GenCon 2016 Mega Rundown – A to G

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWelcome back to the 2016 Mega Rundown.  Today we start into the gamer games in earnest, hitting them up alphabetically by publisher.  Sit back and let the photos wash over you to see what games caught my fancy.

Disclaimer:  Games are listed by the booth in which I found them.  This could be the publisher, distributor, or maybe someone stopped to rest and set down their game.  Any mistakes are my own, treat finding mistakes a game and post below to win fabulous imaginary prizes.  I’ve kept the image sizes small for now, but feel free to click through to see them in all their large-screen glory.

 

 
Alderac Entertainment Group

The Love Letter franchise steam rolls onward.  Love Letter Premium has very high quality tarot sized cards and a few new characters so it now can be played by up to 8 people.  It comes in a cigar box sized package.  Speaking of ongoing games, Thunderstone will be having a Kickstarter of a sort.  AEG will be running a “Kick it Here” program where gamers make pledges at their local game store, and then AEG will fulfill through those stores, complete with any stretch goals, etc…  In this way AEG will also be able to give stores launch kits and other kinds of support.  The hope is that this will be a great way to bring gaming stores back into the picture of Kickstarter type funding.  

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If you haven’t seen, Guildhall has now been re-released as Guildhall Fantasy, and it comes in three different flavors: Alliance, Coalition, and Fellowship.  The sets stand alone but can also be combined to make different styles of play.  Personally I’m not a fan of some of the “take that” cards, as they are often just used to beat up the leader.  With three sets I can construct a game that avoids what I consider the “harsh” cards.  Of course, feel free to make a set that goes all out aggressive.

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Love Letter Archer is rated PG-13 of course, and brings in things dealing with the “hidden enemy.”  Plenty of theme here, note the point tokens in the shape of a dolphin puppet.  The Valley of the Kings: Last Rites expansion (out in September) brings all new cards (duh) even new and different starting cards. Lots of messing with the purchase pyramid (prevent a card from being bought, buy from anywhere on the pyramid, a “shopping” type card where another player selects cards from the pyramid but the active player gets to distribute them…

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As normal, I’m months behind in games and this was my first glimpse of Mystic Vale.  An intriguing deckbuilding game where players always have the same number of cards in their deck.  Instead, players purchase card “upgrades” – done with clear plastic cards placed into sleeves – to improve their card economy.  Cards are upgraded in a top, middle, and bottom location.  Care should be taken in purchases, one wants to purchase the right powers, but also purchase them so they fit onto the right card to make the best self-standing combos.  The mechanisms of the game will be quite familiar to anyone who’s played other deckbuilders, the “Card Crafting” (the official name) mechanism is what lends the game a unique feel.  Other interesting mechanisms include drawing, one can draw cards until 3 red symbols are revealed.  Then, you can keep drawing if you want but if a 4th symbol comes up you lose your turn (and get a +1 monies for future use.)  Many of the cards start as completely blank slates.  Unlike other games where you try to remedy this situation as fast as you can, there is something to be said of leaving a blank card around for awhile until you can fill it up with three very powerful cards when you can afford them.  This is AEG, so and expansion, Vale of Magic, will release in October.  It won’t have new mechanisms, but will add more variety for more combo opportunities.  It does have a slight emphasis on the Guardian symbols found in the base game.  A final tidbit:  The designer, John Clair, mentioned that Mystic Vale is actually the second card crafting game he sold to AEG. So, presumably, keep your eyes and ears open…

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Fantazee is a dice game where players draft a team and then roll dice to activate them.  In the tried and true Yahtzee mechanic (roll 3 times, keeping some dice) combos rolled can kick in the powers of your team.  Use those powers to eliminate monsters from the monster row (of five cards) and collect victory points.  If you don’t knock out the 1st monster in the row on your turn, bad things will happen to you.  There’s a boss monster on the bottom of the decks, so prepare yourself.  Clear out three of the five decks and the game ends.

