Tuesday, August 4, 2015

GenCon: The Games and How I Need New Shelving

There are so many games at GenCon! Isn't that the point? But let me say. . . there are so many games. . . I don't know how anyone flies home! We drive for several reasons, the biggest reason being that there is more room for games! It's not like I have publishers or designers sending games to my house so that I don't have to grab a ton at GenCon. (We're open to this option. . . winkwink.)

This year, when we drove to my mother's house in Southeastern Wisconsin, we had a pretty full car. Our dog, and her kennel, and our daughter, and her stuff, needed to be packed into the car with our own stuff, since they were going to stay with my mom while we were away. Already we were concerned about how to get everyone and everything home afterwards!

After our first day at GenCon, we knew that we couldn't pick up our daughter and dog on the drive home and we'd have to drive back down to get them. Our necessities were our suitcase, extra bag, dirty duffle, and our two computer bags. . . the rest of car was full of games! Luckily my mom drove her to our house after we got home so all the things we love could finally be under one roof.

There were so many amazing games being showcased at GenCon this year. It would have been a miracle if we had gotten copies for all of them, but I think we fared rather well. Some of the big names to keep an eye out for to get for yourself are:

    • Artifacts, Inc. (Red Raven Games)
      • Using the always exciting world of artifact collecting, you are on a mission to collect amazing artifacts! Roll dice and place them on artifacts to collect them, sell them, and then find more. The goal is to build your reputation and the first to 20 wins the game! Only then can you wear the hat!
    • Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn (Plaid Hat Games)
      • Purchased and eager to play. The artwork is gorgeous! Draft cards and manage your hand to defeat the other Phoenixborn to win the game. Draw your cards, play your actions and use dice to help achieve the goal. Game play, while simply laid out, offers layers of complexity. Unlike other mage battle games, the players go back and forth spending/acting instead of it being purely turn based. Reactionary versus waiting.
    • Blood Rage (Cool Mini Or Not)
      • A viking-area-control game that uses cards to develop strategies for glory! Immaculately crafted minis to use in battle. Within injury and death, your clan will find glory, since this game does not punish you for taking risks and being aggressive.
    • CodeNames (CGE)
      • A party/word game for 2-12 players. It's all the rage and everyone is talking about it. Made by Vlaada Chvatil.
    • Champions of Midgard (Grey Fox Games)
      • Let the viking trend continue! Players work towards garnering favor from the gods by defeating mythical beasts using dice rolling/working placement strategies. 
    • Discoveries (Asmodee)
      • I could have had this, but had a brainfart at the booth and mentally confused it with the other Lewis & Clark game (shakesheadinshame). Essentially you play a specific character and you have to try to discover as much information as possible while on your expedition. Roll dice and use cards to achieve your end goal of filling your journal with as many discoveries as possible! It's a dice rolling, worker placement, set collecting game that is all the rage.
    • Elysium (Asmodee)
      • This game uses the Greek Pantheon as the thematic base. You're using card drafting as well as set collecting. You can put your cards into your Elysium to score points, but once you've put them in the Elysium, you might not be able to use the special ability. You're managing your cards to maximize points, while also using special abilities. You want to collect certain groups of cards. The game uses a special purchasing mechanic with columns and strategy reigns to achieve the best Legend at the end of 5 rounds.
    • Five Tribes: The Artisans of Naqala (Asmodee)
      • This expansion adds new djinns, wooden pieces (mountains, meeples, tents, and item markers), tiles, and tokens. You can now craft precious goods and magical items. 
    • Graveyards, Ghosts, & Haunted Houses (Rather Dashing)
      • #2 in the Drawn & Quartered Series. The first being Pirates, Ninjas, Robots & Zombies. It has a new mechanic to make the tile laying a bit more interesting and is great for gamers of all ages. Again, the artwork is charming and visually engaging. 
    • The Grizzled (Cool Mini Or Not)
      • It's rare for a game to be set in WWI, but we finally have one that is taking the game scene by storm. Cooperatively, you work together with the other players to survive the trenches! Meant to draw on the real horrors of trench warfare and instill the live together/die together mentality of the military. Another game where the artwork is stunning, enhancing the game.
    • Imperial Settlers: Atlanteans (Portal)
      • An expansion by Ignacy Trzewiczek. Add a new faction, a fifth player, and new resources. An interesting aspect is that the Atlanteans' buildings sink at the end of the game and don't score points, so it's important for the resources to be used. Oh the levels of settling that will be achieved!
    • Legendary: Secret Wars - Volume 1 (UpperDeck)
      • Do you already love the Legendary series? Then you'll LOVE this Marvel Legendary expansion focusing on the Secret Wars storyline. 14 new heroes, 6 new villain groups, 3 new henchmen groups, 4 new masterminds, 8 new schemes, 30 ambition cards, 15 sidekick cards, and 3 new bystander cards. So much new for this addition to a great series!
    • Medieval Academy (IELLO)
      • We're all squires and we are in desperate need to prove how chivalrous we are! Draft cards to help you achieve ultimate chivalry in six rounds and be knighted by King Arthur himself!  A great family game with an accessible theme for everyone.
    • Mission: Red Planet (Fantasy Flight)
      • Mission: Red Planet is one of two games fans have been clamoring for a reprint of for years that Fantasy Flight has finally brought back to life. Fury of Dracula was available for demo at the FFG booth but Mission was boxed and ready to go and it is an outstanding second edition. Everything about the game's production is stunning and the game itself is an outstanding blend of area control, hand management, and simultaneous action selection as players race to launch rockets to Mars and stake a claim on its untapped natural resources.
    • Mysterium (Asmodee)
      • The must-have game for my husband and I. We played it with our friend back at the hotel and it was amazing! One player is a ghost who uses Dixit style cards (I called them my Tarot deck) and silently gives visual clues to the other players who are mediums trying to solve the case. Players have to decipher these clues, so hopefully you know your people and they know you! Can't wait for more plays of this!
    • Pack O Game (A Kickstarter that is now released)
      • Chris Handy put out an adorable selection of micro-games that are the size of packs of gum, but pack a huge punch of fun. The games range from pattern recognition to cooperative word creation to dexterity. The variety is amazing and the mechanics are engaging. A must have.
    • Pathfinder (ACG): Wrath of the Righteous (Paizo)
      • My friend and I demoed the new base set and loved the new addition of the Mythic path item. They wanted to keep the game lined up with the RPG story and have the adventures align. More new characters. More locations. More awesome dice rolling where I can hose the villain! YE-AHHHH!
    • RYU (Asmodee)
      • This game uses dice placement, bluffing, and negotiation to help groups of humanoids be saved from dragons who are flooding the planet. Work cooperatively to earn resources. Work competitively to build your mothership. Another beautiful game from Asmodee. I was watching kids demoing it on Family Day and even the kids were into it, despite it's slightly complex nature. 
    • Space Cadets: Away Mission (Stronghold)
      • This is the third standalone addition to the Space Cadets series. You work cooperatively with the other Cadets to complete campaign style stories. Roll the dice to help equip your crew to destroy the aliens and other oddities you encounter in SPACE! 
    • Takenoko Chibis (Asmodee)
      • An expansion for Takenoko that adds mama panda and baby pandas. It changes the dynamic of the game using additional tiles, new tokens, and new challenges. Plus the adorable mama panda figurine and baby panda tokens.
    • Tides of Time (Portal)
      • 2-player only drafting game that is deceptively deep. Play it again and again and then look back up to see how deep the hole you've dug into the tide of time really is! 
    • Titansgrave (Green Ronin Publishing)
      • The published adventure for Geek & Sundry & Wil Wheaton's RPG show. It guides you through the adventures and introduces you to the world. Don't, though, forget to purchase the Base book for Fantasy Age so that you understand the system.
    • Viceroy (Mayday)
      • This game looks interesting and is based int he universe Beserk CCG. Your goal is to become the ruler of the fantasy world, Laar. Bid on noble cards that provide you with more resources and special abilities depending on their placement in your court. Despite being a very different game, it gives the feel of a beefed up sibling to the 2014 hit Splendor.
    • The Village Crone (Fireside Games)
      • Worker placement, resource management, and witchery! Who needs more than that? You're working towards being named the Village Crone by using the resources you're dealt to earn up to 13 points. A clever and unique game that will be great hitting the table. 

