The State of Gaming at DragonCon

In 1990 the annual Origins™ Gaming Convention was held at DragonCon (these days it’s stationary, but in olden times it moved around). As a table-top gamer I was super excited to go and see all the new roleplaying games and board games that were being debuted. As I walked through the vendors’ hall, nestled between TSR’s Dungeons and Dragons and Game Designers Workshop were two new games that were premiering: Torg and Rifts. This year at GenCon the big talk was about the revival of Torg and Rifts. It’s the gaming industry. What are you gonna do?

But I digress.

11986948_10100655657549266_7403375748303020854_nIn the past 25 years (and since the advent of collectible card games in general) I have heard that tabletop gaming is dying. With fewer Friendly Local Gaming Shops, the three tier system of delivery (publisher to distributor to store) created a bottleneck that resulted in the appearance of the death of the hobby.

Then came crowd funding.

Today the industry is not only healthy – it is thriving. You hear the term Golden Age of Gaming and it’s not far off. So, when they tell you the hobby is dying, tell them “You couldn’t tell by looking at DragonCon. “

The DragonCon Gaming Track is sprinkled liberally across the host hotels, but the stronghold lies at the venerable Hilton Hotel on Courtland Street. In the basement ballrooms, it’s wall to wall gaming. Award winning board games and card games cover every table and the gaming population fills every available seat from early in the morning to the wee hours of the next morning.  The latest and greatest games share play space with classics. Gray haired veterans (like myself) shared tables with diverse groups of younger players. I looked on as a group of 50 somethings taught the intricacies of Starfleet Battles to a group of teens. Didn’t bring a game to play? The massive board game library was happy to provide you games for an hour, a day, or the weekend.10599114_10100653951877446_3026110638374308924_n

But what about RPGs? The RPG rooms on the third floor of the Hilton were packed from 8 am to midnight. Campaign RPGs like the Pathfinder Society and Shadowrun Missions were present in force and non-campaign games for first time players and old campaigners were run round the clock by some of the ablest judges I’ve ever had the pleasure to play with.

I haven’t mentioned video games have I? LAN gaming is always a big draw at DragonCon. Tournament play, casual play, and pick-up games were in abundance. Bring your own PC (or console) or rent one. Over 150 titles were available. It was a thing of beauty.

Panels from industry leaders were also in abundance. Topics ranging from “How to fix your roleplaying game” to “How to design games” were addressed by major industry names like Kenneth Hite (Pelgrane Press), Jason Buhlman (Paizo), and Monte Cook (Monte Cook Games).

If it sound like there was enough gaming going on that I had time for little else, that’s because it’s true.

So next year, if you want to get your game on, DragonCon is the place to do it and, if they tell you the hobby is dead, tell them you couldn’t tell from DragonCon.

 

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Awesome Kickstarters you should be backing!

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We love Kickstarters, especially awesome ones!  Check out the three below that we think are pretty great:

 

 

Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution by End Transmission Games

Inspired by “Akira” and “Firestarter,” Psionics is a DicePunk System Tabletop RPG about troubled youth with tremendous psychic powers!

Star Power and the 9th Wormhole by Garth Graham
In the distant future, a young woman is imbued with cosmic energy and becomes the last of the Star Powered Sentinels.

Pirate Loot, A Card Game of Treasure and Treachery by Jason Bulmahn
A card game of Treasure and Treachery for 2 to 4 players. Designed by Jason Bulmahn with art by Scott Kurtz and Dylan Meconis!

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Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution

PsionicsAvatar3.largeWe had a great time at GenCon this year!  We’ve been busy getting ready for Dragon Con, so expect more GenCon goodies after the Labor Day weekend, but this just couldn’t wait!

We had the distinct pleasure of meeting and chatting with Mikaela Barree of End Transmission Games, an independent game design company based out of New York.  She told us about their existing products, and the Kickstarter they have going right now!  Check it out below!

You can check out their Kickstarter here!  Let’s spread the love for independent game designers!

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DRAGON CON HOSTS NATIONAL REALMS OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

$15,000 Tournament Purse Expected to Draw Top HeroClix Players From Across the County.  Other Gaming Highlights Include the Return of National Security Decision Making Game and Richard Garriott.

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ATLANTA – The TCGplayer.com Realms Open Championship, where the nation’s top HeroClix players can compete for share of a $15,000 purse, is returning for its second year to Dragon Con, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy, sci-fi and gaming convention.

 

Perhaps better known for its cosplay and the chance to interact with actors, artists, authors and other creators, Dragon Con is actually one of the largest gaming conventions in the nation.  Taking up most of the Hilton Atlanta Downtown, the gaming portion at Dragon Con features voice actors, game designers and other guests from the worlds of table top and video gaming, as well as the opportunity to play tabletop and LAN gaming in casual and tournament formats.

 

“We’re thrilled to welcome back to Dragon Con the TCGplayer.com Realms Open Championship,” convention co-chair David Cody said.  “Because of the qualifying format and the prize money, we expect some of the top players from around the country to participate in this tournament and make it a very competitive event.  It will be a great part of an already rich lineup of gaming and game-related programming.”

 

In addition to the TCGplayer.com Realms Open Championship, other highlights for the year include the return of the National Security Decision Making Game (NSDMG) led by Mark McDonagh, a retired Navy Captain and co-designer of the game, and guest Hall of Fame video game designer and American astronaut Richard “Lord British” Garriott.

 

As gaming at Dragon Con has continued to increase in popularity, the convention has restructured the gaming tracks for 2014 to provide a more streamlined, focused experience.  There will be just three tracks this year.

