Every year I look forward to playing D&D at Gen Con. Whether it is with friends, my kids or at the RPGA room. To me it is what Gen Con is about. Of course I got that chance. But...not all D&D is created equal.
Legend of Drizzt - D&D Board Game
Thursday I played the D&D Board Game The Legend of Drizzt. I signed up for this because I wanted to get a better feel for the game and I thought it would be a fun game to get my wife to play with us.
Well our "GM" (and to be fair the game does not need one, but they had people playing that role to show us how to play) was so busy doing other things that she never could really focus her attention on us. We didn't get started till 30 minutes after the start time and the pieces were never really set up for us. Like D&D4 characters get daily, utility and at-will powers. We had played Ravenloft before so we knew to expect that. We got our power cards, but it was never explained what they were or how they should be used, or even that we were not to use all the ones we were given. Later we discovered that many of the powers for our characters were left in the box including a trap disabling power that could have saved two of the characters.
The GM was very unclear on the rules and went back and forth on what constituted a "tile", and was rarely available to answer our questions leaving my wife and I and the other player going through the rules on our own.
All in all, a very disappointing experience. If WotC was trying to sell me a game didn't quite do it. I wanted to pick up Wrath of Ashardalon, but now I want to wait till I play some more Ravenloft first.
D&D 4 - Living Divine
Ok this game ran much better. The DM knew her rules, had a great grasp on the concepts and introduced a new interesting concept.
However. I have some issues with the adventure and the Living Divine play-ability.
First, the concept of Living Divine is pretty cool. I like the idea and I like what they are trying to do. It just was not a good idea for a con game where we can't invest in the character and enjoy in their divine growth.
Secondly, and most importantly, I didn't like the adventure itself. Basically the point of the entire adventure was to kill a bunch of scared villagers so we take a baby from her parents to give to a demon.
I'll give my son credit, he didn't want to do any killing. He was more than happy to attack the demon, but killing people that were basically afraid of us was not something he was cool with it.
My issue with it was simply we had no effect on the outcome or overall plot. We had no real chance of killing the demon or altering the effect of what will happen with the baby. Honestly in that situation my character would have taken the baby to raise, but that wasn't really an option. The DM was passionate about her creation to be sure, but we had only a small part in her world.
For me, I like run games at Cons where the players feel like they are the most important people in the world. They are the ones between the innocent and the darkness AND I want to be sure when we are playing I know my rules upside down, backwards and forwards and if the players have a question then I need to be able to answer it. I am not just representing the game I am running, but myself and the company I am running for. I want people to leave my table saying they will buy that game or tell me they are going to play my games next year.
Sorry WotC, I am a HUGE fan, but I can't say that about these games.
Special Mention. LEGO - Heroica
We also played a demo game of LEGO Heroica. This experience was everything the others were not. The guy demoing the games took the time to explain everything to us including all the rules our goals and how we needed to do everything. He lots of other tables, but he didn't leave till we told him we were good. He also came back many times to check in on us. The game we played was sold out...so we bought 3 others. That's how much fun we had.