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Gen Con 2007 In A Nutshell 125 125

Another year, another Gen Con? Hardly. This year was the 40th anniversary of Gen Con, marked the announcement of the newest edition of Dungeons and Dragons, and was the first year videogame companies were actively sought out as exhibitors. Put together this resulted in what felt like record crowds, a healthy dealer's hall, and an instant conversation-starter with every other person at the event. Read on for notes on the new tabletop releases, thoughts on the new edition of D&D, impressions of the videogames that were in attendance, and a shameful admission of weakness.
Gen Con remains a bastion of tabletop gaming, but I'll admit it: I didn't get as strong a sense of the new tabletop game releases as I have in previous years. Instead, I spent time I would have normally put towards demoing games with dice and pieces towards getting a handle on the handful of videogames at the event. It seemed like almost every one was a Massively Multiplayer Online Game, but there were several representatives of other genres as well.

What I did glean from this year's event is summed up very well by well-known designer Robin Laws: "This year was a holding pattern." Many of the companies making products for the Open Gaming License/d20 system seem to have died back. With the announcement of Fourth Edition, there will be a resurgence the year after next, but for this year things seemed to be fairly quiet.

This Year's Releases

So what was released this year? Biggest hits at the con, by far, were the Battlestar Galactica RPG, Changeling: The Lost, and the new version of Talisman. The Battlestar tabletop game is a sister product to the Serenity (as in Firefly) RPG, both of which use the same rules-set ("Cortex"), and are published by Margaret Weis Productions. The Serenity game has a fairly impressive following, with the core book already being on its fourth printing just a year after it was released. Battlestar seemed to be offering up a similar buzz. The Weis booth was also playing host to voice actor Jason Marsden, who plays the part of Tasslehoff Burrfoot in the upcoming animated Dragonlance movie. They showed off a trailer for the film, currently slated for release later this year.

White Wolf gamers may not have been waiting with baited breath for a new version of Changeling; it was never as popular as their 'big three' of Vampire, Werewolf, and Mage. Just the same, I saw a number of copies of the updated title walking away from the White Wolf/CCP booth this year. The attraction of EVE Online in the same booth didn't stop White Wolf players from picking up the latest in the 're-imagined' World of Darkness.

Talisman is probably a name familiar to long-time boardgame players. Under the Black Industries imprint, Games Workshop is re-releasing their classic adventure game with a slightly updated look and a few tweaks to the rules. From what I heard, though, it's almost entirely the same game that you knew back in the day. It just won't cost hundreds of dollars on eBay anymore. Lines for the title were going down the rows and out the door of the exhibit hall, and my impression is that they sold out pretty much every day they had new product to sell.

It didn't have as much buzz as other announcements at the con, but well worth noting was the formation of a company called Catalyst Game Labs. Catalyst is a new outfit formed from the ashes of "Fantasy Productions", or FanPro as it was more commonly called. FanPro has been publishing the Shadowrun RPG since FASA gave up the ghost a few years back, and while the quality of the books has been fairly high it would be kind to say that they've been released on any kind of regular schedule. The new company marks a turn for one of the most well-known intellectual properties in pen and paper gaming, with two new books (Emergence and Augmentation) available just at this convention. Working together with the folks behind the Classic Battletech line, they now having backing and a business plan. If you're a Shadowrun fan, there's going to be a lot to look forward to in the coming years.

Dungeons and Dragons Fourth Edition

The biggest news was, of course, the announcement that Wizards of the Coast is going to be releasing the fourth edition of Dungeons and Dragons next year. At a press event the day before their public announcement to Gen Con attendees, they tried to lay out the groundwork for their ambitious new plan. Essentially, these new books have been eight years in the making. The R&D team at WotC is looking to adapt Dungeons and Dragons to the way that it's played, and stop forcing gamers to play the game the way the game is set up. While the switchover from 2nd edition rules to 3.0 was an amazing step, it was in some ways still black magic. They now have a large base of knowledge to work from, that's going to let them change the game in fundamental ways. They hope it will be for the better.

The biggest changes will be mechanical. My review of the Saga Edition of the Star Wars RPG discussed the significant rules changes that title underwent; the R&D folks as much as admitted that book was sort of a 'test run' for concepts they'll be incorporating into fourth edition. The focus is going to be on ease of play for everyone, both in front of and behind the DM screen. Party roles will be more clearly defined. Encounters will be reformatted, and monsters retuned to more understandable roles and difficulty levels. It may just be hyperbole, but the designers are aiming to 'make D&D feel heroic again.' On the far end of the scale, this means that epic-level play will now be a core part of the game. That is, the Player Handbook will support level progression from 1-30. Levels 1-10 will be known as 'heroic' levels, where characters are better than the average human but still 'normal'. Levels 10-20 are 'paragon' levels, where characters accomplish feats only possible in a fictional environment. Levels 20-30 are 'epic' levels, where heroes will be able to step out into the world and change the course of history. Desiigner Chris Perkins put it this way: "We want first level to be more than 'run away, it's a kobold.' Gone are the days of the four hit point Wizard."

On top of that, WotC feels as though a new edition is necessary to support the other three columns of their ambitious new plan. Physical books are the most important part, but there are three other pieces that feed into the game. The first is community, exemplified by the terribly-named Gleemax.com website. Gleemax is going to offer up a single place where D&D gamers can come together to discuss the game, as well as CCGs, boardgames, and the lot; a MySpace for tabletop nerds, essentially.

Unfortunately, it's not clear how separate that piece will be from the ambitious D&DInsider.com. That site, essentially an outgrowth of the official Wizards of the Coast website content, is going to be a central hub for Dungeons and Dragons players. The late, lamented Dungeon and Dragon magazines will be available online there, and the site will also play host to the most novel concept in the fourth edition bag of tricks: The D&D Game Table. The Game Table is an online playspace, where groups can get together around a virtual table to actually play Dungeons and Dragons online. DMs will be able to lay out dungeon maps, place monsters, and run games. Players will have access to online versions of their purchased physical rulebooks, can make characters using a character creation tool, and can even create their own virtual miniatures for their characters. Voice chat will bring the whole group together. The WotC folks were very clear: this is not meant to take the place of your regular game. It's a place to go if your gaming group is spread across the country (or world) as so often happens in our busy modern world. They also envision a future where players who don't have regular games can hop online and connect with other folks to play in a regular campaign.

