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Dragoncon 2010 Wrapup

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  • Brett Ritter
    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
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 7, 2010
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      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
      others...

      --
      Brett Ritter / SwiftOne
      swiftone@...
    • Fred Hicks
      ... You wouldn t see Diaspora yet; the printing that Evil Hat is doing in partnership with VSCA didn t hit the warehouse until DragonCon had already started.
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 7, 2010
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        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 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.

        You wouldn't see Diaspora yet; the printing that Evil Hat is doing in
        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 the
        > second, but from talking to the staff the content wasn't vastly
        > different between the two.

        Hmmm, I don't know that I'd say that. The first one was more about the
        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,
        > 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.

        Apocalypse Prevention Inc (from Third Eye Games) was represented by
        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 far
        > less encouraging.

        Yeah, from what I heard of that one I kinda wish I'd been on that as
        well, though my time was pretty sparse for such things.

        --
        Fred Hicks
        Evil Hat Productions, LLC
        www.evilhat.com
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