  • Table Top Gaming – Formerly called Gaming, this track’s programming will continue to focus on pen and paper and table top games.
  • LAN Gaming – Formerly called Digital Gaming, this title is simply a better description of the specific type of gaming in this track.
  • Video Gaming – The old Video Gaming and MMORPG tracks have been combined to better align with the gaming industry and focus on the content rather than the platform.

 

HeroClix is a competitive, table top game using miniature super heroes and villains from throughout pop culture.  The TCGplayer.com Realms Open Championship will take place over three days with constructed qualifiers on Friday, August 30th and the Championship event beginning on Saturday, August 31.  The top 32 competitors will share in the $15,000 purse, with the tournament champion taking home $4,000.

 

The National Security Decision Making Game presents players with a range of real world issues that they must decide how to solve, with each play assuming the role of a different political leader or deliberative body.  The game will be offered seven times, five using current global geopolitical issues and two relying on historical scenarios. In addition to the game scenarios, each lasting 4 hours, McDonagh and his team will offer more than a dozen lectures and interactive seminars on various geopolitical subjects, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the current situations in Gaza, Syria and Ukraine and the current thinking on chemical & biological weapons and bioterrorism.

 

About Dragon Con

Dragon Con is the internationally known pop culture convention held each Labor Day in Atlanta. Organized for fans, Dragon Con features more than about 3,000 hours of comics, film, television, costuming, art, music and gaming over four days. For more information, please visit www.dragoncon.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information on HeroClix, please visit http://maxpoint.tcgplayer.com/heroclix/ROC-Dragon-Con-140829.

For more information about the National Security Decision Making Game, please visit http://www.nsdmg.org or look for NSDMG on Facebook.

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Preparing for SecretsCon

In our ever-expanding small slice of geek, we are getting ready for SecretsCon, a new convention being held in Atlanta next weekend.  You can find their website here.

We’ll be setting up a vendor space, and have some progress photos of what we’re working on to share with you!  Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for even more!

New Neckties!

New Neckties!

Bow ties!

Bow ties!

Fabric

Fabric

Bags!

Bags!

Rings!

Rings!

 

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SecretsCon – March 28-30, 2014 at  the Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center

There will be:

  • Board Games galore,  provided by ourselves and more importantly by some of the most diverse collectors we have ever had the honor to game with.
  • Collectible Card Games – both free play and tournament playsponsored by our friendly local game store partners (if that is you – please email us at info@secretsfactory.com for more details).
  • Role-Playing Games – several will be listed here as they schedule in.  Plenty of space for a good number of players, to be sure.
  • Panels on Game Design, Family Gaming, and how to share your hobby with friends.
  • Video Room with how-to and game reviews.
  • Vendor Space for a special gamer-focused dealer room.
  • AND LOTS MORE!  (We are still working lots of the plans but we will be adding the details here regularly.)

Be sure and get your tickets now!

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SCARAB – Baby GenCon!

1499523_650224921695312_2034536778_nWe went to SCARAB over the Martin Luther King Jr weekend in Columbia, SC. It was our first time as vendors, and we had a great time! The staff was courteous and polite, super-helpful and always smiling. As vendors, we were placed in the boardgame room, and it was great fun to see all the smiling faces.  SCARAB is truly a family event, with programs, called tracks, for everyone.  There were games for the kids and non-gaming activities for the “widows” – people who came to be supportive, but who aren’t all that into gaming themselves.  This year, SCARAB introduced an anime track and a costume contest!  It truly felt like a small GenCon, with great Southern charm.

IMG_5465[1]One of the products that premiered at SCARAB was a game called Hull Breach.  Having just finished a successful Kickstarter campaign, the fine folks over at Not-So-Broken games were showing us how to play.

This small convention won’t stay small for long.  Next year’s date has already been set – January 16-19.  So clear a spot on your calendar, because this is one convention you don’t want to miss!

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SCARAB 2014!

1499523_650224921695312_2034536778_nAt this time next week, we’ll be packing up and putting the final touches on our inventory as we get ready to go to SCARAB!  This will be our first convention where we’re vendors, and we’re pretty pumped about it.  We’ll be selling things from our Etsy store, plus a secret SCARAB exclusive! There’s a Facebook event for those who are so inclined, or you can go to www.s-c-a-r-a-b.com for more information.

This year, they are introducing a costume contest and an anime track!  So come by and visit us!  Maybe we’ll pack some costumes, and there are always games to be played!

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Larfleezemas!

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Every year at the global headquarters of The Geek Forge, we throw a little party that is (after three years) starting to catch on with other geeks. It’s called Larfleezemas. We hold it in early December and here is everything you need to know to hold your own Larfleezemas party:

Larfleeze is a comic character that bears an orange power ring (just like Green Lantern) and is driven by the emotion of greed. It’s also a pretty funny guy.

There are Larfleeze cookies (you can find the recipe here), socializing, boardgames to be played, movies to be watched.

There are two rules:
1) Bring something to glut yourself on (and possibly for others to eat)
2) Buy a present for yourself (no matter how small) wrap it and give it to yourself at the party.

We decorate in orange, black, and white (we even have a little black Larfleezemas tree).

Let us expand on the true meaning of the holiday: GREED.
You do not have to share. You do not have to think about what you will get for someone else. You do not have to play stupid games where you buy a gift for someone by drawing a name from a hat. You do not have to bring food to share. The spirit of Larfleezemas is good, honest GREED.

The perfect Larfleezemas gift is something that you don’t even need — you just want it! And as everyone watches you open your gift, you’re expected to be annoyingly smug about it and we all promise to be insanely jealous.

Previous examples of great gifts were: leather driving gloves for a steering wheel that was already covered in leather, a new truck, a third kindle (how decadent), stock shares in a football team, and a house. Let the true spirit of Avarice fill you before you have to pretend that you really love that Lowes giftcard you got for Christmas.

Plan your Larfleezaemas Party today and plan to tell us about it after!

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