This last will likely be aided by the fourth leg of this concept: organized play. The RPGA has always been associated with but not a part of Dungeons and Dragons, if that makes any sense. With fourth edition the organized play campaigns will become a central component to the game experience. From your home, to the gaming store, online with the D&D Game Table, and all the way to conventions, the goal is for gamers to have a fun and slightly more formal handrail for gaming together. With a renewed interest in adventure publishing, designer goals seem to be to bring back the days when every D&D gamer could talk of playing through modules like Keep on the Borderlands or Tomb of Horrors.

All of this combines to an extremely ambitious goal: a brand new D&D. Just from anecdotal experience, from talking with players and retailers at the convention, my own gaming store, and from reading comments here on the site, the general reaction seems to be anger. The reason is understandable; 3.5 books aren't cheap, and many gamers have invested heavily in the current edition. In the latest D&D Podcast even the designers themselves admitted that 3.5 isn't 'that broken.' Thankfully, there's still quite some time before even the Player's Handbook comes out. The folks at Wizards have a good long while to explain to us what exactly they're planning to do. A long time to convince us, to reassure people that they really aren't ditching the OGL (full support), that their favorite campaigns will be supported (new Realms book next year, Eberron in 09), that it's worth shelling out another $90 for the upgrade. They've already begun, in fact; their ongoing design and development series has already put up posts on party roles, the new vision for Fighters, and what it's like to face a dragon in the new edition. If they even come close to delivering on what these articles imply, next year is going to be an interesting time to be a gamer.

Warhammer Online

Last year, I wrote this about WAR: "I wasn't very impressed, either with Mythic's showing or with the game itself. The buzz around the convention seemed to be that it is 'too much' of a World of Warcraft (WoW) ripoff." What a difference a year makes. Since then Mythic was purchased by EA, development has gone into high gear, and the company has done a tremendous job of getting out the word on what exactly Warhammer is all about. The result? A booth that was swarming with people from the moment the doors open until the exhibit hall closed. Their enthusiasm reflects my own; it's far and away the game I'm most looking forward to next year. I had the chance to take a Goblin Shaman for a spin in the Greenskins starting area, and the development team's cry of "War is everywhere" seems to have made for some inspired gaming.

Yes, it's primarily the same old level 1 experience you have in every other game. Kill grunts, gain xp, learn2play. But right away you start to see the difference. The Tome of Knowledge, for example, not only tracks what quests you're on, but tells you how many stunties you've killed (damn dwarves). Nearby a public quest is ongoing, as players struggle to kill the swarming squigs harrying a friendly giant. UI-wise, it looks like World of Warcraft redux, until you start to see all the extra doo-dads. My Goblin Shaman built up Waugh as he fought, which would have allowed me to heal more effectively had I been in a group. Morale rose as I fought too, allowing me to fire off special abilities just because I'd been fighting for a while. It's violent, it's fast, it's easy to pick up and play. And it's freaking hilarious. That dark British sense of humor seen in the tabletop game comes through loud and clear in-world, with everything from ability names (Brain Bursta, Geddup!) to quest themes. One of your very first encounters has you being tossed across a valley to the top of a dam, where you stuff unconscious dwarves into barrels and toss them over the side. I didn't even get a chance to check out Realm vs. Realm combat, the game's most exciting offering, and already I'm convinced of the title's potential. It's still in development, still getting the kinks worked out, but even in its half-finished state I think Warhammer is in a great position to turn heads next year.

Gods and Heroes

Perpetual's in-development Roman title, on the other hand, appears to be a bit adrift. At first blush it looks ready to succeed, with an inspiring and somewhat unconventional concept. The game focuses on combat in a mythical Roman setting where gods walk the land and monsters fill the wilderness. Combat with minion NPCs is the main mechanical draw. The minion system is a great addition to the genre, taking concepts seen in standard pet classes and the more advanced heroes of Guild Wars: Nightfall, and punching them up to the next level. On top of an interesting game setting and some new tweaks to gameplay, an ambitious animation system makes the game look as cinematic as it's described. Instead of blindly hacking at each other, fights involve stabbings, tosses, stamps, and throws. It's incredibly impressive when the animation system synchs up and pulls things off.

Unfortunately, there's a problem with that. Combat previously was 'locked', meaning that when two characters were fighting they were held fast so that animations could go off at set times. This looked really good, but playtesters found it too constraining. Perpetual listened, and has removed the locks. They're not working to tweak animation timing so that things will still look as cinematic as ever even without the lock system in place. It's still Beta, and there's time to get this stuff squared away ... but I have to be honest; the game felt like it was more than the two or three months away from launch than the company is claiming. When animations hit they look great, but right now combat is a mess to look at, moving through the world feels slow and cumbersome, and even the much-vaunted minion AI still needs to be tweaked. This game is doing a lot of things right, make no mistake, and I trust that when it launches it's going to garner some interest from players looking for something new. I just hope that the company gives Gods and Heroes the time it needs to succeed; right now it seems like it still needs a lot of work.

Fallen Earth

Big-name Massive games get a lot of press, but with the technologies behind MMOGs becoming ever better-understood smaller companies are starting to aim for a piece of that online pie. Fallen Earth is just such a game, backed by Icarus Studios. There's no word on a release date yet, but the little slice of the world I saw was fairly compelling. Assuming it goes live in the next six months or so, fans of the Fallout series will be able to sate their hunger on this post-apocalyptic treat. Fallen Earth imagines a southwest US ravaged by nuclear war and disease. In this bleak landscape you take on the role of an adventurer, working for the factions that control the vital resources of the area. Combat is a unique blend of FPS and RPG, with player skill determining if a shot hits and mechanics determining how much damage is done. The game feels like a fitting tribute to the complex CRPGs of yore. While it doesn't seem like it will reach widespread appeal, the players in this niche are going to have a lot to enjoy in this bleak, violent, and surprisingly funny Massive game.

Legends of Norrath

A collectible card game wrapped inside a Massively Multiplayer game sounds like crazy talk, but the folks at SOE are betting this will be a big hit. Certainly the concept is simple enough: give players of EverQuest and EverQuest 2 something to do while they're waiting for a group, or just as a way to mix things up a bit from the standard grind/kill/grind gameplay of a fantasy MMOG. While it's a simple idea, the execution is surprisingly robust. Players will be able to purchase virtual cards for a fairly low fee, or find them in booster packs dropped by in-world monsters. Decks can be constructed with the aid of a deck-building wizard (the software, not magical kind), and put to use combating players of both titles or NPC opponents. Gameplay seems to be of the 'easy to learn, hard to master' type that is quite prevalent in CCGs, with a few EverQuest-specific twists. The game will also offer up in-game loot from certain cards, just like a certain other CCG based on a MMOG ...

