Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tabletop Tuesday! San Deigo Comic Con 2015

Hello! Welcome back to Tabletop Tuesday, my weekly blog post about all things tabletop. Last weekend we were at San Diego Comic Con, where we got to experience so many awesome things - including some new tabletop games!

Last week's post was about where Con-goers could find tabletop games at SDCC. I wrote about three locations that were almost guaranteed to have games, either to play, buy, or watch as demos; the SDCC Exhibit Hall, the SDCC Game Room, and Geek & Sundry. And in 2015 these locations did not disappoint.

Hit the jump to read more!

The Con Floor:
I love the SDCC Exhibit Hall. There are so many cool things to buy and see, there are cosplayers taking photos, and if you keep your head up you can run into celebrities. There are toys and clothes and artwork for sale, free giveaways, and product demos - including tabletop games!

As for games, I really liked the Hasbro/Star Wars booth areas this year. We were able to watch a couple of gaming demos there. Like last year, Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures was showing a demo. Surrounding this demonstration were glass cases displaying the miniatures - since I am wish I was Princess Leia, I think I need a Tantive IV.

Isn't that an awesome gaming surface???

Inside the Hasbro booth there was a demo of a new Magic: The Gathering miniature game, called Arena of the Planeswalkers. It combines some of the mechanics found in tabletop RPGs, the MTG card game, and other mini games. The starter pack (retail price listed at $30) will contain five Planeswalker miniatures and everything you need to play to game. The demo was set up for a 1-on-1 game, but it can also be played as 2-on-2, 3-on-2, multi-on-1, or a multiplayer free-for-all, according to the person running the demo. It looks like a lot of fun, and we will probably pick it up when it goes on sale in the Fall.

Scattered around the hall were booths selling games and gaming tools. Because of how crowded the hall was, I didn't get many photos, but we saw an entire row of booths selling dice and gaming mats for tabletop RPGs! It was awfully tempting... We also saw booths selling games, such as the Super Fight booth and the Atlas Games booth (maker of Gloom).

The SDCC Game Rooms:
We never made it over to the game rooms so I can't say how popular they were, but the schedule was packed this year. We thought to try one of the D&D games on Sunday, but missed the start time due to a panel.

Just a few of the games on the schedule... click to embiggen!

One of the reasons we never made it over to the Game Rooms was because they were moved from the Marriott (attached to the Convention Center) to the Manchester Grand Hyatt. It's not very far, but at the same time it's not really an ideal location to just wander over and stumble upon something.

Geek & Sundry:
This offsite was part of the Nerdist Conival, located at Petco Park. Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, Geek & Sundry, and Nerdist were all represented and offered a variety of activities, and the free entry meant anyone could check it out, with or without a badge.

In the middle of the main area, near the jousting activity, was the tabletop gaming nook. This was a smaller area, but it was set back from the main walkway and wasn't crowded when we checked it out. The nook seemed busier on Saturday when we returned to watch the Warcraft movie panel, but so did the entire offsite event.

Inside the gaming nook was a display of games, where event workers were giving away temporary tattoos and large Geek & Sundry buttons. Scattered around the space were barrels, where people could play the games that were on display, and nearby was a photo op with a backdrop of a fire-breathing dragon - the whole area was medieval fantasy themed and looked great!

Since the games were stored behind the display and not left on the tables, it seemed like people had to ask to play them instead of wandering up and checking them out like they could last year. The Petco event space was larger, more open, and had a bigger crowd than the Geek & Sundry event at Jolt'n Joe's last year, so they probably didn't want the demo games to grow legs, if you know what I mean.

Unfortunately, we were not offered any games to play or asked if we wanted to take a closer look at anything when we approached the table - even though we were the only people there at the time. If this was a common occurrence, then people who didn't know to ask about a demo might have missed out on learning about the games. Last year the event staff, and even game developers, were showing attendees tables with stacks of games to play and offering to show them how. I hope this was just a one-off and other attendees did get to learn about the games, because some fun ones were available!

Games at the tabletop nook included Love Letter (regular and Batman versions), Flapjacks and Sasquatches, and Roll For It. Sorry about the lack of photos, I wasn't thinking "Blog!" while we were checking it out!

In the Wild:
In addition to these locations, we saw someone giving away a game demo pack to people waiting in the Hall H line on Friday. The game was Geek Out, which I've never played but sounds like it's a cross of a trivia game and a list game (like Scattergories) - players list as many things for a certain category (comics, fantasy, scifi) as they can based on the card prompt and try to win points for their list. It sounds like a fun group activity, and is advertised as a party game.

During the Geek & Sundry panel on Thursday, Wil Wheaton and Matthew Mercer spoke about the popularity of their tabletop RPG series, Titansgrave and Critical Role. They discussed how tabletop RPG players tend not to advertise their hobby, the people they play with on the shows, and how online video enables the success of a niche topic like tabletop gaming. It was very interesting and especially fun to listen to as a tabletop RPG player.

Did anyone see any other tabletop games at SDCC? 
Did any of you try out a demo or buy a new game? 
Leave a comment and let me know! Until next time, GAME ON!

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