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

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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By George Holochwost

Recently at GenCon I had the opportunity to catch up with game designer Francesco Nepitello, creator of boardgame masterpieces Age of Conan: The Strategy Game and the soon-to-be-reprinted War of the Ring. The most recent inheritor of the Lord of the Rings RPG license, Francesco's fresh take on the subject for Cubicle 7, The One Ring: Adventures Over The Edge Of The Wild, promises us a Middle Earth experience like no other.

Set between the events of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Nepitello offers a narrower scope with far greater depth than previous attempts. Whereas Middle Earth Roleplaying and Decipher's Lord of the Rings suggested an all inclusive set of options for articulating the much loved setting, The One Ring RPG offers an incredibly deep take with some very cool options for players. With everything from Hobbits to Mirkwood Elves to the tribal Beornlings, players no longer suffer second-fiddle syndrome while adventuring in the shadows of Gandalf, Frodo, Bilbo and company. Instead, an untapped span of Middle Earth history is offered as virgin territory in which players can carve their own legends while that troublesome ring sits idly on Bilbo's mantlepiece. Read More...

By George Holochwost

And so it begins...

GenCon Indianapolis is the largest gaming convention of its kind. With nearly forty-five thousand attendees, the convention offers a garden of gaming delights – vast tournament halls, open play areas, and spectacularly unique gaming events have become the hallmark of this annual indulgence. Located in the shadow of Indianapolis's Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indianapolis Convention Center is uniquely suited for this titanic occasion.

Perhaps the best thing about GenCon is the seemingly limitless diversity of gamers from all over the world. So far I've spoken to folks from Finland, Brazil, Germany, Greece and Japan. Some are here to defend titles earned through their card playing skills, some are here to march around in meticulously crafted costumes of favorite video game and movie characters. One convention attendee states that he had no plans at all and wanted to keep it that way, following his nose to whatever strikes his pan-geek interests.

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Back in May, Pathfinder RPG publisher Paizo joined forces with miniature producing veterans WizKids (of HeroClix and Mage Knight fame) to announce that four pre-painted plastic hero miniatures would be included in the upcoming Pathfinder Beginner's Box. Early images of these sculpts have been impressive, generating significant positive buzz from Pathfinder fans. It's all lead up to this week's announcement: The miniatures line will continue past its initial 4-model run with an additional whopping 100 new sculpts to follow.

This ongoing line of miniatures intends to cover all areas of the Pathfinder universe, beginning with a 40-piece set, Heroes & Monsters, in December. Following that will be a 60-piece set, Rise of the Runelords, in June 2012 with additional unannounced full sets to follow.

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Ever since Wizards of the Coast announced early last year that they would not be renewing the Star Wars hobby gaming license, gamers have been wondering what company would pick up the torch. Now we know the answer: Fantasy Flight Games, the publisher best known for high-quality game components and detailed miniature sculpts. It's as if millions of geek's wallets suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly emptied.

As a publisher of board, card, roleplaying, and miniatures combat games, Fantasy Flight will have no shortage of options to develop Star Wars games around. Two titles have already been announced, Star Wars: The Card Game and X-Wing, but many more will follow. Excitement is high for these and future titles primarily because Fantasy Flight has proven time and time again that they know how to handle a license. In the past, they've published well-received games themed around Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings, Doom, StarCraft, Conan, and more.

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