Pirates of the Burning Sea

I'll come clean: if the epic battle ever comes, I'll be siding with the buccaneers vs. the ninjas. It was a great pleasure, then, to get to have some more hands-on time with this most atypical online game. Although, again, I fear that broad market appeal may not be within reach, Pirates is shaping up to be darn fine game. The ship-to-ship combat is rock solid, immensely fun to play, and feels completely different from any other MMO experience you've ever had. There's a stateliness to the combat that makes the smoothly gliding schooners and soaring cannonballs somehow epic in scope. Swordplay is still a little rough, with the team still polishing in anticipation of a launch later this year. Even with the rough edges, this isn't your standard fantasy hack and slash. Players kick sand into the faces of their foes before a well-placed boot to the stomach takes them down. It's not fantasy, it's not sci-fi, it's piratical, and if you like Massively Multiplayer games you owe it to yourself to give Pirates of the Burning Sea a try.

Eye of Judgement

One of the few non-MMOGs at the event, this strange videogame/collectible card game/strategy game hybrid was drawing crowds simply because of its awesome visuals. The in-game art is definitely the first thing you notice, and is stunningly well-done. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this game, which has players angling for control of a three-by-three grid. Cards are played onto each square of the grid, where they're analyzed by the new PlayStation Eye camera and animated on the television screen. While it initially comes off as just eye candy, a few minute's play reveals the numerous layers of depth to the game. Cards have facings, for example, and must be angled to ensure their blind spots are protected. Grid squares are aligned with different elements, as are creatures, requiring players to not only control the board but consider where their thralls are placed. It deserves commentary at length, but suffice it to say that it's not going to get the kind of success it deserves. Given the strange hoops required to jump through to play, this inspired title is just not going to find the audience it should. If you have a PS3, though, I highly recommend at least giving this a unique experience a try when it comes out later this year; they're even including the eye for no extra cost.

Conclusions

Last year I was lamenting the decision to include videogames in Gen Con's mission statement, worrying that this would be the end of the convention I've grown to love over the years. That was, of course, before seeing the lackluster showing of the E3 Media event and the closure of Gen Con So Cal. "Gen Con Indy" is now the only Gen Con, and is one of the furthest east offerings for gamers when it comes to videogames. In short: videogames coming to Gen Con may be the best thing to happen to it since the move to Indianapolis. Between the MMOGs, the D&D announcement, and a huge number of attendees, the convention felt revitalized. There was a hum and a murmer to the hallways that's been lower key in previous years. It was, as always, a chance to see game designers in their natural element, and all of the folks at WotC seemed to have an extra spring in their step this year.

The tabletop gamer is a dying breed; it's well acknowledge that Massively Multiplayer games are killing them off. Playing with your friends is so much easier in your home from a PC, and is something that can be done regardless of what time zone everyone is in. This year, though, I had hope that maybe we might not be dying off so quickly as I thought. Fourth edition is an obvious strike back, an attempt by Wizards of the Coast to fight 'the enemy' on its own terms while applying eight years of careful observation back into the game mechanics.

It's incredibly risky, and the future of the most popular and well-known tabletop game hangs in the balance as a result. On the one hand, this could blow the tabletop hobby firmly into the mainstream. Dice rollers could take their place at the side of the World of Warcraft players, proudly explaining their misunderstood hobby to their relatives in terms they can understand. Or, this could completely alienate the D&D playerbase and collapse the house that the d20 built. I personally am excited. I'm excited about the possibility of a Dungeons and Dragons game without the kruft. I'm excited about the chance to play online with friends across the country. I'm excited about organized play tied directly into the core game. And I'm excited about the future of a Gen Con with no imitators on the west coast, new attendees drawn by electronic gaming, and ever-more-professional game design companies working on the hobby I love.

I'm also, sadly, excited about the future of the World of Warcraft CCG. Perhaps because of my exposure to Legends of Norrath and Eye of Judgement, my demo of the now-year-old game left me vulnerable to the dealers in the exhibit hall. I've spent the last few days happily tweaking my Blue Shaman deck, and look foward to running it against all comers at PAX. Anyone have a Parvink or two they'd be willing to trade?
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Gen Con 2007 In A Nutshell

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  • It would be nice to make a DnD universe and make it a MMORPG like WoW.
    • Re:WoW & DnD (Score:5, Informative)

      by k_187 (61692) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @03:22PM (#20321667) Journal
      *cough* http://www.ddo.com/ [ddo.com]
      • Not quite (Score:3, Funny)

        by geekoid (135745)
        When the poster said 'Like WoW' they meant "Good"
      • by blackicye (760472)
        Unfortunely it was based on D&D 3.5 and if that wasn't bad enough, it was based on Eberron.

        The game is almost entirely instanced (ala Guildwars) with only players interacting in the cities (also instanced to spread load) overall its not very immersive.

        I played DDO from launch and for 2 months after before I just gave up, Eberron just didn't do it for me, and many things were quite badly broken by design, abuse of Use Magic Device for heal wands, Warforged not being able to be healed except by Wizards wh
    • by njfuzzy (734116)
      I'm assuming you're referring to the already extent, and apparently quite good "Dungeons and Dragons Online" from Turbine?
    • by SSpade (549608)
      They did [ddo.com]. By most accounts, it sucked.
    • Don't forget that Starcraft II was playable and Blizzard had a nice LAN party set up in the convention hall where there you could play Red vs. Blue on teams of (I think) 3 vs 3.
    • A non D&D-ripped-off MMO would be even nicer.

      WoW is, for all intents and purposes, a DnD-based game. Levels, classes, alignments ... a pure D&D setting would be the same concepts arranged in a slightly different pattern.

      Even something as unoriginal-but-different as Traveller would be nice.
      • by Creepy (93888)
        Traveller would not make a good MMORPG, IMO. Paranoia might... If you want a spaceship combat game, try EVE: Online.

        The problem with Traveller is people are either unskilled or old and skills come slowly (usually 1-3 a year). People are extremely squishy (basically 2-4 'HP' that never increase), and armor is almost exclusively specialized vs a type of weapon - reflective armor won't save you vs a shotgun. Most people are too poor to own a ship, so they'll be hired on as cannon fodder or m
  • 30th, not 40th (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The author (zonk) says 40th anniversary, that would put the start of DnD in the 60s, not the 70s where it belongs. It is a glaring, terrible error to start the article off with.
  • Wanted to go, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sgant (178166) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @03:21PM (#20321653) Homepage Journal
    My family and friends are of the type to talk a good game...but to actually get off our asses and drive to Indy to go is another matter. I used to go all the time when it was up in Wisconsin, but no one wants to drive the 5 hours now to go.

