Sunday, July 31, 2016

Obligatory 2016 Gen Con Post Part VI: Top 5 Games Being Demoed But Not For Purchase

Now that I’ve finished the top 10 list of games I’m interested in that you will be able (although some in VERY limited quantities) to buy I’m going to move on to the sixth post where we talk about games that aren’t available for purchase. These are all games that will be available to demo (at least they have been confirmed or rumored) during Gen Con 2016. Many of these games will get their debut at Essen Spiel 2016 but the companies roll them out for demo at Gen Con. Many of these games are ones that are insta-buys for me! But first, feel free to check out the previous five posts at the links below if you haven’t had a chance yet.

Gen Con 2016 Post Part I: Top 5 Game Expansions

Gen Con 2016 Post Part II: Top 5 Reprints/Re-implementations

Gen Con 2016 Post Part III: Honorable Mentions

Gen Con 2016 Post Part IV: Top 10 List (Games 6-10)

Gen Con 2016 Post Part V: Top 10 List (Games 1-5)

Okay, now let’s move on to the top 5 games that I’m looking forward to that are going to be demoed at Gen Con 2016. I hope that all of these truly are demoed because I want to hear more information on them as they are some of the top releases that I’m looking forward to this year. Okay, on to the list!

Honorable Mention – Pandemic Iberia (Z-Man Games)

Pandemic Iberia is a co-operative, action-point, hand management, set collection game that is designed by Jesús Torres Castro and Matt Leacock and published by Z-Man Games. This game takes the same game-engine as Pandemic and puts a different theme on it. You are now medical workers in the Iberian Peninsula in 1848 and you are charged with helping to find the cures to such terrible diseases as malaria, typhus, cholera, and the yellow fever. This game, however, places you much earlier in human history and thus doesn’t have the same modes of travel as before. Pandemic Iberia finds you taking carriages and boats to your destinations all while developing railway systems for travel and distributing water in order to keep the disease at a low impact. I absolutely love the veneer that they’ve put on this game and I already know it will be good as it is mostly Pandemic with a new theme and a few different mechanisms place in it. This game is gonna be awesome and I’ll probably pre-order it as it really intrigues me.

#5 – The Oracle of Delphi (Pegasus Spiele/Hall Games)

The Oracle of Delphi is a dice rolling, pick-up-and-deliver, action selection game designed by Stefan Feld and published by Hall Games and Pegasus Spiele. This game is a new release by the Euro-game great, Feld, and this one looks to be really good. It finds the player in the role of a character who is trying to complete twelve tasks in order to win the favor of Zeus. Players will take their ships across varying hexagonal tiles to travel to different islands where they are able to attempt their tasks. Players get to roll three colored dice and these will correspond with different “oracle” actions. So the game apparently uses its dice mechanisms as a sort of action selection and I really enjoy that game mechanism. Along with a high variability this game looks like it may be a real winner and have a great theme on top of it which doesn’t tend to be Feld’s strong point.

#4 – First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet (Portal Games)

First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet is a co-operative, worker placement, adventure and exploration game designed by Ignacy Trzewiczek and published by Portal Games. This game actually builds on a previous Ignacy design entitled Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island. This game uses a lot of the same ideas but how finds the players in the role of explorers and adventures on the Red Planet. This is a new game with app integration and will actually require said app. The app is going to run the bookkeeper portions of the game and it allows the designer to create an even more immersive world. The players can take part in a campaign-style mode where they go through several games and the app will basically keep their place and let them take stats and progression throughout that series of plays. They can also just choose to freely roam the Martian landscape and see how long they can survive. I think this game looks amazing and am looking forward to see what Ignacy does with it.