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Dice City was tempting me last year at GenCon.  The All the Glitters expansion, bringing gold as a currency, has been out awhile.  The new Crossroads expansion brings in cards and powers that deal with the columns of the game rather than the rows.  Some of its cards use the gold mechanic but gold is provided so the first expansion is not a prerequisite.  In November, Royal Decree will be released that adds in a communal game board where players can trade with a neutral third party.  Queen’s Plans come into play as extra objectives which can grant points, such as forming specific patterns in one’s city.  A new mechanic, presence, is added which looks to see how many dice you have left in your pool.  For example, a  “presence 0” ability will only activate if you activate it with your last die (ie. you have 0 dice left in your pool.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASmash up: Cease and Desist

The obligatory Smash Up expansion brings a few decks with very recognizable themes that are just far off of the copyrights to make it through the lawyers.  You’ll see Astroknights (Knights with laser swords), Star Roamers (with red shirted Ensigns), Changerbots (robots that change into things), and Ignobles (including the “The Aunt of Drakes” card.)  If I remember correctly, the key is to satirize specific instances of something rather than a theme in general.  In any case, the set has some great themes for fantasy/sci-fi geeks.  No new mechanisms, but factions supposedly concentrate in on some mechanics that have been less frequently used.  (Ignobles, for example, have a lot of trading options going on.)

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I got to talk to Seiji Kanai about his games and I found it interesting that 8 Epics started out as a game in his “500 yen” challenge.  He added in some dice mechanics and the dice took over the game, so he overran his 500 yen budget (but it is still inexpensive.)  8 Epics is a co-op dice game where players use their special powers in order to solve various crisis.  As with most co-ops, things aren’t easy, so expect to lose a few heroes along the way.  The game scale up in difficulty if you remove a few heroes before you start.  I asked Seiji whether he was sick of making Love Letter games yet, and he pointed out there’s a Love Letter edition over in Japan with an Anime theme.  Time to hunt down another version, you Love Letter obsessive compulsive collectors.

 

Asmodee

The hydra of publishing houses that is Asmodee was there in force.  I didn’t get a look at all of the hotness games, but here are a few that I did.

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Citadels has a reprint.  The gameplay looks to be unchanged, however I do like what they did with the bits.  Having a row of tokens to represent the various card powers looks to be a handy reference, especially to help new players understand the system.  (reprint)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHit Z Road was all over the convention (at least the parts where went) and while I am very disinclined to like zombie games, this one piqued my interest.  There is a lot going on and it seemed like the game stood on its own merits and didn’t try to rely on the theme to make up for anything lacking.  There are three main resources: bullets, adrenaline, and fuel.  The heart of a turn is in bidding for pairs of cards in the middle of the play area.  Cards display resources granted, zombies attacking, and other bonus benefits (such as special items.)  Players bid for first dibs on the sets, paying for their bids by any of their resources.  Once a player selects their pair of cards, they resolve them by gaining any benefits but then also needing to fight off the number of zombies listed on the card..  Bullets can be spent to add dice for a ranged attack (to preemptively eliminate zombies.)  Leftover zombies attack and are (possibly) defended.  Adrenaline can help prevent hits or upgrade dice to hits while fuel helps you run away.  Losses remove characters from a player’s pool (basically a player’s health, everyone starts with 6 or so.)  Lose all your characters and you’re out of the game.  The card tableau gets progressively more difficult as the game progresses, so you better save some resources to get through the end game!  Players gain VPs for cards purchased through out the game as well as some bonus VP conditions.  I was highly amused by the detailed theme of the game.  It is actually a game about zombies made by a young kid who just survived a zombie apocalypse.  Thus, the game is made out of old playing cards, bottle caps, etc…

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The highlight of my show was to get to play Captain Sonar.  I love me some co-ops and while this is team vs team, it is still a hoot to play.  With full complement of eight players, two submarine crews battle it out on a grid to sink the other.  Each team has four positions: Captain (who shouts out directions and marks down the path of the ship), 1st mate (who charges up the weapons), the radio operator (who tries to track the motions of the other sub), and the engineer (who essentially tries to manage resources for the sub’s actions.)  Each time the captain calls out a direction (N/S/E/W), they mark it on their grid, the enemy sub radio operator marks the direction on their grid, the 1st make checks off a box for arming weapons, and the engineer checks off a box of resources.  Thus, every move brings the sub one step closer to arming a weapon (or sonar for tracking the other team.)  The game is real time so both teams are shouting out info, with the game coming to a stop whenever a weapon (or other action) requires both teams to share information (such as revealing a column/row when firing sonar.)  Both subs maneuver around on a set grid and cannot cross their own previous path.  