    Thinking of dumping my family and friends...It's time I venture forth into the world and leave them behind!

    Oh wait...they're buying me pizza. Ok, I'll stay a little longer....then I'm outta here! Ooooo...they brought beer too!
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by djdavetrouble (442175)
      It's time I venture forth into the world and leave them behind!

      As someone that married a Hoosier (they are all so damned proud) and was forced to visit "Indy",
      I'd stick with the friends you have. Unless you love the midwest or are stuck there, there is nothing
      to love about that city, except some of the people in it.
      • by navygeek (1044768)
        I dunno, I kind of like the nightlife downtown. Sure, it's no Chicago, New York, or New Orleans (pre-Katrina), but it has it's saving graces. For a small big city, it ain't bad really.
    • Didn't go this year. Last year 4-days plus hotel just wasn't in the budget. 4 hours of driving each way was acceptable. But $45 for the privilege of visiting the dealer area on Saturday? Nope. Uh-uh. Ain't gonna happen. Gen Con can FOAD for all I care.

    • Thinking of dumping my family and friends...It's time I venture forth into the world and leave them behind!
      Sorry, you must gather your party before venturing forth.
  • by Moryath (553296) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @03:22PM (#20321669)
    They took their biggest Living campaign, and killed it.

    And why? So they can try to force us into the same arena where pimply Drizzt-wannabes run around.

    They just killed the RPGA and D&D. Good for them.
    • Melodramatic much? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Asmor (775910) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @03:29PM (#20321775) Homepage
      Greyhawk is boring. So is FR. Completely bland, boring, generic fantasy settings.

      I kind of wish they weren't starting a living FR. I just hope they keep doing things like Xen'drik Expeditions, which has been tons of fun and a unique experience, especially if you play in the Cabal of Shadows. Besides allowing evil characters, it has 4 "subsects" which you can choose to join... Each sect has their own secret missions, and it's not uncommon for one player's secret mission to directly conflict with another's. Adds a lot to the game.

      Of, and of course, it's Eberron, which actually tries to tread new ground instead of following the same old Swords & Sorcery formula as 90% of the settings out there.
      • by geekoid (135745)
        "Greyhawk is boring."

        what? not true at all.

        "Adds a lot to the game."
        yeah, a lot of needless rules.

        If you couldn't do that before, fire your GM.
      • I made my own campaign setting for the games that I DM. It is a low magic setting in which magic classes must be unlocked (they are prestige classes with a richer magic system that relies on player imagination)through in-depth study(wizard), natural aptitude for magic(sorceror) or a deep connection with the land (druid). My setting encourages at least as much interaction as good ol' hack'n'slash and a fair amount of subplot intrigue. A campaign setting is what you make of it, though I wish those settings
        • by Asmor (775910)
          Just ignore what you don't want. For example, in my homebrew, I stole Aerenal from Eberron and Manifest from Ghostwalk, stuck Manifest in a corner of Aerenal, and then dropped the whole package off in some of the previously-undefined ocean surrounding the primary continent.
      • by vranash (594439)
        How about Darksun?

        Best world ever behind FR IMHO.

        You had epic characters, even more epic enemies, plenty of crappy weapons to overcome (Oh crap, my bone sword! Wow, this guy is selling OBSIDIAN! Quests for metal weaponry!)

        Furthermore, making mages exiles who'd have to keep their powers secret, lest they were found and executed.

        Maybe that's just me though. the novels for the series imho were up there with the original Weis/Hickman Dragonlance trilogy, although perhaps more interesting due to the diversity in
        • by Asmor (775910)
          Dark Sun was definitely a great setting, far more interesting than FR. It's right up there with Planescape (my personal favorite) in terms of breaking new ground.
    • by ajs (35943) <<moc.sja> <ta> <sja>> on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @03:49PM (#20321949) Homepage Journal
      They killed the RPGA. They killed Dungeon Magazine. They killed Dragon Magazine. They have set an end-of-life on half my bookshelf, the cost of which I don't want to think about.

      The day they ended their license to Paizo for the magazines, was the day I canceled over $100 of pre-orders with Amazon for Wizards' products. I have spent thousands of dollars with them over the last decade on card games, tabletop books, etc. I will never buy from them again.

      Burn me once, shame on you. Don't expect pre-orders for "Burn Me Again 4.0."
      • by Obyron (615547)
        After three and a half editions of D&D, it's your own fault if you believed they'd never come out with a 4th edition that could potentially change everything. I don't mean to be harsh, but "come out with a new edition to make even more money" is a pretty common tactic from RPG manufacturers. End of life on your bookshelf? If you and your friends enjoy playing 3.5, then keep playing it.
        • by Abreu (173023) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @04:42PM (#20322483)
          Indeed, I am really astounded at the ammount of bile and anger that some people have responded with to the 4th edition announcement.

          Don't get me wrong, I was angry too at first, but then I considered:

          1- By the time it gets published next year, it will have been 8-9 years since 3.0, 4-5 since 3.5...

          2- My 3.0/3.5 supplements will be outdated, yes... But hey! I still use a lot of stuff from my 2nd edition supplements, so my investment is still sound (and no, I am not going to sell/burn my previous edition products)

          3- Every edition has been much better than the one before. This alone is good reason not to quit D&D before at least taking a good look at the new core rulebooks.

          4- And finally, if everything that can go wrong goes wrong (for instance: D&D now requires official, nonstandard plastic miniatures (false), you cannot play offline and you must pay $30.00USD a month to unlock your Quantum DRM'd content (false), you cannot etc. etc. etc.), people will go ahead and "fork" the D20 Rules and come up with some nice alternatives for tabletop, pen & paper fantasy roleplaying (some people already have, check TrueD20 and other derivative games)

          Seriously guys, take it easy!
          • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

            by sudog (101964)
            You tool. The *value* of the 3.x books is practically nil. The value of the 2nd edition books is still so-so, and the value of the 1st edition basically hasn't changed in years. People don't want to invest *new* money in an *old* game. So either you stick with 3.5 (or 3.0) and the hundreds and hundreds of dollars we shelled out for them--and essentially negate the possibility of any truly new players joining up who would rather go with the latest so as not to get stuck in the rut of old editions like "those
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              Books aren't supposed to rapidly depreciate in value: they're made on a precious natural resource (trees) and to build in planned obsolescence is to slap not only environmentalists in the face by printing what will be trash (not treasure) in a handful of years, but to every gamer who's even remotely concerned about the books as an investment.

