I just got back to the hotel after the second day of Gen Con 2016. Below are updates on what’s hot, what’s sold out, and other news. I also provide initial impressions on two games I played today.
I’m still not seeing any game as the big standout of the convention. My hotness list from yesterday still seems accurate, although I’ll add a couple of games that I’ve been hearing a lot about: Junk Art and Lotus, both of which I played (and discuss below).
In terms of games that sold out out, apparently both Lotus and Covert (both from Renegade Game Studios) sold out all copies for the convention yesterday. Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu (Z-Man) sold out for the convention today. Vikings on Board (Blue Orange) sold out their daily allotment early on both days. Competition for The Last Friday was fierce this morning, and while it isn’t near the top of the Geekbuzz list (which still has very few votes), a lot of people seem to really like it (including myself). I’ve heard of several other games as well, but these are rumors: Oceanos has sold its daily allotment each day, and the Harry Potter deckbuilder sells out quickly each morning.
I’m a huge fan of the Mafia/Werewolf family of games, and I spent most of my evening playing in the One Night World Championship and then playing Werewolf in the convention hall. I also played in a Vikings on Board tournament earlier in the day. Unfortunately, that means I didn’t get to play as many of the “hot” games as I wanted today, but there are my first impressions on two such games below.
Attending the One Night World Championship yielded interesting news. Ted Alspach and Bezier Games announced Ultimate Werewolf Legacy this evening. The announcement came as a surprise at the event, and it got a huge round of applause. It is debuting in 2017, and Ted worked with Rob Daviau on the game. Bezier also offered details on the upcoming One Night Alien kickstarter, which looks like it’ll be an interesting twist on the genre, since it seems to feature “dynamic” cards where the value of roles change each game.
Jay Cormier, Sen-Foong Lim
I’ll be up front and say I’m not a huge fan of dexterity games. That said, I think Junk Art is easily one of the best dexterity games I’ve tried, and it has been a big hit with my family members attending the convention.
There are reportedly rules in the box for a dozen or so ways to play, and today we played the “Montreal” variant.
Each player receives a base piece and three cards. Each player picks a card and passes it to their left, and then everybody simultaneously places the piece corresponding to the card they were handed onto their sculpture, then drawing a card for the next play. Players are eliminated if two or more pieces fall of the structure at once, and the last player standing wins. But there’s a twist: players rotate after every third card, so they can’t be too devious or they’ve set themselves up for failure.
It was simple, laugh-out-loud fun, and the tension came from simultaneously (a) wanting your opponent to fail, and (b) not wanting to set yourself up to fail in the event they succeeded. Plus, it is fun to build the sculptures, which is in the end the core of the game.
My sister played a variant (not sure which one) in which players speed build, and they loved it more than the Montreal variant I played. The convention has a giant version of the game (pictured above), and it has been a popular demo spot.
My Initial OG Rating: I love it!
Renegade Game Studios
Jordan Goddard, Mandy Goddard
Renegade Game Studios
Lotus was not on my radar at the start of the convention, but it is high on the Geekbuzz list currently, and I had heard good things about it from a few attendees. When I stopped by for a demo today, I was struck by how beautiful the game is, but there is also a clever combination of mechanics.
The game is basically a combination of hand management, set collection, and majorities. Each player has their own deck. On a turn, players can take two actions:
- Play petal cards, meaning add one or two of them to the flowers being completed around the table.
- Exchange petal cards, putting one or two at the bottom of your player deck and drawing more from the top.
- Place of move your guardian. The guardians assist in the battle for majorities.
At the end of a player’s turn, he draws back up to four cards. Players can draw either from their deck, or from the wildflowers, which can help in completing a flower but which don’t help in the battle for majorities since they don’t have the player’s symbol.
Once a flower is complete, the player with the most of his symbols (from the cards and/or guardians) can either get five points or a special power token they can use in the game. The last round is triggered when a player runs out of cards in his deck.
It was a simple but effective combination of different mechanics. The artwork is striking, and the game seems like it would have wide appeal.
My Initial OG Rating: I like it.
Promo Note: The designers are handing out one of the most clever promos I’ve ever seen with a game: wildflower seeds. But not just any seeds: seeds that, if planted now, will bloom at about the time the game is released next month. Clever marketing indeed.