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GenCon 2011

posted Aug 10, 2011, 12:45 PM by Shane Harsch   [ updated Aug 10, 2011, 2:06 PM ]
Decompressing from GenCon and reflecting on time well spent. Great games all around. I think my only regret is not having enough time to wander the halls or slow crawl through the Dealer's Hall.

I had the absolute pleasure of hosting a group of Icelandic gamers. This is the second time these guys came to GenCon and not only did we get to game (Narosia: Sea of Tears), they were generous enough to bring me bizarre Icelandic candies. I also got to hang out with them on Saturday night and learn more about the Icelandic gaming scene. What a great group of gamers.

The new convention center was great, and I thought the Dealer's Hall was fabulous. 

New games I picked up:
Good stuff all around. I saw a lot of new FATE games as well as many polished Savage Worlds products. One that really caught my eye was Interface Zero, a well developed, polished cyberpunk setting using Savage Worlds. I would have liked to try out a session of the game to see how it captures the cyberpunk feel. Maybe I'll run one.

I definitely got a sense of a vibrant gaming industry. Attendance seemed strong. All of my events were attended with registered tickets instead of generics, which I usually get 1 generic per event or so.

I also very much enjoyed the traditional Hero Game dinner with the Legion of Heroes. These GMs put a lot of effort into running the official 28 events. Overall Hero accounted for 112 events, and many Legion of Heroes GMs ran events not under the official banner. Huge thanks to Steve Long, Darren Watts, and Jason Walters for all of their efforts.

The rest of the breakdown looks like this:
D&D 4E          357     17% (includes RPGA events)
Pathfinder RPG 279 13% (includes PFS events)
Hero System     112 5%
Call of Cthulhu 101 5%
Shadowrun 97 5%  (includes SR Missions)
Star Wars 79 4%
Savage Worlds 72 3%
Ubiquity 55 3%
Alpha Omega 50 2%
Misc            10-37   17% (e.g. Eclipse Phase, 7th Sea, GURPS, AD&D, The One Ring, M&M)
Small           1-9     27% (e.g. FATE, Dark Heresy, HackMaster, Hollow Earth Expedition, NSDMG)
Total Events    2134
Of course I have no idea what attendance was like. Games with 50 or more events accounted for 56% of all events. It's nice to see a rules-light game system like Savage Worlds doing so well. I accidentally stumbled into Pinnacle's main Savage Worlds ballroom in the basement (odd) of the Omni. 29 tables, packed, with Savage Players. About 1/3 or so were women to boot. It seems as if Pinnacle has carved a nice niche out of the market. Other than not being able to hear, they seemed like they were having a blast.

This next year is a focus on two things: Narosia, and cyberpunk. My notes are coming together well with both, and the Narosia magic system is finally stable. Thank you to all of the players, my home team included, that have braved the mighty essence flows to tame these magicks. My cyberpunk goal is to put together a talk for DefCon next year "Hacking in RPGs" and to present a meta system for dramatic cyberinfiltration. Since Cyber Hero is on the schedule, I think there is some good timing here. 

Now it is time to get ready for U*Con. Onward to Ann Arbor!

Data compiled from