              I'm going to be real blunt here: Anyone who bought D&D books as a financial investment is a moron. They're gaming books, and there are millions of copies in print. They will never be rare collector's items, and they're value will never go up. If you're looking to invest money, buy something that's actually worth it (antique cars, real estate, stock, F$%king baseball cards even). The value of gaming books is strictly intellectual, and unless there's a plan somewhere for WotC people to track down

              • N. America has more forested acerage now then in the last 1000 years and a whole bunch of other facts that are completely off topic to discuss here.
                *blink* I forgot that we were measuring forestation levels back then.
              • by sudog (101964)
                Well, since you started the name-calling, I'll feel free to do the same.

                You stupid fucking jackass. I never bought them as an economic investment expecting *appreciation* in value. However, even pocketbooks retain some measure of their original value as books. I have old Heinlein books here that I can still get a few reasonable dollars for, especially if they're in mint condition.

                I'm not looking for *appreciation* you idiot. I'm looking for *some reasonable semblance of value after buying a huge collection
            • Funny, I'm still playing a RAVENLOFT game, actually I DM the thing. What you seem to be forgetting is the fact that nothing says you HAVE to buy 4.0 books. Ravenloft isn't even being published anymore, yet me and my group have a lot of fun playing it. Why? Because I look for things in other settings, books, movies, etc. and incorporate them into my game to keep things new. The books are REFERENCE material. The true game comes from the DM. If you don't want to buy the new books... DON'T. How hard is that? Pl
              • by sudog (101964)
                Ravenloft was introduced in 2nd Ed., and that's my point. Your Ravenloft books haven't had their value destroyed by "errata" from Ravenloft 2.1. They're still applicable, and are still interesting. I've played Ravenloft since the 90s. It's obvious that some people simply aren't capable of grasping the fact that WotC are just doing bad business: they've drunk the kool-aid and seem unaware that there is a better way of doing it. They'll buy everything they make because they're fanboys who're not capable of co
          • I guesstimate that I've spent some 1200 euros (about 1600 USD right now) on 3.0/3.5/d20 products over the years. That's a lot of money! And in retrospect, some of those books really weren't very good.

            But then I consider what I spent on my current computer... And I don't think it'll provide me much gaming fun after 8 years, unlike those 3rd edition books. Hell, there are lots of 2nd edition books that I still would like to get, even though I can no longer stand the system. The setting material, adventure hoo
        • by ajs (35943)
          You misunderstand. We're not upset that there was a 4th edition. We're upset that Wizards said many times, though their public forums and in conferences, that there would not be a 4th edition any time soon, and we made purchases with the expectation that the shelf-life on 3.5 was at least on the order of a few years.

          Then they terminated the print magazines that had been the core of the D&D community for 30 years and announced that the new edition would be published mid-next-year.

          Yeah, we're pissed.
          • by shinma (106792)
            3rd Edition was out for 8 years. White Wolf games pre-nWoD generally had a new edition every 2 years. I'd say 8 years is decent.
            • by shinma (106792)
              Also, and possibly more important... It's not like WotC is going to come to your house and destroy your books. If there's a rule that says you can't play old editions of games, I must have missed the memo. Guess I have to destroy my old Top Secret S.I. box, and my old WoD books, and my Stormbringer and Call of Cthulhu books, and HoL, and AEon, and...

              Right. Nobody's forcing you to stop playing 3.5e, 3e, 2nd edition AD&D, or hell, break out the old Unearthed Arcana and let's play some 1st edition. Or blue
              • by ajs (35943)

                Also, and possibly more important... It's not like WotC is going to come to your house and destroy your books. If there's a rule that says you can't play old editions of games, I must have missed the memo.

                Of course, and that's the case for 1st ed, 2nd and 3.0 as well. The problem is that any players I recruit won't be able to buy these books new as of next year. They'll find plenty of 4.0 on the shelves, and they'll be asking me, "why can't we just play 4.0?" It's an insidious trap and one that I've come to terms with. The fact that Wizards yanked the rug out from under their statement that there wouldn't be a 4.0 for years is what's making this an untenable situation.

                Guess I have to destroy my old Top Secret S.I. box, and my old WoD books, and my Stormbringer and Call of Cthulhu books, and HoL, and AEon, and...

                Not at all, but try recruiting players

            • by sudog (101964)
              It wasn't 8 years, goof! It was half that. You're ignoring 3.5.
      • They killed the RPGA.

        Meh.

        They killed Dungeon Magazine.

        A pity, because it usually had good stuff. I never subscribed, but I bought an issue now and then.

        They killed Dragon Magazine.

        For this they deserve to burn in hell, although the magazine has had its ups and downs over the years.

        They have set an end-of-life on half my bookshelf, the cost of which I don't want to think about.

        I'm in the same situation: I have pretty much every hardcover book that isn't specific to FR or Eberron, along with a bunch of stuff from other publishers (Mongoose, etc). Not to mention a few of the other d20 system books such as Traveller, Black Company, Star Wars, Mutants & Masterminds...

        The day they ended their license to Paizo for the magazines, was the day I canceled over $100 of pre-orders with Amazon for Wizards' products. I have spent thousands of dollars with them over the last decade on card games, tabletop books, etc. I will never buy from them again.

        Burn me once, shame on you. Don't expect pre-orders for "Burn Me Again 4.0."

        Since

        • by ajs (35943)

          They killed the RPGA.

          Meh.

          They killed Dungeon Magazine.

          A pity, because it usually had good stuff. I never subscribed, but I bought an issue now and then.

          Of those, only Dungeon affects me personally, but it was rather sudden notice for the RPGA.

          They killed Dragon Magazine.

          For this they deserve to burn in hell, although the magazine has had its ups and downs over the years.

          I think any publication that tries to do interesting things will fall on its face from time to time, and I'll definitely agree that Dragon did. But, when I read articles like the Core Beliefs: Boccob ... it tears me up that they killed that. They claim there will be/is an online version, but it won't be Paizo and my subscription is dead.

