Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Obligatory 2015 Gen Con Post Part III: Top 10 List (Part II)
Day three and now we get to move onto the final part of my top 10 game interests of Gen Con 2015.  These are the top 5 games that I will be looking forward to (or already ordered) as they are debuting at Gen Con.  Take a look and see if any of these are interesting to you, as at least a few of them will definitely be entering my collection.  Also, if you haven’t had the chance yet, please check out my previous two posts in the Gen Con 2015 series.  They focus on my honorable mentions and games 6-10 of the top 10.  Just click the links below and enjoy!

With that out of the way, time to move on to my top 5 game interests at Gen Con 2015.  These are the games that I am most interested in and I’m hoping that the top 3 will be in my possession as a friend of mine, Morgan, will be picking up a few for me while he’s there.  So sit back, relax, and enjoy my top 5 interests of this year’s Gen Con.

#5 – Champions of Midgard (Grey Fox Games)

Champions of Midgard is a dice rolling, set collection, and worker placement game designed by Ole Steiness and released by Grey FoxGames.  This game really came out of nowhere for me until I really started to study Eric Martin’s Gen Con 2015 preview list on BoardGameGeek.  It is mainly a worker placement game and I’ve heard from multiple reviewers that it has the same feeling as Lords of Waterdeep.  To start, the theme really hit me.  I don’t have any Viking games but I do find them to be very interesting.  This one has a light to medium weight and I think I’d be able to pull it out with newer gamers and everyone have a great time.  On a side note, this year really seems to be year of the Vikings!

#4 – Discoveries (Ludonaute/Asmodee)

Discoveries is a pool building, dice rolling, worker placement game designed by Cedrick Chaboussit and released by Ludonaute and Asmodee.  This game is another that has art by the absolutely fabulous Vincent Dutrait.  This game just oozes with his absolutely stunning artwork and I have to say, it doesn’t hurt my interest when you bring on brilliant artists and let them work their magic on the game.  This is the follow up game to Chaboussit’s Lewis & Clark and it takes on a dice rolling mechanic that looks like a ton of fun.  Asmodee should keep up the good work; they keep finding and releasing great dice games such as Nations:The Dice Game which came out just recently.  Discoveries looks like it will be a great Euro-style dice game and I look forward to playing it.

#3 – Mysterium (Libellud/Asmodee)

Mysterium is a co-operative, deduction game designed by Oleksandr Nevskiy and Oleg Sidorenko and released by Libellud and Asmodee.  This was originally a Ukrainian game that Portal Games released in Poland as Tajemnicze Domostwo.  It was a huge hit at last year’s Essen Spiel and then Portal opened up their version to other countries as their store will ship almost anywhere.  Now, Libellud picked up the English rights to the game and they will be releasing it in conjunction with Asmodee as Mysterium.  They changed up some of the art and some of the components (including adding an amazing player screen for the one playing the ghost) but mostly the game has retained its original rules.  In this game one player takes on the ghost character and plays cards in front of the other one to six players who are attempting to find the actual killer of a murder from many years ago.  I haven’t heard anything bad about this game and the new Libellud version looks awesome!  On a side note, this is one of the games that I’m hoping my buddy is able to pick up!  There aren’t many copies but I’m hoping he’ll be able to pull this one off.

Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot is a dice chuckin’ game designed by Ignacy Trzewiczek and released by Portal Games.  For those of you counting, there are three releases by Portal Games on my top 10 list.  I will readily admit that I am a Portal fanboy and I look at all of their releases as possible purchases.  I have all three of their Gen Con 2015 releases on pre-order and Morgan will be picking them up for me.  Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot is a game with some of the most beautiful components that I have seen in a long time.  There is a ton of great, custom, etched dice in different colors and even more great cardboard pieces that you are able to put together and form your ships.  There is some great artwork done by multiple artists on this game.  It is cartoony and absolutely great.  The art really adds to the theme and the fun of this game.  This game uses a dice rolling mechanic where you actually toss them into the box lid and fight in that area.  It is a clever mechanic that I think will work really well with this game.  This game will be in my hands in about a week as this is one of my pre-orders (the others are Imperial Settlers: Atlanteans Expansion and Tides of Time) from Portal Games.  I can’t wait!

Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn is an expandable card game designed by Isaac Vega (of Dead of Winter fame) and released by Plaid HatGames.  This is another game that really snuck up on me.  It only really hit my radar around the time of Origins Game Fair.  I had heard Ashes but wasn’t really interested until I really started to see the artwork done by the incredible Fernanda Suarez who also did art for Dead of Winter.  I have been interested in starting up a 2-player battle game (i.e. Magic: The Gathering) for some time but I really am not interested in collectable card games as they can cost so much just to find some decent cards.  I think that the battle decks for Magic: The Gathering are cool but I didn’t think they’d have a ton of replayability without buy a bunch of them.  This game is a battle card game with six different characters (seven with the promo character!) and six different created decks straight out of the box.  Along with the amazing cards are some absolutely gorgeous, etched dice.  These dice are used as “resources” for your different allies, conjurations, and spells throughout the game and it is really streamlined with a main action and side actions per turn.  I can’t wait to break this one out and play with my wife!  I actually have this one already as I pre-ordered it and just got it, but I haven’t gotten it to the table as I’ve been at work all week.  But, hopefully I’ll get to play this one in the next few days.

Well, there are my top 5 game interests of Gen Con 2015.  I am sure that I’ve missed a few but I feel that this is a pretty strong list.  Keep an eye on my blog as I’ll be posting one more Gen Con post at least that will be my top games from the convention that I’m interested that aren’t for sale.  I hope you enjoyed my list.  Let me know if you have any questions or comments and also, let me know what your top games for the convention are!  Until next time, game on!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Obligatory 2015 Gen Con Post Part II: Top 10 List (Part I)

Alright, now we move onto my top 10 Gen Con 2015 gaming interests! If you haven’t had a chance, please go to my previous post and you can check out my honorable mentions of the convention. These are 5 games that just missed out of my top 10 list but I feel that they deserved to get a mention as they look to be some fantastic releases. Also, I put Viceroy on there because it is being debuted at Gen Con 2015 but I already have my Kickstarter release of the game. By the way, if you’re curious, Viceroy is awesome! Anyway, if you haven’t check out my honorable mentions you can click on the link below to take a look at it. 

Gen Con 2015 Honorable Mentions:

Alright, now onto my games 6-10 of the top 10 releases that have really peaked my interest. Check back in the next few days for games 1-5 and also a special post where I’ll give my top 5 interests of games that are at Gen Con 2015 but aren’t being sold there. Enjoy the read!

#10 – Mottainai (Asmadi Games) 
Mottainai is a card drafting, hand management, and set collection game designed by Carl Chudyk and released by Asmadi Games. This is a smallish card game that was recently on Kickstarter and did really well for Asmadi. Mottainai uses some things that I am extremely interested which is why it has moved up into the top 10 interests of Gen Con 2015. It is almost a reimplement of Chudyk’s popular game Glory to Rome. Mottainai uses drafting and tableau building while each of the cards can be used in multiple ways. Multi-use cards are one of my favorite game mechanics as it gives so many different decisions with each card and gives each game a different feel. It is also a cheap game which adds to its intrigue. I’m really looking forward to this game. 

#9 – Tides of Time (Portal Games)
Tides of Time is a card drafting, set collection, micro-style game designed by Kristian Curla and released by Portal Games. This is a small card game in the current trend of micro games where there are only 18 cards and a few tokens in this box. You each take a hand of 5 cards and play one then pass them to your opponent. You then chose another card and pass the cards to your opponent again. By now you probably get the idea that you know what all of the cards are by this point and it really creates a meta-game where you are trying to outthink your opponent. This looks like an absolutely amazing, small, two-player game that I think I’ll get a ton of play out of. Plus, it is being released by Portal Games (whose owner, Ignacy Trzewiczek, is one of my favorite designers) and that is always a good thing in my book. 

#8 – Artifacts, Inc. (Red Raven Games)
Artifacts, Inc. is a card drafting (sensing a trend?), area control, dice rolling, and worker placement game designed by Ryan Laukat and released by Red Raven Games. This is a game where the players are trying to build up their company to become the most famous archeology company. The players roll their dice and place them on cards which will allow them to find artifacts, sell those artifacts, and game new cards which allow them to find more artifacts! This game kind of reminds me of and Indiana Jones type theme and what I have seen really makes me think that Laukat has pulled it off in this game. Also, Ryan does all of his own art which I think is incredibly cool. He has a great style which can be seen in his games The Ancient World, Above and Below, and City of Iron. I look forward to checking this one out. 