#3 – Chronicles 1: Origins (Artana)

Chronicles 1: Origins is a territory-building, worker placement, campaign/legacy-style game designed by Dirk Knemeyer and Rob Daviau and published by Artana. This is another legacy-style game from Daviau and this particular one is also adding in Knemeyer’s new Echo System. The Echo System is what notches this game from interesting to really interesting! Players will start off in the first game (taking place during the Stone Age) as leaders of one tribe. The players will work semi-cooperatively to build up the tribe. The goal is to play the game multiple times in order to create multiple different types of tribes. The players will then play the second part of the game multiple times where they take the tribes and move into a Bronze Age where they will take control of a leader of the city-state and attempt to gain dominance in the region. The Echo System allows the game to grow over time and “echoes” of the past games will be felt in the next ones. This is a HIGHLY ambitious project and if they pull it off it could be amazing!

#2 – Victorian Masterminds (Space Cowboys/Asmodee)

Victorian Masterminds is worker placement game with some deduction elements designed by Antoine Bauza and Eric Lang and published by Space Cowboys and Asmodee. This game is being created by two of the most highly respected and prolific designers in the business right now and that is one of the main reasons Victorian Masterminds is so high on this list! The game finds the players in the roles of villains just after the death of Sherlock Holmes. They are vying to be the most villainous mastermind as they are sending their underlings across the world in order to create their doomsday machine and destroy the world’s most recognizable monuments. The players will use worker placement to send their five different henchmen into spaces to do things like destroy buildings, kidnap scientists, complete missions, and gather resources for their doomsday machine. I’m not 100% sure that this one is going to even be available to demo…but I had to put it on the list because I’m so excited about it!

#1 – A Feast for Odin (Feuerland Spiele/Z-Man Games)

A Feast for Odin is a worker placement, pattern building, Viking-themed, economic game designed by the great Uwe Rosenberg and published by Feuerland Spiele and Z-Man Games. This is a new big box game from Rosenberg and from the pictures and early talk it looks awesome! This game finds the players taking actions from the central board (a la Fields of Arle) where they will hunt, gather, build ships and/or buildings, refine materials and raid settlements. The players then take their different results and will place them on their own personal board a la Patchwork. This is apparently the game where Patchwork was created and Rosenberg originally had the tile placement portion of that game in A Feast for Odin as just one of the mechanisms available. This game was (for me) an obvious choice as the top game not available for purchase as I really haven’t played an Uwe game I haven’t enjoyed. I’m sure I’ll play one at some point that I don’t like, but I don’t think this will be the one. Between the Uwe pedigree, the game mechanisms, and the game theme, A Feast for Odin was the obvious and awesome number one!

Other demos of note:
Adrenaline (Czech Games Edition)
Caravan (Z-Man Games)
Colony (Bezier Games, Inc.)
Escape the Sanitarium (Greenbrier Games)
Fate of the Elder Gods (Greater Than Games/Fabled Nexus)
Gloomhaven (Cephalofair Games)

Great Western Trail (Stronghold Games/eggertspiele)
Haspelknecht (Capstone Games)
Inis (Matagot/Pegasus Spiele)
Peak Oil (Leder Games)
The Phoenix Syndicate (Asmadi Games)
Spirit Island (Greater Than Games/Fabled Nexus)

And there you have it! These are the games that I’m keeping a close eye on in the coming months as they should have demos available at Gen Con. Just as a disclaimer to all of these games and the ones in previous posts, there is definitely a possibility that they won’t be at the convention due to unforeseen circumstances. Often times things happen and sadly the games don’t make which is a total bummer for those involved. So much effort is put into these games and it’s sad when they don’t quite make it for some reason! Anyways, thanks so much for reading my Gen Con 2016 series. This is the final post for now although I may do one more post after the convention is over to make my final observations of what I read/hear/see on video after it is over. If you have any questions/comments feel free to let me know in the comments below. Again, thanks for reading! Until next time, game on!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Obligatory 2016 Gen Con Post Part V: Top 10 List (Games 1-5)

