Did You Get To Play Anything Cool At Gen Con?

Well, it’s been a little over a week since Gen Con 2019 wrapped and I imagine that everyone has had a chance to decompress and return to the ordinary world. Now that we have had an opportunity to reflect on our experiences there, did anyone get to play anything noteworthy at Gen Con?

I played in only one game. By the time I went to register, all the games I wanted were sold out. I bought some generic tickets, but this was my first year going to Gen Con without having 16+ hours of programming to run, so I was treating the experience more like a vacation than I usually get to. I’m not gonna lie, I took a lot of sweet, sweet naps in my hotel room.

The one game I did get to play was Unspeakable: Sigil & Sign. It was run off the books by some of the developers. It’s a game that is being released as a partnership between Make Believe Games and Cubicle 7. It uses Mark Rein-Hagen’s newish Axiom system, and it’s the third game they are releasing with that engine.

I’ve never played an Axiom game and while I found the presentation to be lovely (lots of cool little cards and dice and stuff to interact with), it’s still very trad with lots of key words written on both sides of the card and which face is up means different things, and the position of the word on the card has different interactions. I dunno, it sort of left me cold.

The conceit behind Unspeakable is that you play the cultists in a Cthulhu horror scenario, rather than the investigators. That is really the best part of the game and I think that as a concept it still has a lot of promise. It was a little White Wolf-y with lots of little factions you can belong to and stuff like that.

I’m really bummed I missed Casket Land at Games on Demand, but my copy is on it’s way. Anyway, what did everyone here get to play?


I mostly ran games that I’ve run before, but there were a few highlights in the games I ran off the books.

Mission Accomplished, which is essentially “Archer Debriefing where you achieved the objective of the mission but everyone’s trying to blame everyone else for all the things that went wrong”, was a lot of fun.

Also did a Cortex Prime Deadwood-inspired Western that I REALLY want to turn into a full campaign.


The Western sounds sick. There seems to be a lot of interest in westerns lately huh? It feels like there have been a lot of them in development, but I haven’t seen them come out.


Deadwood’s movie coming out really did it for me.

We had a Sherrif, a Cattle Baron, and a Saloon Owner (also a Homesteader and a Thief, but we only had 3 players that afternoon) and that system encourages the players to be at each other’s throats in a fun way.


Yeah, me too. I got signed up for a Delta Green game at the very last moment and it was…meh.

As always, Games on Demand was where it’s at. Played my first session of World Wide Wrestling, knowing zero about wrestling outside of what I saw on GLOW and it was pretty amazing.

Played Dis/Connect by Erika Chappell (loved it, despite wanting to play Flying Circus) which was a deliberate evocation of the original CP game, d100 mechanics and all. Setting / character creation was a blast and our table was super creative.

Ran three sessions of Zombie World, two Magpie official 1 impromptu at GoD. All great tables, very different games.


I played things at Games on Demand, pretty much the entire time.

For the Queen, where my PC turned out to be the queen’s fairy godmother and engineered the ambush as a test of the queen’s demonic power

Fobolex Corporate Retreat, where my alien accountant was more interested in praising the Orb than in processing funding requests

Space Post where we lost our interplanetary mail carrier partway through, so we promoted the intern. Also, two AIs had a whirlwind love affair and painful breakup in the span of a few microseconds.

And a lot of times running the games I was offering, Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple (which was always funny and chaotic) and Rusalka (which was always a dark, tragic fairy tale of wishes gone wrong).

Those games were all great!


I played some fun larps - The Straights Are Not OK, which is excellent, Gander Reveal Party, which is profoundly stupid, and Jolene and The Fobolex Interstellar Corporate Retreat and The Goose of Grillner Grove, which I guess technically isn’t a larp but sure is great. We played it as a thematic sequel to Gander Reveal Party.

I ran six games of Lead & Gold and three games of Space Post at Games on Demand. I also facilitated a game of We Are Roommates Now for two tables at once, which was fun! And a playtest of a larp I’m working on called Kirkwood Gap.

I streamed a game of the revised Fiasco on Gen Con’s Twitch stream and demo’d it a bunch. We launched the Kickstarter during Gen Con, which apparently you aren’t supposed to do. On brand.


I’m not familiar with “Lead & Gold” and when I search for it online, a video game turns up. Where can I learn more about it?

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It’s a game by Alex Dodge that is in playtest and I don’t think it is generally available. It’s a hybrid tabletop/larp about a heist gone wrong; you play a crew that got away with the money from a bank robbery but one of you is definitely a rat. Through some very clever mechanics, you try to figure out who set you up, and then kill them. It takes about an hour and is really fun.

Similarly Gander Reveal Party, by Chad Wolf, is in playtest and The Fobolex Interstellar Corporate Retreat is by myself and Alex Roberts and has never been released, I don’t think.


Fobolex was sent out on the Drip April, 2018. I knew I had it, so I searched my most powerful database: Gmail.

I think that counts as a release.


GenCon is work for me, so I only had 3 slots free to actually play in. I ran Cartel in the Magpie Room on Thursday and Friday. Both games were with folks who had never played, and signed up out of curiosity. They were both plenty of fun and a welcome respite from the day in the hall. Cartel is basically done, and I’m looking forward to the full release later this year.

On Saturday after a surgical strike on the amazing Indian restaurant around the corner I joined @Alexi_Sarge for a playtest of his game of nuns in spiritual battle against evil, Autumn Triduum. It’s intense and deep in the weeds of Catholicism while remaining accessible ala some of @Jmstar’s more hyper-specific setting/genre stuff. I’m always grateful when designers are willing to let me play with their in-progress designs, and once unpack the experience I am hoping to talk about it on my podcast.


What podcast do you do?

It’s called Just Played! 15-20 minute recaps of game sessions including observation and design/GM notes on what we played.



Awwwwweeeeee yea! That sounds great! I’m gonna check it. Have you heard of Full Metal RPG? I do that one. Check it out sometime if you are looking for something to kill an hour :slight_smile:

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Jim, you’re too kind—not only was I thrilled to have you playtest the game, but the Indian food was indeed delicious. I had fun running the session, and I certainly aspire to the @Jmstar comparison being accurate. It’s definitely a hyper-specific game (as the title suggests, it’s hard-framed to the three day period of Halloween, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day) but I hope it enables gamers of all stripes to tell stories about darkness, faith, and sisterhood. More info here, for anyone interested.

The rest of my GenCon leaned heavily towards Magpie Games’ offerings, including running one session of Masks and playing in two (exploring some new playsets from Masks: Unbound, Spiderweb and Iron Red Soldiers). Plus I got to play my first session of Epyllion, a game about young dragons and the magic of friendship. I was an art dragon (the Crafter playbook) who gave out magic tattoos.


If you’re willing to play a oneshot I can’t recommend @Keith’s Seco Creek Vigilance Committee highly enough for solid Deadwood-like Western feels.


What was the indian place, I missed out on that!

GenCon was work and reconnecting with my friend mostly, but I did get to try Zombie World, and now have an order placed at my FLGS for it, and plans to run it at a local con along with “For The Queen”! I was interested in how it replaced dice rolls with cards, and how that actually added to the tension of the situation!

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This place: It’s amazing, some of the best Indian food I’ve had (and I’ve had a LOT), and it’s crazy cheap: http://www.indiagardenindy.com/


Only the annual dream that I might one day attend …


It’s worth going at least once for the experience. Def save early and a lot, I think I ended up spending about 2k between hotel + flight + expenses