My engineering failure.

My engineering failure.

I was the engineer for our team.  It is a unique job and required the engineer to cross out one circle on the sub’s map for each step in a direction.  Unfortunately, the circles represented the sub’s systems and if ANY circle of a type was crossed out, that system was inoperable.  Thus, if just one attack circle was crossed out, all weapons were offline.  The best situation is if circles are crossed out if specific sets, which are then cleared when that set was full.  Otherwise, large swaths of circles could be cleared when giving up a damage.  The entire sub could be reset if it “surfaced” (and resets the path-crossing limitation.)  This meant the sub had to reveal its current quadrant and all the sub crewmembers had to take time carefully tracing out a pattern on the engineer sheet before the sub could continue forward.  The game was quick and a blast to play.  Obvious parallels are made to Space Cadets: Dice Duel, but this had a unique feel to it as nothing was left to luck, it was all up to the skill of the crew. (Note, the game can be played turn-based which is a great way to explain it and get people up and running, but real time play is where it’s at – well in my opinion anyway.)

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At the PR showdown I was able to play a few rounds of INIS.  It is an area control game, but with a few caveats.  There are three victory point conditions, each of which may be fulfilled by several people.  The first player to have at least 2 VP and more VP than everyone else will win the game.  Players can get points for having any tribe (marker) on six different territories, have tribes on territories that contain a total of six sanctuary tokens, or have at least 6 opponent tribes in territories where you have the majority of tribes.  To place and move tribes, players draft several cards and then take turns playing them.  The game uses the same set of cards for an entire game (although only some of the possible cards are used in a specific game.)  Players use cards to place tribes on the map, move them around (causing conflict), place territory upgrades such as sanctuaries and citadels (used in defense.)  When conflict occurs, the invader can ask for peace and if the defender agrees, no fight occurs.  If anyone in the territory wants to fight, the attacker picks an opponent and they must remove a tribe token or discard one of their cards.  The defender can then flee, sue for peace, or attack back and the attacker must remove a token or discard.  This continues until peace is agreed or someone loses all their tokens in the territory.  There is a lot going on: each zone grants a special power card to the player with the majority, there are extra special red cards that can be acquired that tend to be more powerful, and simply keeping track of the three disparate victory conditions is tricky.  To help this out, a player who thinks they can win will claim a special token during the round to claim they will win at the end of the round.  Similar to calling “Uno”, this helps all the players to keep track of someone (or several people) who might be on the verge of winning.

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Conan had a big presence at the show.  The artwork (double sided dusty brown game board and character mats) and the pieces (cool little grey plastic minis) sure looked nice and thematic.  Arriving some time this fall, it is an Overlord vs Players sort of game.  Players control characters with with a wide range of special abilities, but the heart of the game is combat.  Players spend fatigue gems to power up attacks, defense, and other abilities.  After use, those gems go to the fatigue pool and the character must spend a Night (rest) turn to gain them back.  Fighting is done with three different colored dice (yellow, orange, red – in increasing power) used both in offence and defense. Taking damage causes a character to lose gems permanently, dying if they are all lost.   The overlord player keeps track of many different adversaries through the use of a very handy overlord play area – with monsters and other things slotting into the mat.  There are 8 scenarios in the game, the one I played involved rescuing someone.  We had to go hut to hut to try to find where they were hiding while killing monsters we came across.  I think I would like the game but I was turned off by some of the art.  Yes, I know the Conan canon and the style of story, but the poor healer/cleric lady looked like she would die of hypothermia if a light breeze happened by.  I guess her combat defense comes from some holy source and not a set of decent clothes or armor?