Wow, we’ve made it to games 1-5 of my top 10 game interests of Gen Con 2016!  These are all games that I really want to check out/buy very soon!  These games all look really good although I don’t know if they will all hit my purchases or not due to prices.  As I look at these games in my top 5 I’ve noticed how they are all fairly heavily thematic games and that is pretty interesting and I think really signifies Gen Con releases as a whole.  As I gather the top 5 feel free to check out my previous four posts in the Gen Con 2016 series below

Gen Con 2016 Post Part I: Top 5 Game Expansions

Alright, now that the bookkeeping is done lets go ahead and move on to the top 5 games in my top 10 list for Gen Con 2016.  These are all very exciting for me and a few may be preordered already…but I’ll let you all guess which ones!  Enough preamble, on to the list!

Via Nebula is a route building, pick-up-and-deliver, territory building game that is designed by Martin Wallace and published by Space Cowboys and Asmodee.  This game is built on the ideas of Wallace’s previous route building games such as Age of Steam.  It really has the feeling of building the train routes but instead completely changes the theme.  Now his ideas are set in a fantasy world where you are part of a people group in this valley where there are mists.  You need to take turns and explore this mist while finding resources and making routes to them in order to build buildings.  This is a Space Cowboys production and thus looks absolutely beautiful!  This is also the second Space Cowboys/Martin Wallace release that is on my top 10 list and I hope that means good things to come from the pairing.  I am really looking forward to this game as it apparently gives the feeling of his train games but with a veneer that really appeals to me!

Scythe is an area control, economic, territory building game that is designed by Jamey Stegmaier and is published by Stonemaier Games.  This is one of the biggest hyped games of the year and apparently it seems to be holding up under the scrutiny as most reviews tend to be on the positive side.  Scythe takes place in a 1920’s alternate-history European setting where a militaristic factory has closed its doors and set the stage for five (and two more with the expansion later in the year) neighboring countries to come in and take control of the land.  While the set dressing screams “Ameri-trash” this game is much more heavily rooted in Euro-style games.  Stegmaier has stated that Terra Mystica and Kemet heavily influenced the design of this game and from what I’ve seen it shows.  I love how there seem to be different paths to victory in this beautiful looking game.  Speaking of beautiful, the art in this game, by Jakub Rozalski, is absolutely gorgeous!  It really gives the feeling of a 1920’s Europe where steam powered mechs roam the land along with farmers and everyday workers.  This is high on my list and for good reason, I’m really looking forward to trying it!

Covert is a dice-placement, set collection, action movement, espionage game designed by Kane Klenko and published by Renegade Game Studios.  This game finds the player taking control of a network of spies in an attempt to complete missions and gain intel in order to become the most connected group of espionage agents.  Each turn the players will roll their dice and place them on different areas of the board which then allow you to take different actions and complete different missions and break different codes.  You also have cards which are multi-use (one of my favorite mechanisms!) and give you different options within the game.  I love the different things that you are able to do with the dice and cards and the decision points that it creates in this game.  Klenko already has a dice-rolling game (FUSE) that my wife and I love and I think that this has the possibility of being another!  If it weren’t for the next two games on the list this would have easily been number one!

Cry Havoc is an area-control, deck-building, hand-management game designed by Grant Rodiek, Michał Oracz, and Michał Walczak and published by Portal Games.  This game finds the players taking control of different, asymmetrical races attempting to defeat the other factions on the planet for their own reasons.  Will you take control of the indigenous Trog trying to protect their planet or the Machines who are trying to spread and destroy all life?  Or maybe you’ll take control of the Humans who are trying to exploit the planet for profit or the Pilgrims who are there for research?  Each of these factions plays very different and has their own ways of manipulating the game and scoring points.  Players will attempt to take control of areas and of crystals on the planet while using their faction’s deck of cards to gain this control.  I love how this game has a deck-building mechanism along with multi-use cards (i.e. Imperial Settlers, 51st State: Master Set, Guilds of London) which is one of my very favorite game mechanisms!  Portal Games did a great job on this game as the production is absolutely amazing and the artwork is absolutely great!  This game kind of came out of nowhere and really picked up steam as earlier in the year I wasn’t that interested, but learning about the card play really knocked it up my list!  If it weren’t for my #1 game this game would have taken the top spot!  Speaking of the top spot