#7 – Magic: The Gathering: Arena of the Planeswalkers (Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast)
Magic: The Gathering: Arena of the Planeswalkers is a new skirmish style game designed by Craig Van Ness (of Heroscape fame), Ethan Fleischer, and James D’Aloisio and released in conjunction by Habro and Wizards of the Coast. This game takes the basic mechanics of Heroscape and adds the Magic: The Gathering flavor to the mix. This game comes with 5 planeswalkers and 30 units that are tied to one of the 5 colors. It uses the grid system and modular board but doesn’t have all of the plastic terrain pieces that Heroscape did. While this makes it look less cool, it also makes it a much quicker setup. This is a pretty straightforward skirmish that has some cool spells that can be used against your foes. I am looking forward to trying this one and that may be pretty soon as the price of this game is a low starting point. I’m looking forward to trying out this new reimplement of Heroscape and hope that my regular group of players will enjoy this one. I’m also hoping that they make a ton of expansions for this game as I think they will really keep the interest in the core gam at a higher level. 

#6 – Imperial Settlers: Atlanteans (Portal Games)
Imperial Settlers: Atlanteans is an expansion for the super-popular Imperial Settlers. This expansion is designed by Ignacy Trzewiczek (who designed the original game as well) and released by Portal Games. This faction takes the idea of Imperial Settlers and the asymmetrical factions and pushes it to the next level. The Atlanteans actually lose their buildings before the endgame scoring portion. This means that they don’t get 2 victory points for each of their faction buildings as the other factions do. This means that the Atlanteans have to find other means of gaining victory points throughout the game that are apart from the faction building scores. I love Imperial Settlers (currently my #2 game of all times!) and can’t wait for this expansion. I am so excited for it that this faction has pushed itself not only onto my top 10, but all the way to number 6! Go Ignacy!

And thus we have reached the end of my games 6-10. I have had a ball looking over Eric Martin’s list and I think I have a pretty great list going on. Check here tomorrow for games 1-5 as I continue to tear apart the list of games for Gen Con 2015 and give my interests. Let me know what you think and what games you’re looking forward to. Until next time, game on!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Obligatory 2015 Gen Con Post Part I: Honorable Mentions

Woot!  Gen Con 2015 is upon us!  This Thursday will be the first day of the four day gaming extravaganza that is Gen Con.  Gen Con is the largest North American tabletop gaming convention and is held annually in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Last year over 50,000 people went to the convention and they are expecting even more this year!  

Last year I did a list of my top interests from the convention but I did it slightly differently.  This year all of the games on my list will be things that are available to buy (even if in very limited quantities) whereas last year I just did any game that was listed on Eric Martin’s (of BoardGameGeek) fantastic list of releases.  If you are interested check his list out by clicking here.   

This is the most impressive and comprehensive list of games that will be at the convention in some way, shape, or form.  Many of these games are unfortunately unable to be purchased, but you could at least demo them while you are there.  These next three (maybe four) posts will tackle my biggest interests of the convention and why.   

This post will focus on my honorable mentions while the two after it will focus on my top 10 games of Gen Con 2015.  Lastly, I may do one extra post that will focus on my top 5 interests from the convention that aren’t available for purchase, but only for demo.  Enjoy and let me know what you think! 

The first honorable mention to just barely squeak my Gen Con 2015 honorable mentions list is New York 1901, designed by Chenier La Salle and distributed by Blue Orange Games.  This is a tile placement and city building game and is the first family-weight game put out by Blue Orange Games.  They are well known for party games such as Spot It! and this seems to be their first foray into larger, more interesting games.  This game is really being touted as a game that could join Ticket to Ride and the like as easy-to-learn-and-play gateway games.  This game looks fantastic as there is artwork by the absolutely fantastic Vincent Dutrait who has done incredible work on games such as Lewis & Clark, Elysium, Augustus, and Discoveries just to name a few.  His artwork is awesome and adds to whatever game it may be in.  I am interested in this game but I would definitely want to demo it before I’d buy it as is may be a little lighter fare than I generally prefer.  That being said, I hope it is great and really give Blue Orange Games a push to create games like this one and take a step out of the simpler party game market. 

