by Steve Lefort on August 17, 2012
Sitting in the hotel after another busy day at Gencon today... While the first day was strictly an overview day, today I managed to focus on a few demo's and talk to a number of companies/ reps to look at bringing in some new miniature lines/ products. I spent more time looking at miniatures as opposed to boardgames because 90% of the boardgames shown, I knew about and pre-ordered months ago.
- I have been semi-looking at a new miniatures skirmish game called "Freeblades" for the past few weeks. While the models (pictures online) did not really blow me away, they really did look better in real life. The sculpts remind me of Alkemy, with realistic anatomy and generally human size characters. Today I spent some time at the booth to get a real feel for the rules. Wow. Probably one of the deepest Melee combat systems I have ever tried. It reminded me of Confrontation 3.5 (the good parts) crossed with Infinity's reaction system (which everyone seems to be adopting in some way). The round consists of about 10 different phases/ subphases done in chronological order and with some aspects taking place simultaneously. You have the standard; Initiative, Magic, Move, Range Attack, Combat phases, however, within each phase, reactionary actions can take place and multiple types of attacks, movement etc. can be chosen. To give you some idea; spells targeting enemy models can be countered through a reactionary action by an enemy spell caster, charges can be evaded (moving away) or simultaneously countercharged (with both models moving towards each other, a model may have multiple different attack options, sacrificing defense for attack bonus or movement and so on. I was really blown away by the system. Yet, even though it was a "straight forward" system, I could see a lot of players being initially confused by such involved mechanics. If you like "heavier" miniature games, this may be for you. It also has a Mordheim/ Dogs of War like campaign system and some very cool sounding scenario's involving NPC's or a 3'rd player. Right now they have 4 different factions, with 4 more up on kickstarter, and a total of 17(!!!) planned.
- Speaking of Kickstarter, it seems like a VERY large portion of products being shown at the show are not "finished" products but products currently going through a Kickstarter campaign. It seems strange to me, to view so many products that may never see the light of day. Like it or not, Kickstarter is now a MAJOR part of the gaming culture and was EVERYWHERE at GenCon.
- CMON had a spectacular showing with the new Confrontation Phoenix edition models, Kingdom Death, GameZone, Wrath of Kings, Sedition Wars, Soda Pop/ Relic Knights, Zombicide, new Super Dungeon Explore expansions and more! The company has grown incredibly fast and now supports, (through distribution or manufacture) some of the hottest product lines. After speaking with them for some time, expect a large increase of all their products at Meeplemart. Of specific note, Wrath of Kings (which I got a demo of), had absolutely mind-blowingly, amazing mini's and is now in beta stage for a fast playing "Anima Tactics"-ish style skirmish game. The "abomination" like miniature was definitely one of the best models at the show. Expect this product line at Meeplemart in the next few weeks...and...
- Dark Age!!! New Factions! New Book! New Models! The game has gone from "blah" to "blast" over the past year and I'm jumping in with both feet! The new "Core" faction models are like a cross between the "Therions" of At-43 and the aliens in the Final Fantasy Spirits Within movie. I LOVE them and the other cyborg/ mutant faction (who's name escapes me at this moment). I JUST LOVE the dark tones of this game; the gritty, psycho/ sexual, no-holds barred adult nature of the art, design and models. I am a HUGE fan of ID software design/ imagery (Quake) and the "Dark Age" universe is right along those lines. The new book will be shipping to retail soon, but CMON generously supplied Meeplemart with an advance copy for the store, along with their new issue of "Ravage" magazine (#3)! Finally! An awesome miniature gaming magazine that isn't an advertisement for 1 company!
- Infinity had a smaller showing than what I was hoping for. I spoke to the designer about the new "spec ops" models and the new campaign book. Yes, the spec ops and new faction models are fantastic, that is almost a given with Infinity, but the modularity of the spec ops is definitely something new for Corvus Belli. The models come with an assortment of bits and weapons for you to customize and change the look of your own specific model. VERY cool. We also got a sneak pack at the concept art for a whole host of new models coming out in the next few months and an interesting new terrain piece from Micro Arts specifically for use with the Spec Ops models. I was disappointed however in the lack of new "city" Inifinity terrain pieces from Micro Arts.
- Mercs was there with the Texico and ICS (or is it ISS? -I can't remember...). Great models, of course, but surprisingly, I think I like the ICS/ISS dudes better. I could be biased though as the Texico were not painted. Even more surprising was how good the new Mercs game mats were. They have been on pre-order for a few months and should be arriving @ The 'Mart in the next few weeks.
- Galeforce 9 had some GREAT new Battlefield In A Box pieces, which of course I will buy all of for the store gaming tables, along with a new line of high quality RESIN, official D&D miniatures...strange, but true!
- Bolt Action had a stronger presence than what I was expecting and a jaw-droppingly great destroyed city table in the event area. I did not get a chance to get a demo, but I happened to bump into a Meeplemart customer trying it out and he gives it a big "thumbs up!" Rule books are on the way... Now, I guess I need to build a 6x8 WWII table...which I could also use for Dust Warfare!!!
- ...Luckily, I picked up some more terrain pieces for the store tables at the Miniature Building Authority booth! Any volunteers to help paint up some of the unpainted pieces?!
- I wanted to get a demo of Relic Knights, but the booth was always packed with people taking pictures of the scantily clad, booth babe's prominently displayed boobs...not sure what else to say about that...
- Wyrd had tons of new plastics available, however, I somehow missed seeing the new sculpts out of the packaging and painted up. Aurora saw them and said "they look great!" Their new Orphanage card game was present, but I did not manage to get in a game. Expect the GenCon exclusive models to be available at Meeplemart on Sunday!
- Privateer Press had the new "Mountain Troll", "Kraken" and Level 7 board game. Everything looked great and should be arriving at Meeplemart soon! Expect some "other EXTREMELY cool" pieces to be available in limited quantities when I get back on Sunday.
- Speaking of which, Warhammer and 40K players might want to stop by the store on Sunday as well...I'll give you a 2 word hint: FORGE WORLD...