SeaFall is a 4x, campaign, legacy-style game with hand management elements that is designed by Rob Daviau (Mr. Legacy himself!) and published by Plaid Hat Games.  This game is the follow up to Daviau’s (with Matt Leacock) hit Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 and takes the legacy idea and runs with it.  This is the first original game that he is doing with the legacy system.  This game finds players taking the role of an empire that is taking place in the age of sail where they are exploring the world in order to discover new islands and spread themselves out into the world.  This game will have a sense of permanence as the gameboard will change constantly as players are finding islands and creating the board as they go.  Along with this each player will create and grow their empires as they are exploring and exploiting the new lands that they find, all the while exterminating their enemies where they can.  This has been my number one game want for some time and I am super excited that it will be coming out at Gen Con.  I will probably hold off on purchasing for a little bit as I am waiting to find a good, consistent group to play this one as I would like as close to the full player count as possible!

Well my friends, there you have it.  These are the top 5 games that I am interested in during this year’s Gen Con.  I would expect that I’ll have at least a couple of them by the end of the year and probably all five of them by Gen Con next year!  If you think I’ve missed something, feel free to let me know in the comments and I’ll take a closer look at it!  Stay tuned to the blog as I’ll be putting up at least one more post that will tackle the top 5 games that are able to be demoed but not purchased during the convention.  I may do one final post in the series after Gen Con is over and I’ve looked over the convention videos and find some things that I missed or were surprises.  This has been a super fun series to do and I thank you all for reading!  Until next time, game on!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Obligatory 2016 Gen Con Post Part IV: Top 10 List (Games 6-10)

Alright, now we’re moving on to the fun part! With my honorable mentions post up we can move on to my top 10 game interests of Gen Con 2016! These are all games that are quite high on my radar and many of which I may obtain at some point in the near future! One of these games I have Kickstarted and am just waiting for my copy to arrive. While I ponder what these bottom 5 in the top 10 are feel free to click the links to check out my previous three Gen Con 2016 posts.

Gen Con 2016 Post Part I: Top 5 Game Expansions

Gen Con 2016 Post Part II: Top 5 Reprints/Re-implementation

Gen Con 2016 Post Part III: Honorable Mentions

Alright, is everyone back? Good! Now I can move on to the five games we’ll be taking a look at in this post, specifically games 6-10 on the Gen Con top 10 list. These are all games that have been confirmed (although things happen) as being for sale at the convention even if it may just be in limited quantities. Enjoy your read!

#10 – Hit Z Road (Space Cowboys/Asmodee)

Hit Z Road is a push-your-luck, dice-rolling, auction, zombie game designed by Martin Wallace and published by Space Cowboys and Asmodee. This game finds players in the role of a survivor of the zombie apocalypse who is traveling along Route 66 in order to make it to Santa Monica, CA where there is supposedly some respite from said zombies. This is an interesting number from Martin Wallace as it has a fair amount of luck based rolls (although there is a fair amount of mitigation involved as well) while you are facing off against the zombie hordes. You start a round by bidding on the turn order. This is important because the winner gets to choose the first route they want to go on and thus can choose the easiest or best payout route. However, they will have to give up a fair amount of resources in order to pull this off. The only problem I’m seeing with this release is that it seems to have the classic Martin Wallace trait where his designs work great for 3-4 players but fall significantly short at the 1-2 player count. This isn’t a huge deal but I do tend to play mostly two-player with my wife. That said, this is Space Cowboys and thus is a lavish and beautiful production and I’ll be looking more closely at it in the coming months.

