Articles · Personal Stories

Gencon 2018 Rundown Friday-Sunday

Yesterday I released what the first two days of Gencon looked like for me. Here is what I got into the last three days of the convention. There is going to be a lot of text, so at the beginning of each day I will post a too long didn’t read section that will highlight the games I played during the day. You can then search for the name bolded to hear a little bit about it in the text.

Friday

TLDR Games Demoed or Bought:

  • Doxie Dash
  • Heavy Hitters
  • NewSpeak
  • Sideshow Swap
  • Quodd Heros
  • Tower of Madness
  • Before There Were Stars
  • GoodCritters
  • Railroad Rivals
  • Space Team

Friday morning first thing I did was head out to the food trucks to grab some breakfast. I managed to get some, though it was rather disappointing. Then I headed straight into the ICC for the morning opening ceremony. Once again, waiting outside of the crowd hoping to not get ran over. Once it hit 10:05, I wandered into the exhibit hall.

Our first stop Friday morning was to Meeple Source, because they had Meepillows on sale. I have been slowly adding to my Meepillow collection and added an orange one at the convention. Then we wandered over to Boardgametables.com’s booth. Our intention was to check out their tables as we are in the market for a new one in our game room. However we walked away with a giant board game backpack. I was impressed with the quality of the back pack, and they were selling it for only twenty dollars. Once we had thoroughly looked at Boardgametables.com, we went to Carolina Game Tables, Table of Ultimate Gaming and GEEKNSON. We wanted to be able to compare the tables in person to find the one right for our needs. We will likely end up ordering Carolina Game Tables, as they have two great small table options, including one that was a coffee table. We already have a very large table, so we want to add a smaller one for more simple gaming.

During this time I also listening in on a demo of Heavy Hitters, which has had my eye since it came out. While it is a genuinely cool game, with great components and two very different ways to win. Players who enjoy games with direct combat would definitely be interested in this. I decided not to pick it up during Gencon though because I am not sure how much it would be played at our house for the price. After demoing Heavy Hitters I went over to Top Shelf Gamers and purchased some Scythe upgrades and inquired about some Scythe promos. They told me to check out Meeple Source for them, so I made a mental note for the next day.

Next thing I knew, it was already noon and I had to get to my first scheduled event of the day which was a Doxie Dash Tournament being put on by Mackerel Sky Games. This was one of my favorite events of the weekend, as I was able to meet many of the Instagamers I talk to almost daily in person. This included the design team behind Doxie Dash Travis, Justin and Marcie. Additionally other Instagrammers Rick, Jenna and Matt. It is always nice to put a name to a face, especially when I work fairly closely with some of these people on a weekly basis. Marcie is the graphic designer who created my logo even! As far as the tournament goes, I got 4th Place…out of four! However, the whole time we were laughing and having a good time, so it was definitely worth losing terribly.

After the tournament I headed back into the exhibit hall. I was scheduled to meet with two different groups for media related purposes. The first people I met were the people over at Inside The Box Board Game LLC to look at their upcoming title NewSpeak. The game provided very interesting team versus team game play that head elements of puzzles, social deduction and area control. I will be doing a full review on it later in the month, but it was a game that excited me because it was something I had not seen before. After that demo, I headed to meet Adam Stevenson with Sideshow Swap, a game that will be releasing on Kickstarter next month. His explanation of the game alluded to the game being similar to Love Letter with more aspects of Take That. I will be doing a review of it within the next two weeks.

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After the two press meetings I was once again on my own to wander the exhibit hall. This period of time was mostly spent demoing games. First one that caught my eye was Quodd Heroes an adorable little game with very high production value. This game provides players with miniatures shaped like cubes. Players program movement based on the face of the cube showing to meet certain objectives. As someone who enjoys planning ahead in games and programmed movement games this stood out to me as something I want to look further into. It was already on Kickstarter but it’s pre-order is available. Then I walked over to the Smirk and Dagger Booth and watched a demo of Tower of Madness and played a demo of Before There Were Stars. IMG_20180803_153902Tower of Madness had great table presence, with an interesting mixture of luck.  I fell in love with Before There Were Stars but did not have a chance to pick it up at the time. It is a beautiful story telling game, that focuses on positive player interaction. I can’t wait to pick it up to use in the classroom.  The last game I demoed during this time was GoodCritters by Arcane Wonders. It was a cute bluffing game with a lot of player interaction. The art style on it was what drew me into the demo.