The next game that I’ll mention is Firefly: Shiny Dice, designed by Scott Morris and distributed by Upper Deck Entertainment.  This is a dice-rolling and press-your-luck game created by Scott Morris, otherwise known as Tox of the Crits Happen YouTube channel.  He has been working on this game for a while and it is finally ready and being released at this year’s Gen Con.  There isn’t a ton of information about this game and that is why it is only in the honorable mentions and didn’t make it higher on the list.  That being said, I am quite interested to see what he has done with this game as Firefly is one of my favorite shows of all time and I love a good dice-chucking game!  This game will have 15 dice that stand for your different crew members, passengers, and bad guys.  You roll these dice and then display the mission and use them to complete said mission.  Afterwards you can use the leftover dice to beat on the bad guys.  This gives you VP which is what you are looking to get for end-of-game scoring.  Again, it looks interesting and with the Firefly IP I have to admit my interest. 

The third game to make my Gen Con 2015 honorable mentions list is The Golden Ages, designed by Luigi Ferrini and distributed in the United States by Stronghold Games.  This is a strong Euro-styled game that was released overseas last year at Essen Spiel and was only available in extremely limited quantities.  Stronghold Games then picked up on American rights for the game and it will be ready to be released at Gen Con.  I saw gameplay of The Golden Ages and it looked incredibly interesting.  It is a civilization building game that uses area control, drafting, tile placement and worker placement as its game mechanics.  I will say that the look of the game could possibly be a little more interesting but the graphic design and modular placements of the board really give it an interesting feel and look.  This is a game that may eventually be a buy for me, but I’d have to research a few more gameplay videos before pulling the trigger on it. 

The fourth game to make the list is Flip City, designed by Chen Zhifan and distributed in the United States by Tasty MinstrelGames and Homosapiens Lab.  This game is a city-building card game that uses deck-building and press-your-luck mechanics in its gameplay.  This game only came on my radar recently as I had never heard of it before.  You take a very small deck and in classic, deck-building style use your cards to buy better cards.  There are a few things that make this game more interesting that your classic deck-builder.  First of all is the press-your-luck element.  In this game you can actually bust before being able to spend your points on other cards.  That is an element that isn’t present in any deck-builder that I’ve ever heard of.  Secondly, this game is a small box game.  Most deck-builders tend to be grand in scope as they have a ton of different decks to add and take out of the gameplay experience to give you the replayability.  Lastly, this game uses an incredibly interesting flip mechanic (thus the name) where you can spend your points to flip the cards over to the other side and get a different  (and usually better) building to use in later turns.  I am massively intrigued by this game and fully expect that I will pick it up very soon as it has a low price point for what appears to be a game with great decisions.

The last game to make my list (and the closest honorable mention game to making the top 10 Gen Con 2015 list) is the Takenoko: Chibis expansion to the 2011 Antoine Bauza game, Takenoko.  Takenoko: Chibis is also designed by Antoine Bauza (with co-design credit going to Corentin Lebrat) and is distributed by Bombyx, Matagot, and Asmodee.  This game adds more to a game that I already love and thus make my honorable mentions list.  The only reason that this didn’t make it higher on my list is simply because it is an expansion.  While I am highly interested I feel that since it isn’t a full game I need to bump it down the list a little.  This may not be a fair point, but, c’est la vie.  The Chibis expansion will add more tiles, cards, tokens, bamboo pieces and another miniature (this one of a female panda) to the game.  I am really looking forward to see what this adds to the base game of Takenoko and if it is an “essential” expansion or not.

I am going to mention one more game before signing off.  This is Viceroy, designed by Yuri Zhuravlev and distributed in the United States by MaydayGames.  This is a fantastic “pyramid-building” game that uses auctioning, set collection, and tableau building as its primary game mechanics.  This game is awesome - my wife and I love it!  The reason that it didn’t make my “official” list (and rest assured it would have been in the top 5 easily) of Gen Con 2015 interests is because we already have it.  We backed it on Kickstarter and just recently got our copy.  We have already played it a bunch of times and love it.  I just wanted to give it some love and let you know that it is debuting at Gen Con and will have a limited run of about 300 copies there.  If you’re going to Gen Con and love tableau building games that this should be an early stop so you can pick it up! 

This concludes my honorable mentions of Gen Con 2015.  Come back here tomorrow for my games 6-10 of the convention and in two days for my games 1-5.  As always, let me know if you have any questions or comments.  Also, let me know what your top interests of Gen Con 2015 are!  Until next time, game on!