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GenCon 2012 Review

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NorthernWolf

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« on: (10:51:15/08-21-12) »
Gen Con Wrap-Up and Review.
As a veteran GenConíer, but a relatively new player of SR, I thought I would post some feedback on MY personal experience with SR and Catalyst.  Your experience likely differs greatly, and although the tone of this review is a tad negative, it reflects my personal experience, and is only posted here to provide feedback to whoever might care (If anyone). 

As a pre-cursor, I had a blast regardless of the many negatives, and plan to continue making SR a huge part of my GenCon schedule.  I played in 3 x 4-hour mission slots, and attended the SR Advanced Boot Camp seminar.  I was unable to make the scramble and tournament, which from the people I spoke with, was a blast.  They simply fell during times which I generally reserve for eating and drinking with the chaps I head down with.  I usually limit my Con-time to 8am-6pm.


Catalyst Booth:
Pros: Good product selection that generally didnít run out.  Barring the gear cards which I believe sold out Sunday, You could pretty much pick up any SR stuff all weekend long.  The runners Companion boxed set is a great product which I am looking forward to using in my group, and the gear cards are great.  While not for every group, being new to the SR realm makes these a great add-on to our campaign.
Cons: I really donít feel like they organized the booth well.  With products on one side of a circular table grouping and the Tills on the other, with a large area the workers canít see between, I can guarantee you product went missing during the Con.  Also, while the line ups were not long, the wait time was.  I personally purchased things four times from the booth (Wasnít sure each day how much $ Id have left), and each time there was some absurd reason for the line holding up (CSRís couldnít find codes, couldnít input products, constantly needed change).  On Sunday, there was only 1 cashier, the lineup was long, several people in the booth were simply standing around doing nothing (Rather than opening the other till), and due to me giving the helpful lady a $50, she had to make change from the other till. This took forever, and I saw one person simply put down their 2 books they wanted to buy and walk off.   Take a lesson from Paizo, their booth was a pleasure to go through.

Shadowrun Missions:
PROS: Not much really.  Wonít be doing this again as a player.
CONS: I have a lot of respect for people who take the time to GM at Conís, as those people are few and far between.  I plan to make GMíing my focus from now on at Gencon.  Unfortunately my 3 mission slots were not fun.  First GM who ran my first two slots did a fair job, but unfortunately had a mild manner to him and a quiet voice.  As others likely know, this year they decided to make Catalyst the Guinea Pig for the idea of placing all games by a developer in one hall.  So the SR tables were surrounded by Battletech and other mini games in a huge hall.  What a total Disaster for Roleplaying.   I was unable to hear the GM and had to constantly ask him to repeat things.  Eventually, several players simply grew tired of not hearing, and zoned out/went on their iPhones, and waited until we told them it was combat.  On my third slot, it started at 8 am, so the Miniature guys were not there yet, so the noise was fine (For the first two hours).  Unfortunately the GM had not read the adventure, had little to no experience GMíing, and didnít realize that when you are on Scene 2 of a 6 Scene mission at the 3-hour mark of a 3.75 hour event, you need to hurry things up.  The fact that he gave Extra Karma to the player who had to tell him all the rules / how Shadowrun worked all game long didnít help either.

Shadowrun Advanced Boot Camp
PROS: This was the absolute highlight of the Con for me.  Whoever the two gents who ran it were, Props to you guys as you provided a welcoming, informative seminar where everyone could participate, and I learned more about SR as a new GM that 2 hours than any other moment I had.  As it was a small event, and not too many people had questions, I simply asked questions all seminar long, and got well thought out experienced answers, which will shape my SR campaign for a long time.  Thanks again!
CONS: I had to leave 15 minutes early, and could have stayed asking questions for hours!

Overall, it was a fun first SR Conning experience for me, and I am already looking forward to the next one, where I plan to donate time to GM missions.  Cheers to all the runners who made it Fun regardless of the challenges. 

Now move SR Roleplaying back to Smaller Rooms!
Cheers
NW

ArkangelWinter

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« Reply #1 on: (13:18:45/08-21-12) »
I didnt get to see GenCon this year  :( but tge ENnies kinda pissed me off (again). I rambled aboutbit here in depth, but long and short of it: too much DnD-esque stuff, not enough cyber.

FastJack

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« Reply #2 on: (13:29:26/08-21-12) »
Cons: I really donít feel like they organized the booth well.  With products on one side of a circular table grouping and the Tills on the other, with a large area the workers canít see between, I can guarantee you product went missing during the Con.  Also, while the line ups were not long, the wait time was.  I personally purchased things four times from the booth (Wasnít sure each day how much $ Id have left), and each time there was some absurd reason for the line holding up (CSRís couldnít find codes, couldnít input products, constantly needed change).  On Sunday, there was only 1 cashier, the lineup was long, several people in the booth were simply standing around doing nothing (Rather than opening the other till), and due to me giving the helpful lady a $50, she had to make change from the other till. This took forever, and I saw one person simply put down their 2 books they wanted to buy and walk off.   Take a lesson from Paizo, their booth was a pleasure to go through.
Knowing the booth set-up, I can pretty much guarantee stuff doesn't go missing that often. And the set-up is that way because of the Thursday morning, when the line wraps around the booth and everyone has to walk along the edge, getting a chance to see everything on their way to the till. Paizo has their own issues in their booth (the fact that they have to enter everything into their site, to start with). No system is perfect, but Catalyst and Paizo are what I consider the two best in the vendor hall.

