Gen Con 2007 Recap

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goodmangames
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Gen Con 2007 Recap

Post by goodmangames » Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:51 pm

And it’s a wrap! Gen Con 2007 has officially ended. It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since our first appearance at Gen Con 2002. At that show, we had a single booth with only three products to sell. Now it’s 2007, our booth is four times as large, and we have well over 100 titles in print.

The elephant in the room is 4E, and we’ll get to that. But first I’d like to discuss many other aspects of this year’s Gen Con. Our fans, our tournaments, our products, our team – all of that is why I love Gen Con.

As always, it was great hearing from fans. I see the same customers from year to year, as well as lots of new ones. One growing trend I’ve observed is older fans brought back to the hobby by the DCC modules, who in turn bring their kids to the booth in search of “a good module for kids.” This trend is terrific – it’s bringing a “lost” generation back into the hobby, and giving them a tool to connect with the new generation. Our Wicked Fantasy Factory series is designed precisely to be this tool, a bridge from the Gygax generation to the video game generation, and I was pleased to demonstrate this to so many fans. Many fans appreciated our free modules (we gave out a different freebie each day at Gen Con), and there was a lot demand for the special Gen Con cover version of DCC #51.5: Sinister Secret of Whiterock.

We ran two tournaments this year, and both went well. Despite Gen Con’s systemic problems with room locations – a real world challenge that took place before round one even began – we still managed to field well over 130 players.

This year’s DCC tournament utilized three special mechanisms to make it even more interesting than in years past. The first mechanism was level zero characters in round one. Every year we’ve provided pregens that are not quite perfect, and designed in a way to force some strategic thinking. This year was the epitome of that approach. When you only have 8 hit points, you have to use your brains rather than your brawn. The teams that realized this did best in round one. Judging by the number of first round TPK’s – an all-time record, and most of them inflicted by a single goblin with a crossbow – this “anti-power gaming” approach wasn’t familiar to everyone.

The second tournament mechanism was character advancement. Those of you who made it to rounds two and three know that the pregens “grew up” between rounds, as the module back story advanced several years. When published, this adventure will be like DCC #14: Dungeon Interludes. In tournament form, it challenged the players to quickly comprehend entirely new characters before the next round began.

The final tournament mechanism was three variations on round one. Each team started the dungeon through one of three possible entrances. The encounters within had similar statistical bases, so the challenges were comparable, but the teams had a total of three slightly different experiences.

Perhaps the highlight of the tournament was Monte Cook’s participation. Chris Doyle had the pleasure of running Monte’s team through the dungeon. They had a blast, and Chris is now one of the few DMs on the planet who can honestly say that he killed Monte Cook’s character. Despite that, the team advanced to round two – but was unable to play due to a scheduling conflict. Another lucky runner-up team got to take their place. In the end, Clan Yeoman placed yet again, but came in second as the Blood Kings took the #1 spot. Stay tuned to these forums for complete tournament results soon.

PhoenixCrawl, the Xcrawl tournament, also went very well. Two teams made it to the finals, and the outcome of the final round was incredibly close. Everybody in the tournament got one of our giant red foam hands imprinted with “Xcrawl is #1!” – just like at sports games – and it was fun seeing the hands appear throughout the weekend. (Especially on Saturday night when I saw two obviously drunk fans walking down the street waving their foam hands and shouting “#1! #1!”) You could feel the buzz coming from Xcrawl, as a steady stream of tournament players and casual passers-by stopped by to check out the latest offerings.

Several other companies were kind enough to provide our tournament DMs with materials to help them judge. Paizo Publishing contributed a number of their Combat Pads and other GameMastery materials (which are incredibly useful). Dark Platypus games contributed some of their Flexible Dungeons, a very clever new product that is composed of plastic dungeon walls in one-inch increments that can be rearranged to simulate practically any dungeon encounter. The original Flexible Dungeons were all metal, and now Dark Platypus has a plastic set available. Visit http://www.dark-platypus.com/ to learn more about their products.

