I forget who, but someone pointed me to meetup.com, which is a cool place for finding groups of people in the city to, uh, meetup with and do stuff. So today I met up with some peeps doing a demo of the new D&D 4E rules.
The meetup was held at this cool store in Brooklyn called King Games. The place runs on a clever business plan: provide a huge space full of tables for D&D and MtG and other nerd table-top hobbies; provide huge TVs and video game consoles; and provide a bunch of PCs for networked gaming and net surfing; let people use it all for no to low cost; then sell shit loads of junk food to all the hungry nerds who come in.
Today, while we were doing the D&D, King Games was hosting a MtG tournament. Probably close to a hundred people showed up to compete. (I think 4 winners were splitting a $!000 prize!) The garbage cans were overflowing with soda bottles, empty bags of chips, and ice cream wrappers (including pints of Haagen Daas [which I'm not going to look up to bother to spell correctly]). Based on the setting and the food selection, you can imagine what the crowd looked like. It was weird for me to be among so many people and find that I'm in the top tiers of fitness, personal hygiene, and social skills.
Anyway, the 4E demo was lots of fun. The combat felt really streamlined, the classes more useful, flexible, and customizable, and the game overall had a more cinematic feel. Some players were concerned that the changes to skills and whatnot will weaken the roleplaying aspect of the game, but I don't see that happening. (The demo was designed to showcase the new combat rules, so there wasn't much actual "role" playing involved.)
Everyone at the meetup was friendly and inviting, and it was well worth the long trip to get there. But I still miss the old D&D Krew. I'm trying to find some local Queens people to get together a group with, but somehow it just won't be the same.