put on an extravaganza that impressed all who attended even though it was all smoke and mirrors with no substance and was followed by problems and delays in producing a replacement for the much maligned fourth edition.  This year at GenCon 2014, Wizards of the Coast doesn’t even have a booth in the Exhibition hall.  As far as the demonstration gaming, Michael Tresca, veteran gamer, respected game reviewer, and National RPG Examiner commented that he had played  one of their adventures and experienced TPK, total party kill.  Even though the players had played intelligently, they were slaughtered without mercy.  This is not what one might expect from a company that is trying to gain new players for their system.

A Wizards cardboard mask rescued from the trash
A Wizards cardboard mask rescued from the trash

After paying appropriate respect to the Wizards of the Coast the next stop for the evening was the Ennie Awards.  While it was no surprise that Wizards of the Coast didn’t take any Gold or Silver awards, it was a bit of a surprise that they didn’t even place in the top five in any Ennie category.  The Wizards’ “party” had already disbanded and the displays were being packed up after the Ennies had ended.

Cosplay at GenCon 2014
Cosplay at GenCon 2014

Will 2014 truly mark the end of Dungeons and Dragons as a viable brand as the dungeons and dragons genre continues to expand with Paizo’s Pathfinder, Monte Cook’s Numenera, Evil Hat’s Fate Core System, and others?  Will Hasbro’s Wizards of the Coast pull a true resurection or are they just pumping good dollars after bad and doomed to earn the titles of Hasbeens and Withereds of the Coast?  While only time will tell as it is not yet a total flatline, the future looks pretty grim for the brand.  Speculation has already begun on who will next own the Dungeons and Dragons name when Hasbro pulls the plug.

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The Weeping Angel and Dr. Cosplay @GenCon 2014

While GenCon in Indianapolis,  Indiana is known for being the Best Four Days of Gaming it is also home to some of the biggest and best cosplays and costume contest in the midwest.  You will find that even the waitresses cosplaying in the surrounding restaurants and you may even find a panhandler asking for money for his Paladin or other roleplaying related solicitations.

The Weeping Angel Busker at GenCon
The Weeping Angel Busker at GenCon

One lovely example of a busker in Indianapolis today was a living statue of a Weeping Angel from “Dr. Who.”  While stationed on the corner with a hat in her feet, folks stopped to snap photos and drop a dollar or five to pay for their safe passage.  As they bent over to drop their money in the hat she would change her position from hands over her eyes to an attack position for a second shot.

As you pass on into the main entrance of the Indiana Convention Center you will find many fun cosplays and, if you happen to have a wardrobe malfunction there is help available.  Kristen Mabry, a lovely lass from Hammond, Indiana, has safety pins, needles, thread, velcro strips, and even a full sized sewing machine for your cosplay emergencies.  She got the idea from seeing a cosplay commando that had the tools of cosplay repair strategically located on his suit.  With that inspiration the caring Cosplay EMT brought it up a notch with a full field cosplay field hospital.  Even as we chatted a cosplayer snagged a safety pin in passing with much thanks.  Her only charge for the service?  Signing her shirt.

While GenCon 2014 is her first visit to GenCon, this dedicated Dr. Cosplay has also been in the trenches repairing wounded wardrobes at Chicago’s Anime Central.

If you are in the midwest and looking for a great cosplay contest, check out the cosplay parade and contest Saturday August 15, 2014 for an awesome time of costumes, cosplay, and some great skits!

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Legendary news: The Upper Deck Company VS @GenCon 2014

Today is the first day of GenCon, The Best four days in Gaming, and The Upper Deck Company, the Leaders of Industry Innovation made some major announcements. For those attending GenCon who play Legendary Villains they will be having their Legendary 10K tournament with $10,000 in prizes.

Welcome news to fans of the VS system was announced. The VS System will be returning with a wonderful twist for those who love the game but can’t afford to own all the card. It will be a boxed set with a selection of cards from the original set for you to game with, without having to pay an additional price for any “rare” card. They have potential plans for releasing more sets in the future.

Today they will be doing their premiere release of Legendary Encounters, An Alien Deck Building Game. For the first time anywhere you can play a demo and pick up your own copy of the game. Come by as there are lots of tables for you to play and plenty of copies for you to take home.  In Legendary Encounters you can play scenarios from the “Alien” movie series  The game comes complete with all the cards you will need to play and a game mat to help keep things organized during play.

Another awesome reason to stop by is that they also have a fun promotional going at their booth, #1207, where you can get your photo taken and put on a Legendary Wound Card for you to take home and use in your Legendary Villains game. The photo card is a free souvenir from The Upper Deck Company so stop by and pose for your wound card at GenCon booth 1207!

For more Upper Deck fun check out their website, give them a like on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter!

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