Tales from the Gazebo – KantCon: Hanging with the Gryphons

KantCon: Hanging with the Gryphons
By Cape Rust

After sailing the 7th Sea I had the urge to complete one more walk around KantCon. My kitchen pass was diminishing fast (actually my wife is extremely supportive of my nasty little gaming habit, but why take advantage of her good nature). As I made my way to the rear right-hand corner of the main convention hall, I saw a familiar emblem. Now This emblem isn’t as popular as Batman’s symbol or even the Thundercat symbol, but in my world it still has meaning. As you can guess from the title of this story, I had arrived at the Silver Gryphon Games booth. If you are a fan of Roleplayers Chronice then you should be familiar with Silver Gryphon Games; Roleplayers Chronicle has announced the release of several of their products in the past. If you have never heard of them now is as good a time as any.

Silver Gryphon Games is the brain child of Ben Overmyer and Kevin Rohan. Both of these guys have enough gaming experience to choke a goat. After meeting them I was pleased that at no point during our conversation did they discuss the color of boxes that they have played. In a wise move Ben and Kevin play to their strengths and use a blend of their talents to develop solid, well-loved products. They have recently added Dave Baymiller to form a triumvirate that will continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the gaming industry.

While Silver Gryphon Games is a small company, they have accomplished big things in the big pond we call the gaming industry. Silver Gryphon Games is an official licensee of Savage Worlds and has produced the Wellstone City for the system. Wellstone City is a noir setting that was originally designed for Silver Gryphons Games AEther setting, but evolved into a stand alone for Savage Worlds. AEther is a system that focuses on streamlined game play full of skill driven characters, role-playing and team building. Ben and Kevin are also responsible for Panzer Reich, a miniature based role-playing setting that uses the AEther setting. Ingenium is yet another product that lives in Silver Gryphon’s nest. Released in 2010 Ingenium is gaining popularity and Silver Gryphon Games is planning several future releases to enhance player experience.

Now that you are completely up to speed with the products that the boys in silver produce, let me tell you a little about Ben and Kevin based on my interactions at KantCon. Before I go on, I have to say that in no way does Roleplayers Chronicle favor one game development company over another (well maybe Mystical Throne Entertainment). But when you get to spend a few hours at a Con with the guys, they deserve a little spotlight time.

As I approached the booth both Ben and Kevin had just finished setting up their booth and the combination of the black material with the lighted etched glass panels was outstanding. Add a simple yet effective display of their in-print products and I simply couldn’t stay away. I introduced myself and my affiliation with Roleplayers Chronicle and Geek-Life. The guys had heard of me and even read some of my stuff. It was good to start with some common ground, with both of the guys connections to South Dakota as well as my own (wife’s family), the conversation became even easier. After the butt sniffing or introductions as more refined folks like to call it we started talking gaming.

I was familiar with some of Silver Gryphon’s products, but as I got to talk with the creators I really got a feel for what Silver Gryphon Games is trying to do as a company. These guys are not driven by profit, they are driven by a love of making and playing games. Sure money is great, but to them it allows them to continue to produce player-centric games that matter. While I was at their booth I perused their products that I was less knowledgeable about and saw a wonderfully obvious pattern. In all of the introductions of the Silver Gryphon Games books, the players and fun were THE most important factors in their game design and concepts. I know that with the changing gaming market that there are hundreds of companies that feel the exact same way the folks over at Silver Gryphon Games do; the difference is that out of those companies, very few of them are producing AAA titles like Silver Gryphon Games. Is their stuff perfect, no, but they are a company that is willing to listen and adapt to the needs and suggestions of their customers.

After bothering the guys for a significant amount of time, I reluctantly had to bid them farewell as I was already pushing the limits of my wife’s good-natured support. Before I left I was invited to participate in an Ingenium pickup game the following day in the 2-6 P.M. slot. I was as happy as a little girl at mylittleponyCon; after all one does not simply say no to the chance to play a great game with one of the game’s creators….. I left my first day at the con giddy with anticipation; thinking this Con Kant get any better. As you can guess I was wrong!

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