Day 2 was filled with L5R goodness, a better surveillance of the various events and games, plus a walk through of the replica museum of the first GenCon (as part of the anniversary). However, the short story here is that the 700+ participants L5R tournament started 4 hours late (!!) and we just got our first meal of the day at 10:30 pm. Not expecting to do much but sleep. We’ll write more in the morning.
Author Archives: petriesfg
Cameron here. This is the first stream of thought post live from GenCon 2017.
We arrived in Indiana and survived the first day of GenCon #50. Plenty of the Petrie’s regulars are here and several Colorado gaming regulars that many of you would know from Gamefest and local podcasts. It’s like a little reunion of sorts.
Oh, here’s a picture of Don on a Catan Sheep.
I spent most of the day at the retailer and educator seminars. Won’t bore you with the details on most of those but I have some ideas to improve our Magic singles and our Store Library. More on that in the coming weeks as I assess if the ideas work in Petrie’s.
The big topic of discussion is Fantasy Flight’s redo of Legends of the 5 Rings. I’ll let you troll the internet for the various reviews out there but to keep it short, most of what people are saying is that it exceeds expectations, keeps what fans of the original wanted kept and streamlines most of the rules. Tomorrow is the big day and Jake will be playing in the first L5R tournament. I’ll get you details on his results.
Here’s a photo of Don wrangling a Catan Sheep.
We ran into the folks of the Boardgame Corner and are looking forward to spending time with them. They are one of the shows from the Dice Tower family of shows and are from Fort Collins and regulars of Gamefest.
Shortly afterwards we ran into some of the regular LCG players from Denver and regular attendees at Petrie’s LCG tournaments, plus some of the minds behind The Art of Warcast, a podcast out of Denver that focuses on the new L5R. They are also judging in the L5R tournaments so visit their podcast to hear them after they are no longer under their non-disclosure agreement of the starter set.
Later we were able to try Iello’s new title “Mountains of Madness” the cooperative based on the Lovecraft novel of the same name. It’s part adventure game, part party game with a resource management element reminiscent of a Forbidden Island/Desert thrown in for added stress. The party game element comes from madness cards that are progressively given to players as they make their way up the mountain. These madness cards can be anything from “Look under the table at the beginning of each round (Paranoia)” to “Repeat everything you say twice”.
As for news and announcements, there wasn’t much of that today but we’re expecting a lot tomorrow. Jake went to the Paizo presentation, so we’ll have some of that for you (mostly news about StarFinder which will be available at Petrie’s this week). Also, Fantasy Flight’s announcement that they will do an anniversary reprint of West End’s original Star Wars role playing game.
The one thing I keep getting asked the most is whether L5R will be available on the retail level at the same time as the GenCon release, and that is finally answered as ‘no’ but we expect it to happen in the next couple of weeks.
We’ll talk to you more tomorrow.
In the flurry of the next seven weeks we are going to be announcing a lot of new regular events and we’re saying goodbye to a few too!
Petrie’s is excited to bring you face-to-face with the folks who bring you your favorite game titles. Before attending GameFest March 11-13, we wanted to give you the time to get to know this year’s special guests. This time we have Jay Little, author of such titles as X-Wing Fighter, Star Wars Edge of the Empire, and his recent title Patient Zero.
What do you do to inspire your creation process?
Are there any exciting projects in the works?
How do you keep the game design process fresh and interesting?
You have a new game coming to Kickstarter this year, Patient Zero. It sounds like amazing fun, can you tell us a little bit about it?
What game theories do you find yourself applying to your everyday life?
Getting a game published can be difficult. How do you advise budding game designers to proceed when they have an idea for a game?
Which aspect of game design do you enjoy the most?
If we were to sit down at the table to play a game right now, what new or old favorite would you choose?
What is your favorite thing about playing games?
You have such an amazing outlook on life and are a joy to play games with. What advice would you give to gamers to help them have the best game play experience?
You have such a diverse gaming portfolio. How is designing for RPG, miniatures and board/card games different? And in what ways are they the same?
Petrie’s is excited to bring you face-to-face with the folks who bring you your favorite game titles. Before attending GameFest March 11-13, we wanted to give you the time to get to know this year’s special guests. This time we have Keith Meyers of Iello Games and the soon to be opened Board Game Republic.
