Friday, August 06, 2010

No Old School at GenCon?

I'll have a longer report (complete with rants!) when I get back, but one point so far at GenCon stands out enough that it's worth taking a break from pestering Trollsmyth to mention it -- there is a serious lack of old school presence at GenCon. As far as I can tell the only publisher connected with the retro-clone scene here is Troll Lord Games, though Rogue Games also has James Maliszewski's The Cursed Chateau. And it seems that the only old school or quasi old school bloggers here are Zack Houghton, me, Roger GS, and Trollsmyth. (Please let me know if I'm wrong. And e-mail me so we can hook up!)

Mostly it's an object lesson in just how "niche of a niche" we really are. And I know there are AD&D games running so there obviously are old school people here who aren't associated with the online scene. Still -- can't help feeling that there ought to be a bit more of a concerted presence next year.

23 comments:

  1. Hoping to make it next year, with or without bemused girlfriend in tow - bit of a long jaunt for me.

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  2. I'm not at GenCon but I'm certainly not surprised to hear this. I belong to a local Meetup group and aside from myself, I've yet to encounter anyone who runs old school games. I don't have much trouble finding people who are interested in playing, but the majority are actually 3.5/4 D&D or Saga Star Wars fans. But this is why the old school blogger community is great, because it allows you to connect with people-of-like-mind.

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  3. I'm surprised you are surprised.

    I'm not sure what the attraction of GenCon is. I mean, it's not like you are going to play in more games because a con is bigger. No matter what con you go to, you can only fit in 2-3 RPGs per day. You'd do just as much roleplaying with equally awesome DMs at GaryCon, North Texas RPG Con, or any local convention or mini-con.

    I've never been to GenCon, so I would be extremely interested in reading a post about why it's worth the time and money compared to smaller local cons.

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  4. It is absolutely ridiculous - shameful even - that will all the publishers operating in this scene that nobody has stepped up to organize a booth.

    I intend to hit one major US convention next year. If it's GenCon, there will be blood.

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  5. If I could afford to go to a con (instead of paying doctor bills), I doubt I'd pick GenCon. I'd go to North Texas RPG Con -- or if I were really rolling in spare money for travel, GaryCon. Either would provide me with more fun than a trip to GenCon.

    That said, I know of at least 3 people planning to run Microlite74 games at GenCon this year, so I'll be there are OD&D and AD&D games too.

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  6. Oh, you mean a booth? No.

    Games... yes. I'll be in on Saturday with Koltar, and I'll have 0D&D/Wilderlands books with me.

    I haven't scheduled to host any games, however am always willing to run a pickup game.

    I used to officially run 0D&D games at GenCon, back before the it became popular to do so. These days the games registration is such a pain (Being almost a year in advance and all), it's not worth my time.

    e-mail or twitter me if you have a group interested in playing an actual old-school D&D gaming round on Saturday.

    @GameDaddy

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  7. The goal is to go next year. You'd think that everyone publishing for the OSR could get together and scrounge up enough money to throw down for a booth or something.

    The old school scene is so bad in CT that I'm considering blanketing the local college campuses with fliers offering to DM a campaign. The meetup is all 4e. There are no gamestores in the area.

    I'm hoping the minicon in CT in October gets some people together.

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  8. hey odyssey how about some pics of the con?

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  9. I feel your pain. I frequent EnWorld, which is one of the largest and most active D&D sites. Most everybody seems to be play 3e/4e, which you can tell because every time Wizards/Paizo peeps about a product, everybody is in a tizzy about "Did you hear/aren't you excited/look how cool/how many copies will you buy" ad nauseum.

    Maybe next year will be better. I know I'm going to try to show up there.

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  10. "Expeditious Retreat Press products are available in booth 530 at Gen Con."

    - quote from Facebook

    And Joseph Browning (owner of XRP) is there.

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  11. Okay, I'm thinking of going next year as well. And maybe even run an Old School game of D&D - since (honestly) that really is my bag. :)

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  12. @ Cyclopeatron: I'm not sure what the attraction of GenCon is. (...) No matter what con you go to, you can only fit in 2-3 RPGs per day. You'd do just as much roleplaying with equally awesome DMs at (...) any local convention or mini-con.

    I've never been to GenCon, so I would be extremely interested in reading a post about why it's worth the time and money compared to smaller local cons.


