Monday, August 3, 2015

Gencon: The Pictures

by SandWyrm


Due to a previous obligation, I was only able to attend the first two days of Gencon this year, and those were almost entirely spent playing in two Flames of War tournaments. So I didn't get to spend more than about 45 minutes wandering the vendor halls after a quick win on the first day. But I did manage to get some interesting pictures that showed what various vendors were up to, including a very curious showing by Games Workshop.


Battlefront

I was curious whether, after all the public Dust dramas, whether Battlefront would bring any Dust merchandise to show.



Nope. Battlefront was perfectly happy to push their board game line, including a couple of new entries like a wrestling game.


It really wasn't my thing, but they made a bunch of nice pretty demo tables to show it off with.


Flames of War was still mostly sidelined. But they were offering 20% off and free shipping on all Gencon orders. Problem is, Farmpunk and I both got burned a couple of years back and didn't get our orders until 6-8 months after the show. In my case (6 months), I wasn't charged for the order due to a mistake copying down my credit card info. While Farmpunk had to wait 8 months and still had to pay.

Considering that we can get 20% off standard on anything we buy (Flames or not) at Sinclair games up in Carmel, and pay only when we receive it, there's absolutely no reason to bother ordering anything from Battlefront at all. Particularly at a show that costs at least $30 to get into.


But again, I think Flames growth has stalled, and they're putting a lot of effort into making new board games, which is a growth market right now.


Fantasy Flight Games & Asmodee

Last year FFG merged with Asmodee, which is a huge European game company, and they both went all-out on Gencon this year. FFG's booth and demo areas were larger than last year's, and still had lines wrapped around the sales area of gamers waiting to get in and spend money. 


We're talking dozens of games on display there, and as I was pressed for time, I just snapped a few pics of the things that interested me the most.


Some new 40K board game was getting a lot of interest.


Imperial Assault demo table.


I still haven't bought into Armada, but there were some new ships out.


New stuff for Imperial Assault.


As large as FFG's space was, Asmodee's area easily doubled it, with all kinds of family-friendly games on display. 


Cool Mini Or Not & Dust Studios


And then there was Dust Studios, who were selling their sets at the CMON booth. This fellow wanted to assure me that he hadn't been sitting all day, but I really didn't see more than a few people looking around at his stuff.

I was wearing my German desert-cap with the logo of Able Kompanie, our local Flames of War club, on it. He asked me about it, but honestly didn't seem to know what Flames of War was, or why the club misspelled "Company", until I explained that it was intentionally Germanized. I didn't bother mentioning that the game was from Battlefront, though maybe I should have to see his reaction. But I was in a rush.


Mantic Games

Mantic had a large, if sort of well... mantic booth. Lots of stuff to sell, and they all seemed happy enough.






Battletech is Still Growing?


I've no idea why, but Battletech easily doubled its presence this year. Not bad for an ancient game that everyone thought was dead 5 years ago. I met guys in their early 20's that were super excited to pick up the new rulebooks that once again included the old Macross/Robotech designs that had been removed up until now for legal reasons.

By this time I'm at the back of the hall, wondering why I haven't seen a GW booth yet. They're not in their usual spot...


Palladium


Palladium was there in full force selling Robotech RPG Tactics sets. I snapped a bunch of pictures to see if CaulynDarr notices something being sold that hasn't been shipped to him yet.







And Then There Was Games Workshop...


I was almost ready to say that GW had skipped Gencon this year, but on the way out of the hall I spotted a directory map. According to it, GW had a small booth in the far back of the hall, next to the art exhibits. 



That's it. Just one guy and some Age of Sigmar diorama displays. Nothing at all to sell. No 40K.

We've seen everything from the unlabeled cardboard box booth of 3 years ago, to the super-nice booth of 2 years ago, to the toned down but still ok booth last year. But this? This is something I'd expect from a garage outfit, not the 800lb gorilla of miniature wargaming! Geeze!


