Apologies for the pause in posts last week; between the rush of getting back to real life after returning from Gencon, as well as playing in our 1879 Actual Play campaign (which, by the way, you can now watch the recording of both Episodes One and Two on our Youtube channel if you missed them), I simply did not have the time to get things gathered in a way I was satisfied with.

If only I could get the monkey in my brain to be this coordinated…

I did still have some other things to talk about from Gencon, and having taken a breath, I figure now is probably the best time to get into them before they get buried under the mountain of other things to come. Naturally, most of this will focus primarily on 1879 and my own personal observations, and if anyone has anything additional to add to the list, I encourage you to share in the comments below and on Discord.

Overall, I saw 1879 getting noticeably more attention this year than years past. We’ve had several returning fans as well as quite a few new ones showing some interest. I also actually started running into people who have heard of the line outside of our own promoting. One I met had even heard of 1879 without knowing it was a FASA product. The word is getting out there, and once again we have all of you fans to thank in talking about it. We’re definitely seeing progress, so please continue to do so out there.

You! On the motorcycle! You two girls! Tell your friends! Free parking! …. Two dollar cover charge only, folks!

Of the products at the booth, Maps of London was definitely drawing in people, much as we were hoping it would. We had the full package of maps on display for people to pick up and look at with a lot of impressed looks, and many of those were from people who were only interested in collecting maps. The accuracy of the maps for the time period was definitely a draw for people even for games outside of 1879, which of course is how we designed them, though I did see several people I talked to who had interest for them for their other games get their interest piqued when I described our setting. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m all in favor of exploring a variety of games in order to bring a wide range of ideas to whatever game you prefer to play and make it the best it can be, so even if people aren’t interested in 1879 itself, I hope they’ll consider spending some attention on the ideas we bring to the table.

The Saurids Sourcebook didn’t quite have the same visual draw (understandably since it’s a sourcebook and not as visual of a product as the maps), but there did seem to be a noticeable interest once I got to talking with them and gave a synopsis. In particular, I noticed in several circles there was a marked interest when I was describing Saurid biology and mentioned they are naturally non-binary and got into the ritual practices of the Forest Egalitarians. I’ve avoided doing a deep delve on that topic in posts as I don’t want to come across as exploiting that as a marketing ploy, but I do give that description when speaking more directly with people as I feel it’s important for them to know that representation is in the book, especially since it’s sorely lacking in a lot of places in the industry. Again, I’m hoping that word on that will spread naturally so that it’s coming from the right place.

Speaking of Saurids, the demo scenario for this year was a Saurids one, as you’d be familiar if you saw the play test during FreedoniaCon. This time around, however, I actually had the new Professions written up to fill in the character roster, and those went over very well. The Forge Priestess got to see some good use, though I think most popular was the Brawler. Joel told me on one of the games he ran that a player decided to play the character as Randy Savage, which is honestly just a perfect set up to get someone hooked into the game permanently.

We may end up having to write in a Plains tribe that makes dinosaur meat Slim Jims…

The scenario itself went over very well. I didn’t run into any issues in any of the games I ran, and there was definitely some creative problem solving being done, while still keeping things in character. I also felt the redesigned convention character sheets were quite well received. Of course it took a bit for people to get acquainted, as it would with any new sheet and system, but once they did I noticed a lot less flipping and hunting for things. They’re very much still open for feedback, and I do still want to design a full character folio for the future, but I definitely think we’re on the right track with the current design changes.

Over all, Gencon really seemed to be back in force this year. Last year things were still fairly subdued with all the Covid restrictions, but it felt like this year people were making up for lost time. I will say, however, the crowds seemed to flow much easier than in years past, and there was noticeably less tendency to linger in one place, at least not without moving out of the way. Overall this made for a much more pleasant experience getting around, and I hope that continues in the future. Of course, some of this may be due to the fact that I was walking around with a cane this year. I’ve been having some back trouble for a bit, and having difficulty staying standing for long periods, so having the cane helped to stretch out the duration (I’m seeing a chiropractor for it and making progress, so that should not be a permanent change).

Having a harder time getting around meant I didn’t see as much of the convention as I usually do, but it did mean I got to slow down and spend a bit more time where I did go, particularly in spending time talking with the rest of the FASA crew. It’s always great getting to see everyone, and we had some good conversations about things coming down the pipeline, for 1879 as well as the other lines. Definitely keep an eye out for what’s coming around the bend, as there’s quite a bit of interesting stuff. I roomed with Todd, so for everyone who had their eye caught by the big Aetherstream ships on display, rest assured, he was working on the rules while we were in the room, so that’s definitely getting pushed ahead.

In general, Gencon this year has confirmed, at least in my mind, that things are heading in a positive direction for the game. We’ve got a good team, we’re putting out good product, and it’s starting to get attention. We just need to keep that momentum going. During this next Kickstarter campaign, which is coming up shortly, it’s going to be interesting to see the response, to say the least.