Gencon '07 was a great place to be for fans of Star Wars PocketModels. As soon as people walked into the exhibitor's hall they were face-to-face with Wizkids booth, and right in the center was a giant-sized playing field full of oversized units from the Ground Assault expansion. Both new cards and ships were included.
Not much official activity took place on Friday, but I did have the opportunity to meet Justin Ziran, the Brand Manager, and Mike Elliot, the Lead Designer. It was great how approachable and informative they were. They didn't give out a lot of new information, though there is plenty of that in the upcoming video interviews done at their main offices in Seattle. They were very much aware of the current ease with which objectives are taken out, and there are mechanics and pieces in these upcoming sets which will help alleviate that issue. Their goal is to keep each method of winning as balanced as possible. They did give me one bit of bad news. The release date for Ground Assault has slipped to an unspecified date sometime in late October.
Check out this thread for more information and impressions from Friday.
Saturday was by far the biggest day for PocketModels. The day started out with a live demonstration using the oversized models. The game was announced via a microphone, and prizes were given out based on enthusiasm and loudness. The booth was packed with people curious about the commotion.
Here's a peek at the Wizkids booth during the live demo:
The Pre-release tournament took place on Saturday afternoon. There was a great turnout with somewhere around 150 participants showing up. Due to printing issues and difficulty getting the product there in time for the pre-release (likely the same issue causing the pushback in the release date), participants didn't receive real packs of Ground Assault. Instead, they were given manilla envelopes with three randomly inserted sealed ship card bags (i.e. 2 cards per bag), a set of randomly inserted specially printed cards, and a pack (or two - I don't recall how many exactly) from the base set. These cards are interesting because they were printed at the Wizkids offices on a high gloss backing. They are unlike the cards that will come in packs and should therefore be quite collectible. The actual tournament itself went great. Lots of free packs were given out and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. The tournament went along with only a few glitches (incorrect calls, etc) and overall was a great experience.
This thread has more information and impressions from Saturday.