01_Carousel3_ToD-Adventures_Background_140623_0Following several complaints about the offerings from the D&D All-Access event at Gen Con 2015, Baldman Games published a public apology to all attendees and is offering a physical copy of Out of the Abyss, the next campaign book for D&D 5th Edition by Green Ronin; and a code for a digital copy of Sword Coast Legends, the party-based RPG for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. All-Access players at Gen Con 2015 are requested to fill out the form at http://baldmangames.com/2015/08/gen-con-2015-all-access-update/ to get their packet.

The All-Access Program was a $150 event within the Gen Con convention, which promised a premium gaming experience. The pass gains access to reserved seats for all the D&D adventures in a separated gaming space. At 2014’s convention, attendees also received copies of the D&D 5th Edition Players Handbook and Monster Manual, two weeks before the book’s official release date. This year, several people commented that they received nearly nothing at all. “Another event offered the three autographed rulebooks plus two epics for $140,” wrote user Wisewolverine on the Gen Con community forum. “Everyone who purchased an all access package got royally screwed.” User wgmccanless wrote, “We did get a couple of [D&D Adventurers League (organized play)] Certificates, but none were worth anything. No book, no souveniers, no 2015 commemorative dice, no coupons for future purchases, nothing! I got more swag for ordering a sandwich at Scotty’s [Brewhouse]!”

baldDavid Christ of Baldman Games, discussed how giveaways impact the All-Access Package process. “Every year the program has provided different things and the attendees have valued them in their own fashion,” he writes. “Each year the [giveaway] items were better and better and that is just not a sustainable program.” To help bring the event back to something that is “more sustainable long term” and more of a value to the attendees, the company is considering several options such as a concierge service; custom exclusive adventure tracks for All-Access members; moving the event to a dedicated room to cut down on noise, and offer snacks and lunch items; and adding special guests to the event.

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Gen Con logoFor the past six years, Gen Con Indy has continued to grow. This year’s numbers are in, showing a 9% increase in the number of convention attendees from Gen Con Indy 2014 with 61,423 attendees (unique) and a turnstile attendance of 197,695. Leonard Hoops — the head of Visit Indy, the city of Indianapolis’ tourism board — said that the gaming convention “drives more than $67 million in annual economic activity” to the city, with past conventions bringing in “more than $50 million” in 2014 and $47 million in 2013.

Not only is Gen Con Indy the world’s largest tabletop gaming convention, the growth of Gen Con has made the 2015 convention one of the largest-attended conventions in Indianapolis. However, the Future Farmers of America‘s return to the city in 2016 may topple that: The FFA’s 2014 convention in Louisville, KY, had 64,409 attendees, a 2.2% increase over the previous year. We’ll be keeping an eye on FFA 2015 when it’s held this coming October to compare numbers. (Note: although the NRA 2014 Annual Meeting reportedly brought in 75,269 attendees, repeated inquires to that organization about if those were based on unique or turnstile attendance have gone unanswered.)

Assuming Gen Con Indy’s growth continues, it is on track to overtake the PAX (Penny-Arcade Expo) as the largest gaming convention in 2017. (PAX’s last public attendance records were in 2011 with 69,500 at PAX East.) Housing may start to be a problem for Gen Con in future years as the city only has 20,335 sleeping (hotel) rooms available.


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Games Workshop Misses First Day of Gen Con

gamesworkshoplogo.jpgSo, if you’re at Gen Con and were passing by the Games Workshop booth (772) on Thursday, you may have had some questions. Such as why there’s nothing from Games Workshop for sale at their booth, why it’s staffed by the people at Forge World instead of GW, or why you had to go to the other end of the hall to Forge World’s booth (3033) to make any GW purchases.

Reports of all Games Workshop staff denied entry to the United States and deported back to the United Kingdom are a bit exaggerated, said the UK-based Games Workshop employee Purple Pawn spoke to at the booth yesterday. Although some employees from GW’s headquarters did not gain entrance to the United States, some did as did all the product they brought over. Games Workshop products are for sale at the Forge World booth. The majority of the (admittedly small) GW booth is taken up by an Age of Sigmar diaorama.

