Saturday, March 22, 2014

Notes from the Game Trade Show

I am sitting in room 111 of the Sands Motel in Grants, New Mexico as I write this, having just driven twelve hour along Route 66 from Las Vegas after the 2014 GAMA Trade Show and wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on what I took away from the show. In no particular order:
RPG companies are back, at least at GTS—This is the strongest showing of RPG companies I remember at GTS in several years.  Besides perennials Paizo and WOTC (who for the second or third year did not have any products displayed at their booth in the exhibit hall), I saw displays from Pelgrane Press, Green Ronin, Palladium, Eden Studios (which looks to have a really hot property with its new Adventure Maximus game. After seeing it, I immediately doubled my pre-order), Flying Buffalo (which had some promotional material for the new edition of Tunnels and Trolls but, sadly, no mockups), Catalyst Game Design (with a new RPG based on the Valiant Comics universe), Atlas Press, AEG and Chaosium. I probably missed one or two, but for a show that has heavily shifted to boardgames in recent years, the number of RPG companies there made an old roleplayer like me happy.
Adventure Time and Bravest Warriors are a thing—Admittedly, I am not a big fan of either show, but a lot of people are, it appears, at least based on the number of licensed properties I saw shown there.  Both Steve Jackson Games and Cryptozoic had Adventure Time card games,while Catalyst showed off a new Bravest Warriors card/dice game.  A couple of other companies had licensed the properties as well, so expect to see more games playing off both in the next year.
International TableTop Day gets an upgrade—Still no word on Season 3 of TableTop, as Geek & Sundry will neither confirm nor deny the status of production on season 3.  However, the rumored premium package did get announced. It costs quite a bit more than the basic package does, approximately $750 compared to $50 for the basic, but does come with many more promo items as well as full copies of several games such as Roll for It, Smash Up and Munchkin. I did get the answer to something that has bugged me since last year’s International TableTop Day, namely, why did the kit include promotional items for games that did not appear on the show?  It turns out those games are ones Wil Wheaton really likes, but for one reason or another, do not work well in the TableTop format (Wheaton discusses what a game has to have in a Not the Vlog post on Geek & Sundry). He thinks them worthy of greater attention though, hence the promotional items. I have heard some stores already complaining about the cost of the kits, however, since part of the money spent goes to help fund TableTop, and considering how much money I have made as a result of TableTop, I figure buying the kits a good investment.