I think it’s very hard to teach game design – it really only comes from playing tons of games. And I also think a good game means different things to different people, so you’re never really sure whether you’ve hit the mark. So I’ve focused, as my book title suggests, on the business of game design, i.e. what is the best process to get published, what are the pitfalls of getting published or publishing yourself and what to expect from that process.
What do you do to inspire your creation process?
For me it’s never really been a ‘process’ – I’ve been instinctually creative my entire life. But I do think there are certain habits that help breed creativity, such as striving to be ever-curious (always ask yourself ‘why’), to be observant and open (inspiration can strike from any direction – be ready for it), and to break routines (just try driving home from work a different way and see what new things you will notice).
What’s the first thing you do when a new game idea occurs to you?
Take the time to jot down the kernel of the idea. Ideas can hit you at the most inopportune moments so by the time you are in game design mode, you may have forgotten all about your great idea.
You’ve experienced just about every aspect of the gaming industry. Which aspect do you think has given you the greatest insight into game design?
Truthfully, none of my jobs have contributed more than my childhood spent playing games. I played games all the time in my teen years, and I soon got the feel of good and bad games. I would tinker with the bad games by testing alternate play, adding pieces, and rewriting rules. At that time, it never dawned on me that games were invented by someone – I just knew what the play experience was and was just trying to make it better.
How have things changed in the gaming industry since you started in it almost 30 years ago?
What I find particularly fascinating is that the game industry, made up of games, which are basically a set of rules, is constantly pushed forward and redefined by games that break the current, existing rules of the industry. Some of these rule-breakers include: Trivial Pursuit which broke the $25 price point; Dungeons and Dragons which created a fully customizable play experience; How to Host a Murder which had success as a single-play game; and Magic: The Gathering which introduced the game industry to collection and trading as a business model.
Pitching a game design can take thick skin. What are your best strategies for dealing with rejection?
Be a pragmatist – all companies are different: different in their process, different in their market, and thus different in the games they publish, so it’s natural to get a fair number of no’s before you get a yes. Get to know as many companies as possible and the types of games they publish – this will reduce the number of no’s and the amount of time spent contacting different companies.
What’s your next big goal?
Opening Denver’s premiere board game cafe & pub, Board Game Republic. I’ve been trying to bring this project to life for about 3 years – and we’re now about 3 months out from it becoming a reality. I am passionate about the abilities of board games to bring about social change, i.e. making players better people, through face-to-face social interaction. So I’ve devoted my career to getting board games into the hands of as many people as possible. Board Game Republic is a perfect fit for me – a venue whose sole purpose is to bring people around the table and get them interacting with each other.
This year’s guest list for GameFest at StarFest continues to get better. We were able to get some time with the Role Playing author to give you a chance to know him better before you meet him in Denver next month. At GameFest he will be participating in panels, games and available to sign your books.
What was your first RPG and how did you get into gaming?
I started out with D&D back in the green box days. From there
, I got the AD&D cores — the Ifrit Dungeon Masters Guide, the classic Players Hand Book with the grinning red idol and the 1977 Monster Manual. They were in terribel shape, I got them second hand from a friend who (if I recall correctly — this was more than 30 years ago) was being forced to sell them by his parents. My folks were underwhelmed too.
That kept me going through junior high, and then in high school I moved more into Car Wars and Star Fleet Battles. D&D was always on the back burner though.
How did break into the RPG industry?
Ah, it’s the classic story — I knew a guy. When I got to college, this woman I knew from the theater department said, “Hey, I know this guy who runs a game, you’d like it.” That guy was Jonathan Tweet. At that time, he was selling insurance, living in a rundown house called The Woods, and developing a game that would later become Over The Edge. My whole life, I’d wanted to write for money, and as a college student I was already building a stack of rejection letters from short-form fiction magazines. When I found out you could write gaming stuff and get paid for it, I locked onto that idea with feverish intensity.
If you had to pick just one, what would be your favorite product that you worked on?
Picking just one is very difficult. I’ll cheat a little (or maybe just min-max?) and say the One Roll Engine. That’s turned into the fantasy game REIGN, the superhero games GODLIKE, WILD TALENTS and BETTER ANGELS, and the film noir game A DIRTY WORLD. It wasn’t my first time building mechanics from scratch, but I’m very pleased with how it turned out. It did start my infatuation with pulling as much information as possible out of a single die roll.
I have heard that Unknown Armies 3 will be coming out sometime this year. How did Unknown Armies come into existence?