Our new releases were quite possibly the best-received that we’ve ever had. DCC #50: Vault of the Iron Overlord, by Monte Cook with a cover by Erol Otus, sold out by Saturday afternoon. This is the module that features a spinning ring dungeon inside the front cover. You really have to see it to understand how cool it is. Every customer who touched it bought it – it’s that cool. I can honestly say that no company in the history of gaming has ever produced a module like this.

Another module that’s in a league of its own is DCC #51: Castle Whiterock. This monster boxed set weighs six pounds with 761 pages of content inside. We took advantage of the boxed set format to include not just a bunch of books, but loose-leaf character sheets, a color fold-out map, and a host of booklets to accompany the four main adventure books. As with DCC #50, every customer to open it fell in love with it, though the $100 price tag was too much for some. Considering that DCC #50 holds as much content as 23 normal DCC modules – roughly a $230 value – it’s a bargain at that price. 530 keyed encounters, all fully statted and mapped! For those of you looking to own a piece of gaming history, Castle Whiterock is for you. It’s the greatest dungeon story ever told – and I mean that literally; no other dungeon in the history of gaming has taken advantage of 530 locations and a total of 29 levels and sub-levels to tell a single, cohesive plot that comes to closure in the final confrontation with the dragon at the bottom of the dungeon.

Gen Con also saw the release of Saga of the Witch Queen, our second 1E release. This year we didn’t experience any of the short supply problems we had last year. Everyone seemed pleased with the retro orange-tone cover and the great new Harley Stroh adventure that tied together Jon Hershberger’s conversions of DCC #17 and DCC #17.5.

Palace in the Wastes finally saw print, a year after last year’s tournament. This year’s tournament players got a blast out of finding their names and final scores in the front of the module. And of course they finally got to find out exactly which secret doors they missed when they played through the tournament version. Adrian Pommier coordinated this multi-author project (along with the tournament itself) and as always he did a great job of meshing the wildly creative encounters of a dozen authors into a single engaging storyline.

Brendan LaSalle’s latest adventure, Las Vegas Crawl, satisfied the cravings of the Xcrawl community. The cover art, like all of Jeremy Mohler’s recent Xcrawl work, really conveys the excitement of Xcrawl, and we nearly sold out of this new release. We gave away 500 copies of Dungeonbattle Brooklyn, the Xcrawl Free RPG Day adventure, and had a huge number of people come back to pick up the entire line after they realized how much fun it was. For those of you who haven’t read Xcrawl, definitely pick up Dungeonbattle Brooklyn and give it a shot. As I like to say, “If you love dungeon crawls, you’ll love Xcrawl.”

Finally, we released Wicked Fantasy Factory #2: Against the Iron Giant, a romping escapade through a titanic construct. This Luke Johnson adventure really showcases the distinct elements of Wicked Fantasy Factory: unusual environments, outlandish bad guys, non-stop action, and plenty of chances for characters to be true heroes.

Our booth featured autograph sessions almost continuously through the entire con, and many fans stopped by to get their latest purchase signed by the author or artist. The highlight was Erol Otus, who not only signed a lot of autographs but also had the chance to play some great games with a couple fans. During the spare moments at the booth, Erol sketched out four of the creatures from the DCC tournament module, and the tournament winners will each receive the originals. For those of you who missed Erol, definitely try to meet him sometime. He’s a down-to-earth guy who is a lot of fun to be around.

On Friday night we ran a seminar called “How to Write Adventure Modules that Don’t Suck.” After 50+ modules published the team has a strong sense of what it takes to write a good adventure, so we decided to share a little of that knowledge. The seminar was filled to standing-room-only capacity, and received an overwhelmingly positive reception. There appears to be a strong demand for this kind of seminar, so we will look into running them again next year.

I had a chance to catch up with some friends in the industry, including the Trolls. (And for those of you still convinced we’re merging, we aren’t. That was an April Fool’s Joke!) Steve Chenault has a great article in Crusader #7 called “Brevity,” and I think it’s worth reading for anyone interested in the direction of RPGs these days. I certainly agree with his thinking and it’s something I’ll be taking into account with future publications.

