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  • Recap : The Best 4 days in Gaming [it's a long one]

    Recap : The Best 4 days in Gaming [it's a long one]

    Another GenCon has come to a close, and we're left wondering where it went and, especially this year, how we missed so much, and "I swear I took more pictures.." Ah well, here's what we did see and our thoughts on it!

    We got a group of friends together as soon we saw a Pathfinder Adventure Card Game event titled Season of the Goblins, and made it happen. My one regret of GenCon is that we weren't able to play the whole set of scenarios. It was fantastic fun though, and some of us got a little too into goblin character, but it was awesome.

    There were a good number of games played in their prototype stage which is one of my favorite parts of GenCon.

    Pinball Showdown - Shoot Again Games, Diane Sauer

    When we started playing pinball semi-regularly after moving to Chicago, almost every time the conversation came around to "man, how can we make a pinball board game?" Diane, who restores pinballs, has had the same question on her mind for a long time too, and nailed it. This card game completely captures the feeling of pinball. It'll be up on Kickstarter later this year/early 2017 and you can bet I'll be telling everyone about it again then too. - Courtney

    The Stygian Society - APE Games, Kevin Wilson

    A wacky co-op dungeon delve that takes place in the tower of an evil wizard. The core mechanic revolves around dropping colored cubes into the tower. What you put in isn't always what you get out but the results determine what abilities you'll have access to and what types of obstacles you'll come up against. Each player had a different class which interacted with the various cubes in their own unique ways. I'm definitely interested to see where this goes since playing with the cubes was very satisfying. - Drew

    Shuffling Horror : Roswell 51 - Gamewick Games

    This was a really fun, light, highly thematic game that plays up to 12 [plus 1 as the "director"]. This is the second game in the Shuffling Horror game system, the first was zombies [Philly '68], and they've got a Lovecraftian one coming up next and a Poe themed one a bit further down the pipeline. It's played across 4 rounds, and the goal is to survive the monsters! Don't fret if your survivor gets killed off though, you'll come back as a monster and make the game harder for the remaining players! I love that it can play so many while being more than a party game.  - Courtney

    Sagrada - Floodgate Games

    This game is Killer! We demo'd the game with a friend and the worst part about it was that it isn't out yet. Floodgate took a pretty light game and theme and then put them together to build what is a deceivingly intricate stained-glass-window-building dice-drafting game. Keep an eye out for this to hit Kickstarter in the next month or so. -Drew

    Drew [not pictured] also helped out local publisher Argyle Games with their prototype game in the First Exposure Playtest hall which was an awesome experience!

    Giant Killer Robots - Cryptozoic & Weta Workshop

    I'd seen this game pop up on my social media feeds a number of times but I couldn't seem to actually find any info about it prior to GenCon. The game gives off a Robot Jox vibe if you're familiar with the film. It is a miniature skirmish game pitting rival mechs against one another for the entertainment of their corporate overlords. The gameplay was pretty simple and overall I'd say this is one of the more approachable mini's games that I've played. With that said I am a little concerned whether the game has enough going on to hold lasting interest. This one ought to be hitting kickstarter in the coming months. - Drew

    We played some complete games too though.

    Dastardly Dirigibles - Fireside Games

    This was a fun set collection kinda game I demoed at their booth, basically because a couple other people were walking up to demo it, and there was an open spot as I walked by. We played the first round to get a feel for it, and I enjoyed it. It was fairly easy to teach, and the player mats have a handy player aid making it a great cafe game. The theme is fun, and it's cool to see what sort of zeppelin you end up with!

    Deepwars - Antimatter Games

    I was taken with these minis last year, I'm a total sucker for ocean themed things. We decided to stop this year after admiring the minis again and play a short demo. It's a neat little skirmish style game [how it was demoed to us at least] that makes me wish we had the resources, time, money & space for these sorts of games. I just want to collect and paint the awesome minis.

    Moonquake Escape - Breaking Games

    Okay, so we didn't actually really play it, the designer, Jeff Johnston ran us through it, but we did walk away with a signed copy of it, so that counts for something right? I also just really liked Jeff's outfit.

    So this doesn't go on forever, here's the rest of the stuff that caught my eye

    Scurvy Dice, Council of Blackthorn

    Ticket to Ride : Rails & Sails, Captain Sonar

    Here Kitty Kitty, 4 the Birds

    That's pretty much the barebones run down of our GenCon, how was yours? What games did you demo, drool over and bring home?

  • GenCon pro tips!

    GenCon pro tips!

    A week from now we’ll be at GenCon, spending time with friends we aren’t able to see that often and soaking in all the gaming glory. We’re still pretty new to GenCon ourselves, but we’ve picked up a few pointers and learned a few things from years past that we try to keep in mind so that we have the best time possible. With the convention right around the corner we wanted to take a few moments to share some advice (even if some of it is fairly obvious).

    On that note lets get the obvious stuff out of the way first:

    • Eat: Duh right? Yes, but for some folks it is easy to forget to go grab a burger between events and before you know it 7:30 pm has arrived and the last thing you ate was half a banana from the continental breakfast at the Sheraton by the airport. Protip: pack some hearty snacks, not only will they keep you going throughout the day but your friends will thank you.
    • Stay Hydrated: Coffee and beer might be great but they aren’t what your body needs. Protip: Bring a water bottle, there are water fountains all over the building and your wallet will thank you too for not paying inflated convention center prices for a bottle of water.
    • Sleep: Drew is known to get pretty cranky by Sunday morning, and it is probably because he was up too late every night since arriving in Indianapolis. Protip: make time to sleep even if it is in the form of a power nap in the afternoon and missing that early morning event might be the right call if it means you’ll be alert the rest of the day.
    • Shower: Whether you have your own room all to yourself or are sleeping on the floor of one with twelve of your besties please please please shower… each day. And wear plenty of deodorant. Protip: You don’t want -7 to charisma do you? Just do it.