As I mentioned, Tweet became a mentor for me and opened up a number of door, particularly those at Atlas Games. While there, I worked on WILDEST DREAMS with John Tynes and Robin Laws. Tynes had a pile of modern day occult ideas, and was looking for someone to build mechanics. I didn’t know any better than to commit to it, and he didn’t know any better than to let this guy with more enthusiasm than experience jump in and design half his game.
It turned out, somehow, to be a very fruitful partnership. Discussing it later, each of us confessed that we thought the other was doing all the heavy lifting. From my perspective, all I did was embroider his ideas and put together a fairly simple mechanic. From his perspective, he gave me a pile of raw ingredients and I turned it into a full meal. So that was fun.
How would you describe Unknown Armies?
The tagline we came up with at Atlas for the third edition is “It’s a game about broken people trying to fix the world.” UA is a game of modern occultism, which I guess could put it with CTHULHU NOW and MAGE, but Tynes and I both settled early and hard on the idea that these mystic secrets should be something you achieve, not something that’s just inflicted on you. We didn’t like the idea that magick people were born special, or that humanity was unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Tynes had been working on a lot of Lovecraft Mythos stuff with Pagan Publishing at that time, and was (I think) a little burned out on the cosmic nihilism. He still wanted the game to be scary, but frightening because people have power, not because people are powerless. So UA, in all its incarnations has been about the cost of power, and what people actually do with it, and how do people who have been powerless change when they get their wish and turn the tables? Do they let their suffering blind them to others’ pain, or do they let it teach them compassion?
Plus, there are monsters and gunfights and crazy gross rituals.
What are you working on currently (that you can talk about)?
At some point, I’ll be doing another round of edits on a big collection of scenarios for DELTA GREEN. It’s called CONTROL GROUP and I wrote it to function as (1) a set of really scary, harsh, meat-grinder one-shot adventures and (2) a set of tutorials for learning how to play and run DELTA GREEN. The first scenario comes with pregenerated characters and is all skill tests and SAN rolls, so new players and new GMs can run it with minimal hassle. The second one has more pregens but introduces combat (and lots of it—so far, the survival rate for that one when I’ve run it is a fat zero percent). The third adventure teaches character generation, and so on. But thematically, they’re all Federal government contacts with Mythos horrors that aren’t handled by DELTA GREEN… but should have been. So if you run through all the CONTROL GROUP scenarios, by the end you know how to run all the rules and you have a small group of survivors who are from the Air Force and the CDC and the FBI, who are ripe to get recruited. That’s all written (and it is quite large) but I’ll surely have to work over a lot of it once playtest feedback arrives.
The other thing I’m working on is a so-far untitled UNKNOWN ARMIES novel, which is a terrible idea—RPG fiction doesn’t traditionally do very well in the marketplace. Also, it’s written in the second person, so that’s insult to injury. But I am having a great deal of fun with it.
An Interview With Tim Brown
GameFest 2016 welcomes back Tim Brown, author and gaming icon. We recently were able to interview Tim to give you an idea of who he is and why you want to meet him.
What was your first RPG and how did you get into gaming?
I played D&D way back in ’78. I was already a boardgame and miniatures game player, and a friend of mine introduced me to D&D. It was a ton of fun, such a new concept!
How did you break into the RPG industry?
I started working for Game Designers’ Workshop (GDW), which was in my hometown in Illinois, playtesting boardgames. I wrote my first supplement for the Traveller game in 1980. I ended up working at GDW for 12 years, on Traveller, Space: 1889, 2300 AD, and as editor of Challenge magazine.
If you had to pick one, what would be your favorite product that you have worked on?
That’s difficult to pin down. I reminisce the most about Traveller, I suppose, and some of the great sessions and campaigns I was involved in. 2300AD, though, appealed to my ‘hard sci-fi’ leanings, and I had a more direct involvement in its creation. Of course, Dark Sun was such an all-encompassing positive experience, too.
How did Dark Sun come into existence?
TSR management let it be known that they wanted a new AD&D setting, and I volunteered to be part of the project. The existing settings – Greyhawk, Dragonlance, and Forgotten Realms – all seemed to be pretty straightforward medieval fantasy worlds, so I wanted to create something different. None of those satisfied the Conan or John Carter vibe, so we headed down that direction. Troy Denning and I started working on the savage setting originally titled War World, and hooked up with relatively new TSR artist Brom to get the ball rolling.