#9 – Islebound (Red Raven Games)

Islebound is a card-drafting, pick-up-and-deliver, worker-placement style designed by Ryan Laukat and published by Red Raven Games. This game is set in the same world as some of Ryan’s other games (Above & Below, City of Iron, Near& Far) and finds the players in the role of a sea captain who is setting sail to gain treasures and resources and crew members in order to build up and commission buildings in their own capital city. Each player sails and recruits helpers in order to build different types of buildings which will give them bonuses and benefits that will help them along the way. I like that Ryan has placed different routes to victory and you are able to be a cunning and ruthless captain or more diplomatic if you prefer. As always with these games, Ryan’s art is amazing and truly evocative of the worlds he’s created. I’m looking forward to this one and really hope that Em and I like it as much as we do Above & Below!

#8 – Legendary Encounters: A Firefly Deck Building Game (Upper Deck Entertainment)

Legendary Encounters: A Firefly Deck Building Game is a deck-building, hand-management, co-operative game designed by Ben Cichoski and Danny Mandel and published by Upper Deck Entertainment. This game is set in the Firefly universe and uses the popular Legendary Encounters engine which has previous used the Alien and Predator licenses. This game will give you a bunch of the main characters and you will build your deck in order to defeat the villains and go on missions. There isn’t a ton known about this yet but just the fact that it is the Legendary IP and the Firefly IP mixed puts it up very high on my radar!

#7 – New Bedford (Dice Hate Me/Greater Than Games)

New Bedford is a tile-placement, city-building, worker-placement game designed by Nathaniel Levan and published by Dice Hate Me/Greater Than Games. This game takes place in the whaling community of New Bedford, MA in the height of the whaling industry in the mid-1800’s. You will take your workers and your ships and use some worker placement to get resources and build buildings as you are improving the town. These buildings will give you better actions which in turn give you better stuff. Over the course of the game you will send your two ships out to sea in order to capture whales. You draw them from a bag and hope to capture the biggest/best whales out there. As you continue to go out the whales start to disappear as they aren’t going back into the bag which gives this game a thematic draw to it. I Kickstarted this game and am expecting it very soon (probably here by the time this is posted!) otherwise I think that this game would be even higher on my interest list. That being said, I can’t wait to try it!

#6 – Fantasy Fantasy Baseball (CSE Games)

Fantasy Fantasy Baseball is a card-drafting, hand-management, fantasy baseball game designed by JR Honeycutt and Daryl Andrews and published by CSE Games. This game finds you in the position of a wizard who is also the manager of a baseball team of classic fantasy creatures. You may have a team with a zombie, a vampire, and an ogre side-by-side fighting to win their games. It is a play on fantasy baseball where you will draft your perfect team of players and go head-to-head against the other managers in a system that uses cards and stat tracking in order to win. I love the idea of this game and really can’t wait to try it out. This is one I’m not 100% sure will be there, but it should be so it made the list. This could possibly be my first purchase of the list as the game looks great and the price point is perfect! Way to go JR and Daryl, this one looks like fun!

And there are the bottom 5 of the top 10…did you get that? These games are all very high on my “to-check-out” list and at least two of them (New Bedford and Fantasy Fantasy Baseball) will be in my collection. The other three are ones that I’ve very interested in but still not quite ready to pull the trigger on. Stay tuned as games 1-5 on the top 10 will be out in the next day or so and those are REALLY high up on my acquisition list. Thanks so much for reading and feel free to post any questions or comments below! Until next time, game on!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Obligatory 2016 Gen Con Post Part III: Honorable Mentions

Woot!  Two posts down and four (I think) left in my Gen Con 2016 series!  This post will focus on games that should specifically be available at this year’s Gen Con.  This particular post will tackle my honorable mentions.  These are the games that just missed the top 10 (which will be coming in the next couple of days) but I feel still warrant a mention.  I am excited to start this list…but before we head there…feel free to click on the links below to check out the previous two posts if you haven’t read them yet.  The first is about my top 5 expansions of the con and the second is about my top 5 reprints/re-implementations. 