After this I met back with my husband and friend after their D&D Track and we headed off to the Forbidden Games booth where we demoed Railroad Rivals.  The game was an interesting take on the railroad theme, focusing mostly on the stocks of the railroads while still keeping the game light and enjoyable. It features a bidding system, tile placement and hand management. It is always great to support a local company, and Forbidden Games comes from the same town as I do!
After the demo we headed out to the Embassy to participate in Cardboardhustle’s Instagamers event. This was a casual event where people met off Instagram to play some games. I was able to play Werewords for the first time and was very impressed by it. It mixed elements of twenty questions in with Werewolf. I will definitely be adding a copy to my classroom and my personal collection. Then we played Spaceteam, a game I had never heard of, but really enjoyed. The premise was that players are trying to fix a malfunctioning rocket all at the same time using the same tools. Players need to get one another’s attention while trying to make their way through the deck passing tool cards back and forth. It was ridiculous and fun, and reminded me somewhat of Five Minute Dungeon. Once we finished at the Instagamers event, we headed off to Hooters to meet some friends we had made at Gen Con in the past years.

Saturday

TLDR Games Demoed or Bought:

  • Heads Will Roll
  • Dragoon Rogue and Barbarian Expansion
  • Catan VR
  • My Little Scythe
  • Petrichor
  • Cerebria
  • Feudum
  • Gnomes and Associates
  • Inoka
  • Robo Labs
  • Meeple Steeple
  • Haunt the House
  • Swordcrafters
  • Brewin’ USA: Taproom Takeover
  • Charterstone

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Saturday morning was a slow start for me, as I had to get my Anna and Wojtek costume on and get myself organized. Once I was all dressed I headed out the door to the exhibit hall for my morning lap around the hall. I started at Meeple Source to pick up those Scythe promos that I had discussed with Top Shelf Gamer. I had a long discussion with Ryan Lopez the designer of Rise of Fenris about the lore of Scythe during this time. After the discussion and some quick pictures I was off to explore some more. We headed over to the Law Waste Games booth next and picked up Heads Will Roll and the Rogue and Barbarian Expansion for Dragoon. Heads Will Roll is a simple filler dexterity game that is a good five minute filler. The Rogue and Barbarian Expansion makes Dragoon into a six player game and introduces new mechanics.

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We then headed across the convention center so that my husband could try out Catan VR. He enjoyed it but said that when other people were talking around him it was disorienting. However the controls were very intuitive and that he could see it being useful to those who live long distances from one another. After that he headed off to his D&D track for the next nine hours and I was left to once again explore on my own.

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My first planned event of the day was My Little Scythe in the Marriott so I headed there a little early because I was incredibly hot in my costume and wanted to sit for a minute. I was extremely impressed with My Little Scythe. It provided players with positive player interaction, streamlined game play and rules easy enough for the six year old playing with us to easily follow. I am very excited to get our own copy back out at home. After that event I headed back to the exhibit hall. Once there I demoed Petrichor and watched a demo of Cerebria. In Petrichor I was very impressed by the player interaction with the area control. There was a lot to think about to make sure that your water droplets were in the right place to score. Cerebria was beautiful, and the theme is both unique and seen throughout the game. I liked that there are both aspects of cooperative and competitive play, making the game very interaction. Another one to check out if you like area control.

After this I wandered over to hear a description of Feudum, which has enchanted me since I first saw it. I have a certain love for heavier games and I wanted to see if it was something I should add to my collection. Beyond the whimsical art style, I really liked the heavy thinky play style I saw and I love the idea of programmed movement interacting with area control and resource management. While I did not immediately add it to my collection, it will be one that I will pick up in the near future. After a little bit of wandering I ended up demoing Gnomes and Associates which provided a simple rules set, some cute miniatures and a lot of dice rolling. It was a cute game that could easily be taught to almost anyone, but not one that I am immediately looking to add to my collection.

During this time I wandered past XYZ Game Labs who just finished their Kickstarter for Inoka. I picked up an alpha copy of the game, and also demoed Robolabs which was a simple take that card building game. I also decided to pick it up, as XYZ Labs is a local company that I want to continue to support.

Then it was time for my next scheduled event, which was a playtest of a game called Meeple Steeple. It was a dexterity based game that required cooperation of the entire table. I was engaged throughout the entire demo, and I am excited to write a review of that one in late September. After Meeple Steeple I went back into the exhibit hall and picked up Monarch by Resonym and listened to an explanation of Haunt the House, a game where players take on the role of a ghost trying to steal the loot from clueless adventurers. The theme was cute and the cards glowed in the dark which was pretty cool. The production quality was very high overall, and it would be a fun game to add for those who enjoy filler card games with aspects of press your luck and social deduction.

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After that I stopped by Adam’s Apple Games to hear an explanation of Swordcrafters and their upcoming game Brewin’ USA: Taproom Takeover.  Swordcrafters was just a neat game focusing on building 3-D swords which score through set collection. Every kid that walked past it just lit up, and it is a game I would consider for my classroom. Taproom Takeover follows the same theme of their popular Brewin’ USA and uses new mechanics. I am excited to see more on how they incorporate drafting and dice rolling into the game, as Brewin’ USA is one of our favorite games for bidding mechanics.

