GenCon 2011 – Day Three

Saturday is always the longest day. Usually the busiest, too. I am tired.

I didn’t get a whole lot of time to wander the hall today; what time I took out of the booth, I spent going over to Games On Demand, hoping for a chance to try Technoir, but I wasn’t able to hit it at a good time to get in a game ((This is most definitely not the fault of the brave souls manning the Games On Demand room; they are doing heroic work, matching people up with games and getting them playing. I should have been trying Thursday and Friday, not leaving it until today. Oh, well. The vagaries of manning the booth.)). There’s one more chance tonight, but I don’t think I’ll make that – the last Games On Demand slot starts at 8:00, and I still haven’t had dinner.

I did manage to find some dice bags – nothing special, but functional – for the dice I bought yesterday. I also grabbed a great shirt from Sigh Co.

The only other purchase I made today was of some music CDs by Water Street Bridge. This morning, the band led a little procession into the exhibitor hall, and one of the band members came by later in the day, and we did a little chatting. Then I got to watch them for a few minutes as they performed in the convention centre and I was heading back to the hotel room. I like their sound, so I bought both their CDs. I look forward to listening to them.

I’ve been reading through The One Ring, and really enjoying it. The system seems simple and fast, but still capable of a substantial amount of variety and depth. The feel of the game really echoes the source material – this set focuses on the area between the Misty Mountains and the Lonely Mountain, the land traveled in The Hobbit – and the characters you can play are mainly from that area, with the addition of Hobbits.

Character creation is a series of choices, starting with choosing which of six cultures you come from, and moving through various other decisions to customize the character – motivation for adventuring, background, special traits, skill selection, etc. At the end of it, you have a character who is very much a part of the world. It looks pretty good.

The dice mechanic is pretty innovative, using 1d12 and a variable number of d6s, each marked with a few special symbols in addition to the numbers ((You get a set of the dice with the game, and they’re quite pretty.)). You always roll the d12, and add a number of d6s equal to the skill rating of your character for whatever you’re doing, total the numbers, and compare to a target number. There are few flavourful little quirks to this mechanic, based on the special die symbols, but it’s all quite straightforward.

Another neat thing I’ve seen is the Fellowship system, which actually gives mechanics for things like keeping each other’s spirits up during dangerous missions. The premise is, unlike in many fantasy games, the group of characters is more than just a random assemblage of adventurers – they all mean something to each other. Again, this is nicely reflective of the source material, and very cleanly implemented.

There are a few other interesting mechanical bits: rules for Hope, Endurance, Fatigue, Shadow, and a few other things, that do a great deal to make the game very different in feel from other fantasy games like D&D. I haven’t finished reading through the system, yet, so I can’t tell you about combat, or what I hear is an interesting travel mechanic. But I’m working on it.

Visually, the books ((There are two of them in the set: The Adventurer’s Book and The Loremaster’s Book. Loremaster is their name for GM.)) are very colourful and attractive. There are two maps included that are also very nice. I’ll probably have a longer post on this subject sometime soon, possibly after a playtest.

That’s it for me, tonight. I’m obviously not going to make it down to Games On Demand in the next ten minutes, so I guess I won’t get a chance to try Technoir this trip. I’m going to go get some food. I’ll leave you with one picture tonight:

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One Response to GenCon 2011 – Day Three

  1. Michael says:

    did you say play test?

    I’m in. 🙂

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