Our presence at Gen Con this year was made possible by a great number of people. Adrian Pommier ran the DCC tournament, and Jason Little ran the Xcrawl tournament. Chris Doyle, Ken McCutchen, Harley Stroh, Brendan LaSalle, Ken Hart, Mike Ferguson, Jeff LaSala, Ruth Lampi, Jessica Van Oort, and Jeremy Simmons were invaluable at keeping the booth going. Many of them also helped with gaming, the seminar, and the signings, along with Erol Otus, Greg Oppedisano, Brad McDevitt, Kameron Franklin, Luke Johnson, Erol Otus, Jeremy Mohler, Stephen Greer, and Doug Kovacs. The tournament judges were the backbone of the tournament experience: many of them are already named, as well as Jeff Wilder, Gary McBride, Patrick Seymour, Chris Anderson, Todd Rooks, Justin “Doc” Sipla, Jeff McSpadden, Erica King, Duane Waldrop, Stephanie Huffaker, and Sean Nokes. Stephen Glicker gets special mention for not only judging the tournament but also providing the great battle maps. Dieter Zimmerman, Stephen Greer, Jon Hershberger, and Mark Salzer all ran one-shot games. And of course my wife April “Mrs. Goodman Games” was at the booth 24/7 helping with everything. This is a great team and it’s the reason Goodman Games keeps going. Thanks to everyone for your help, thanks to the fans for keeping us in business, and thanks to Gen Con for a positive attitude when working through the inevitable kinks. Until next year!

P.S. Oh yes, about 4E. Goodman Games will continue to support D&D in whatever form it takes. Wizards of the Coast is gracious enough to make 4E an open license, and Goodman Games will be part of the picture. We will announce our plans in detail as the time grows near. We have been anticipating this eventuality for some time, and have plans to launch some new ideas, revisit some old favorites, and, most importantly, give fans new and fun reasons to visit their local game store. In the meantime, don’t stop playing. The 4E DMG is nearly a year away – there are still lots of great games to be had!
Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com

goodmangames
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Post by goodmangames » Mon Aug 20, 2007 3:27 pm

Here are some of Ken McCutchen's great photos from the show...

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At the signing for Book of Treasure Maps. Jeremy "Topographic Rex" Simmons is standing; seated L-R: Joseph Goodman, Ken McCutchen ("Secrets of the Blue Moon" from DCC #46, and Kameron Franklin ("The Temple's Tribute" from DCC #46).

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The Flash and Cobra Commander endorse Castle Whiterock.

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Cobra Commander agrees: Xcrawl is #1!

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An Elven princess poses with Ken's adventure from DCC #46.

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Harley and a horned devil chick prove conclusively that Xcrawl is #1!

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Another Xcrawl endorsement...

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...and still another one!
Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com

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Post by superfan » Tue Aug 21, 2007 5:37 am

All I can say is THANKS!!!!

GREATEST TOURNEY EVER!!!!

Xcrawl is #1, and specifically, "They might be Dwarves" IS #1

First place baby!!!! Got the trophy to prove it!!!

Thanks again to Jason Little, Duane, and Stephanie for being the coolest DM's ever!!!!

Can't wait for next year, when I hope the team can reunite and keep our crown.

Ben "superfan" Waxman
:D
"They Might Be Dwarves" - World Champions Xcrawl 2007. So BAD...but yet so good.

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fathead
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Post by fathead » Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:16 am

superfan wrote: Xcrawl is #1, and specifically, "They might be Dwarves" IS #1

First place baby!!!! Got the trophy to prove it!!!
Hey!! Congrats Superfan! I guess we left before the XCrawl results were announced. I didn't even know that you were braving another Goodman tourney! Awesome.

I've been looking at XCrawl myself. Goodman Games puts on such great tournaments, so it's been a huge temptation.
Dark Oracle of Gaming

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Post by goodmangames » Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:10 pm

And some more pictures by Ken Hart!

