Gen*Con 2014 Report: The Naga Awaken

The 13th day of the month of the Monkey

The long journey to the Plains of the Maiden began.  For the next 4 1/2 days, players would be battling against the Dark Naga forces, sparring against others in friendly drafts, and competing for the ultimate title of North American Champion.

I roomed with 3 Mantis players: David Hanson (with his wife and son), Aloysius Krieger, and Shammah Chancellor.

The 14th day of the month of the Monkey

As you know, I hadn’t had time to playtest for Gen*Con so I decided that playing in the Grinders was not a good idea.  Thursday was taken up by playing against the Siege deck. Sadly, the group that I was in could not win the last battle in hour 11.  Inevitability times 2 after we exhausted our resources meant no chance at a comeback.

Strange Assembly defeats the Kolat Informant

I thought our goal was in sight after this loss despite my best efforts to help the group I was with win, but little did I know what the rest of Rokugan had in store for us.

That night, of course, was the annual Mantis Clan Dinner at the Rock Bottom.

Mantis Clan Dinner 3 Mantis Clan Dinner 4 Mantis Clan Dinner 6 Mantis Clan Dinner

The 15th day of the month of the Monkey

IMG_0559I had planned on playing in the Big Deck event but overslept on Friday morning.  :/

Chris JusticeInstead, I helped with broadcasting the Big Deck event.

Chris Justice ended up winning the event playing The Governor’s Estate / Divining Pool combo deck.  The deck is much more resilient than it looks.  Even if you destroy the Divining Pool or your opponent doesn’t find it until later, being able to never get gold screwed or gold flooded means that your deck is completely resilient to many issues.  Between both of those problems, Chris played the deck trying to prove a point that the stronghold itself was the problem.  I believe he proved his point personally after seeing the deck in action.  The deck ran almost all personalities and many ways to search for and recur Divining Pool.  Yes that is a picture of Hida next to Fu Leng.  All Jigoku had broken loose ^_^.

Then there was one of two Doomtown Reloaded events.  This was one that was on Friday had 44 players.

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I also walked around the AEG booth getting photos of the players in the grinders, the Big Deck event, and the first official Doomtown event in many years.  With the number of copies sold at Gen*Con, the future of Doomtown in the ECG format is quite safe indeed.

The 16th day of the month of the Monkey

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The Main Event for the North American Championships had 70 players.  That number would probably have been higher if not for the 58 that Doomtown Reloaded had for their High Noon tournament.  The Second Chance event also had 58 players (with a $600 bounty up for grabs no less).  The overall numbers seem to be down this year for L5R.

AEG has a special announcement for both the Main Event and Second Chance events.  For the first time ever (to my knowledge), players who normally would not make the Cut rounds still had the opportunity to effect the story of the game.  Players who didn’t make the Top 16 in the Main Event or Second Chance event would be put into brackets of 16 and continue to play.  Each of those brackets would be tied to a district of the Second City. After the Quarterfinal match of each bracket was completed, each player had to choose 1 character aligned to their faction and who was Ivory legal.  The winner of each bracket would face the Dark Naga’s Champion at that particular district.  If the district was burning, the Dark Naga’s Champion at that location would slay the chosen personality.  If the district was still being held by the forces of Rokugan, the chosen personality would slay the Dark Naga’s Champion at that location.  I have to applaud the merging of the Siege deck, the Main Event, and the Second Chance event together with the increased opportunity to affect the story of the game.  I hope to see more of this in the future.

Today was my first opportunity doing commentary for any CCG.  I’ve been a fan of the coverage that Star City Games first started bringing to the table several years ago and have been studying their coverage for quite sometime.  Despite never taking anything in broadcast journalism, I feel that my notes paid off.

Chris Medico and Brad Reeves

I was happy to help Joshua Kolb and Frank Kallal with the 6th Ring broadcast.  I enjoyed getting to talk with Melissa Bowers, Chris Medico, Geoff Prugh, and Dan Dineen in the booth as well (despite me not knowing Chris at first [me = fail on that one]).

