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RPG: GENCON 50 Round-Up

5 Minute Read
Aug 21 2017

There were some amazing rpgs on display at Gen Con 50, come take a look!

Gen Con 50 marked the 50th year of what once began as the Lake GENeva CONvention, a collection of primarily wargamers meeting in a relatively small building to share in their hobby.

Since then, they’ve expanded and become the powerhouse that is Gen Con. And this year they were loaded for bear–assuming that the bear was looking for some quality RPGs. Anyway, without further ado, here’s a look at some of the big ones from this last weekend.


I’m going to go out on a limb and say you’ve heard of this science fantasy rpg based on/inspired by the Pathfinder engine and setting, but set both in the future and in space. This game proved to be incredibly popular around the con. Which makes sense, because after all,  Paizo had completely sold out of Starfinder before the first day even ended.

And all weekend you could find people playing it in the massive Organized Play hall, taking part in the new Starfinder League that’s kicking off with an adventure path all their own.

Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting

Inspired by the hugely popular Critical Role series, this source book takes you deep inside the literal world of the show. There are some very cool concepts in here you can borrow for your own campaign, or put your players in peril right alongside the heroes of Vox Machina.


Green Robin had a particularly strong showing, and this book was without doubt the cream of their crop.


Marking the first in-house IP that Onyx Path Publishing has developed, Pugmire is D&D, only one of those D’s stands for dogs. I haven’t had a chance to take an in depth look at this one, but, like Starfinder, it sold out in hours, proving once and for all that gaming has really gone to the dogs.

It’s out now and looks incredible.

Predation and the Jade Colossus

Monte Cook’s Cypher System is gearing up to kick into overdrive. There were two big releases at Gen Con with a third preview product that is both enticing and yet strangely ominous.

Let’s start with the two Cypher system books. First up is Predation, which I got to see demoed firsthand. The game takes place in a futuristic past. Players are members of an organization that discovered Time Travel and they sorry of crashed back in the Prehistoric ages (or Dinotimes, as it’s known to the scientific community), only the world has been influenced by the same advanced technology that stranded the players back in the past, with a cataclysmic meteor looming as a literal deadline to try and get back…to the future. Each player controls their character and the Dino-companion of another party member, so it’s basically perfect.


Second is the Jade Colossus: Ruins of Prior Worlds which I’m real eager to take a closer look at. This is a setting/adventure book for Numenera which focuses on the Jade Colossus, but which also features the game’s Ruin Mapping engine, and all kinds of helpful guidelines for creating your own ruins from long forgotten civilizations, whose miraculous technology is as baffling as it is powerful.

Finally, we have the Black Cube–a boxed set for the upcoming Invisible Sun. They had a prototype on display–prompting attendees to try their hand at summoning the black cube. It’s a collection of cards, tokens, adventures, and other paraphernalia for Invisible Sun, a game of supernatural mystery and investigation. Players take on the role of someone who has stepped out of the Shadow (which is the mundane world, basically) and into the Actuality where fate and magic and all that jazz intertwine to create a world of adventure. Prominently displayed on this eerie black cube–a deck of cards called the Sooth deck. We were told this would help determine the tides of magic in the game, providing benefits and hindrances alike, depending on how the cards are placed on the included board.

The Black Cube is estimated to arrive in early 2018.

Star Trek Adventures

We’ll round out the list with two fairly strong entries from Modiphius. First up is their take on Star Trek. Star Trek Adventures was on display, and it captured that feeling of being aboard a starship rather well. It’s set during the Dominion War, or just slightly before, but I found it works extremely well with Classic Trek as well. This is the first new Star Trek role playing game in forever, and it seemed promising.

Tales from the Loop

If I had to pick a star of the show, though, it’s definitely Tales from the Loop. This game swept the Ennies and deservedly so. Whether you’re into its gorgeous art, its intriguing setting, or just the unique take on roleplaying/problem solving, this game has it all.

It’s Stranger Things and ET and the Goonies and awesome sci-if all rolled into one. It presents some incredible opportunities for roleplaying and for designing adventures. This book is rich with idea fodder, everything about it is amazing. Keep an eye out for this one, you won’t want to miss it.


And that’s just the big stuff–there’s a ton more in terms of RPgs, a lot of indie folks were on the convention floor this year, and I’m looking forward to bringing you their work as well.

The coming year should be a good one for RPGs. I hope you’re excited.

Which Gen Con announcement are you most excited about?

Author: J.R. Zambrano
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