    Alright so what about our actual tips, well here’s what we’ve learned…

    Drew: “Avoid playing games you already own. Try something new. Try something you might not have ever played otherwise. Try something you don’t know the rules to. Playing in a tournament for your favorite game might be neat, but will it really be any different than your typical Friday night at the card shop? Play something that you’d never see yourself playing and you’re much more likely to come back home with a few cool stories.”

    Courtney: “Don’t underplan your convention. I know there’s a lot to take in, and it’s easy to think you can just drop in on a game here or there when you feel like it, but especially as a first timer, it’s easy to get caught up walking the exhibit hall and gaming floors over and over but never jump in on a game. My first GenCon in 2014, I spent a lot of time solo as Drew was playing a digital TCG a lot and we realized at the end of the convention we hadn’t played any games together. We remedied it a little by playing what we bought with friends in their hotel all night Sunday after the show closed, but it wasn’t the same. There is still plenty of time to sign up for things, go find something cool!”

    Drew: “Try before you buy. I’m pretty good about not letting money burn a hole in my pocket, but there has been a game or two that in hindsight I wouldn’t have picked up. Nearly all of the publishers at the convention have a demo team of contractors working the convention for the sole purpose of teaching you games, sometimes I’m one of them! These people are getting paid but they’re also doing it because they LOVE teaching people games. Go up and ask to demo a game if it looks interesting rather than feel intimidated. The person demoing it might be busy already but if that’s the case they will probably know when is a better time to come back and they’ll be super excited when you do!”

    Courtney: “To go along with my other point, don’t overplan either. Pick a couple events or panels that seem interesting and get tickets for those. I usually try to leave at least 2 hours between event end/start times, and try not to plan more than 3 events in a day. You do want to be able to walk around and enjoy things without rushing from room to room. This is especially important this year with some events being held at the football stadium, and panels being held at the hotels nearby. GenCon is a sprawl of a convention and with so many people, you want to give yourself ample time to get where you need to go without feeling rushed or anxious. You won’t enjoy it.”

    Drew: “Be socially aware. Please… please don’t be that guy. You’re making us all look bad. I know I’m preaching to the choir here… but just don’t be that guy. If you think you’re about to be that guy, don’t do whatever it is that you were about to do.”

    In short, many of those can be summed up in one important note, slow down. Gen Con might be “the best four days in gaming” but four days just might not feel like enough! That may be so but if you’re gonna make them count don’t rush yourself or those around you. Take your time and enjoy it while it lasts.

    Okay but YOU came here for the real protips, “I knew all of that, where are the protips you promised.” Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered:

    • There is a GenCon bag, it is both awesome and free! There’s usually a booth at the edge of the area where you get your badges / tickets etc and there will be someone that will punch a hole in your badge and give you the bag if you wait in the line for it. The line moves fast and is totally worthwhile. The bags usually run out rapidly on the first day but come back later and their stock will be replenished. Each year they have a different design and they are really cool.
    • There are additional areas to sign up for events within the event halls. What they offer might not be as robust as the main area but most people don’t know about this and you can usually avoid waiting in line if you’re on a crunch for time. Keep an eye out.
    • Many of the smaller / indie publishers have some great games with them that you might not ever have another chance to buy. These folks are usually operating with smaller print runs and the games are unlikely to ever see a reprint, you’ll be able to find stuff from the big dogs once you get home if that’s what you’re worried about.
    • Check social media for some of your favorite publishers. I’ve literally watched someone walk up to a publisher and receive a free copy of a $60 game because they were talking like a pirate. Sometimes folks are feeling wacky or generous and it pays to be paying attention.

  • List : Courtney's GenCon 2016 hype post!

    List : Courtney's GenCon 2016 hype post!

    GenCon is almost here!

    There's so much to take in at a big convention like this, that it's really easy to miss out on some really cool stuff. We wanted to round up and highlight some of the games debuting or making appearances in prototype form for you guys to help narrow it down for you.

    I split my list up into 3 categories: Buy, Demo/Play and Check out, based on what I know about the games and my level of interest in them. Links all go to the Boardgame Geek page for the games so you can get some more info!

    BUY

    These are the games I'm most excited for this year.

      • The Great Dinosaur Rush : APE Games I demoed this at GenCon last year, we Kickstarted it and will be picking it up this year. Very excited for this to come full circle like this!
      • Mystic Vale : AEG As a fan of deck builing games I'm VERY interested in this card crafting mechanism and what it can do. The art is also stellar.
    • Star Trek: Ascendancy Star Trek is one of my big loves and this game looks awesome. Most Trek games aren't great, so I'm really hopeful for this one, which looks like a mashup of Fleet Captains and Eclipse, two of my fave crunchy games. 
    • Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Mummy's Mask base set : Paizo So we're still working through both Skull & Shackles and Wrath of the Righteous right now, but that does nothing to dampen my excitement for the next core set of one of our favorite games.

    Demo/Play

    These are games I'm pretty darn excited about, and after playing will probably become buys, if they're available for purchase at the show.

    Check out

    These are games that look interesting and I definitely want to see more of first hand, but aren't quite catching my full attention just yet.