Gen Con 2018 Day two began a little later, thankfully and was tournament-free. Up first was the Frostgrave Event with the designer, Joseph McCullough.
The report for our Frostgrave game is pretty long so I’ll just say that it was epic and extremely satisfying.
After Frostgrave, we had some time for the dealer hall so we toured the hall looking at things in earnest.
From the Frozen City, we moved to the frozen north of Westeros. CMON had one table open for demoing their two new factions for ASOIF so we waited for some people to finish up their game and then jumped in. The demoer was in a bit of a scramble as he was trying to field two other tables so I let him know that “we got this” and he could focus on the tables with new players. In kind, he said to play a full game instead of the customary “play 3 rounds” and so we went at it.
I took the Night’s Watch and my friend took the Free Folk. After reading through the various new cards and abilities, we got started. The Night’s Watch featured Commander Mormont leading a band of Sworn Brothers and Ranger Trackers.
I’m not sure how well I like the Night’s Watch. Their main troops hit hard with Sundering and Critical Blow but the faction’s “Vow” theme didn’t quite work for me. Most of the Vow cards, which stay on a unit to add a buff, require your NCU to own a particular spot on the Tactic’s board which means you can’t effectively have a lot of vow cards out on the table and expect all of them to work. This may see them struggle at larger point sizes or rely on more NCUs than normal. The ranged cavalry is neat but they are so soft that you can’t let them get into contact with the enemy.
My friend seemed to have a lot more on the “goodies” side with the Free Folk and I’ll admit, I liked the unique play style they offered more than the Night’s Watch. You get a lot of cheap/weak units with the Trappers and Raiders, led by Tormund, as well as the new Giant units. Also, the Free Folk cards were more fun even when played against me.
Our game ended with the Savage Giant trying to take down my Sworn Brothers. These poor guys kept getting beat down to one or two men, then propped back up by Maester Aemon. At least three times, that giant would swing down on the wounded brothers, needing only a 2+ to hit and automatically wipe the unit out, only to see a 1 drop on the table. I eventually brought the giant down with my ranged cavalry but it took a bit of luck to get there. The game was really fun and I could see myself picking up the Free Folk faction. The only hesitation is if/when the Others/White Walkers come out, will they be even more impressive with their undead and giants and ??? I guess the game has to do well enough for that to happen but my hopes are high.
Having monopolized the CMON table long enough, we went in search for new prey. I stumbled on this crazy new mech for Dust Tactics or whatever it is called now. This is the direction I had wished the large units were going from the get go but I never really followed the game in earnest so I shouldn’t really have a dog in the fight. Cool mini though.
I wandered over to the Mythic Games booth and saw they had the plastic version of the Dragon sculpt from Joan of Arc available to handle and see. Really excited to get this game in hand. The Mythic Games booth looked a little sad though and not as put together as the previous year. Their case wasn’t as full or as prominent so it didn’t show off their minis as well. They did have several more though so that was something.
Moving on, we saw an empty table for Games Workshop’s Kill Team so we sat down to demo and hopefully get a fuller picture of the game. Unfortunately, what we got was probably the laziest rules overview I’d seen. I don’t know if the demoer was just incompetent or told to say what he said but trying to get the actual rules for the game from him was almost impossible.
Line of Sight? What games do you play? Cool! It works like that. Movement? Same thing, it works like that.
I don’t think it would have mattered what game we mentioned (we said Warmachine, which, to my knowledge Kill Team does not simply “work like that”), the guy was just feeding us a line to move through the demo quickly. Half the rules I’d heard about before in my first foray into this game were left out and what we ended up with was some random version of Kill Team Calvin Ball (which is now our official term for demoers phoning in straight up BS rules they either don’t understand or were never trained on). Kill Team is going to have to get a hard pass as I don’t have more time to devote to it and what I’ve seen doesn’t seem like what I want to get into.
Note to Publishers: your demoers at these events are your equivalent to a sales force. If you want to move product, make sure they know their shit.
That was all I had time for in the dealer hall as I had to run back to the hotel and get my event material for the events I was running that evening.
First up was my second annual Pitchcar Death Race. We had some returning faces this year and skill won out as an experience Pitchcar enthusiast and Crokinole player ended up taking the gold.
It wasn’t all skill as the White car player was new to both Pitchcar and my Death Race variant and took in second place. It seemed like everyone was having fun and I was glad to see the event fill up completely.
My evening concluded with the running of a few games of Catacombs. We had enough players to fill out two tables. We did an abbreviated session and a few players stayed behind so I showed them the lighter Catacombs Conquest game. It worked well and with everyone being new to the game, they all seemed to enjoy it and ask where they could pick up a copy (if they didn’t already own it).
Having conclude my events for the evening, I headed back to the hotel. My night wasn’t complete though as I still had my Dropzone Commander game in the morning and several units in disrepair. I took the next hour to super glue the busted bits back together and found nothing to be truly broken except a few flight stands. I repacked the repaired models and crashed for the evening.