My Annual Gen Con 2019 After-Action Report

Don’t tell me, there’s a ‘Mech behind me isn’t there?

For me, this year’s Gen Con was BattleTechlicious! I saw a lot of stuff, played a lot of games, and reconnected with the fan base.  I made new friends, connected with others, and fought glorious battles and secured hard-fought, yet honorable, victories.

Man, I need a beer…

So, this will seem a bit rambling…I’m coming down after the insanity that always is Gen Con.  But for those of you that could not attend, I assure you some interesting tid bits you might have missed.  First, let’s dive into non-BattleTech stuff.

I came to Gen Con with the intent on securing three products which I will review in other posts.  I got two of them.  First was Green Ronin’s Modern Age.  Don’t ask why, let’s just say I love Green Ronin’s production values and game quality.  Second was Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game.  Why?  Because nothing say Christmas and the holidays with family like Die Hard.  I am embarrassed that no one had produced this game decades ago.

The third one I wanted was the Gale Force Nine Aliens cooperative mini’s game.  That wasn’t at the con.  I pressed someone at the booth, “What the hell dude?  This is months overdue…”  What I got, informally and unconfirmed of course, was that they would be issuing a press statement on the game in September and that the issue has something to do with licensing.  I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that we aren’t going to get that game, which leaves me bummed.  I really wanted to play Hudson…

There IS an Alien RPG coming out soon.  This was a bit of a surprise.  From the web site, it looks awesome.  Free League publishing is putting it out.  Oddly enough, I can’t wait.

There was a new Marvel miniatures game previewed at the con as well from Atomic Mass – Marvel Crisis Protocol.  The minis looked awesome and they were two deep for the demos.  At $99 – I’m hesitating order a copy…but not for long.

Fantasy Flight Games released the Star Wars Legion big-ass boxed set for the Clone Wars.  It looked great.  I saw some other Star Wars miniatures stuff, including my first viewing of the campaign system for Star Wars Armada…at least that’s what I think I saw.  Far too many people crammed in to get free demos.

CMON – who are awesome, released a House Baratheon Starter Set.  I was going to pick it up because it was big and had a lot of minis – but I’m still painting minis from the original Kickstarter. Since I am retiring from my day job in October, I anticipate breakding down and ordering this in November.

Paizo released the much anticipated and nerd-bantered Pathfinder new edition.  People were complaining about it while loading up copies in their arms to purchase.  Gamers will complain, then hand you their credit cards.

Funko released a game system.  You had to get a ticket (free) to go through a demo to buy it.  My grandson and I played the Batman version and enjoyed it.  The system is simple making it perfect for kids.  They have a Harry Potter, a second Batman one, and, brace yourself, The Golden Girls.  Yes, you can pit Blanch up against the Joker!  I struggle with the mental image of that last one, but the games are interchangeable.  With four Funko figures, you can’t buy the figures alone for the price of the game – so for my grandson, it was a win-win.

Tons of other game products were out that I either missed last year or were released.  Let me just say that the industry is alive and kicking.

6mm minis – fighting Antietam.  Very cool!

In terms of games I played, my grandson and I played his first game of D&D.  I enjoyed a chance to play the game rather than DM.  He had fun.  Though he enjoyed learning and playing Pokemon a lot more.

As it turns out, my grandson loves playing the BattleTech pods – which made my day.  We also did our annual Paint and Take.  My wife painted a pink Space Marine, an image I cannot purge from my memory.  It was fun, and that was all that really mattered.

My buddy Kevin “Dude” in his pod.

BattleTech garnered a lot of attention with the Kickstarter.  I will tackle the elephant in the room. “Where were your novels and the ilClan sourcebook?” This was covered in the “What’s up with Catalyst?” event.  The books have been done for a while. They are going under a pretty in-depth review with the powers that be.  We are setting the stage for a lot of fun stuff to come, as such, scrutiny will only make the products better (I hope.)  If it comes down to rushing a product out vs. getting it right, I’ll error on quality every time.  So stop asking me about release dates.

From the diorama this year, the Wolves Assault on Titan.  Note the graffiti of “Wolverines!”

I was invited to sit in with some of the backers Thursday to talk shop with Randall and Loren.  It was a stroll down memory lane for all of us.  I think what most people forget is that we are all fans of BattleTech too. We have been with it a long time and to us it is a precious thing that we care about.  I joke a lot about being a mercenary writer, but in reality, I love the game, characters, and the universe I play in.

Jason Schmetzer, Mike Stackpole, and I had a good chuckle at the booth talking about BattleTech, which I enjoyed.  We never get a chance as authors to simply sit and talk BattleTech.

I spent some time with the infamous Krull Brothers at the Wolfnet gaming session Thursday evening.  I loved talking the game and universe with them.  I also got to pop in on the Battle of Thorin and saw Archer’s Avengers in action.  For an author, seeing your stuff being played is a real reward.  I tried to get to the Snord’s Irregular’s game, but could not find it.  Dang it!

This year some fans gave me some nice gifts.  It is never expected but always appreciated.   One fan delivered a bottle of bourbon for my upcoming October retirement from the corporate world.  I received a special rock from the Tait factory in Limerick where they made Confederate Uniforms.  Someone whose name I didn’t get, got me a nice BattleTech shirt too.

A fan modeled Pentrator – specifically Archer Christifori!

The week was capped off with Master’s and Minions.  Craig Gulledge, Mechwarrior extraordinaire and a fellow Scotsman was my partner.  I piloted a Savage Wolf and a Marauder, and he piloted a pair of Penetrators – which opened up an endless series of jokes about double penetration.  It was fun playing with ‘Mechs I actually designed in his case.

They went that way…
I swear, my Wraith is in this fight!
This is the Capellan stance for “I surrender.”
“You’re not going to put this in a novel are you?”

We waged a battle based on bad jokes, intimidation, and a dollop of sheer arrogance. We had a lot of fun, and were one of the last groups to wrap up at 1:00am.  My Savage Wolf was lost, but I took tons off of the opposition before I went down.  Victory?  Aff!  Fun?  Absolutely!

The fans that went up against us enjoyed themselves, at least I hope so.  I did not go down from Death from Above this year, so that alone made it a good run for me.

So there you have it…another successful Gen Con.  Seyla!

4 thoughts on “My Annual Gen Con 2019 After-Action Report

  1. Daniel Gladstone

    I fully agree with you on quality over rushing to get something out. I’d rather wait for the best than receive something now that doesn’t end up as enjoyable.

    Side note, I’ve always liked the saying slow is smooth, smooth is fast. If taking the time to do something right, a lot of time is saved verses the fast and sloppy method where something is done very quickly but someone has to go and clean up the mess after. I see plenty of examples of this operating a forklift every day. Those who move a lot very quickly often cut corners, damage freight, and generally leave a mess. Those of us who take a little more time to do things right protect the freight and often fix things as we go along.

    Thanks for being a big fan of this Battletech universe as well as contributing so much to it!

  2. 8-Ball

    We fans definitely enjoyed playing against you and Craig, Blaine. You fought well. You fought like warrior-poets. You fought like Scotsmen. Seyla!

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