Gen Con – Privateer Press Dominates, CMON Releases, MBA, and Brushfire

Gen Con. Indianapolis. Two days into the “Best 4 Days in Gaming” and so far I have to agree with the slogan. This is exactly what I have been dreaming about since I first read about Gen Con in Dragon Magazine back in 1990. The Indianapolis Convention Center is VAST. It is a confusing labyrinth of large halls and I only finished exploring them all at 3:30 on Friday morning.

28mm train on tracks on beautiful table layout from Privateer Press at Gen Con

One of Privateer’s Inspiring Tables

Gamers were up late into the night Wednesday and early into the morning playing in all the public places of the downtown convention center area. Mostly they played board games with some CCG/TCG action, but I did spot a game of Warmachine unfolding in one of the hall spaces. Thursday morning was a different story with dozens of games of Warmachine popping up on some of Privateer Press’s wonderful playing tables. While many sported grass gaming mats, there were at least five or six fully-detailed tables festooned with rivets and steamworks. Friday morning at 2:00 AM the action was still going on. In fact, Privateer Press has the distinction of having the largest miniatures presence here at Gen Con, running 64 tables with 128 players playing at a time. From 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM Friday morning, Hordes and Warmachines players were vying for a spot at the Nationals in the Iron Arena tournament. A similar tournament will run tonight as well.

Gaining early admittance at 9:00 AM on Thursday to the Vendors’ Hall which opened to the public at 10:00, I was surprised to see a line already wrapping around Privateer Press’s booth as Gen Con’s VIGs (Very Important Guests) queued up, PP products in hand. Elsewhere gamers’ interests were harder to measure as the thin crowd trickled this way and that. At 10:00 AM, of course, a flood of gamers rushed in, with Privateer Press selling out of its new 2d6 version of its Iron Kingdoms RPG on Thursday.

Cool Mini or Not

Miniature castle from Cool Mini or Not's miniatures booth

Amazing Wrath of Kings Castle Table from CMON

One place they flocked to was Cool Mini or Not’s impressive 18-booth floor space. CMON is exhibiting two games developed with Sodapop Miniatures, Super Dungeon Explore and Relic Knights. CMON was also showing off some new figures for Dark Age as well as sculpts and demos for Confrontation: Age of Ragnarok amd Wrath of Kings. CMON’s booth space also included a whole host of basing products, tutorial DVDs, and the first three issues of of the miniature gaming magazine “Ravage”.

Zombicide

Cool Mini or Not also had Zombicide, released publicly at Gen Con for $90 after a successful $780,000+ Kickstarter funding run. Looking the plastic miniatures over, they do come pretty close to the resin prototypes I saw back in March at the GAMA Trade Show and with 70 of them, the game packs in a lot of value. Elsewhere in CMON’s stretching booth space Mike McVey was promoting Sedition Wars.

Boxes stacked head high at Cool Mini or Not's Gen Con Booth of Zombicide

Zombicide Making a Killing at the Cool Mini or Not Booth

Four players at Gen Con enjoying the zombie horror board game Zombicide

David Bullard and Friends Enjoying Some Zombicide

Late Thursday night or early Friday morning I encountered some Zombicide fans playing the zombie horror game at a table in a convention hallway. David Bullard of Mount Vernon, Illinois had pledged $100 towards the Zombicide Kickstarter campaign and received the game days before Gen Con. Nevertheless he had already played it four times when I met him, saying that he was “quite pleased” with the game, enjoying both the mechanics and the miniatures. Bullard’s friends were also enthusiastic about Zombicide and its merits, so it would seem that Guillotine Games and CMON have a definite winner.

Miniature Building Authority

Miniature 28mm town with barracks and castle walls at Gen Con from Miniature Building Authority

Miniature Building Authority 25-28mm European City

If you’ve read many of my posts, it should be no surprise that I went to check out Dwarven Forge’s line of prepainted terrain as well as Miniature Building Authority’s prepainted buildings. I had seen several Youtube videos featuring MBA’s whole collection at Gen Con before, but this year, their European 28mm Town seemed to be brimming over with hundreds of miniatures from over a hundred different miniature companies according to Kirk Stevens.

Kirk introduces some of their newer products on camera and sculptor Jim Elmore also talks about MBA’s impressive product line.

On the Lamb: Brushfire Miniatures and Historia Rodentia

I also saw a familiar face in the form of Emily Fontaine from On the Lamb Games. Their line of anthropomorphic Brushfire historical miniatures has been expanding since the GAMA Trade Show. She had several new miniatures to show off along with her concept artist, including figures specifically for Historia Rodentia, the RPG setting published by Mongoose Publishing.