ThePolo

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« Reply #3 on: (14:00:42/08-21-12) »
I echo the 'couldn't hear the GM' comment. It was REALLY loud in the hall, and I swear at times everyone at the table had a hand cupped to their ear & head turned sideways with an intense look of concentration on their face straining to listen. Otherwise, I'm sure the mileage varies on opinions of GM quality and individual Mission quality. Had a few great experiences, and a few not-so-great ones... but that's all based on opinion. I'm sure that one mission that I said 'meh' to was loved by the guy sitting next to me.


Loved the booth, though. The line to pay was a little long at times, but my time in line was easy to deal with. Lots to look at, and plenty of demos to watch.

CanRay

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« Reply #4 on: (22:42:28/08-22-12) »
I'll also echo the loud, only I couldn't hear the players so well.

I'm amazed I remember so much about lip reading as I do.

I just hope I'm not the quiet voiced GM that was mentioned above.   :-[
Si vis pacem, para bellum

Mara

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« Reply #5 on: (01:20:35/08-23-12) »
I got in one mission. Strange, I found the hall rather quiet compared to where I normally game. The problem I had was the other
players were talking so quiet, I could not often hear them. My only issue was that if I had known the mission(Silicon Slick) was
so much investigation, and so little combat and Face work, I would have brought a different character for it(I came with
5 different characters). My Survival Adept(seriously: the build was such that, short of an Assault Canon, the character could
survive most of anything: Stabbing, shooting, drowning, poison, extreme cold) really did not get to do much, as his secondary
was Social stuff...and we had a Shaman who was better at the social dice then I was...(by 3 Dice). Eh, though..that was my
fault...

Bakajin

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« Reply #6 on: (11:14:38/08-30-12) »
I was at GenCon this year and really was very impressed with Catalyst and the GM's who volunteered.  My buddy and I didn't buy event specific tickets and each time we showed up they actually made an extra table for people who had generic tickets.  Also big shout out to GM FastJack who was incredibly helpful to someone who was new to the game and made the mission a whole lot of fun (Our group hacked the helicopter, ejected the driver and then landed it to sell back to the orcs later at the end of the mission :)).  Great time and well put together over all.

FastJack

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« Reply #7 on: (14:21:58/08-30-12) »
I was at GenCon this year and really was very impressed with Catalyst and the GM's who volunteered.  My buddy and I didn't buy event specific tickets and each time we showed up they actually made an extra table for people who had generic tickets.  Also big shout out to GM FastJack who was incredibly helpful to someone who was new to the game and made the mission a whole lot of fun (Our group hacked the helicopter, ejected the driver and then landed it to sell back to the orcs later at the end of the mission :)).  Great time and well put together over all.
You're welcome! I had a blast running all eight (8!) of you through it.

NorthernWolf

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« Reply #8 on: (15:49:35/08-30-12) »
I'll also echo the loud, only I couldn't hear the players so well.

I'm amazed I remember so much about lip reading as I do.

I just hope I'm not the quiet voiced GM that was mentioned above.   :-[

I dont know you CanRay, but I do know you are Canadian, like me, and he was not.  Not his fault, as I said, great GM, bad hall.

NorthernWolf

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« Reply #9 on: (15:50:33/08-30-12) »
I am curious: Does anyone know who the forumites are who ran the Boot Camp?

DireRadiant

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« Reply #10 on: (16:42:01/08-30-12) »
I am curious: Does anyone know who the forumites are who ran the Boot Camp?

Grendel(Not sure if has the same handle here) and Andy(Probably Caine Haizen)
« Last Edit: (16:45:06/08-30-12) by DireRadiant »

CanRay

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« Reply #11 on: (17:09:59/08-30-12) »
I dont know you CanRay, but I do know you are Canadian, like me, and he was not.  Not his fault, as I said, great GM, bad hall.
I was amazed at the number of people that wanted to meet me at GenCon.

I just wish they had a way to tell it was me other than hitting my (broken) right arm.
Si vis pacem, para bellum

FastJack

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« Reply #12 on: (21:42:46/08-30-12) »
I dont know you CanRay, but I do know you are Canadian, like me, and he was not.  Not his fault, as I said, great GM, bad hall.
I was amazed at the number of people that wanted to meet me at GenCon.

I just wish they had a way to tell it was me other than hitting my (broken) right arm.
Just be glad I remembered your arm was broken. I had the Banhammer ready to go.