“Someone at head office messed up the visa application,” writes the GW-fan site Faeit 212. “Rather than travelling on a Business Visitor Visa they travelled to the US on a [non-Working] Visa.” Apparently, one of the UK employees mentioned that the were going to be working at a convention, which is prohibited under the visas they were travelling with.

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gw09_mainEarly this morning, Fantasy Flight Games briefly posted a page on their website about a Fury of Dracula reprint. Like the titular vampire, the page soon fled away and investigators were left trying to determine where they will find the game next, speculating the game will show up at Gen Con 2015. Fury of Dracula was one of the earliest hidden movement games, sometimes described as “Scotland Yard with Vampires”. Originally published in 1987 by Games Workshop as The Fury of Dracula, and in 2005 by Fantasy Flight Games, the game has been out of print since 2008.

Fury of Dracula is a one-against-many hidden movement game with one player as Dracula travelling through Europe, expanding his vampire family, while up to four other players hunt down the villain and try to put an end to him.

The new version of the game, listed as in development, features new art and graphic design and some changes to game play: “Rounds are now broken into day and night: hunters take actions during both, but Dracula can only act at night. Combat is now more streamlined and decisive, and new rumor tokens allow Dracula to mislead hunters and extend the terrible reach of his influence,” read the game description. Rather than winning the game if he sires enough vampires, “Count Dracula triumphs if he advances his influence track to thirteen; if the hunters can defeat him before then, they save the continent of Europe and win the game.” Playtime is estimated at 2-3 hours.

Fury of Dracula will retail for $59.95.

Edit: Fantasy Flight Games has relaunched the Fury of Dracula page at their website. “Mina, we’ve spotted him,” I cried out. “He’s heading to Indianapolis!” At Gen Con, demos of the game will be run in FFG’s city within the exhibit hall. The game will be available in Q4 of this year. More information at https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2015/7/23/fury-of-dracula/

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The Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming’s shortlist was announced this afternoon. The nominees are:

Diana Jones AwardThe award ceremony is considered the unofficial kickoff to Gen Con Indy, with the lucite pyramid trophy handed out during a gaming industry-only event the Wednesday night before Gen Con Indy officially begins. Past winners include Geek & Sundry’s Tabletop web series, Jason Morningstar’s Fiasco roleplaying game, and Donald X. Vaccarino’s Dominion deckbuilding card game

The award, named for the still-readable part of the burnt Indiana Jones Role-Playing Game logo encased in the pyramid, was originally awarded to Peter Adkinson in 2001. The Diana Jones Award trophy is returned each year to the DJA Committee for the next award ceremony. This is the fifteenth year for the award ceremony.

The trophy itself is a lucite pyramid mounted on a wooden base, created to “commemorate the expiration of [TSR UK’s] licence to publish the Indiana Jones Role-Playing Game and the subsequent destruction of all unsold copies of the game.” Within the pyramid are burnt pieces of the last copy of TSR UK’s Indiana Jones RPG logo and game elements, including the infamous Nazi™ cardboard tokens. The DJA site claims the award was liberated from the TSR Hobbies office by “forces unnamed” before winding up in the hands of the Diana Jones Award Committee.

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Sentinels of the Multiverse RPG

Iron LegacyGreater Than Games slipped in an announcement for a Sentinels of the Multiverse roleplaying game in a large post about the company’s Gen Con plans. The company, primarily known for the Sentinels property, will have demos of the roleplaying game “a few times” during Gen Con 2015. The Sentinels game is described as an “upcoming RPG”. Players attending a scheduled two-hour demo of the RPG also receive a $2 coupon good at the GTG booth (2143).

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Gen Con 2015 Exhibit Hall: Hello, Hall G

Gen Con logoThe Gen Con 2015 Exhibit Hall is even bigger, but we all knew that was coming with the convention’s record growth. This year’s Gen Con has the exhibit hall has 283,000 square feet and about twenty additional vendors than the 2014 convention. In previous years, Hall G was host to Magic: the Gathering tournaments and organized events from AEG, Fantasy Flight Games, and others. There are 390 vendors listed on the official exhibit hall map (available at http://www.gencon.com/exhibit/map), about twenty more than in 2014. (Vendors may occupy multiple separate booth spaces.)

An earlier version of this article indicated that 2015 was the first year that the exhibit hall expanded into Hall G. Gen Con expanded the exhibit hall into Hall G in 2014. We regret the error.

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