Dragonflight is a gaming con, with a good split between roleplaying, boardgaming, cards and miniatures. And I got to run some of everything, if you cheat and call Darwinopoly both a boardgame and an RPG. (It went well. We ended up having three tribes. One decided to make war on another. Most of the warmongers got dead. Sometimes there's justice.)
I also ran an INWO tournament (30 players, which is 2 x 3 x 5, and lots of evil stuff) and an Ogre game.
Big thanks go to all the Dragonflight staff - very friendly, helpful folks - and especially to Pam Dotson, who was my advance man, assistant, gopher and keeper for the whole weekend. I also got to meet several people I'd only known electronically, including INWO god Robert DeLoura and IO's games guru, Jon Sari, aka surge.
Tomorrow, after I get some sleep, I'll tell you
a bit more about the trip. Right now I'm going to go fall down. Because,
though the mocha latte in Seattle is wonderful, it only goes so far . . .
-- Steve Jackson
So anyway, keeping their plans quiet, the two slipped off Friday for Las Vegas. The wedding was held at the Graceland Wedding Chapel -- no, an Elvis impersonator did not perform the ceremony (though Rick tells me they looked hard for one). The happy couple and the other family members who flew in had to settle for having Elvis simply make an appearance and wish them well. And there were Star Wars figures atop the wedding cake -- Han Solo and Princess Leia, of course.
Couldn't have happened to two nicer people.
Spent the rest of the afternoon tracking down hot industry news stories for Pyramid #16. Exclusive distributorship deals, game companies for sale, folding magazines, lawsuits decided, game designers switching companies -- got a lot of tantalizing tidbits, but no solid news. Yet. I'll get it eventually, and then you'll read it in the magazine.
Tonight, I'm actually playing in a roleplaying game. Gasp! One of our business guys, Will Fisher, decided to start
up a GURPS Fantasy campaign, and we had our first session three weeks ago (then GenCon got in the way -- we want to meet every week,
really we do, but it doesn't always work out). Looks like it could be fun, though it was a real challenge to build a decent mage on only 75 points.
I'll let you know how Kendryk Moriel (that's his name) and friends do sometime down the road. TTFN . . .
GURPS IOU is out the door and on the way to distributors. Watch for this deeply disturbed game world on your store shelves any day now.
September releases include GURPS Fantasy Folk, 2nd Edition and Pyramid #15, delayed to include the INWO Assassins promotional card that's at the printer right now.
Shipping in October are GURPS Blood Types, a sourcebook of vampires, life-stealers and soul-suckers from dozens of cultures; a reprint of GURPS Fantasy with new art; and Pyramid #16.
In November, it's GURPS Greece, and GURPS Celtic Myth is slated for December. INWO Assassins
will be out in one of these fall months, too, but I'm hesitant to identify exactly when just yet -- though I figure it will be sooner rather than
later. That's about it for today -- I promise something more entertaining next time . . .
I admit it -- I still love to get free stuff. And when something cute comes along, I'll plug it. Today's plug: Government-Funded Robot Assassins From Hell!, an extremely silly, low-budget card game from an outfit called Propaganda Publishing. The object is simple: Starting with a basic assassin robot, you must kill targets (represented by other cards) totalling a certain number of points. The more points a target is worth, the harder it is to kill. Other cards can give a robot special weapons, or improve the defense of a target, or whatever.
But here's the kicker -- the entire thing happens in the adventure game industry. The ``targets'' are all living, breathing game designers (including Steve). The modifier cards are all game companies and magazines (Pyramid gives a designer a defensive bonus and increases his value as a target) and game company situations; the ``I Don't Need an Editor'' card (``The designer edits his own work. Need we say more?'') lowers the defense of a game designer target, but it lowers his point value, too.
The production value is non-existent, the printing cheesy and the art bad. But Government-Funded Robot Assassins From Hell!
made me laugh. And that's good enough for me. You can reach Propaganda Publishing at 319 W. Grand, Perryville, MO 63775.