 

Bezier Games

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Bezier had two main offerings at the convention, America and Colony.  America is a continuation of the Fauna and Terra genre.  Players draw question cards and then place tokens on their best guess of the card’s year, state (declared as east or west), or number.  Nailing the answer gets points, but being close also gives a few.  Guess wrong and you lose your token (you get 1 back per round.)  There are two extra guessing spaces in the game: “no exact” and “no exact or adjacent” which give big points if everyone else is totally in the wrong.

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Meanwhile, Colony is an engine building game revolving around dice.  In a post-nano-apocalypse world, players build up parts of their colony by adding locations.   Players actually start with rolling dice which are then drafted around the table.  Dice are used to purchase buildings as well as upgrade some of your starting buildings (such as a storage card that lets you keep unused dice from turn to turn.)  Dice come in two colors.  The base white dice can be stored in your storage for another turn, and grey dice that are gone at the end of your turn.  Most extra dice gained are of the grey variety.  Dice are used to “buy” card but they can also upgrade buildings you already own (your starting buildings as well.)  The cards offer a variety of options including extra dice, dice manipulation, attacks on opponents (steal dice, for example), and defense.  A few catch up mechanisms help to keep anyone from running away with the game.  If you have a bad turn, you can gain a CHIP which can be converted to a grey die on a later turn.  Players earn VPs over the course of the game (mostly on cards). On their turn, any player may sell back one of their cards which gains them VPs equal to half the difference to the leader.  They also get to roll that many grey dice at the start of their turn.  

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Bezier is particularly proud of the game box as it is designed to perfectly fit the cards into the box without “wiggle room” for things to spill.

 

Cubicle 7 Entertainment

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As a fan, I stopped for a quick look at Dr. Who Dalek Dice. It’s a simple push your luck game.  You’re a Dalek, so of course you match rolled Dalek symbols with people.  Keep some dice if you wish and reroll the rest.  Any die can be rerolled but if a TARDIS or an Exterminate symbol is rolled you must keep exactly one of them.  Roll 3 total TARDIS symbols and you lose your turn.  At the end of your turn you score the number of people killed by your Daleks.  However, if you roll three Exterminate symbols (and not 3 TARDIS), you score double of ALL the people dice showing.  Rinse and repeat, comes in a cute little rolling cup.
Cryptozoic Entertainment

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As a science teacher, I’m always up for some science theming in my games, and Mad Science Foundation fits the bill.  Players are trying to build up infamy (victory points) using an “I cut, you choose” mechanic.  A stack of resource cards and one invention are distributed into piles by the active player.  Players then choose the stack they prefer.   Inventions, once claimed, can be built using gathered resources.  They typically grant a player ongoing powers.  In addition to resources and inventions, special cards (with powers)  represented by cardboard standee figures eventually appear.  These are added to the item piles so that the game starts with around 7 items to form into piles and ends with up to 12 different things (invention, resources, standees…) for sorting.  The game ends when the invention deck is empited.  I like the theme, I like the idea of the game.  My fear is that the endgame may be a bit much for anyone with analysis paralysis, but if played at a good clip I think it would be a fine fit for my Mad Scientist game collection.

 

They weren’t being shown at the convention, but Cryptozoic has two different games based on the excellent Attack on Titan manga/anime.  (A small-ish collection of humans live in fear behind layers of walls to protect them from giant, instinct-driven titans that look like overgrown, deformed babies.  Out of nowhere, giant intelligent Titans start showing up and knocking down the precious walls.)  The Attack on Titan: Deckbuilding Game, for 2-5 players, uses the more recent DC deckbuilding core (Cerebus) and is the first one to be a co-op game from the start.  There are 5 central wall segments and players have a physical location on one side or other (giving 10 locations.)  The “thrust” mechanic allows players to move around.  Meanwhile you are required to purchase (or fight) only cards that are at your location.  The walls have 2 hit points and if Titans (that appear on the far side of the wall) are not defeated they will attack at the end of the round.  Players can take a (useless) wound card into their deck to prevent damage to the wall at their location.  If you ever end up with 3 wounds in your drawn hand (of 5), your character dies but you get to start over with a new one.  Look for the game in late 2016.

