Catan big news

Mayfair Games, publishers of the massively successful "Settlers of Catan" board game, have announced that at Gen Con in August they will be holding a game of "Catan" with 1000 players. Billing it "The Big Game", the company is pursuing the record for most people at once playing a board game. There will be judges from the Guinness Book of World Records on hand to witness the event. That will be a lot wood-for-sheep trades.

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Couldn't make it out to Indianapolis for the "Best Four Days in Gaming?" No sweat! While Gen Con may be kicking off as you read this, publisher Fantasy Flight Games has made sure you can enjoy the fun from afar. Their two games, "Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game" and "Android: Netrunner," are among the most anticipated releases of the con, and you can download .pdf of versions of the full rule book for each.

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There's a lot of time between now and August, but don't let that distance keep Gen Con off of your radar. Individual event registration for one of the world's largest gaming conventions starts this Sunday at noon, so get your badge, and get ready to plan out your perfect con weekend.

Gen Con runs a bit differently than most geek conventions, where a badge gets you in the door and you are free to experience all the con has to offer. Since many games require significant prep time and are dependent on the number of players, Gen Con sells tickets to specific games and events. In total, there are almost 7,500 entries in the schedule, so how's a con-goer to decide?

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By George Holochwost

(Editor's note: This post was written at the end of the last day of GenCon)

Today is a day of suitcases, lines of cabs, and exhausted gamers. If you added a few drooping jaw bones and a few groans for “brains”, you'd think you were in a George Romero zombie movie. Some are heading to the vendors' room for those last minute deals, some are queued up at the massage booth for some pre-flight respite. All in all, today is a day of satisfaction and smiles as new friends have been made, new toys have been acquired and a feeling of conquest and completion fills the hearts of everyone who made it through the last four days of high-quality, hyper-condensed geekery.

As a gaming retail guy myself, I am returning home to Baltimore where my friends and co-workers at Games & Stuff (an incredibly cool gaming store owned by my friend and fearless leader Ed Sloman) will grill me for all the nerdy details of my GenCon voyage. If you are in the area, stop on by! The staff and I will be happy to chat about your gaming interests seven days a week. However, no words can do full justice to the four best days in gaming.

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By George Holochwost

If you happened to be wandering the primary hall areas of the Indiana Convention Center this weekend at GenCon, you could not have missed the cavalcade of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror characters strutting their stuff for all to see. Cos-players came out of the woodwork to display their playful sides and craftsmanship at GenCon's costume parade: everything from mindfully built steampunk finery to cleverly fashioned super heroes marched the halls to thumping folk music played by nearby. Convention goers went nuts with their cameras as smiles ruled the day.

Enjoy these snapshots from the event and get ready to witness some cool cosplay!

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By George Holochwost

Many folks have not heard of Arc Dream Publishing. These people are missing out. Big time.

Setting up shop at booth 711 here at GenCon, the designers and writers of Arc Dream Publishing are an under-sung band of some of the most creative and talented people in the industry. Today I had a chance to gab with ADP's man-of-a-thousand-hats Shane Ivey who gave me the skinny on what's in the works. Not only did I get to talk to Shane, but also Benjamin Baugh (often called “Bailywolf” online) - creator of the Monsters & Other Childish Things RPG and the Victorian supers setting known as The Kerberos Club.

First we covered their newest release. Making its premiere at GenCon, The Kerberos Club: FATE edition is just that. Originally designed to be used with Greg Stolze's One Roll Engine (ORE), The Kerberos Club has seen two additional versions – one for Savage Worlds and the most recent of which is FATE. FATE is a dynamic narrative system that uses evocative catch phrases called Aspects that players “tag” during play to generate dramatic story twists and otherwise bring the awesome. This is the same base system used in Evil Hat's award-winning Dresden Files RPG and Spirit of the Century.

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By George Holochwost

Fans of Descent and the original Dune boardgame thrilled at two new previews at the Fantasy Flight booth this weekend at GenCon.

First up, Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition. This massive tactical dungeon crawler comes in a box about the same size as FF's Mansions of Madness. Set in the Terrinoth – the same world as of DungeonQuest, RuneWars, RuneAge, and Runebound, Descent Second Edition will integrate campaign elements to the core game drawing from mechanics and concepts originally presented in the Descent expansions Road to Legend and Sea of Blood. Descent Second edition boasts the same quality components that we've come to expect from Fantasy Flight. Don't worry, if you went deep on the original Descent, you will be happy to hear that a conversion pack for first edition components will also be made available to long time fans.

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By George Holochwost

This morning when I woke up, I failed to report to the press room at GenCon as early as I would have liked. The reason? I was obsessively reading Evil Hat's new storytelling game Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. Being a big Wuxia enthusiast, I falsely assumed Do was a game about martial arts and kicking ass. What I soon discovered was something far more inspired than I could have possibly guessed.

Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is, as the cover says, “A Cooperative Storytelling Game about Helping People and Getting into Trouble”. Players take on the roles of flying pilgrim-monks that respond to letters sent by people in need throughout the known worlds. The pilgrims then respond to these letters in person, which leads to light-hearted antics and special lessons in how hard growing up can be. These letters are a really clever way to quickly pull characters into the story, with several example letters included. Read More...

By George Holochwost

 

In the grim darkness of the 41st millenium, there is only war. Humankind is assaulted by all manner of alien races, rebellious and heretical cults, and its greatest threat – the endless hordes of Chaos. The Emperor of Mankind sits silently upon his golden throne, projecting the light of his psychic power by which space travel is navigated. Who will save mankind from the these endless threats? Certainly not you!

In Black Crusade – the fourth expression of Fantasy Flight's Warhammer 40,000 RPG – you get to take on the role of a minion of Chaos, waging war against the oppressive order of the Emperor and ascending to the left hand of the Chaos Gods themselves. Whether you are Chosen, Champion or victim of happenstance, you will embrace the heresy begun by the Warmaster Horus himself and earn your place as an agent of madness and destruction.

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By George Holochwost

While wandering around the vendors room today at GenCon, I decided to check out the booths for two of my favorite companies – Exile Game Studio and Flying Frog Productions.

Set in the late 1930s in a world on the brink of war, FORTUNE AND GLORY: The Cliffhanger Game from Flying Frog offers a lush pulp experience for one to eight players. The Nazis control Germany and and are engaged in an occult campaign of spreading darkness but players take on the role of treasure hunting heroes intent on snatching sacred artifacts right out from under the nose of Der Fuhrer and company. Fortune and Glory is designed by Flying Frog mastermind Jason C. Hill and retails for 99.95 and can be found at booth 1421. Read More...

By George Holochwost

So remember when mom used to watch you roll your dice on the good dining room table while gritting her teeth in anticipation of huge scratches across its finely polished surface? Well mom better brace herself because the full metal dice from IRONDIE will trash that puppy for sure!

IRONDIE is the endeavor of artist Dan Tibbles. Though the use of CAD and some brilliant imagination, Dan has brings us fantastically sculpted dice for use with any number of your favorite games. Until now, only six-siders were available to retailers, but in two weeks, the gorgeous new d10 sculpts will be available to the greater gaming populace. However, if you happen to be at GenCon booth 1603 (yep, that's the Catalyst booth) you can get the d10s today!

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By George Holochwost

After the vendors room at GenCon closed yesterday at 6pm, I decided to go on walkabout and check out some of the sights here that punctuate the convention space. Despite the brilliance of some of the costumes and the strangeness of a few of the events, I decided to find the various giant sculptures of Wizards of the Coast characters about which I had heard so many rumors. Although I am very familiar with these properties from years and years of playing Dungeons and Dragons, I was taken aback by the detail and sheer size of some of these creations.

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By George Holochwost

Following their tradition of not-to-miss GenCon exclusives, Wyrd Minatures' Malifaux gives us a new miniature that exudes heaping helpings of nightmare making goodness. Nightmare Teddy is a great new take on Pandora's largest and most feared companion – a ten foot tall mutilated teddy bear capable of ripping through some of the Malifaux universe's toughest monstrosities. These are GenCon-only so get your shambling corpulence to booth 1831 as soon as you can!

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By George Holochwost

Today in the Indiana Ballroom of the Marriott during GenCon, the team at Margaret Weis Productions revealed their secret identity as the new inheritors of the Marvel Universe RPG license.

The license begins in February of 2012 with sixteen books planned for the first year. The game will based based around event books – the first of which will be Civil War - each with a premium and essential edition supported by three supplements (or accessories) each provided in a similar format to Marvel's own trade paperbacks. The system will be MWP's own Cortex Plus and MWP's own Margaret Weis stated that the game should only require five to ten minutes to teach. The events will be tailored to pre-generated Marvel characters featured in the original Marvel releases, but original characters created by players are also an option. Read More...

Gen Con bills itself as "The Best Four Days in Gaming," but if you want to have your best possible four days, you've got to have a plan. In less than 24 hours, the doors of the Indiana Convention Center will open, and over 30,000 gamers will enter a massive exhibit hall that is jam packed with companies demoing prototypes and selling advance copies of unreleased games. There might just not be enough time to see it all, so to help guide your way, here are our picks of the hottest titles you should be checking out at GenCon 2011:

Battleship Galaxies: Hasbro is no stranger to the strategy game market, but their releases usually are published through their subsidiaries Wizards of the Coast or Avalon Hill. However, this is the first time that a core Hasbro game has been re-imagined for hobbyists. The classic game of Battleship has been turned into a spaceship war game, and it's good. Getting something right on the first try is a big achievement, and it makes this game worth checking out.

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