Of course, now I'm back in this combination sauna/toaster-oven they call Texas in August, just like everybody else. GenCon was great -- you should definitely check out Derek's GenCon report if you haven't already -- but now I'm paying the price in the form of waiting e-mail that nearly hit triple digits and a pile of physical mail that had to be put in its own postal tub. Happy, happy, joy, joy.
One more thing -- Direct Mail has asked us to post that the precious handful of Limited Edition INWO Starter Sets
mentioned a couple of days ago here are now gone. You snooze, you lose . . .
-- Scott Haring
Ill be running a 12-player Ogre miniatures game, with the help of Pam Dotson. And, of course, a lot of INWO, for which I am bringing some outrageous prizes.
My other big event is a four-tribe (32-player) game of Darwinopoly. This is the semi-roleplaying, semi-board game of social evolution that David Brin and I were working on before The Raid. It got mothballed. Well, a few nights ago, I dragged it out and prepared another playtest draft, from a bunch of five-year-old scribbles plus the new notes from MisCon a couple of months ago. We did three tribes there. Everything worked except combat, which was awful. We'll see if I got it right this time. This game has the potential to be a whole lot of fun; someday I really hope to publish it!
My own non-business goals for the weekend are to
visit the Archie McPhee store; to see some Dale Chihuly glass; and to
get in a game of Risk. It's been too long . . .
-- Steve Jackson
Sean Punch (a.k.a. Dr. Kromm) is one of our GURPS question answerers and freelance editors, and he's about to hit his stride as GURPS line editor. We'll see just how much editing and communication can really be done over the net. My guess is that the answer is ``A whole lot.''
Richard Meaden is a longtime Ogre artist and graphic designer (he
also writes and sculpts). He has been doing a lot of the graphic work for
Pyramid for the last few issues, too. And for those of you who have
seen the spiffy screaming green-and-orange-on-black Ogre t-shirts that
a few of us wear at cons . . . he made those. He's going to take the title
of Ogre line editor and make it mean something . . .
-- Steve Jackson
But first, a quick note from Planet Shipping:
Direct Mail has just recently received seven Limited Edition INWO starter sets. If you are interested in purchasing one or more of these sets at a bargain price of $9.95, give us a call at (512) 447-7866. First come, first served. We will not take e-mail orders, fax orders or mail orders, only a direct phone call. Thank you. Direct Mail.
Now, onward. We were going to talk about GenCon.
-- Derek Pearcy
In other news, Scott is on vacation, so the full-dress GenCon report may be a bit delayed too. Unless Jeff or Derek wants to (hint, hint) take a swing
-- Steve Jackson
Dana has been our Sales Manager since 1992. She's leaving us to marry Jim Atkiss and go to Pittsburgh . . . sigh. Her last act (wearing her other hat of Convention Boss) was to organize and supervise our disgustingly successful trip to GenCon.
Dana started off as my assistant, and was promoted to the Sales Manager job in 1992. In less than three years, it seems that she's met everyone in the industry, sold GURPS and INWO to most of them, charmed almost all of them and scared the rest to death.
We will all miss Dana very much . . . not just
because she was so good at her job, but because she's Dana.
-- Steve Jackson
Apologies . . . as Jim indicated, nobody remembered to
phone in a report. We're scum. We live under the house. We were so busy we couldn't find our rear ends with both hands and a road map, okay? Like I said, it was a REAL
-- Steve Jackson
HOWEVER, an informant in the Business Office reported that Ms. Blankenship's feet hurt. Apparently packing for the move from Austin interfered with packing for a convention, and she neglected to take along any comfortable shoes. Swelling and soreness followed. If you see her, you might win points for a good foot massage. Or not: people whose feet hurt are notoriously short-tempered, and you might not get close enough.
ON the home front, the threatened Nerf(tm) War failed to develop. As a result, the planned Pizza Accords were cancelled. Stockpiling of weapons continues to be discussed, however. At least one of the parties to the promised conflict has chosen to rely on a lower-tech rubber-band 6-shooter. Damage is not much different, and b oth reliability and availability of ammunition may give him the edge in any future shootouts.
