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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Game Day: Anticipating GenCon 2014

by Ken Newquist / May 12, 2014
Cover art for GenCon 2014's marketing brochure.

After seven years away, I'm going back to GenCon. It's been far too long since I was last there, and even longer since the late 1990s when GenCon was an annual pilgrimage for my gaming group.

I'm looking forward to going back.

The new edition of Dungeons & Dragons debuts at GenCon with the release of the Player's Handbook. One of my primary goals for the convention is to play the new game -- hopefully a lot of the new game.

I was intrigued by what I saw in the D&D Next playtest. While I don't think the game will ever be as fast as Savage Worlds it looked to be walking that fine line between speed and crunch. I'd really like to get in a few games with GMs who know the rules before returning home to (possibly) run a playtest campaign with the Blackrazor Guild.

To that end, I'm considering the D&D Next All Access Pass:

This is your pass to play every official Dungeons & Dragons game at Gen Con! You’ll have the same DM for Secrets of Sokol Keep, Shadow on the Moonsea, Defiance in Phlan, and Corruption in Kryptgarden.

All of the adventures are detailed on Wizards of the Coast's GenCon page. I'm not quite sure what the deal is the All Access Pass -- at last year's GenCon it cost $100 and got you access to all of the playtest events. There were also a few extras -- dice and a printed copy of the playtest adventure.

I'm not sure what it will look like this year, but I'm seriously considering it. I'm guessing demand for D&D Next events will be high, and it's important enough to my plans to consider buying the pass.

It's not all D&D. One of my secondary goals is to play as many of the RPGs on my bucket list as possible. Those include:

  1. Eclipse Phase
  2. Dragon Age
  3. 13th Age
  4. GURPS
  5. FATE Core
  6. Star Wars: Edge of the Empire
  7. Marvel Heroic Role-playing
  8. Amber Diceless

These are all games that have been on my game shelf for years, but I've never had a chance to play (although in the case of Dragon Age I did run a bunch of sessions). Games 1-6 are pretty easy to come by, but the Marvel and Amber pickings are slim.

Another secondary goal is to play a bunch of Savage Worlds. I don't know if Pinnacle will have any new Savage Worlds rulebooks out at GenCon, but I don't really care -- I love playing this game. I'm also hoping to squeeze in a game or two of Call of Cthulhu and/or Delta Green, but that's less of a priority.

I also want to geek out in the exhibition hall. And by "geek out" I mean "spend a lot of money on RPGs, board games, card games, dice, and anything else that catches my fancy. Shopping at GenCon is an experience on to itself, and it's been far too long since I've been able to do it.

Finally, I do have one non-geeky thing I want to do while I'm in Indianapolis: catch a baseball game. I didn't know it seven years ago (and I wasn't nearly as into baseball then) but the Indianapolis Indians play in downtown Indy. They've got a beautiful ballpark, with the city itself providing a fantastic backdrop. The Indians (who are the Triple A affiliates of the Pittsburgh Pirates, not the Cleveland Indians as you might expect) are in town the Sunday before GenCon, and the Sunday of GenCon, so there's a possibility (albeit a slight one) that I could get in a game.

That's a minor side quest though. My primary concern now is piecing together a slate of games, saving up for my GenCon spending spree, and reading up on a hell of a lot of RPG rules.