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Gaming & Cosplay at Indiana Comic Con

Northwest Indiana Comic Con has been going on for six years now, and we've attended it every

year. It's a great event that typically kicks off the convention season, often happening about a month or so before Chicago's largest comic convention, C2E2. It's a great show for comic collectors, with a lot of vendors selling back issues and graphic novels. It's got some great artists and a robust artists alley that includes a quite a few comic artists from big publishers. As well, it's a great convention for cosplayers--with a few vendors selling props and accessories. There's also an annual cosplay contest with some nice prizes judged by folks like our founder, Monica Paprocki.

Like many conventions in recent years, this one has embraced tabletop gaming. While the first few years of the convention were focused on comics and toys, this year had some great gaming events from the folks at the Independent Game Developer Network. This game developer collective pops up at a lot of conventions in the Midwest--and they tend to have some awesome tabletop board games and RPGs that you probably haven't heard of, and now they've mad NWI a great place to go and sample some more obscure tabletop role-playing.

Both I and my wife, Monica spent some time at their gaming table this year. The group was running some games that I've wanted to try for quite some time. This included Free League's Forbidden Lands (which is one of the best-looking game boxes I've ever seen), Never Going Home, a game of WWI era horror/adventure that I've been looking for a chance to play for a couple of years, and Chill, now something of a classic, Chill is a game that has been around since the 80s, and is now in it's 3rd edition.

We got to the convention a bit later than usual this year, around 10 AM. The convention was already packed, with a lot of people on the floor. Thankfully, the lines to get in were shorter this year. But after a quick walk around the floor, I wanted to hop in on some gaming, and took the chance to play a game of Chill. My buddy Kevin has been prodding me to try it for years, and I'm glad that I did. Our game master happened to be the owner of the local coffee shop Grindhouse (one of my new favorite restaurants). Only one other player joined me for the session, but we had a great time uncovering the mystery of a missing child in an abbreviated version of an adventure with characters taken right out of the book. It was easy for me to pick up as a long-time Call of Cthulhu with its focus on horror and investigation and its simple percentage-based skill system. I ended up buying a copy of the game, and I'll have to review it down the road.

After that, I caught a game of Never Going Home--a game with a moderately simple D6 system of

adventure on the front line of WWI where occult powers are a part of the conflict. My wife, in her Princess Jasmine cosplay, joined me and one other player for this game. The character creation process was simple and we were able to make characters within a few minutes, simply allocating points to various attributes and skills. The game's mechanics allow you to form a dice pool from your attributes and a situation-appropriate attribute at one D6 per your total points. Instead of rolling one die per point, however, you can also buy a chance to reroll dice that aren't success or to buy up a die to be a success. These are some really cool options that make the game interesting and quite strategic. You'll have to use your dice carefully to maximize your chances of success, but if done right, you might be able to succeed with some planning and luck. We enjoyed the adventure that we played through, retrieving a legendary sword for the wizard Merlin.

Monica had to leave a bit early to judge the cosplay contest, and we wrapped up with an eager player who wanted to jump in and take over. We completed the mission without casualties and even took the time to level up our characters for the fun of it. I skipped the late session of Forbidden Lands to see the cosplay contest, which had some solid competition this year. Congrats to our writer Shining Polaris, for picking up the top prize.

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