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The booth in all its glory.

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Castle Whiterock in the flesh!

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Jess and Ruth at the booth. Look for their adventures in DCC #48: The Adventure Continues.

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Harley Stroh, Jeff LaSala, and Jeremy Simmons.

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At the ENnies, table 1: ENnies dream date winner Jim Kelly, Duane Waldrop (hidden), Jeremy Simmons, Jeff LaSala, Aldo Ghiozzi, Erol Otus, Luke Johnson, Brendan LaSalle

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At the ENnies, table 2: Tim Beach, Adrian Pommier, Michael Ferguson, Phil Thompson, Chris Doyle, Joseph Goodman

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Jeff and Jeremy pose with Castle Whiterock.

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Erol signs a copy of DCC #50.

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Spinner racks full of DCC goodness!

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The Xcrawl tournament trophies.

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The winning team in the Xcrawl tournament.

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Second place Xcrawl team.

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The DCC tournament trophies.

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Adrian announces the DCC tournament results.

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First place DCC tournament team: the Blood Kings. The team to beat for next year!

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Second place DCC tournament team: Clan Yeomen.

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Third place DCC tournament team.

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Erol Otus, Joseph Goodman, and Ken McCutcheon.

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Xcrawl tournament judges: Jason Little, Sean Nokes, Duane Waldrop, Brendan LaSalle, and Stephanie Huffaker.

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DCC tournament judges: Greg Oppedisano, Jeff McSpadden, Patrick Seymour, Erica King, Ken McCutcheon, Chris Doyle, Adrian Pommier... and Jason Little.

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DCC tournament judges and winners... and Joseph and Erol.
Joseph Goodman
Goodman Games
www.goodman-games.com

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Random reactions

Post by Scottenkainen » Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:21 am

I am so jealous of people who can make costumes like that Cobra Commander costume.

These picture are also my first time seeing Erol Otus. His crazy artwork always made me picture an aging hippy. Who knew he looked more like a drill sergeant?

~Scott "-enkaienen" Casper

Who wishes he could have gone this year. :cry:

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Post by gideon_thorne » Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:14 pm

goodmangames wrote:
Image
An Elven princess poses with Ken's adventure from DCC #46.
She's also in the Elf section of the C&C players handbook as art.... just fyi. :lol:
Peter B

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Warduke
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Post by Warduke » Tue Dec 04, 2007 8:13 pm

gideon, where's ashley? been trying to find her but don't know if i have the right book...... :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: .....that or maybe i'm just fixated on the chainmail.

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Post by cavecanem » Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:50 pm

So that's what the great Erol Otus looks like?

Me happy Grognard. Otus is my favorite D&D artist.

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Post by gideon_thorne » Sat Dec 08, 2007 6:31 pm

Warduke wrote:gideon, where's ashley? been trying to find her but don't know if i have the right book...... :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: .....that or maybe i'm just fixated on the chainmail.
In Casey's Haunted Highlands module.
Peter B

Castles & Crusades and Lejendary Adventure Artist

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Post by Ogrepuppy » Sat Dec 08, 2007 8:36 pm

Image

Um, so where can I get her ^ ^ phone number? :twisted:

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Post by gideon_thorne » Tue Dec 11, 2007 4:32 pm

Ogrepuppy wrote:
Um, so where can I get her ^ ^ phone number? :twisted:
*squints* Judging by the tie she is wearing, I'd send an Owl care of Slytherin house. :lol:
Peter B

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Post by Harley Stroh » Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:45 pm

*laugh* Leave it to the artist to ID the tie. Well done.

//H
The lucky guy who got to write some Dungeon Crawl Classics.

DCC Resource thread: character sheets, judge tools, and the world's fastest 0-level party creator.

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Post by gideon_thorne » Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:35 pm

Harley Stroh wrote:*laugh* Leave it to the artist to ID the tie. Well done.

//H
Hey, what can I say? I like good fantasy literature and movies. And those are booth. :)
Peter B

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