Once I had demoed those two, I headed out to the Marriott again for a Charterstone event with Stonemaier Games. During this event, players brought their completed maps to play against other players. It was a really neat experience to see how everyone’s map was so different from one another. I only got to play on one board but I got a chance to look over multiple. It made me have a deeper appreciation for legacy games, but it definitely got confusing to play because I kept looking for buildings in my game which were not there. As a bonus, Jamey signed my copy of Charterstone and was around to chit chat as people played. It is always neat to have the opportunity to meet the designer behind games!

I ended my night in the JW Marriott playing some more games. We played Fantasy Realms and another game of Railroad Rivals with some friends before heading to sleep after a long day.

Sunday

TLDR Games Demoed or Bought:

  • Pikoko
  • Solomon Kane
  • Joan of Ark
  • Fae
  • Tidal Blades
  • Tiny Epic Zombies
  • Blood on the Clocktower

Sunday was our final day at the convention center, and we had no planned events. We got a very late start, as we had to pack and check out of the hotel in the morning. trying to fit all of the games back into the car meant that I was trapped beside a stack of delicately balanced games for the three hour car ride home but it was worth it. Once we were all loaded up we parked the car in Gate 10 parking and headed back to the ICC for one last tour around the exhibit hall.

During our last day we walked around and did some final purchases. My first stop of the day was to head over to Brain Games Int and pick up a copy of Pikoko. The peacock theme sold me, and I knew I had to add it to my collection. I have not yet gotten a chance to play it.  After that I headed around to check out some demoes I wanted to see before the end of the convention. The first thing that had caught my eye was Solomon Kane at Mythic Games. It has beautiful miniatures, so I was curious to see if the game stood up to the miniatures. Luckily Az, a fellower instagrammer and their community and communications manager was able to give me the rundown on their games. Solomon Kane includes narrative game play with asymmetrical play styles as players interact with the campaign cooperatively. I also learned about Joan of Ark, which had equally stunning miniatures and combined the history of the 100 Years War with the fantasy and mythology surrounding the lore of the time.  I would be surprised if I don’t start to hear more on Mythic Games as their production quality was impeccable and the narratives provided  an interesting twist on traditional adventuring games.

I listened in to an explanation of Fae, a beautiful area control game with colorful druid pieces.  I loved that the game focused not only on area control but also on hidden information. This is a game I would have purchased, but it was out of stock by Sunday.

After hearing about Fae I went and listened to a demo of Tidal Blades, the latest game from Druid City Games. It was relatively crowded when I went over, which made it difficult to hear. However it was beautiful, and I loved the fact that the game featured worker placement in a way that had character development, and the game seemed to flow very well. I am really looking forward to the Kickstarter to see more on this.

We then continued our final tour of the exhibit hall we stopped by Gamelyn Games to check out their Tiny Epic Series. I have Tiny Epic Quest and enjoy it, so I wanted to see what else they had available. We ended up leaving with Tiny Epic Zombies, which I am excited to try out.  I love that just like Tiny Epic Quest, the meeples are able to hold the items in the game. Production quality is high in the game, so I look forward to getting it to the table. Hopefully it will hold me off until Tiny Epic Mechs.

The final game we checked out before leaving the convention was Blood on the Clocktower, a social deduction game that started as a variant to Werewolf. I liked that this game provided a social deduction experience that gave every player a roll in figuring out who the demons were. There were no generic villages in this game. I was also impressed that players who were eliminated became ghosts and still could speak openly and had one more crucial vote they could cast. It gave the game a more welcoming feel as players who became eliminated on the first round were not immediately cast out.

After that, we headed back to the car and said goodbye to Indy for another year. I tried hard to get every game I wanted to demo in, but like most years it was just too busy of a goal. I was able to see most of my top 15 games, but will have to wait to demo Reef, Haven, Cryptid, Root and Coimbra. Right now I am just happy to be home and able to dive into all these new games I got!

 

One thought on “Gencon 2018 Rundown Friday-Sunday

  1. Jamey Stegmaier is my favourite designer, not just for his games but for how he interacts with the community. I’d love to have the chance to meet and play some games with him some day.

    The Charterstone event sounds so awesome. I’ve had a hard time convincing my wife that we should invest in a legacy game, but she enjoys Viticulture and Between Two Cities so much, so maybe another Stonemaier Games product would have a fighting chance!

    By the way, Spaceteam actually started out as a mobile app where you’d play with a group of people, each with the app on their phone, and things popping up, breaking, etc etc, everyone shouting. I was very surprised they made a board game of it, but glad to hear it maintained the sense of chaotic fun that the app was known for! 😊

    Like

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