          Since the early days of 2ed, with its recycled artwork and the increasing obviousness that T$R wasn't willing to pay even minimum wage to proofreaders to look over their stuff before it got to the printers, I've known that T$R was primarily concerned with making money. Aside from the 3.0->3.5 bait & switch, I haven't had much to complain about since WotC took over, though.

          I didn't either. In fact, even the 3.5 thing I understood. They had serious pro

          • For this they deserve to burn in hell, although the magazine has had its ups and downs over the years.

            I think any publication that tries to do interesting things will fall on its face from time to time, and I'll definitely agree that Dragon did. But, when I read articles like the Core Beliefs: Boccob ... it tears me up that they killed that. They claim there will be/is an online version, but it won't be Paizo and my subscription is dead.

            Yeah... I recently excavated the first Dragon I ever bought, the one with the Anti-Paladin class and "Good Hits and Bad Misses" critical/fumble charts. I don't know how they can just kill something with such history. Seems like... hubris to me.

            I didn't either. In fact, even the 3.5 thing I understood. They had serious problems with 3.0 and errata just wasn't cutting it. 3.5 addressed those issues, and although there WERE differences, you could still use your 3.0 books with 3.5 as long as you knew where the major pitfalls were.

            I agree. Aside from a few things I didn't quite agree with, 3.5 was a good, incremental improvement over 3.0.

            It was when Hasbro bought Wizards that they started pushing books that made no sense (why do we need a Complete Arcane *and* a complete Mage), only to then re-publish compendiums of all of the old material from those books because there was too much to read.

            Toward the end there, I get the impression that they were just bundling up random ideas every 6 months, and binding them in hardcover :-).

            I can't see 4.0 being worth it. Everything I've heard reads like they've ripped the soul out of 3.5 and made it much more a cookie-cutter game like the worst elements of original 1st ed. combined with a video game. Yes, I'd like to see level 1 wizards that aren't going to fall over when they see a cockroach, but not at the expense of the creative process of character creation and campaign planning. The whole "everyone will have more defined roles in the party," thing sounds to me like classic video game play, not what I look for in a tabletop game.

            That was my th

      • by Bob Uhl (30977)
        Fortunately, there are some great RPGs out there. If you're a big D&D fan, HackMaster [kenzerco.com] will be right up your alley; it's 1st & 2nd edition AD&D revised, expanded and with a sense of humour. Their license to WotC material expires this month, so order your books while you can.

        GURPS [sjgames.com] is, of course, an excellent system complete with more different worlds than you can shake a stick at. High fantasy? Low fantasy? Sci-fi? Spy? Historical? Alternate history? GURPS has it all. Heck, if you want to

    • by Seule (128009)
      I play D&D because it is fun. I play Living Greyhawk because it, too, is fun. Just because I now know when the campaign is ending (and it's 16 months away before we can't play it any more) doesn't mean that I didn't have fun playing, and it doesn't mean that I won't continue to have fun for the next year or so.
      After that, I plan to continue having fun playing the new campaign with the new rules. I fully expect 4.0 to be better than 3.5, just as that was better than 3.0, which was better than 2nd edition
    • by skinfaxi (212627)
      I got the 3.0 books from half.com a couple of years ago after 3.5 came out - at $3/book, I bought one for every player I had. We've been happily playing from them ever since. I was pretty stoked that 3.5 had come out since it made the older books so easy to get. But I'm a total tightwad.
    • by kria (126207)
      Come play Arcanis. It's got better writing and story than Greyhawk ever had (IMHO), and it's been promised to stay 3.5 through at least the end of this storyarc.

      Anyway, I thought WotC already killed the RPGA when they booted Arcanis, Spycraft, etc. I mean - they were worried about competition from companies like Paradigm, which is six guys with other jobs?
  • Video Games... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dracos (107777) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @03:25PM (#20321717)

    Do not belong at GenCon for the same reason WOTC, WizKids, GW, and all the other vendors who do belong at GenCon don't belong at E3 or CES to peddle their non-electronic products.

    The last of my 8 trips to GenCon was 2003, and even then the video games ate up 20% of the vendor hall. I can't imagine there was much space left for the small tabletop publishers this year.

    • by Kamots (321174)
      It was a quite small portion of the vendor room... maybe 20% at the outside, and off in it's own little corner. I avoided it for the most part... wandered through to see crysis and SC2. Interestingly, for the majority of the time there weren't even lines to play.

      Personally I was dissapointed by the sheer volumn of RPGs... I've heard that Origins is far more tabletop oriented, so I'll be giving that a try next year instead. (Besides, that's where the *big* SFB tourny is held...)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by CaptScarlet22 (585291)
      I disagree. Back in mid-late 80's when I was able to go, Video games were just as popular as the tabletop games. The Ultima Series, Bards tale, Wizardy and a slew of others were always present at Gen-Con. It was the perfect place to target all the RPG'rs out there. Heck, you could get a STEAL on the auctions to boot! I suppose the presence wasn't as great, but the convention center wasn't as big as it is today either. I should know I live in Milwaukee....BRING IT BACK!!!!

    • by MBraynard (653724)
      You realize that having other vendors there brings in an 'economy of scale' factor that lowers the cost of having a booth and lowers the 'break even' point for the small non-electronic firms deciding whether or not to go there, right?
  • by navygeek (1044768) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @03:26PM (#20321723)
    It was GenCon's 40th anniversary, not Dungeons and Dragons.

    Zonk must have failed his Spot and Listen checks all weekend.
  • by locust (6639) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @03:39PM (#20321851)
    So, lets see... Battletech releases a new box set (with minis), the techmanual and starter guide, and an update to Total Warfare and all we get 'is its a good day for shadow run players'. Typical.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I give it respect. I even sent an agent to recover the sacred documents (aka: techmanual, box set, and Sword and Dragon).

      As a side, one of the Reaper miniatures people (a competitor of Battletech) looked at the new products and the Camospecs Diarama and posted "oh hell. We're boned."

      Battletech not only brought in the new products, but also won a Genie for best free download (CBT Quickstart Rules).

      Also, 2 Shadowrun products at the show and they get a paragraph while battletech gets almost nothing? It must
    • Yeah. That's what we noticed at the ENnies too.
      Total Warfare got nominated for "Best Regalia".

      ?!?!?!?

      Because Classic BattleTech is primarily a boardgame that can use miniatures, has a heavily developed game world and an RPG component, it's sort of relegated to a limbo within the game community.

      Even so, it doesn't mean we aren't appreciated. The CBT QuickStart rules won not one, but TWO ENnies this year. That may not put it in Ptolus territory, but still. We're happy with what we get.

