In a few days, we’re making the trek to Indianapolis for the best four days of gaming – Gen Con! This will be our second time going, with the first being in 2015. With a 10-hour drive to tackle, we’ve got some time to think about all the exciting events and anticipate the games we’re going to demo and/or purchase. Here’s what we’re looking forward to at the Gen Con 50.
Gen Con is upon us and the hype train is at maximum capacity with some great looking games being released at the convention this year. The first time we went to Gen Con was in 2015 and it was overwhelming because of all the different things we wanted to do and see. I feel like we have a better plan going into it this year by not booking too many events, allowing us more time to walk the exhibit hall to demo as many games as we can. We’ve been doing our blog for a little over a year now and have learned a lot, but there’s always more things to learn, which is why we’re planning on attending a couple panels on content creation and running a blog. I’m pretty excited to learn more about what established content creators processes are and if we could implement those into our blog.
Of course, the main reason we go to Gen Con is to check out the new games and attempt to grab some of them before their retail release dates. Here’s my list of most anticipated games (in no particular order):
Magic Maze (Sit Down!)
A cooperative real-time game that has players taking on the role of a mage, warrior, elf, and dwarf that have been stripped of their possessions. The adventurers are in luck – the Magic Maze shopping mall has all the equipment they need. Unfortunately, they’re going to have to steal the equipment because they have no money. With the unique twist of only being able to communicate before starting the mission, it looks like it solves the problem of one player taking over the entire game and creates tension as you hope the rest of your teammates stick with the plan. This game looks like it would be a blast to play and the real-time aspect of it will ensure there won’t be any lulls in the action.
Summit: The Board Game (Inside Up Games)
A survival game of climbing a mountain that is a triple threat with competitive, cooperative, and solo play options. This game looks interesting to me because it’s a theme I haven’t seen before and the flexibility of three different game modes intrigues me. It looks like it has a lot of interesting decisions as players need to decide what supplies they should bring with them before the game beings. Do you pack more to help with your survival or keep it to the bare essentials to lighten the load and move quicker?
Custom Heroes (Alderac Entertainment Group – AEG)
Custom Heroes is a climbing, trick-taking game where the goal is to play all the cards from your hand before anyone else. It utilizes the same card upgrading system as AEG’s 2016 Mystic Vale, which has players placing transparent plastic cards into a card sleeve to represent the upgrades. The only other climbing, trick-taking game I’ve ever played has been P & A (Presidents & A-holes) and it was always a great time during lunch and study hall in high school. Custom Heroes takes it one step further with card upgrades, which will manipulate a card’s value. With great looking art and the card upgrading system, this game is one I’ll definitely be checking out.
Codenames Duet (Czech Games Edition)
We’ve always been huge fans of Codenames and this iteration of it will be no different with the big change being that the game is purely cooperative for 2-4 players. The way this works is that both sides of the clue cards will be used every game with each person giving clues from only one side. The challenge will come from the fact that an assassin on your side of the clue card might really be an agent that your partner is trying to get you to guess. This version of Codenames looks unique enough for us to add to our collection that we’ll be able to play with a smaller group of people.
Fate of the Elder Gods (Greater Than Games – Fabled Nexus)
There’s a been a lot of Cthulu-themed games coming out over the past couple years and almost every single one of them has you trying to prevent the elder gods from entering the human world. This is where Fate of the Elder Gods changes up the formula as players are in charge of a cult attempting to summon the Elder Gods to this world. The components and gameplay of this game look great with a lot of player interaction as each cult races to be the first to summon their Elder God.
Viral (Arcane Wonders)
The newest game added to the Dice Tower Essentials line has players becoming a virus infecting a human body. Players will be competing with each other to infect different portions of the body, but they’ll have to be careful because the immune system will start to fight back once it detects a crisis. The artwork in this game is great with a cartoon-ish look to all the viruses and the different organs in the human body. It’s a theme I’ve never seen before in a board game and reminds me of a much smaller scale version of Plague Inc. It does look like it could be a mean game as players are competing with each other for the different areas of the body, so that could be off-putting for Mandee. I’m hoping we can demo it to see if we want to add it to our collection.
