Dragoncon 2010 Wrapup
- Last year I reported on Fate, Fudgeish, and/or other indie/small press
games at Dragoncon, so this year I'll followup.
Games being played: For those not in the know, Dragoncon is not a huge
RPG con like GenCon, but there is a small group of a few hundred
players (our of the 40,000 or so attendees) that do much RPGing at the
con. I'm not currently among them, preferring to go to panels, but I
keep an eye on events. This year there was a number of Dresden Files
games posted, plus at least one Fudge offering.
Games being sold: Last I year I recall no options for buying Indie
games at Dragoncon. This year a number of small publishers were
demoing and pimping their products. Actual SALES options were few.
Steve Jackson partners up with...[Name of sales company I don't
recall] at most cons to actually sell product, and this year I saw
Dresden, Smallville, Doctor Who, and Mindjammer there, but no Diaspora
yet nor Starblazer Adventures itself. Still, a bit jump over last
year. I also grabbed a copy of "The QuickStart Job", a preview of the
Leverage RPG coming out Soon, where Rob shows up in the credits
prominently and Fred gets mention as well. No Forge/IPR booth, or
really, any other seller of non-d20 games. Catalyst was there, but
only selling their own games, and White Wolf once again didn't show up
at a Con at their own (former?) home town.
Panels: There were 2 Indie RPG panels held. I only attended the
second, but from talking to the staff the content wasn't vastly
different between the two. Fred made a surprise (to me) appearance as
one of the panelists. Last year, with only one instance of the panel,
there were less than a dozen of us in the audience, this year there
were 40-50 people at the second panel and I heard the first panel was
likewise well attended. The other panelists were the maker/owner of
API and one of the head dudes from Untold, a card-based RPG. In truth
none of their products appealed to my personal tastes so I didn't pay
much attention to details like names, but they contributed to the
panel well enough. It was an interesting discussion: Only a minority
had tried any of the demo games but they were quite happy, and a
number of people were leaving the con with a shiny (literally!) copy
of Dresden Files in hand. Compared to last year the crowd was far
less familiar with indie products, and frankly, younger. One
observation that I mentioned and others contributed to was that
Licensed games were traditionally only bought by big publishers and
usually failed to either (1) bring in new gamers in any number and (2)
make some money. Now it seems more and more licenses are going to
smaller publishers and we seem to be getting more solid final products
and some number of new gamers. [Unknown is whether the license owners
are happy - A wild success like DFRPG in our little market might seem
a waste of time to them]. Recent examples include Dresden,
Smallville, Doctor Who, and I've just discovered, Leverage. I suppose
Serenity and the Green Ronin effort with Game of Thrones might fall in
this category, though not as recent.
A later panel in the con on "The Future of Pen and Paper RPG" was far
less encouraging. The head Pathfinder/Paizo guy was there (I'm
terrible with names) and the crowd was a group of d20-based players
who as a group had no experience with any game other thand D&D 3 or
D&D 4. This lead to questions like "Has anyone tried altering the
base mechanics of RPGs?" and answers like "Well Eclipse Phase is
pretty cool" from the panel. (Thus ignoring an entire generation of
player-driven games like Dogs in the Vineyard or Swashbucklers of the
7 Skies that the attendees might have been interested in). Questions
about using technology at the gaming table resulted in mention of the
"many great virtual tables out there that include maps" (Because no
one present seriously considered playing an RPG without minis). I
died a little. I mentioned that Customer Service from RPG companies
is so much better than it was back in the early 90s, but recruitment
efforts haven't changed much, and with White Wolf no longer providing
an alternate introduction to a lot of players we were once again down
to recruiting from D&D players. Free RPG Day was mentioned and the
resulting intro options, but generally the D&D crowd didn't see any
problem with the lack of trying to spread word to those that aren't
interested in D&D.
Still, overall I felt our beloved RPGs were much better represented
this year. Hopefully next year there will be more for sale. Talking
with the staff and a few panelists there seemed to be a real feeling
that any D&D players that didn't like 4th edition were suddenly
considering markets they wouldn't have otherwise. Even if they are
satisfied with Pathfinder, the concept of "D&D is all I need" has been
shattered and interest in at least considering alternatives has been
born. This is why they suspect the attendance on these events were so
large. I'm curious to hear from anyone that attended Gencon or
Origins if the small guys made a bigger relative splash this year than
Brett Ritter / SwiftOne
- On Tue, Sep 7, 2010 at 5:37 PM, Brett Ritter <swiftone@...> wrote:
> Games being sold: Last I year I recall no options for buying IndieYou wouldn't see Diaspora yet; the printing that Evil Hat is doing in
> games at Dragoncon. This year a number of small publishers were
> demoing and pimping their products. Actual SALES options were few.
> Steve Jackson partners up with...[Name of sales company I don't
> recall] at most cons to actually sell product, and this year I saw
> Dresden, Smallville, Doctor Who, and Mindjammer there, but no Diaspora
> yet nor Starblazer Adventures itself.
partnership with VSCA didn't hit the warehouse until DragonCon had
already started. It'll end up available to distribution within a few
weeks, I suspect.
Evil Hat had the DFRPG present thanks to Adventure Retail and possibly
another booth as well.
> Panels: There were 2 Indie RPG panels held. I only attended theHmmm, I don't know that I'd say that. The first one was more about the
> second, but from talking to the staff the content wasn't vastly
> different between the two.
nature of indie games and the experience of self-publishing, whereas
the second one seemed more focused on play, at least to me.
> Fred made a surprise (to me) appearance as one of the panelists.Yeah, it was a last minute thing for me too. :)
> Last year, with only one instance of the panel,Apocalypse Prevention Inc (from Third Eye Games) was represented by
> there were less than a dozen of us in the audience, this year there
> were 40-50 people at the second panel and I heard the first panel was
> likewise well attended. The other panelists were the maker/owner of
> API and one of the head dudes from Untold, a card-based RPG. In truth
> none of their products appealed to my personal tastes so I didn't pay
> much attention to details like names, but they contributed to the
> panel well enough.
the TEG man himself, Eloy Lasanta. I didn't catch the Untold guy's
name because I showed up a couple minutes late to the panel.
> A later panel in the con on "The Future of Pen and Paper RPG" was farYeah, from what I heard of that one I kinda wish I'd been on that as
> less encouraging.
well, though my time was pretty sparse for such things.
Evil Hat Productions, LLC