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GenCon '99 (long)

From: "Dean Gundberg" <dean.gundberg@n...>
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 1999 17:28:01 -0500
Subject: GenCon '99 (long)

Once again I survived GenCon and the drive home (though I did not drive
until 4am like last year).

Thanks to Mark Siefert for putting up the pictures from Thursday.
  He has the disks with Friday's pics on them so they should be up soon.
have the pics from Saturday and Sunday and will email them to him when I
There is a pic of a Helm, Full Thrust! demo game on Andon's Virtual
site under Thursday then miniatures.

New miniatures and games.
Holistic Design's Noble Armada has some new miniatures out.  There are
pics up on Thursday's page.  They are pretty nice but the large
don't have much if any detail on the bottom.  I picked up the boxed sets
since HD usually discounts heavily late Saturday and Sunday so they
have to ship the stuff home.  The next box of church ships is due later
year.  They Symbiots supplement and minis have been delayed until next
though their computer game of Noble Armada will be out this year.

Agents of Gaming displayed their Poseidon carrier mini (maxi) and it is
HUGE! 7" long and at least 3" wide.  They had a gold one on top of their
Wars Tourney Trophy and had another one on display later.  I got a pic
this on next to a few Omegas and Novas and it dwarfs them.  Expect a
tag of around $35 on this one.	They also had their 'Fleet Action' scale
fighters and a few capital ships for sale.  The Thunderbolt fighters
very good, but the rest were just OK (the GZG not-versions were as good
better).  The FA scale ships varied.  The minis of the smaller ships
(Olympus and Vorchan) are pretty good and could work as an in-scale
with their regular minis.  The Primus and the Hyperion looked a bit
and not quite right to me.  I did see some of their Fleet Action game
and saw some rejected Omega and Nova FA minis but their detail was hard
see.  The FA game is on a much larger scale than FT.  Each Squadron of
is controlled as a unit with a squadron being as big as 5-10 large ships
all associated fighters.  There were about 300 fighters between the demo
fleets.  Movement uses a basic template of possible moves, kinda like
Fleet, but the actual move is up to the player.  I was not able to stay
the combat phase.  They said a prior playtest indicated some needed
in the rules but they had not updated the rules yet.

AoG also had some of the new Star Fleet Battles minis for sale (I got
somewhere).  A Federation War Destroyer (3 nacelles with 1 below and 2
sides of saucer), Kzinti Medium Cruiser, Klingon D7 Heavy Battlecruiser,
Gorn Battle Destroyer (like a Gorn Cruiser but smaller), and an Advanced
Gorn Destroyer (like the BDD but with a circular texture that bugged me)

Last Unicorn Games 'Engage!' starship combat game for their Star Trek
I asked them about this since there is no mention of it on their webpage
longer.  They did say it would be out later this year (November) and the
minis would be out about the same time.  We will have to wait and see.

The arena in Bruce Hall was a bit better place than last year.	The rest
the convention center should be done by the end of this year so next
the miniature gaming should be connected to the rest of the con.
I did not play anything but I watched a lot and ran some FT games. 
was a big demand for the GeoHex sponsored games with most if not all
full before the con started.  Some of the games (my Sci-Fi Crossover and
Mark's Severed Dreams for example) were duplicate in the pre-reg books
both sets filled or almost filled.  The DSII games had some hooks this
and filled better than in the past (Falkenburg vs Slammers, Battletech
Warhammer, and Blitzkrieg a GZG universe game based on WW2)  The SGII
seemed pretty full this year too with Allan's Enemy Mine game set in
GeoHexes cavernscape looking pretty cool.

People seemed to pick up the vector and FB rules pretty well when I ran
game (watching Schoon run one the night before helped a lot).  They blew
each other up and had fun.  Allan was to bring the vector markers and
up with these colored swizzle sticks which worked out great indicating
ship's vector (there is a pic on Thursday's page).  Now I have to pick
up a

Mark's Demo Derby had the cheeziest ships I had seen (all C bats, all
submunition packs, etc) and Schoon was able to use his wave gun a couple

My Sci-Fi Crossover game went pretty well after I added about 4 players
the game that I had not planed on (split fleets, etc) and the fighters
everywhere.  It drew a good crowd of gawkers and I had to answer lots of
questions on where I got all the minis.  The Star Wars Empire did not
but most players had fun.  Most of the players stayed past the end time
the game to finish the game.  The Empire players would have liked to
all of their fighters out at the start, this would have helped them
against attacking fighers better plus their should wouldn't have had the
movement restrictions when launching fighters.

Mark's Severed Dreams game went on at the same time and had its share of
onlookers.  The jumpgate minis that Allan got from Jon and GZG were very
nice.  I had heard that AoG stopped by and saw all of the 'Star Tiger'
fighter minis and made some noise about them having the license.

Saturday morning was the 2nd Annual FT Tourney.  10 players started off
in a
prelim round with the highest scores moving on.  Surprisingly last
champ Schoon did not make the cut.  Hobie was the other one to get
out right away.  The next round saw 8 players  battling to advance when
list's own Rick Rutherford had destroyed all of the escorts in the NSL
carrier fleet but when we added points, we found out there was a problem
with that fleet.  We worked out a compromise between him and his
and the game went on with Rick emerging victorious.  In the end, it was
to Rick and Carl, last year's runner up.  Rick ran the ESU SDN fleet he
all tourney and Carl use the FSE Light Carrier fleet.  In the end it was
Carl's fighters that won him the championship.	Thanks a lot to KR and
GeoHex for donating the fleets of minis as prizes.
Next year we may start at noon instead of 8am and I am thinking about
2 rounds of random play and then seeding the top 4 instead.

Later was my Galactic 500, vectored thrust racing game.  I added a bunch
players and there were about 9-10 at the starting line	Most had never
played FT and signed up for the game due to the racing spaceship theme. 
ended up doing all of the movement for the players to save time and
confusion.  They accelerated off to the first beacon, with some ships at
velocity of 22 and little planning of their next move.	Once they hit
first beacon, they could fire at each other and boy did they.  My ships
overgunned for racers and after a couple turns, most ships had major
except for the young kid who was almost off the table.	It was at this
the game changed to one of fun and the racing goal was forgotten.  They
a lot of fun in moving and then firing at each other with threshold
and damage control rolls being big events.  It was a great example of
changing the rules to make the game fun.  It was getting late, to they
asked that they be allowed to destroy each other, so I turned off the
safeties and made sure every one had some thrust, and at least one fire
and working weapon.  The then destroyed each other and had more fun. 
Then I
talked FT and demoed vector movement for a couple guys who were busy
earlier.  It was a long day, but not as long as the guys in the finals
AoG's B5 Wars tourney which took 10 hours to complete.

That is enough for now, I'll add some more thoughts later.


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