 

The second game, Attack on Titan: The Last Stand, was designed by Antoine Bauza and Ludovic Maublac and features a giant 3D castle and a huge titan figure about 12” tall.  The titan is fitted with little platforms so you can run your character up and down in 3D (a big part of the anime combat) as they fight off the titan.  The game involves a lot of dice rolling and each player has stuff to do (matching patterns.)  Any dice not used to match patterns get passed over to the titan player and they’re used as resources to power up the titan’s attacks.  Look for it in early 2017.

rick morty

I don’t watch the Rick & Morty show, but Rick & Morty:  Mr. Meeseeks’ Box O’ Fun is based off a single episode where Meeseeks are sort of lame, everyman genies.  Summon one up and it will try to do your wish (in order to cease its painful existence), of course they really don’t have much power so they could make a sandwich but if you ask them for a million dollars they’ll try to find a way to rob a bank.  Anyhoo… the boardgame is a (PG-13) party game where a player draws a request, tries to complete it by rolling five dice (stealing dice from other players if needed.)  If unsuccessful, partially completed dice stick around, the player gets a consolation card and a dare card.  If you roll too many 6s, your character loses hitpoints.  The dares are at the heart of the party game as they will challenge you to create a limerick using not safe for work words or some such thing.  Complete the dare to get extra victory points.  The nifty Mr. Meeseeks box (used to summon them in the episode) is pressed whenever a consolation card is drawn and Mr. Meeseeks voice rings out with some sarcastic or silly commentary.

 

Days of Wonder

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The newest in Ticket to Ride is Ticket to Ride: Rails and Sails. It is a standalone edition that brings boats and harbors into the mix.  One side features the world and the other the Great Lakes.  There are boat links and rail links displayed on the board and each requires the appropriate boat or train cards to be played.  (To my knowledge, none of the routes were a combination of the two.)  Wild cards are truly wild – serving as any color boat or train.  Players can resupply the tableau from either deck (train or boat) at the end of their turn.  In addition, players decide at the start of the game how to distribute their starting pieces as boats or trains (if you guess poorly you can sacrifice a turn to redistribute what you have remaining.)  Both sides of the board also have harbor locations.  Players must pay 2 train cards AND 2 boat cards of the same color, and those cards must also have the special “harbor” sign (an anchor) displayed – not all cards have the symbol. They’re hard to create, but if you do the points are generous.  The Great Lakes harbors give 10, 20, or 30 points depending on how many of your ticket routes use that harbor.  The world side harbors grant 20/30/40 since it is a more difficult and bigger board.  The World side of the board also introduces Tour tickets which grant points for connecting cities, but even more points if you can trace a route through the cities in the correct order.  Both editions seem to kick the game play up a notch from vanilla Ticket to Ride, but just enough so that even semi-veteran TTR players will find things comfortably familiar.

 

Foxmind

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Get Rich Quick is meant to be a gateway game.  It has a mix of simultaneous card selection and worker placement.  Players have the same set of 7 cards and simultaneously show one.  Cards primarily give players money, but some only pay out with specific requirements (such as one that costs $3k to play but will grant $10k if you’re the only one to play it. Players then use the money to place their meeples on the board (worker placement.)  Many places grant special powers and abilities, while others are a cash sink – turning money into victory points.  There are also market cards that can be bought that are added to one’s hand giving a player more than 7 card options.  The game should be out in October 2016.

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Puppy Love is a very cute little abstract that uses puppy figurines arranged around a central fire hydrant.  Players move their puppies by placing their hind legs where the head used to be and then moving the head to any adjacent square (other than doing a 180.)  Players then score according to their dogs’ orientation.  One point for “marking territory” – having one’s behind next to the hydrant.  Two points for sniffing another dog’s behind.  A whopping three points is given if you manage to set up two dogs to meet and lick each others’ face.  The game is better with 3 or 4, but can be played with 2 if players use a third set of colored dogs as a neutral set.  Look for it in October 2016 as well.