Starting a Brushfire with Emily Fontana from On the Lamb Games at GTS 2012

On the Lamb Games exhibited at the recent 2012 GAMA Trade Show highlighting their Brushfire skirmish wargame and its accompanying miniatures. I questioned Emily Fontana briefly about Brushfire and the upcoming RPG release Historia Rodentia.

Brushfire Parody Skirmish Game

Badger At-Claw for Brushfire from On the Lamb Games.

Badger At-Claw

CG: So I’m here with Emily…
OtLG: From On the Lamb Games. We do Brushfire which is a historical parody skirmish game. All of our factions are based on historical armies, but they’re populated by the indigenous species. So we have Napoleonic French with badgers, weasels, and moles. Spanish conquistatorial mice, and British bulldogs. It’s a very tongue in cheek skirmish game, about 10 to 20 models on either side. All of our starters have about 4 to 6 models in them, with quick start rules, and dice for $35. The rulebook is $25. It has 8 factions in it. All of the units have their base sizes listed so players can easily proxy out models before they purchase. Along with campaign rules, siege rules, and a little bit of role-playing rules in there.
CG: Now who’s primarily interested, who’s your audience?
OtLG: Miniature gamers, 13 to 40s. Same sort of folks who might be playing WarmaHordes, might be playing Malifaux. We’ve had a lot of variety in our customer base so far.
CG: So they’re attracted to steampunk.
OtLG: Yes. Folks who like steampunk. Folks who grew up on stuff like the Disney afternoon cartoons, “Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers” and what not. And people who love making fun of history.
CG: How many furries?
OtLG: We don’t know. We haven’t really seen that much.
CG: And what about, there’s a game called Ironclaw?
OtLG: We are familiar with the game Ironclaw; we are not associated with Ironclaw.
CG: Sure, but people could buy your miniatures and use them for their PCs.
OtLG: Yeah, they could use it for Ironclaw, for Gama World, D&D, or our own role-playing game that Mongoose Publishing is releasing in May.

The Brushfire RPG: Historia Rodentia

Cover art for Historia Rodentia by Mongoose Publishing and On the Lamb Games.

Image courtesy of On the Lamb Games

CG: Tell me more about that.
OtLG: It uses the Legends system which is based around the old RuneQuest system that Mongoose previously had released. It comes out from them in May. Pre-orders are now up for that through all their standard distribution channels. And we’ve actually started working on a second book for that as well. The first book will cover 4 of the factions from Brushfire along with about 21 of the species that are in those factions and changes a lot of the rules from Legends to deal with the fact that we don’t have magic in our setting. So we add a lot more political intrigue and a bit of other special abilities that are very close to what you would see in the miniatures game.
CG: Now what’s your favorite miniature so far?
OtLG: So far I’ve really liked the Badger At-Claw, but I keep staring at our green here of Amamimoto the Ronin which is a rabbit samurai based on Miyamoto Musashi and I’m looking forward to that being casted so I can get it painted up.
CG: But not based on Usagi Yojimbo?
OtLG: Well, Usagi Yojimbo was also based around Miyamoto Musashi and the coincidence of being a rabbit has nothing to do with Usagi Yojimbo whatsoever.
CG: I like the bear traps here.
OtLG: That’s our Weasel Trapper for the Aquitar faction which is based around Napoleonic French, so they’re a bit of like French fur traders that you’d see in Quebec and whatnot.
CG: And what are the capybaras?Capybara Conquistador miniature from On the Lamb Games for Brushfire.
OtLG: They are from our Mare-Civitas faction and are based around Spanish/Italian conquistadors and the colonies they had in South America, so we gave them capybaras which are from South America. Gave them a nice conquistatorial feel to it and still kept a bit of the native feel to them as well.
CG: The largest rodent, right?
OtLG: Yeah, noble King of Rodents.
CG: Have you started getting into rodents even more?
OtLG: A little bit. We’ve got a lot of mice, a lot of rats and hamsters, but we also do badgers, weasels, cats, dogs.

CG: More about the RPG, how does it play?
OtLG: It’s a d100 system. You generally want to role low. It’s based around the RuneQuest system. It’s a very-easy-to-die-in system. Damage really hurts when you take it, so you want to try to dance your way around in combat. And like I said, while RuneQuest has magic, Brushfire does not, so we added in a political system, an exemplar system that allows you to take NPC comrades around to fight and expand your party into being basically a small warband or army. And then we added in our tactical actions and heroic actions in as well from the miniatures game.
CG: Great. Thank you!
OtLG: Thank you!