Thursday, August 10, 2017

Obligatory 2017 Gen Con Post Part I: Top 5 Game Expansions

Woo hoo!  It’s a week away from Gen Con 2017!  This is one of my favorite times of the year as this marks some of the major releases of the year along with Essen Spiel which comes later in the year.  This year’s Gen Con is especially exciting for me because it marks the first boardgaming convention that I’ve ever gone to as I’m getting to go for a couple of days!  I will be heading in and spending Friday and Saturday at the convention along with my buddy Josh.  It’s going to be a blast!  I take most of my information about the releases happening at Gen Con (and Essen Spiel in the fall) from W. Eric Martin’s incredible yearly geeklist over on the BoardGameGeek website.  This year he has even created a different kind of list and turned it into a geek preview which streamlines the process and makes it much more usable.  So make sure to check out the list at and check out all of the cool releases and demos at Gen Con 2017.  So this post is going to be my first in a series of 6 (or maybe 7 this year) posts that will focus on games at Gen Con this year.  This particular post will look at my top 5 anticipations among the game expansion releases at the convention.  I always like to let everyone know that these are expansions for purchase making their “official” debut at Gen Con and there is always the chance that something won’t show up due to issues unforeseen and there is always the chance that something else is a surprise that I didn’t know about!  So continue reading to check out what I’m looking forward to at Gen Con 2017!

OblivAeon is a large expansion to the 2011 Greater Than Games/Sentinel Comics hit, Sentinels of the Multiverse by designers Christopher Badell, Paul Bender and Adam Rebottaro.  OblivAeon is also designed by Badell, Bender and Rebottaro and was slated to release earlier this year but will likely release closer to the end of the year.  Sentinels of the Multiverse is a card game with heavy hand management elements where you are taking your assymetrical decks of cards which represent a superhero and attempting to defeat a specific villain before they knock out all of your characters.  This has been a hit and is one of my favorite games of all times!  This expansion is adding a TON of new content to the already huge amount of content already in the game.  Now the heroes will be facing off against OblivAeon and his minions in order to save the world…as usual of course.  This is somewhat cheating because I know from updates in the Kickstarter that it isn’t going to be ready for the convention.  I just put it as my honorable mention because it is still on the geek preview as “for sale” and also because I am so excited for the inevitable release later this year.

Professionals: Mini-Expansion #6 is a small expansion to the 2016 Level 99 game, Millennium Blades by designer D. Brad Talton.  This expansion is also designed by Talton and is slated to release at Gen Con.  Millennium Blades is a card-drafting, hand-management game where you are actually playing a simulation of a collectable card game.  This game is quite amazing and I wish we had tons of time in order to give this game even more plays!  I love taking one of the characters and really using their power in order to craft an amazing deck to take into the tournament against my opponent.  My wife and I really enjoy this one and we hope to be able to teach it to our friends soon.  This particular expansion is just a small deck of cards that will include some more characters that the players can use during their matches.  I think that more cards really work with this expansion as they just add to the overall replayability to an already highly replayable game.

Branch & Claw is an expansion to the 2017 game, Spirit Island by R. Eric Ruess.  This expansion is also by designer, Ruess and is slated to release at Gen Con 2017 along with the base game.  Spirit Island is a 2017 release that is only now just being shipped off to backers and going to different retailers.  It is a cooperative game with levels of hand management and an action point allowance systems where the players will have turns to use their god to wreak havoc on the invaders of the land in order to cause then to leave the area and completely take over the island for the spirits.  I was able to procure a copy of this game and the expansion and really look forward to being able to play them and I think the expansion looks great as well!  This expansion adds a couple new spirits to use and a couple new mechanisms along with a new adversary.

Flames & Frost is an expansion to the 2016 game, Valeria: Card Kingdoms by Isaias Vallejo.  The expansion is also designed by Isaias and is slated to come out at Gen Con 2017 and I am pumped for it!  Valeria: Card Kingdoms is what I’d call a Machi Koro killer.  This game has dice which the players will roll and everyone gets resources which they will in turn order be able to either hire citizens from an offer, attack and destroy monsters or buy different buildings.  This game is such a simple idea with some absolutely amazing art and it just a total blast whenever we play it!  This expansion basically just adds more citizens and monsters to the mix and I’m okay with that.  I don’t think the game really needs anything other than more variability and this expansion will do that.

Valhalla and The Dark Mountains are two different expansions to the 2016 hit, Champions of Midgard by Ole Steiness.  These expansions were also designed by Ole Steiness and have already been delivered to Kickstarter backers and retailers while the “official” debut is Gen Con 2017.  Champions of Midgard is primarily a worker placement game where the players will be obtaining different colored dice that represent different types of Viking warriors, from swordsmen to axemen and so on.  The players will use their dice to defeat monsters and go hunting while also obtaining resources to pay for their voyages.  This game and so fun and the expansions appear to make it an amazing game!  Valhalla gives players the option of going a different route of victory.  As the warrior dice die the players will get different tokens which in turn they can pay to get things from the Valhalla board thus making the game even less luck based with the mitigation of bad rolls.  The Dark Mountains bring in a new board with different monsters and three new types of dice.  I am so pumped for these expansions and hope to have them in my hands very soon!

The Laws of Lions and The Song of Soaksend are two new deluxe expansions for the 2016 expandable card game, Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn by Isaac Vega.  The expansions are also designed by Vega and are slated to come out at this year’s Gen Con.  Ashes is an absolutely amazing head-to-head card game where each player takes a Phoenixborn and either their pre-constructed deck or build one around the character.  The players will actually roll ten dice of different colors which will become the manna that they use to bring out units or cast spells during the round.  Each player will take a turn and then the next player will follow up with their action and this will continue each round until both players pass with no other actions they want/can take.  This game is in my top 5 games of all time and thus I will voraciously eat up any expansion that comes out.  Both of these expansions really look interesting because they are bringing two new colors of dice to the mix and that will just add more interest and variability to an already amazing game.  I can’t wait to try these decks out!

Alright, there you have it!  These are the 5 expansions (plus one honorable mention) that really caught my eye while going through this year’s list and most of them I will probably have on my shelf this time next year!  Please feel free to let me know if there are any interesting expansions that I have missed.  Thanks so much for reading and keep your eye on the blog as I’ll be continuing my Gen Con 2017 posts with my reissues list coming next.  Until next time, game on!

1 comment:

  1. Aaron, thanks for sharing. An interesting list for sure! I am hoping the new releases will get people playing Ashes again in our area. -- BJ @boardgamegumbo