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Yet another speed matching game is found in Match Madness.  Players have five blocks (2×1 in size) and use them in a race to reconstruct the pattern on a central card.  First player wins the card.  The cards come in 5 levels of difficulty.  Another way to play the game is to put out several (six is suggested) different cards and players can go after whichever card they choose.  I could see this balancing well if better players were assigned the more difficult levels.  Looks interesting, and I will have to see how it goes over with some of the local gamers.

 

Gale Force 9

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For gamers that like a little bit of plastic conflict in their games, Gale Force 9 came out in spades.  Star Trek Ascendancy is a longish 4X style game in the Star Trek universe.  Players start out as one of three factions (Federation, Klingon, Romulan – with Ferengi and Cardassian coming in expansions which will allow for more players) with special strengths and weaknesses.  Players manage three resources (culture, production, and research) and spend them to grow and expand.  For example, spending a ship and a culture token will create a new colony on an appropriate planet.  Most ongoing structures tend to require at least one production resource.  Players begin on their homeworld and then send out ships along space lanes to find new (randomly drawn) locations.  These locations are usually planets (ripe for colonization) but can also be anomalies, asteroids, etc.. which can give other benefits.  There are two main parts to a player’s turn.  The first part uses command tokens to move ships, give orders, and other types of actions. These all require command points (action points) which can be increased via development in the game.  The second phase of a turn includes development and purchasing of upgrades.  Players can also work on long term projects, adding 1 token per turn to them.  When they are completed, they are revealed and provide a powerful new effect going forward.  I find the most interesting mechanic of the game to be the space lanes and locations.  When a player sets off from a known location, they can choose to head a new direction by adding in a new space lane.  This lane is placed adjacent to the outgoing planet, but can head off in any new direction.  Not only that, but any other freely moveable (eg. lanes that don’t form a triangle) lane can be slid along playing area so that new connections can be made.  Locations do have a space lane limit (I saw 4 on homeworlds and saw some locations with only 2) and once that many lanes are connected to the location no more can be made.  By strategic movement of these “lane arms”, players can set up connections to reach far into another player’s territory or try to make preventative connections to make it harder to reach their home base.  (For example, if you connect your home base to a location with 2 outgoing lanes, and connect one of those to another planet, you make your base at least 2 hops away from the new planet.)  Moving among locations tends to be single jumps, but players can create a fleet of ships and then spend warp tokens turn by turn to build up to a huge jump forward on a future turn.  Because of the movement of these locations and space lanes, the game has a different feel depending on the playing area.  Small tables will force players into contact early, which may give rise to cooperation through trade agreements, etc…  Larger tables will allow players to build up their own economy in peace, making future contact far less likely to be friendly (who needs help when you’re that powerful?)  To win, players can either wipe everyone else out, or ascend culturally (by building 5 ascendancy tokens.)  While there are two victory conditions, I’m told the game favors those who can successfully accomplish negotiation, resource gathering, and fighting throughout the game.

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Tyrants of the Underdark is yet another big name game with plenty of plastic (and in this case cards) from Gale Force 9.  Tyrants is best thought of as a combination of deckbuilder and area control (many similarities to the somewhat obscure deckbuilder/area control game Princes of the Dragon Throne.)  The idea of the game is that players are the movers and shakers behind the powers of the houses found in the Underdark (a setting in the Dungeons and Dragons RPG.)  Players play cards to place troops (both vanilla and spies) on the board – typically to locations where you already have a presence or adjacent ones.  Regular troops do the brunt work of area control while the spies can kick in some special options.  Your deck of cards are considered your “minions” who grant both influence (buy more cards) and power (put dudes on the map.)  Of course, it wouldn’t be a deckbuilder if there weren’t other cool abilities to be had on the cards.  Points are gathered by controlling sites, VPs on cards, killing off other player’s troops, and promoting minions to your inner circle.  The deck of available cards to purchase is constructed by combining two of the four available in the game (Drow, Dragons, Demons, and Elemental Evil.)  Each faction has a mechanic theme so combining two factions allows for a wide variety of game styles.