Alright, with the housekeeping out of the way it’s time to move on to my list of honorable mentions that are debuting at Gen Con 2016.  These games just missed my top 10 but that in no way precludes them from being good releases.  Continue reading and find out what I’m excited for!

The first game to make its way onto my honorable mentions list is Arcane Academy.  This game is designed by Eric M. Lang and Kevin Wilson and is published by IDW Games.  Arcane Academy is a drafting and tile placement game where you take on the role of a young wizard/witch and duke it out with other spellcasters in order to win prestige.  You are able to gain this prestige by linking tiles to create powerful arcane items and wield the elemental energies.  This appears to be an easy-to-teach game with a fairly quick playtime and is created by two very talented designers.  For these reasons Arcane Academy spells its way onto my honorable mentions list.

The next game to wheedle its way onto the honorable mentions is Order of the Gilded Compass.  This game is designed by Jeffrey D. Allers and Bernd Eisenstein and is published by Grey Fox Games.  Order of the Gilded Compass is a dice-placement, area-control, adventure game that puts you in the role of a treasure hunter scouring the globe for archeological finds and amazing treasures in order to get an invitation to the The Order of the Gilded Compass.  You start with a random/variable set up where you are able to use your dice as archeologists to help you dig up these treasures.  This game has a fun theme and I really like the dice-placement mechanism and for these reasons this game makes my honorable mentions for Gen Con 2016.

The third game to get a shout-out on this list is LondonDread.  This game is designed by Asger Johansen and is published by Grey Fox Games giving them their second game on this list!  London Dread is a co-operative, real-time, murder mystery that puts players in the role of investigators as they are roaming the streets of Victorian London in order to uncover clues, plots, and machinations on their way to a story specific finale.  The game is split into two chapters where the players are involved in a timed phase and then a resolution phase.  During the timed phase the players will each take turns playing on different parts of the board to conquer obstacles and plots and then during the resolution phase the players will resolve their decisions.  London Dread appears to be a very good co-operative game where each player must truly work together in order to win.  This appears to be fun and tense and thus makes it onto the honorable mentions list.

The fourth game, and thus just missing my top honorable mention, is Fight for Olympus.  This game is designed by Matthias Cramer and is published by Lookout Games and MayfairGames.  Fight for Olympus is a two-player, hand management, battle-for-control game where you pit soldiers, demi-gods and titans against each other in order to win the battle for Olympus.  This game seems to take a nod from Battle Line (Schotten-Totten) by Reiner Knizia where you are playing cards into a line and attempting to get the upper hand in each area.  This game uses a mechanism that I love in games and that is where you use your cards to play for other cards, à la Race for the Galaxy.  You are able to play as many cards on a turn as long as you are able to pay for them and then use their military might against your opponent.  You are trying to either win by swaying the pendulum of strength to seven points in your favor or to have all six slots on your side of the board filled with cards.  Em and I love Cramer’s Kraftwagen enough that it is making us look at his designs very closely and thus this game just misses the top 10.

This final game, and thus the one that just barely missed the top 10 list, is Oceanos.  This game is designed by the incredible Antoine Bauza and is published by IELLO.  Oceanos is a card-drafting, set-collection, nautically-themed game where you are a captain of a submarine adventuring under water.  You use card-drafting in order to explore and find the most species and the longest coral reef and then send out scuba divers in an attempt to gain treasures.  You are also able to upgrade your ship which will help you avoid the kraken.  The fact that it is Antoine Bauza is just icing on the cake along with the production/art of IELLO.  These make this my top honorable mention of the list!

Other honorable mentions of note:

There we have it!  These are my honorable mentions coming up at this year’s Gen Con.  Stay tuned to the blog in the next couple of days as I’m going to be listing my top 10 releases coming out!  Some of these games are going to be insta-buys for me and so many of them are incredibly interesting!  As always, any questions or comments feel free to post below.  Until next time, game on!