I had a great time at GenCon 2011 this year. Unlike Origins, I only went for the weekend, but enjoyed it nonetheless. My time was divided between running Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space for Cubicle 7 and touring the vendor hall at the exhibit.

Running Doctor Who was an interesting experience. I was given some prerelease materials including character sheets for the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy Pond, Rory Williams, and River Song. The current box set features the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and his companions, but Cubicle 7 is in the process of creating a new box set which has the same rules, but has art for the Eleventh Doctor era. I’m told that PDF character sheets from both eras will be available online once the new set is released.

I ran three sessions of the adventure “Cat’s Eye,” which will be released soon (probably as an adventure in the Matt Smith set). As I hinted in my last post, it involved hobos, aliens, and lots and lots of cats! The scenario only took about 2 hours, but since the players signed up for a 4 hour game, I ran a shortened version of “Sovereigns of the Sea,” my one-shot involving the TARDIS arriving on the Queen Anne’s Revenge and Blackbeard trying to find a treasure that, unbeknownst to him, belonged to aliens who didn’t take kindly to pirates.

All my games went well and I had a lot of fun with them. But my favorite one had to be the “Sovereigns of the Sea” part of the second session. The player who was playing The Doctor had to leave early, so we were left with River Song, Captain Jack Harkness, K-9, and Craig (that guy from the episode where the Doctor rented out a room in a house where the second story was actually an alien spaceship). None of the players wanted to take the Doctor, so we decided that River kicked the Doctor out of the TARDIS and took the companions on their own adventure!

River SongJack Harkness

There was so much great banter between River and Captain Jack in our games. They really need to meet!

Fully intending to go to the Caribbean beach (and leaving the TARDIS decked out in beach attire, complete with putting a Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses on K-9), they arrived on the Queen Anne’s Revenge. When the pirates tried to make them walk the plank, River just led the group into the TARDIS and (knowing how to actually drive the thing) took it to the beach where they waited for the pirates to arrive. River told the dumbfounded pirates that she was a magical witch and proved it by “resurrecting” Jack when they shot him.

When the monsters started emerging from the sea, they all figured that since The Doctor wasn’t around, they could just shoot them willy nilly. Craig on the other hand had a shining moment of awesome as he grabbed a coconut, chucked it at the Sea Devils, and rolled 15 over the “Nearly Impossible” difficulty level, knocking out two of them and intimidating the third to drop its weapon! The pirates decided to flee, what with a witch, an immortal man, a mechanical machine, and “The Craiginator” on the shores!

Then detecting the Sea Devil’s hibernation pods inside the mountain, River decided they should all take a shortcut. So they hopped into the TARDIS to have it materialize where the hibernation pods were. Seeing the Sea Devils emerge, “The Craiginator” convinced them all that he was the Chief Warlord of Earth and that they should all go back into the hibernation pods instead of die trying to fight him. Another incredible roll and he actually managed to pull it off! With the aliens dealt with and the pirates gone, the companions decided to spend the rest of the time lounging on the Caribbean beach!

Going through the vendor hall, I got to pick up a preordered print copy of Savage Worlds Deluxe and had it signed by Shane Hensley and Clint Black. My Savage Worlds fanboyism definitely showed through there. I bought a few new nifty things as well, including The One Ring and the very strange Spam Dice Game.

Signatures inside Savage Worlds Deluxe

My signed copy of Savage Worlds Deluxe!

Spam Dice Game

Not sure that I'll play it very often, but it's definitely an interesting thing to have on your gaming shelf!

I also got to try prerelease demos of Fantasy Flight Games‘ new Star Wars Games: X-Wing and Star Wars: The Card Game, both to be released in Spring 2011. The first was a tactical minis game which pitted X-Wings versus TIE-Fighters. It was a lot of fun and in our demo the might of the Empire used superior tactics to crush the pathetic Rebellion! I asked if maybe it might be possible to do the Death Star trench run in the final game. The GM gave a huge smile and said, “Fantasy Flight Games is big on expansion packs.”

The second was a cooperative “Living Card Game.” Basically, several players with different Rebellion decks worked together to whittle down the non-player Empire deck. Unlike traditional trading card games, all the cards in a set are included in the expansion packs, so trading is not necessary and you don’t have to worry about commons, uncommons, and rares. It was pretty fun and I just might purchase the base set at least.

All in all, a good experience and I wouldn’t be opposed to going next year if things work out.