 

Game Salute

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Game Salute continues to milk the Princess Bride licensing for a couple new games.  The Princess Bride: Prepare to Die Again is simply Prepare to Die but with new cards.  (The game consists of pairing two cards, a name and a reason for killing someone, with one player acting as judge of the best one:  My name is Jackie Chan, you messed up my bed, prepare to die….)  The newer game is The Princess Bride:  I Hate to Kill You. Players take on the role of one of four swordsmen from the movie (with different powers) and then duel by rolling dice.  After each roll, players are able to play a single card from their hands (which can modify either player’s dice, add dice, return dice back into the active pool, etc…)  The player with the most swords rolls scores a hit on the opponent. However, the winning player also loses one of their dice, making it more difficult to win future bouts.  Play continues until someone scores 5 hits.

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Knight Fight is part fancy dice and part simultaneous dice selection game.  Playable with generic polyhedral dice, Knight Fight keeps its theme best when used with special dice created to look like maces, shields, gauntlets and such.  Players choose one of eight possible characters (each has a little bonus ability), roll their d12 and use that for their starting defense.  From there, players choose to roll offensive dice (requiring a weapon and a gauntlet die) or roll the defensive shield die.  After rolling weapon dice, one must be set aside in the spent pool (thus attacks will eventually use up dice over time.)  The shield die (defense) is never set aside.  Attack values are compared to defense values and three successful attacks will win the game.  Rolling strategy contains a bit of rock, scissors, paper aspect with players holding the dice they will use in their hand and revealing simultaneously.  An Attack is rolled using a gauntlet die and a weapon, defense is rolled with a shield (d20), and a Jostle forces the opponent to reroll their d12 if it is lower than the jostle die (d10 I think.)  If low on weapon dice, a player can reveal an empty hand for a Rally action which returns all their spent dice.  Calling a Rally action and not returning used dice will gain a player a special action card (one can be held at a time.)

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The game itself is a reasonable lightweight die rolling game, but the theme comes out best when played with the special dice.  (The game runs about $10, a set of dice $25, and each player needs their own set of dice.  The bonus would be that the dice can also be used in role playing games…)  With enough dice, the game can play up to four, with players revealing cards to declare which player they will attack in a given round (max of 1 health lost per round to prevent ganging up.)

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Legends of the American Frontier is part game, party story experience.  Cards and situations in the game should be read for their flavor text almost as much as for their mechanics.  Each player is a character of the old west.  Each player is given a background (a backstory that comes with a little game mechanic bonus) and then set out on adventures (in three locations of the board.)  Players use skill cards to defeat an adventure (with skill cards replenishing at the end of each turn.)  A frequently used mechanic is for players may add the resources of the top card of the draw pile to complete an adventure.  If that fails to grant enough to succeed, the player gains a fail card which may have a minor disadvantage.  Some adventures may be difficult enough for players to want to help each other, with the active player dividing up the spoils.  Players gain points for completed missions and adventures.  

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Each adventure, mission, and even fail cards, add bit more story to one’s character.  At the end of the game, players read out the story of their character (from their stacked up cards during the game) and the best story (determined by vote) gets a few extra bonus points.  Have the most points to win the game, but I suspect the journey itself will be a large part of the game’s enjoyment.

 

That’s it for now, see you tomorrow when we finish off the Gs and get all the way to the Zs…

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About Matt J Carlson

Dad, Gamer, Science Teacher, Youth Pastor... oh and I have green hair. To see me "in action" check out Dr. Carlson's Science Theater up on Youtube...
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One Response to GenCon 2016 Mega Rundown – A to G

  1. Pingback: GenCon 2016 Mega Rundown – A to G - eJouer.info eJouer.info

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