AND that's . . . the way it is, Friday the eleventh.
-- jimr for SP
Well, much to my chagrin, I will be giving you GenCon reports as they come in from The SJGames Away Team. Or Susan will do it. Or Lillian. Or Jim. It's not like I'm dying to give everyone updates on this GenCon thing. Im not even attending. Join me in a revolt! If you're reading this, then you're probably not there yourself. Why didn't the folks in charge of GenCon invite you? Like you're not worthy of being Guest of Honor? We'll show 'em!
Fight the power!
-- jimr for RM
Airplane tickets? Hotel reservation? Check. Dana Blankenship has done her usual bang-up convention preparation job -- sadly, her last for us. She's leaving us right after GenCon to get married, of all things. It seems true love has won out . . . I hope she knows how much we're going to miss her around here.
But there's still so much to do . . . Tournament prizes ready? (Oh, geeze, I forgot to e-mail the other judges with the last instructions; OK, I can do that in a couple of minutes . . .) All the product shipped? Pyramid #15? GURPS IOU? What about the giveaways, the demo copies, the displays?
To recap, Steve Jackson, Derek Pearcy, Jeff Koke, Dana Blankenship and Scott Haring will be at GenCon. We have a good-sized
booth in the dealer's room -- drop on by. All five of us will have posted ``office hours'' at the booth in case you have to speak to a particular one of us, though we'll talk to you just about any time you can catch us. We'll have loads of demos, Car Wars and INWO
tournaments and lots, lots more. I've got a plane out of here 7 am tomorrow (yow, that's early . . . ). See you there!
The AADA World Racing Championships, long a GenCon tradition, return for another go-round at the MECCA Convention Center in Milwaukee, WI. The first round is divided into two heats, Thursday 12 noon and Thursday 4 pm. Survivors of the first round, along with Club Champions, fight it out in the Semi-Finals Friday at 4 pm. And those who advance from that will hook up with the Regional Champions and the defending World Champion in the Final on Saturday at 4 pm. All rounds take place at table W213, in the West Hall on the ground floor of the convention center.
Start your engines . . . and see you there! More tomorrow . . .
At the INWO portion of the event, there will be eight tables with five decks at each table -- Cthulhu, Bavaria, UFOs, Gnomes and Network. But all eight Network decks are identical. So are all eight Bavaria decks. And so on. And the decks are as balanced as I could make them. To tell the truth, they're all copies of my personal decks -- and I've kicked butt with each and every one of them, so I know they're all good. Whoever does the best gets the most points. If you earn enough points at your four preliminary events, you go to the finals. In the finals, the best players meet up and play one game -- randomly selected -- for all the marbles. If you haven't set your GenCon plans in stone yet, this could be a fun way to spend the weekend.
More tommorow (or maybe Monday) . . .
And just because it's GenCon, we'll be giving away eight free cards in each issue, most not available anywhere else! We'll have a German-language INWO card, two different Everway cards, plus cards for Highlander, Towers In Time, Galactic Empires and Shadowfist in each issue. The eighth card will be handed out at the booth -- the Arcana card for On the Edge will arrive at the convention, Atlas Games tells us.
More tomorrow . . .
Before long, Walter Milliken and Beth McCoy (two of the steadiest and strangest contributors) realized that the makings of a really, well, strange game world was right there for the writing. So GURPS IOU was born. IOU, by the way stands for ``Illuminati University.'' What does the ``O'' stand for? You're not cleared for that . . .
Illustrated lavishly (and strangely) throughout by Phil and Kaja Foglio, GURPS IOU looks as great as it reads. I hear the Foglios will be at GenCon -- maybe you can get them to autograph your copy . . .
More tomorrow . . .
One of our main activities will be INWO, of course. We've prepared a separate page with a complete rundown of our GenCon '95 INWO Events. Check it out.
More tomorrow . . .