      Oh, and did I mentio
  • by navygeek (1044768) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @03:39PM (#20321853)
    Honestly, I have to question the statements about the new Battlestar Galactica RPG that Zonk made. I played in each of the two modules/rounds offered at GenCon and in both cases registration was sold out, but we had to resort to finding willing players using generic tickets to sit a playable table. I just don't think it was as wildly successful as Zonk is making it out to be. I wandered over to the Margret Weis booth several times and it looked to me that the 'big sellers' were the Serenity corebook and literary books being sold. Maybe sales will pick up with the new season or when the book goes to Amazon, I can't speak to that, but while a good setting, it's not the big hit they were hoping it to be.

    If you want to talk about an EXCELLENT game that was, in my experience, full-up all the time - check out Witch Hunter by Paradigm Concepts [paradigmconcepts.com] [Paradigm Concepts, Inc.]. It's a fairly imaginative setting that exploded at Origins this year. The game was popular enough that for almost every slot it was offered, the team in charge of the campaign - 'Witch Hunter: Dark Providence' - had to find judges so they could offer more tables per slot. Paradigm, by the way, is the superb team behind the Living Arcanis campaign.
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @03:46PM (#20321919)

    Who cares about what games are being re-re-re-re-rewritten? Where are the pics of the girls in the skimpy anime outfits?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Durrok (912509)
      Anyone get a picture of the girl in the foam rubber suit? No idea what she was supposed to be but I hope she was 18....
  • by Volante3192 (953645) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @03:46PM (#20321931)
    Help! We're all trapped in this bloody great big nutshell!
  • Just an FYI - the 6th picture down ( http://images.slashdot.org/articles/07/08/gencon6 .jpg [slashdot.org]) is of a few of the miniatures from the Privateer Press [privateerpress.com] game Hordes. Hordes is releasing their first expansion, Evolution, and it's part of the larger tabletop/miniature combat world that is Iron Kingdoms/Warmachine/Hordes. For those who are tired of Warhammer, or who want to try something new, I can't recommend these games enough. Last year Hordes won the Origins Award for Miniature Game of the Year. The models are b
  • The Real Story (Score:5, Informative)

    by oGMo (379) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @04:05PM (#20322105)

    Blah, blah, blah. The real story? Everyone's pissed about D&D 4e, because they just bought 3e, then 3.5e. I heard more than one person looking to dump their D&D gear entirely and get out of the system.

    GenCon organization was also something of a disaster. Preorders set for will call were shipped instead. Badges were missing. People weren't in the system. There was a huge long line for the single will-call booth (the only place to pick up preorders), and a whole row of on-site stations (for those who just showed up). Not the greatest way to serve those who signed up over 8 months in advance. Tables were moved---which happens---and GMs were lost between buildings---which shouldn't.

    That said, it was still fun; the exhibition hall isn't where people spent most of their time, either. I had the opportunity to play True Dungeon this year with a great group. We survived. It was far too expensive (at $35 a ticket for a 2-hour event), especially when you can essentially get kicked out of the game in the first 12 minute segment. Fortunately none of our team had that problem. The story was a bit disjointed and illogical, but the puzzles and other gameplay (battles and magic) were fun.

    I was somewhat suprised to see the videogame section this year. I got an opportunity to play Eye of Judgement (which was cool), but the little time I spent in the exhibition hall was mostly a quick glance of the tabletop vendors, so I can't elaborate too much here. All in all, enough to do that even with minimal sleep you'll still see only a fraction of what's there.

    • I've been going to GenCon since '93 with my wife (and now with my teenage daughter) and it still amazes me that they aren't smoothly running.

      My greatest pet-peeve: the run for tickets the day registration opens. The servers grind to a halt, all the events are eaten up in the first hour. My wife and I bought tickets just to have events which I'm sure took some away from someone who probably cried when they were full. We then turned some in the convention that conflicted, but some we just skipped. I thin

  • It's been our groups experience over the years, that D&D is pretty clearly designed up to level 12, and not much further. It'll be interesting to see is 4.0 "fixes" that.
  • by StefanJ (88986) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @04:23PM (#20322309) Homepage Journal
    . . . first game convention -- ORIGINS '77 out on Staten Island -- and I didn't remember until I read this.

    Man, have things changed.

    Back then, RPGs were a minority presence. Historical miniatures games and boardgames were the thing. Roleplayers were considered immature and dweeby newcomers.

    There were enough companies around to create a pretty packed and boisterous dealer's room. Avalon Hill was still its own company, and SPI, the juggernaut of well-produced brainy wargames, was still alive and vigorous.

    TSR had a medium sized booth. D&D back then was three small, brown-covered books packaged in a small white box. (REAL old timers had three brown-covered books in a small brown box.) I recall buying STAR EMPIRES, Chainmail, and The Dragon #13. Metamorphosis: Alpha was on sale, if I remember right.

    Game Designer's Workshop introduced TRAVELLER, if I'm not mistaken. I didn't buy it, but I did pick up a copy of Triplanetary, their vector-movement spaceship wargame. Still have it!

    I stopped by the FGU (Fantasy Games Unlimited) booth, a miniatures rules company just starting to do RPGs. They would become my first publisher a few years later.

    I only remember two bits of programming. A very funny British guy described some roleplaying adventures in one. In another, the late Ernie Gygax, subbing for his dad, talked about stuff.

    * * *

    It's a lost world, really. The medium is the message, and these days the medium is the computer screen and keyboard / mouse interface. On one level gaming is more inclusive and social (there's GIRLS out there!); on the other, it's kind of antisocial and weird. Back in the day people physically gathered together and shared food. They may have smelled bad and been cranky and wonkish, but they actually left the house. Memorizing big thick rules manuals was an intellectual feat in itself. Some spent weeks painting hundreds of little figures all by themselves . . . none of this buying special surprise collector packs of pre-colored minis.

    Nurse? NURSE! Where's my dentures?
    • " . . . the late Ernie Gygax, subbing for his dad . . ." Where did you hear that Ernie had died? Ernie Gygax was alive in June 2007 for Lake Geneva Con III.
      • by StefanJ (88986)
        Maybe I'm thinking of a different son?

        I'm not talking about E. Gary Gygax, the D&D inventor, but one of his sons.
        • AFAIK, E.Gary Gygax has three sons: Ernie, Luke, and Alex. However, I could be wrong about the number of sons. Luke and Alex were at GenCon 2007, and Ernie was at June 2007 Lake Geneva Con . . .

