Stepping off the design train briefly as we start warming up for Gencon (which I will not be attending, sadly), and I have a larger post in the works about all the new things I regret I won’t be seeing which you should totally check out. However, I want to make a smaller recommendation today, perhaps even a request.
If you get a chance, stop by booth 1544 – Outrider Studios. There are a few reasons for this, and I’ll break them down.
First, they have a game called Remnants which is pretty sweet. It’s a post-apocalyptic game centered around battling suits of power armor, and while that’s pretty cool in its own right, it makes a lot of little decisions that make it even more interesting than the premise. The core system is fairly lightweight, with some pretty clear Tri-Stat influence (that’s a good thing) but some very clever tweaking, including it’s handling of critical failures. More interestingly, it strikes a very interesting balance between providing a detailed setting and recognizing the flexible elements of the premise. Of all things, it’s reminiscent of Sorcerer in that regard – a nice little engine with a strong core idea that is reasonably easy to skin in a variety of ways that stay within theme. Also, it deserves kudos for production – it’s a $20 game (great price point) that looks good and is cleanly laid out.
So there’s that. Also, I had the pleasure of spending some time in conversation with the Outrider folks at Origins, and they’re good people. Perhaps more persuasively, they’re folks who have decided to make a go of this crazy gaming madness, and have decided to take the risk to come down for the conventions. This is, to put it bluntly, expensive and a lot of work, and they’re absolutely taking a risk in following this route, and I hope it pays off for them.
I had, I should note, not ever hear do these guys before Origins, and that was a useful reminder to me that for all I try to keep on top of things and think of myself as watching the hobby for new entrants, I can’t see everything, and I’m still going to be surprised when someone comes in from a vector unfamiliar to me. This is a good, awesome, and humbling thing.
Anyway, the last reason is that it will take you over to Entrepreneur’s Avenue, if you check out the map of the dealer’s hall, you’ll see there’s a little cluster of booths. This is where you’re going to see the people you’ve never heard of before, and that’s important. It’s all well and good to be going to Gencon to get the new releases you know are coming, but if that’s all you get, then you’re missing out. New releases can always be gotten later, but there are people and things at Gencon that you won’t see anywhere else. Take the time to look at those, let yourself be surprised, and maybe try something new and unexpected.
It might suck. I have a small stack of bought-and-played-once games from gencons past, but I also have some pleasant surprises. Remnants, I should add, was one of them.
So, please, do me a favor. If you’re there, swing by and just say hi. Take a look at their stuff, talk to them for a few minutes. Obviously, don’t buy anything unless it grabs you, but allow yourself the opportunity to be pleasantly surprised.