What was it like working on a new setting in the TSR/2nd edition heyday?
Very open and exciting. Honestly, we had a lot of time and resources and very few directives ‘from above.’ As you can see, we took advantage of all of that to create something pretty special. The AD&D 2nd Edition game could accommodate anything easily, I felt.
Who came up with the cannibal Halflings?
Our original thought was to dispense with all of the AD&D races, perhaps even humans, and create entirely new player character races. As we got into that, though, we found it wasn’t as satisfying as we had originally hoped. So, we decided to severely ‘twist’ each of the traditional races to make them unique for the Dark Sun setting. The halflings’ voracious appetites were already well established; we just changed their menu.
After all this time you are returning to the desert with Dragon Kings. Dragon Kings had a successful Kickstarter and is offering a variety of products: books, cd’s, pdfs, art, and more for three very popular systems. Why come back?
I had only a limited period of involvement with Dark Sun back in the day. After the initial design, I moved on into overall management at TSR and that took me away from the setting as it matured. With Dragon Kings I can take my various musings and introduce them into a thematically similar environment for game play. There are a lot of stories to be told in the spreading wastelands …
How would you describe Dragon Kings?
For centuries, a race of benevolent, powerful creatures known as the Dragon Kings watched over the civilizations of Khitus. But as their power waned and they one by one disappeared from existence, more sinister powers have risen in their place. The time has come for new heroes to emerge, defeat the despots, and reverse the planet’s fortunes before it slips into oblivion.
Being a spiritual successor to Dark Sun, it invites comparison. What would you say are the key differences between Dragon Kings and Dark Sun?
I’ve tried to create a richer, more complete fabric of tribes, societies, and organizations in Dragon Kings, all working in their own ways and with their own agendas to remake the world in their image. How the players position themselves within and among these groups takes on a more substantial role in the unfolding of each adventure, how it sets up expectations for the adventures that follow, and drives the role-playing aspects of each session. Further, the decline of the world is rooted in theft, both overt and subtle, rather than ecological collapse, so the themes are more in keeping with its danger and savagery. Finally, Dragon Kings introduces races who display truly alien intelligence and challenging motivations that take it a step further still from the traditional medieval fantasy setting.
What are you working on currently?
I’m working with John-Matthew DeFoggi to create the first comprehensive adventure campaign for Dragon Kings. The initial manuscript is complete, and playtesting is going very well. That’s something I’d like to make available to fans in the next few months.
I’m also working closely with Ulisses-Spiele, a German RPG publisher, to bring their long-standing game The Dark Eye (Das Schwarze Auge) into English. The English-language version of the game’s latest edition is already translated and in editing and soon layout, along with an extensive release schedule of adventures and useful add on books like a bestiary and the almanac for the super-detailed fantasy setting Aventuria. I don’t know of a more carefully crafted, immersive fantasy game and setting, and I’m enjoying working to bring all of that style and elegance to the English-speaking audience. Ulisses-Spiele will have a major presence at this coming GenCon, along with their publishing partner Paizo, so definitely keep an eye out for that and stop by to say hello if you can.
Looney Labs is thrilled to announce the newest, out-of-this-world version of Fluxx! Join Mal, Wash, Zoe, Inara, Kaylee, Jayne, Simon, River, Book, and more as Fluxx enters the ‘Verse at full speed. With the rules constantly changing, Firefly Fluxx is just as unpredictable as misbehaving in space!
A game of strategy, skill, and the luck of the draw, Firefly Fluxx echoes the aesthetics of the futuristic western. Featuring sumptuous art by Adam Levermore, Firefly Fluxx is perfect for fans and collectors of both Firefly and Fluxx!
5-30 minute play time
One Night Ultimate Vampire
No moderator, no elimination, no werewolves.
In One Night Ultimate Vampire, the sun has just set, and vampires have descended on your sleepy little town, slowly turning the villagers into even more vampires. Fortunately, the village has several residents with special powers, with most willing to help eliminate this fanged menace!
One Night Ultimate Vampire is a fast game for 3-10 players in which everyone gets a role: The nefarious Vampire, the well-meaning Cupid, the sneaky Assassin, or others, each with a special ability. In the course of a single evening, your village will decide who among them is a vampire…because all it takes is finding one vampire to win!
Vampire can also be combined with the original One Night Ultimate Werewolf games!
10 minute play time