          Don't mind me. I'm picking nits at a single word from an otherwise entertaining post.
  • That had to be the quietest announcement of the con.
    I didnt find out about it until I was told by a friend, who read about it on slashdot...
    • The 4e announcement may have been quiet at GenCon, but it was news everywhere else. The Wizards web page went down when the 4e announcement was supposed to come online. Naysayers have been bemoaning 4e ever since.

      Other pen-and-paper RPGs can benefit from 4e's announcment. Castles & Crusades (Troll Lord Games) may become more popular with the disillusioned; C&C is old-school roleplaying. Basic Fantasy, OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, and a host of new RPGs in the old-school vein are on the market.

      Bey
  • For those who didn't RTFA:

    Gencon2007: "Help! I'm trapped in a nutshell!"
  • by steveha (103154) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @06:26PM (#20323429) Homepage
    I'm wondering about the changes WotC made to character levels for D&D 4e, specifically with respect to the balancing of the various classes.

    The old D&D "balanced" mages vs. fighters by having the mages be pathetic at very low levels, and awesome at high levels, and that was just broken. (That's "balanced" in the same way that putting your head in the oven and your feet in the freezer is "comfortable".) There was a quote saying "Gone are the days of the four hit point Wizard" but no details. Does anyone know more about this?

    I'm sure they won't do it this way, but the groups I used to play with had a system that I thought worked very well to balance mages vs. everyone else: a "spell points" system, where a mage had to power spells (and didn't forget them when casting them).

    The mage needed to memorize the spells, and we used the standard table from the Player's Handbook for how many and what level spells the mage could memorize. The power cost of a spell was the square of the level of the spell, and "mana points" came at about 8 per level of the mage. (We had a formula to calculate it but the answer was always 8.) We also had a rule that a mage could cast a spell "out of his books" without memorizing it, but it was really, really slow. And in dire emergencies, a mage could use points from Constitution as mana points (only the very low level mages ever did).

    Thus your first-level mage would know one spell he or she could snap off quickly (probably Magic Missile) but could very slowly cast Detect Magic or whatever out of the books, and could cast 8 spells per day; and your 20th-level mage would have two 9th level spells memorized, but would seldom cast them (as they would burn 81 out of a daily pool of only 160 mana points!). Medium-to-high level mages tended to use the Fireball spell (level 3 and therefore costing 9 mana points) as a pretty good spell that wasn't too expensive.

    I felt this was a much, much better way to balance out the classes.

    While in high school, I wrote up an article describing the above and submitted it to Dragon magazine. Editor Kim Mohan sent me a rejection letter, saying this proposed change was "too radical" to publish.

    steveha
    • There's a "spell points" system available as an option for 3.5 (In Unearthed Arcana, I believe) and they have hinted at something like that in 4.0.

      I strongly disagree with anyone's assertion that a low level mage in D&D is underpowered. I keep seeing this argument over and over again (on Slashdot especially) and I just can't understand it. If you can't figure out how to abuse your spells, then play a fighter and learn how to do it by watching someone more experienced play the party mage. There's a pleth
    • While in high school, I wrote up an article...and submitted it to Dragon magazine. Editor Kim Mohan sent me a rejection letter, saying this proposed change was "too radical" to publish.

      Honestly, proof of this should get you some kind of special annotation to your slashdot username- a flaming asterisk, goblin ASCII art or just...something.

      I have not had this much nerd envy in a while.

    • "The mage needed to memorize the spells, and we used the standard table from the Player's Handbook for how many and what level spells the mage could memorize. The power cost of a spell was the square of the level of the spell, and "mana points" came at about 8 per level of the mage. (We had a formula to calculate it but the answer was always 8.) We also had a rule that a mage could cast a spell "out of his books" without memorizing it, but it was really, really slow. And in dire emergencies, a mage could us
  • Anyone know where the teaser clip can be found on the internet for the upcoming dragonlance movie? I hope its good, and not an embarrassment like the Dungeons & Dragons movie was.
  • I do not see any evidence anecdotally (which is all this reviewer has) that table top gaming is somehow in decline vs Massive Multiplayer Online Games. While the market for MMOG is very large (9 million WoW players and counting) a lot of that is that the audience of WoW and similar games is just much larger than for tabletop games in general since the barrier for consumers to entry is just much lower. Just because MMOG are popular does not mean that table top gaming is becoming less so. My own experience is
    • by kria (126207)
      Thank you. People keep saying "Death of Table-top Gaming! Film at 11!" and I'm wondering what game they're playing themselves. I'm a big Living Arcanis player, and EVERY YEAR they have to recruit more judges for Origins, the convention that campaign focuses on.

      Someday, if someone makes an MMORPG in which roleplaying is more than just barely possible (someplace where things can change easily and quickly, like a MUD or MUSH), then perhaps tabletop gaming will become a footnote, but until then, I don't see
  • by Baljet (547995)
    Have you seen the state of the UK GenCon(http://www.consupport.com/index.asp?Con=61) this year?
    I live in Reading and doubt I'll bother.
  • But where's the socialization?

    Most people are UTTERLY ineffective at conveying emotion via typing. In fact, most of the "chats" I've seen online are supremely disjointed collections of random thoughts, strung together by the most outrageous grammar, and executed with more spelling errors than stars in the heavens. *LOL*

    Seriously, as nice as it is to try to game online, the experience is still too slow to permit enough real-time reaction to situations. No laughter at a dropped pair of dice, no pauses

  • I didn't see any mention of True Dungeon. http://www.truedungeon.com/true/dungeon.html [truedungeon.com] It usually sells out the first day tickets are available.
  • ... their ongoing design and development series has already put up posts on party roles, the new vision for Fighters, and what it's like to face a dragon in the new edition.

    Rules and source material are good and useful. I buy them. I have even published them. But why would any self-respecting DM wait for Dungeons & Dragons R&D to approve a new vision for "what it's like to face a dragon" or anything else?

    If they even come close to delivering on what these articles imply, next year is going to be an
  • We covered Gen Con this week on our show, The Spiel http://www.thespiel.net/ [thespiel.net]

    I don't think video games are a threat to board games or tabletop games. In fact, with games like Carcassonne making the leap onto the Xbox 360, there's evidence that people are playing and enjoying both kinds of games. Games and gaming in general are on the rise, including board games and cards games of all sorts. Our show tends to focus on these types of games. This week, we include a variety of interviews from the show room fl

A slow pup is a lazy dog. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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