What I loved most about Gen Con when we went in 2015 was perusing the Exhibit Hall. Seeing all the different types of games, hobbies, and merchandise is fascinating. And experiencing the general camaraderie of the whole event is really cool. Because 2015 was our first and only time ever attending Gen Con, the one thing we’ll definitely try to do more of is demo more games. We did not do that nearly as much as we should have. We are also taking advantage of more panels and informative events this year rather than just board game events.
But, ultimately, I’m also excited about trying some new board games. Here’s my most anticipated games to demo and/or buy, in no particular order:
Ex Libris (Renegade Game Studios)
This is probably my top game to test and purchase for Gen Con 50. In Ex Libris, players compete to become the Grand Librarian. Competing against other book collector colleagues, you’re expanding your personal library by sending assistants out to find the most impressive items to add to your collection. The theme is right in line with my interests and it incorporates worker placement elements that seem like it’ll be a good addition to our collection.
The Palace of Mad King Ludwig (Bezier Games)
The original Mad King Ludwig is one of my favorite games so I’m pretty excited to try this one. Much like the original game, players builds rooms one at a time to create a palace. As rooms are completed, a moat slowly forms around the outside, triggering the end of the game.Although it is similar, there are a few elements that differ from the original, including no auction format, the moat endgame timer, and swan tokens acting as currency, points, and the keys to new abilities. Although the game isn’t available to purchase at Gen Con, it will be available to demo before purchasing.
Flip Ships (Renegade Game Studios)
Although I never really considered myself a huge fan dexterity games, more recent releases are taking dexterity games to the next level. Flip Ships is a cooperative dexterity game in which players act as pilots defending their planet and attempt to take down the mother ship. With a cooperative spin on a dexterity game and awesome artwork, I think this one will be really fun and unique.
Fog of Love (Hush Hush Projects)
We already have this game Kickstarted, but I’m super excited to demo the game. We’re always looking for unique two player games, and Fog of Love delivers. Player’s create and play as two characters who meet, fall in love, and struggle to make a relationship work. Seems like a perfect game for a couple of married board gamers!
Codenames Duet (Czech Games Edition)
We currently have all other versions of Code Names and love them all. This version is a cooperative game that can be played with only two players. I believe this new version could my favorite because it’s rare that we have enough people gathered to play the original version. There are also a few rule differences from the original – like being able to keep guessing as long as you identify an agent.
Word Slam (KOSMOS)
I love word games and this one sounds like a great addition to our party games collection. In Word Slam, each team tries to get teammates to guess a hidden word or phrase using only cards. Speaking and acting is not allowed, which adds an extra challenge to the game. I’m always looking for a good word game that breaks the mold a bit, but is still accessible at parties (especially when there’s drinking involved).
Whistle Stop (Bezier Games)
A new twist on a pickup and deliver game, Whistle Stop is a highly anticipated game and one I’m looking forward to playing and possibly buying. In Whistle Stop, you travel west across the country, using your fledgling railroad company to build routes, pick up valuable cargo, and deliver needed goods to growing towns, creating a network of whistle stops that you and your competitors can leverage as you continue to expand your networks. I do enjoy games that take to a new time and place so I think this one will be a ton of fun.
Dinosaur Island (Pandasaurus Games)
In Dinosaur Island, players collect and combine DNA to bring back prehistoric dinosaurs for a thrilling amusement park. This game is basically Jurassic Park in a board game. Once built, players work to attract the most visitors each season that the park opens. This game has such a unique and cool concept that I’m very excited to demo it. We’ve already Kickstarted this game and it’ll be awesome to play it first.
There are countless other games we’re excited to demo, but this a brief list of the ones at the top of our lists. We plan on posting updates about what we’re learning and the games we demo so stay tuned!