    You are right, if all you want to do is playing then Gen Con is probably not worth the trip. Although, I did have two of my absolute best (and the worst but still memorable) sessions as a player at Gen Con.

    I used to attend Gen Con solely for the exhibit hall, the seminars, and events that I could not find elsewhere. For instance, the Ravenloft theater plays that TSR ran during the nineties: TSR designers and editors (with or without acting talent) would act in hilarious plays, poking fun at both horror and roleplaying clich├ęs.

    And of course, meeting friends that lived all around the globe was also a reason for going.

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  13. If someone wants to scrounge up the cash to send me, I'd be more than happy to. I'll grab a few Raggi modules, kill a few PCs, break some hearts, swallow some tears, and a good time will be had for all :)

    They also have to give me sandwich money. Cause I get hungry.

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  14. I see people playing 1e during the evenings at the Embassy Suites, mixed in with the rest of the indie games. Whether or not it makes financial or scheduling sense to organize, set up, stock, staff and manage a dealers' booth, I know that if you run it, people will play.

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  15. XRP is sharing a booth with TableTop Adventures, who are selling Black Blade books (and my partner Jon Hershberger is probably there at the booth if he's not running AD&D events). BBP and S&W books are also available at the Studio 2 booth, and perhaps at Fat Dragon (not sure if Matt ever pulled that together or not prior to the show).

    Booths are a non-trivial expense but manageable if shared (although they're still much higher than they were in the '90s), but the major cost for publishers to attend GenCon comes in Hotel, Lodging, and Transportation, so it doesn't surprise me at all that there aren't too many OSR publishers who are willing to foot the bill.

    Allan.

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  16. Was there didn't see a lot of old school stuff but was too busy sheparding my steampunk magic card head nephew to spend much time looking. Still cant' work that darn cellphone to surf the blogs and wander the real world at the same time. Did pick a nice set of .pdfs on CD from fatdragon.

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  17. Faster Monkey wanted to be there so bad we could taste it, but having just started up in Feb., we simply didn't have the scratch to manage it.

    I think Joe's idea isn't a bad one, though. If a few OSR publishers ponied up, there could be a Retro booth or some such. Different games (LL, LotFP, S&W, etc.), modules, accessories, etc. Run a demo or two. It could happen. Folks like Frank Mentzer still show up @ GenCon, so it's not like NO ONE from the old days is there.

    Personally, I'm already slated for Garycon 2011 and possibly a local con earlier that same month. I'll have to try and block off some time that summer.

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  18. There were some old school games on the schedule- C&C, BFRPG, Microlite D20 74 I remember for sure but was unable to get into any of them either due to schedule conflicts or they were full. Tower of Gygax (AD&D) was running 24 hours a day and was a big success. I played in it 4 times.

    The biggest disappointment to me was the TARGA seminar which didn't happen. The speaker never showed. :(

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  19. Yeah, what happened with the TARGA seminar?

    Oddysey and I managed to find some Old School stuff going on at GenCon, but most of it was "off the radar," or, at least, not on the program. We should both have some stuff to post about that this week.

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  20. (And, I should point out, not being on the program put the OSR in good company. AEG had a booth in the Dealer Hall that wasn't listed in the program, either. Was quite bizarre...)

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  21. "Expeditious Retreat Press products are available in booth 530 at Gen Con."

    - quote from Facebook

    And Joseph Browning (owner of XRP) is there.


    This turned out to be deliciously true. More on that soon.

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  22. I think part of the visibility problem is, a lot of events are private stock, and "speak easy" to enter.

    There's an inherent contradiction between the rules lite free form nature of good Old School play, and the "difficult people" that are likely to show up for randomly advertised events and for whom rules-heavy systems were invented.

    The other barrier may be the contradiction between the low-budget, home-brew nature of the movement and the cost of a booth.

    Still, I don't want to be elitist or protectionist. I think maybe if someone could run a low-investment two-hour demo event that shows just how much you can get done with simple rules, and couple that with DM seminars that give tips on how to run simple gaming systems without being hack'n'slash, that would go a long way.

    But! They have to *show up* for the damn event. (sigh)

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  23. I forgot about the Tower of Gygax. Lines to get in around the clock, for the privilege of being TPK'ed for charity. Unfortunately they were stuck in a dark corner of the Hyatt, but was loads of fun all the same.

    Why has no one talked about Dave Wesley running Braunstein at Gen Con again this year?

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