We only were able to get about half of those to bring home with us, but we were able to raid the consignment store and grab some really great games. Then there were a few older games that we couldn't resist purchasing. Finally, some of the purchases were for my middle school game club. I tried to find some unique titles in the shop and to snag some smaller games at some of the booths. Trust me, though, some of the larger games are going to make a stop in the club, but aren't going to formally join the shelves. Maybe they're more for our weekend gaming sessions where we can ensure the games stay in great condition and have more time to play them.

By the end of the Con, we hauled home 32 games and 5 expansions plus 3 RPG books. Lots of cool promos, too.

Due to this. . . we immediately ordered another set of shelves. . . Going to be honest, we ordered them through Wal-Mart and they're the Better Homes and Gardens 8 Cube Organizer. Perfect for all the crazy sized games. It'll be our third and after next year, who knows! We might just have to move to a house with more rooms. . . or a basement. A basement would be nice. Dreams can happen! For now, we're really pleased with the direction our collection is going and my husband is super proud of his color-coding. When our new shelves arrive tomorrow and everything is organized, I'll post new pictures of the newly color-coded shelving.

This should keep us tied over until at least the holidays. We are so excited to share our new games, we squeezed one more game club meet up with my kids before school starts so we can share the awesome. It's going to be great!

Happy GenCon 2015! 

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