So, the testing of Mazaki No Fantaji in the Playtest Hall was a great success! Again, con-goers were excited for the system and eager to come back to try out a different character or encounter. We had a blast meeting all of you and learning new ways to see and play Mazaki. While A-Kon helped us get at Mazaki from an anime fan’s perspective, the true test of a role-playing game’s mettle is Gen Con. I think we passed.

A big thanks to Double Exposure for running the First Exposure event, which gave 42 designers/companies a chance to get their games out into public hands and interact with thousands of you! We will definitely be back next year for modules of Early Dark and Mazaki.

THURSDAY

After waking up on an amazing air mattress (Thank you, Carly Taylor of Westfield, IN), Calvin ran over 10 hours of Mazaki in the Playtest Hall. The day was long, and though he ran out of water after only 1.5 hours, some of you were nice enough to share your bottles with him. After the exhausting first day, Calvin bumped into Andy X, a buddy and fellow designer he’d met in June at A-Kon. They had some pasta and talked about Andy’s new bridge-building board game. Very sweet. [[If links become available, we’ll post about it]]

Jake was running the Kickstarter campaign from Austin and answering questions on various forums and message boards all day.

Of import to our Kickstarter Backers: We had our very first combo attack in live play. The mechanic Calvin whipped up on the spot works like a charm so we will include combo attacks in the final version of the game. They are quite risky but allow for combining damage Blocks to deal those big [3]s needed to slay your foe.

FRIDAY

Over 8 hours of testing in the Playtest Hall and a visit from sometime-design-partner Aaron Harshman and his lovely fiance. Calvin and he talked design notes and how to amp up the drama of Clashes in Mazaki. We are not changing the base mechanic of DT+ on Clashes, but we will be adding more things you can do with extra tying dice. This will introduce a whole new feature of the game: Customized martial arts styles. A great little bit of fluff and strategy.

At 5pm, Ben McFarland (of Open Design fame) came by the Mazaki table wired with Google Glass. He was filming the Con all around and offered his time to pick up some sweet footage of the game in action. [[Ben does not have access to that video yet, as it was sent, I believe, directly to Google for archiving. We will post links the minute this becomes available]]

Calvin also bumped into the producers/stars of his favorite gaming web series, GOLD. David Nett, the writer and director of the series (and star of season one) was in the Playtest Hall supporting fellow crew members who had designed a game for testing. While none of them was available to test Mazaki (sad faces all over), David did share a little GOLD gold with Calvin in the form of an unreleased DVD. Thank you, guys!!

The latter part of the day was spent checking out the Con with Aaron and imbibing some much needed Moscow Mules at a local bar down the way.

SATURDAY

Calvin gets another 10 hours’ testing!! Woo. Highlights? Well, two of the groups on Saturday’s docket were potent gamers indeed. We had some murderous actions, some twisted corpse mutilation, and a HUGE dose of puns. Nothing out of the ordinary for gaming with Mazaki. We’ll be writing a whole post on these two sessions in the Playtest Hall soon.

After the Playtest Hall closed for the night, the final Mazaki session of the Con emerged at a private party off the beaten path. Around a catered table at a posh hotel in the wee hours of the night, Calvin spent 3 hours losing his voice in front of a cadre of talented developers and designers.  The result: Five heroes demolished a Fire Golem in what may have been unparalleled style. More to come on this session as well.

Jake was pushing the Kickstarter and starting on the demo kits that we’ll be passing out to the biggest and baddest fans of Mazaki No Fantaji in the upcoming week.

SUNDAY

No scheduled testing slots. Calvin stopped by the Playtest Hall to make sure enough promo materials were left for your gaming perusal. He said adios to the wonderful Double Exposure staff and headed out to the Exhibit Hall for the FIRST TIME the entire Con!!

He stopped by our distributor’s booth and was shocked to see no Early Dark on the shelves of the Indie Press Revolution stall. Why not? Well, apparently the Early Dark inventory was only up in the system for a month before the Con and didn’t amass enough sales/weight to make the cut to be featured at GenCon. What is “sales/weight” you ask? Well, because shipping is such an expensive process for big cons, IPR has to gauge the popularity of a game versus the weight of the product to decide what it can bring. What does this mean for Anthropos Games? Well, our books are heavy. We aim for VERY high quality books, and those tend to be much denser than other indie products. A quick look through the IPR booth, and most of the books (even those with comparable number of pages) sell for $10-20 more than Early Dark and weigh 50-200% less! Damn. Something to think about when taking printing bids for Mazaki this winter.

OVERALL

GenCon 2013 was the best GenCon yet for us! Can’t wait to have TWO BIG BEAUTIFUL BOOKS to game with and distribute next year! You are all welcome to join us in the Playtest Hall in 2014 for some coupons and gorgeous demos. Gorgeous artwork and charismatic demoing are kind of our things, have you heard?

Special thanks to Brandon Hodge, Ben McFarland, Aaron Harshman, GOLD the seriesDouble Exposure, and Carly Taylor.

 

Gen Con 2013… Where Are We Now?

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