There were several matches throughout the weekend that rather epic including a Top 16 match in the Second Chance event on camera that was the best game of the weekend (nice to see TN getting some rep between Donny, Jacob, and Will).  Dan was picking the feature matches, so we had more of a variety than just the top decks / clans.  He also made sure that we had several games from the Second Chance event.  That footage will be over at The 6th Ring’s YouTube page when it has all been archived.  Then you all can see that I look like a heavy Jon Gruden on camera ^_^.

After the end of the Swiss rounds, two of the gentleman who I was rooming with had made the cut.  Aloysius Krieger made the cut in the main event, and Shammah Chancellor made the cut in the Second Chance event (both playing Mantis).  Shammah ended up losing in Top 16 while Aloysius moved on to the Top 8 of the North American Championships as the only Mantis in the cut.  Aloysius had chosen Toshiro, the Jagged Tusk of Death to defend the Imperial District.  L5R streamer Anthony Ngo (http://www.twitch.tv/togashiazrael) ends up making the cut but gets bounced out by Jason Aken (this just in Crane are good).

That night came the L5R Experience.

David HansonMy other roommate on this trip, David Hanson, his wife Jennifer and their son Bryan. David has been playing L5R since the beginning…Imperial Edition. Dave competed in the costume contest last year and his character has a bit of history for Yoritomo’s Alliance players.  His character is the grandson of Doji Chomei.  He has crafted a history, family tree, etc for this.  His costume pays homage to the old card frames as well.  David finished second in the contest to David Winner.  Mr. Winner’s Crane armor, mempo and no-dachi stole the show.

The 17th day of the month of the Monkey

The Top 8 was upon us.

While the Top 8 was being broadcast, the winners of the Friday and Saturday Doomtown: Reloaded events met in a winner take all finals.  Brian Fox, an L5R player by trade and learned Doomtown only 2 days prior, won the finals with Morgan Cattle Company.

In the feature match area, we covered the Top 8 and Top 4 matches of the Second Chance event before getting to watch the Finals of the Main Event between Case Kiyonaga and Jason Aken.  Both players had been here before with Case making his 3rd finals at Gen*Con and Aken making his 2nd.

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The Crane on Crane finals marks only the 3rd time that the same clan met in the finals of a Gen*Con main event (Brotherhood of Shinsei in 1999, Crab in 2004 [Aken’s other finals]).  Text coverage can be found here.  Case had chosen to have Kakita Kae defend the Imperial District while Aken had Daidoji Tobei to defend the Imperial District.  Game 1 was a hard fought close game that Case ended up pulling out.  Game 2 wasn’t as close and Case Kiyonaga wins his 2nd North American Championship.

Case had chosen to support Iweko Seiken meaning that Aken was left to support Shibatsu.  Crane civil war incoming?

After the finals between Case and Jason ended, part of the final story was told.  I decided to record it as well as the special announcement afterwards:

“…and 100,000 Naga awaken from their slumber”

Naga-Mon

I have to wonder what kind of evil will also begin to stir.  Last time they had awoken, the 2nd day of Thunder happened.  I know that some players are happy that the Naga have returned.  I know that some players think that the game has too many factions as it is.  Personally, I like to see older (or new) factions be infused back into the story every so often.  While the world should be mainly human, this is a fantasy world, so the existence of nonhumans both for good or for ill should be available to players.

Sadly, the adventure had to end here.  It was so good to see so many players (Dan Jacobson, Brian Fox, Chris Stevenson, Jay Earle, Dan Heinrich, Dave Campos) and meet the numerous new faces.  I had many, many thank you about the blog and what I do for the community at large.  I was quite humbled by the experience.

The only objective that I was unable to complete was the recording of the Podcast episodes with Story Team and with Design Team as I had planned.  Time issues between us all seem to be the largest constraint.  We are still planning on asking the questions you all asked.

Next year’s Gen*Con will be the 20th anniversary of Legend of the Five Rings (and it will be two weeks earlier than usual).  I plan on being involved in this event without question.

Yoritomo Arashi

A member of the Mantis Clan, Yoritomo Arashi has been masterful at gathering information for the Silken Sect. The master of information founded The Kolat Informant blog in March of 2011 and The Oni's Eye Podcast in October 2013.