Wow. Yes, it’s taken me the whole week to get to the point where I could talk about GenCon!
I arrived in Indianapolis Friday afternoon. Prototypes were already being played all over the place. A lot of what I got to see was at the Game Salute Booth (2035) where every time I stopped by a new set of games were on the tables seeing demos! It was glorious! All I had to do to see more new independent games and some soon to be released, but not yet released titles was spend some time at the Game Salute tables in Hall E. I think they had the highest concentrations of designers, would be designers, and publishers throughout the entire convention. Heads of several companies were almost always camped out there trying their new games and talking about their upcoming games.
It was only natural that is where the Unpub Noodle would fly. More on that in a few minutes!
Independent and unpublished titles were also available at the First Exposure Play-test hall. I stopped in to visit them several times over the weekend and heard great reports. First Exposure was being run by a company called Double Exposure and I was so impressed with what they were doing and the stories I was hearing, we’ve started to work together to bring you more services. Keep your ears out, we’ll be talking about Metatopia soon.
I also spent a few minutes in the game library which was packed every night. Players playing all kinds of games (including play-testing prototypes) were in there almost 24/7 all weekend long! It was an awesome sight.
I took meetings with a lot of people and we have a lot of exciting things coming down the pike that I’m very happy about. You will be too. We truly are poised to go nationwide and we’ll be talking more about that next week. I want to get my ducks in a row and keep the contacts fresh from GenCon.
My day times were spent meeting with people and playing demos of my game Flummox which is due by the end of the year from Clever Mojo Games! I haven’t talked about it for a while because we’ve been in a very unique development place. The game had been announced and we had moved very fast and far along the path to getting the game on your table…when I pulled the brakes to fix something. We didn’t start from ground zero, but we did ramp back up slowly. We’ve been play-testing a lot and in secret as we make sure this newest iteration is up to snuff. By the way the people sounded after playing, we’re in great shape and it’s really something I can be proud of again. Did I mention we made a full art and theme change? Yeah. Same Game, but just a little different. It’s great and we’ll talk more about it soon.
At night, we converged on Hall E, the yellow Game Salute tables with one of the best groups of game designers and players I’ve ever come across. These guys were getting their new game on something fierce.
I wish I could tell you all the games that were played and all the designers that were there. I can’t. I just didn’t even get to meet everyone or play every game, but we gamed like there was no tomorrow into …well, tomorrow. I collapsed each night at 3am.
I can tell you that we had games there from Benjamin Rosset (Mars Needs Mechanics;) Bryan Fischer & John Sizemore (Nevermore Games;) Ben Pinchback and Matt Riddle (Fleet from Eagle/Gryphon Games;) Chris Kirkman (Dice Hate Me Games;) Rob Harrington (Serpent Stones-Dangermoose Entertainment;) Anthony from the Cardboard Jungle; Jason Tagmire (Pixel Lincoln and the upcoming Quarriors expansion;) George Tagmire (Traitor Tavern;) John DuBois (Microbrew;) Andy VanZandt (Grave Business;) Micheal Mindes & Seth Jaffe (Tasty Minstrel Games;) Patrick Nickell & Micheal Coe (Crash Games;) Jim and John Harmon (independent designers;) Brian Brubach (independent designer;) CW Karstens (Diamond K Games;) Ian Stedman (Gamer’s University;) Michael R. Keller (City Hall and Captains of Industry;) Rick Collins (Scrapbot;) Fred and David Mackenzie (Clever Mojo Games)… I could go, I should… I know I’ve already forgotten names and game names. People passing through and chatting and some planning on passing through but sitting down and playing. It was an absolute pleasure hanging around with such a great, diverse and open group of gamers and game designers. The free for all schedule may not be the best for everyone but it works well for a party/game night feel. So many games were played,…and so many still got left in the bag. There is never enough time to get through every game. A man can dream, can’t he?
Highlights for me were finally playing Princes of the Dragon Throne. This upcoming title has been on my Radar for a long time. I’ve been trying to play it since January and just haven’t had the time. I finally got to play it. Sadly I missed out on a game of Michael R. Keller’s Captains of Industry to do. I’m sorry Michael.
Another game that’s sat with me is Fool’s Gold from Brian Brubach. It’s a neat little game that I think is adequately described as an area control game/resource management game. It’s got a nifty little economic aspect to it, but the reality is that the heart of the game is in the cards. Knowing when to play what is the key towards benefiting in the long run.
I also played a small game from Jim and John Harmon. It was a cauldron brewing game whose name I can’t quite remember. It was fun and I got to play the game with Andy VanZandt an early inspiration along my path to publication. So, I enjoyed the game thoroughly.
Later on in the weekend I got to try Andy’s Dolphinicky. This was a departure from what I’ve seen out of Andy, but a really cool little abstract (though I’m not sure abstract is the best word for it.)
I finished off the weekend with a play of Serpent Stones (on Kickstarter now!) and a secret prototype from someone that I can’t tell you anything about. It was cool.
After having done the two big conventions this summer, I have to say that I’m absolutely in love with doing these Unpub “protozones” and I hope to do more soon (we’re expecting too.) I’ve learned a lot and we’ll be doing each new one a little different and better!
Seriously, if I forgot to mention you I am deeply sorry. So much happened and I saw so many people!
Here are few names of people I just briefly met/saw: Matthew Worden (Jump Gate;) A.J. Porfirio (If I’m Going Down…;) Grant Rodiek (Farmageddon;) Eric Leath (Games and Grub;) Chevee Dodd (Scallywags;) Max Michael (Strata Max Games;) Matthew Duhan (Gozer Games;) Steven Avery& Tom Vassal (Nothing Personal;) Richard Bliss (The Game Whisperer;) and Travis Worthington (Indie Cards and Boards.) Seriously a lot of top names in the gaming business. A whole week and I still wouldn’t have had adequate time to sit, chat, and collaborate with all these folks.
I’m sure more stories will come out about the entire affair. I’ll remember names and games and post the names and what not when I can.
It was truly an awesome experience and I am happy that I was able to go.
I want to give a huge thank you to Dan and Sara at Game Salute for really making Unpub at GenCon happen! They put a lot into our program and I owe them a great thank you!
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