Out of time, I then headed back to the gaming hall by the shortest possible route, when what should I see, but ANOTHER booth selling AoS starter sets and not a whole lot else. Wait... This was the (unlabeled) FORGE WORLD booth!... And they were on the exact opposite side of the hall from the official GW booth, though they were selling mostly AoS sets and not a lot of actual Forge world stuff.

What. The. Hell?

Rumor has it that the GW Brits that were supposed to run these booths were stopped by US customs and sent back to England for having the wrong kind of visas, forcing GW to find American staff to fill in at the last minute. But that still doesn't explain why there were two separate booths, or why there was nothing but a few 8.5x11" table signs to identify the booth that was actually selling stuff.

Gee... I guess all the competent people are fleeing GW due to the salary caps. Good work Roundtree!


But Back In The Gaming Hall...

We were playing Flames of War. Here's some early-war armies that were there.


I so wanted to call this the SS Hello Kitty division, but it's actually a Japanese army.


Here's a nice little French force that whooped me in round one. Though I did put him through the humiliating ordeal of a 5 turn firefight where he had 3 platoons (Somoas, Panhards, & Hotchkiss Tanks) firing at the REAR armor of 2 Panzer II's and 3 Panzerspäh light scout cars, and either having me bounce every shot with 5's and 6's, or having him penetrate, but only bail me. Whereupon everyone would promptly get back in on my turn and shoot back (but only bail a guy or two who wouldn't get back in).

This went on until we literally ran out of time, just after I finally killed the Panhards and salvaged a 3-4 loss instead of a 2-5 loss.


My early-war German Liechte Panzerkompanie. It got two 3-4 losses and a draw that day. Mostly because I had put all of my testing effort into my mid-war Panzerspäh list that had managed to get a 3-4 loss and two wins (4-3 & 5-2) the day before. 

Farmpunk took 3rd place overall for mid-war, but I have the satisfaction of knowing that my mid-war list kicked his ass 2 for 2 before Gencon. ;)




If you're noticing that a lot of these boxes look nearly identical, it's because Chris Fretts, the Able Kompanie club leader (and #1 French player in the US) makes and sells them. 




Farmpunk's French. I think he managed 1 loss, a win, and a draw. There were a LOT of draws in the final round that day.


And that's it. I spent the rest of the weekend camping with friends and family. 

5 comments:

  1. and Exploding Kittens.
    http://www.explodingkittens.com/
    The Farmpunk family played a few games of this after getting back from our GenCon foray on Sun.

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    Replies
    1. Not really related to Gencon, but yeah... Exploding Kittens is awesome!

      Delete
  2. Some sites are so funny. They post these little tight angle shots of the GW booth and post things like "GW at Gencon in full force!." Then I finally get to see a wide angle shot, and it's practically a phone booth. They just released what they consider their new flagship product in the last month, and Mantic still have more presence. PALLADIUM of all people have more presence! FASA's dead corpse has more presence. Gencon is the central event for tabletop gaming in NA. Go big or go home. Didn't Relic build a working Rhino for the release of Dawn of War 2? Plop that think down in the middle of booth, bam!, now every gamer in NA is talking about the company that invaded Gencon with a friggin' tank.

    There was no new KS product for Robotech there as far as I heard. Most likely since the molds are not even cut for wave 2. They did have some overpriced white metal con-exclusives and GHQ modern armor packs rebranded for Robotech. I'm pretty sure they don't have the cash to pay the factory to start tooling molds at this point. C'est la vie.

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  3. I also saw some pictures of the Halo stuff that Spartan is doing. I didn't know the fleet game was HIPS, now I'm a bit interested. And they are doing a ground combat game in what looks like 15 mm. If that gets made in HIPS, yeah, probably getting that.

    To bad Spartan is a B- company in terms of game design and rules writing. Maybe they cleaned up their rules for the Halo stuff though.

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  4. AHHH! I nearly lost my shit when I saw the ISD for Armada. It's an excellent game and I'd highly recommend it.

    ReplyDelete

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