I’ll arrive in Indianapolis later today, and I’m excited for Gen Con 2017 to get started.
This will be my third year at Gen Con, and thanks to Eric Martin’s amazing new BGG preview tool, I’m better prepared this year than ever. As I say every year, there are hundreds of games coming out, and finding the games to bring home in the always-too-limited suitcase space can be challenging. It feels like drinking from a fire hose. I’ve been reading the BGG list, looking at rulebooks, and taking a second look at our chats on the OG mailing list.
But here it is: my top 10 most anticipated. I’ve excluded games that I’ve already played, including several that probably would have been in my top 10 list, but I’ve made a separate list of those games below.
Chris Wray’s 10 Most Anticipated (Alphabetical Order)
Cities of Splendor is the first expansion for Splendor, one of my all-time favorite games. Asmodee’s expansion comes with four new “modules” that can be added to the base game, and all of them look intriguing. Even if only one or two stick with me, I love and play Splendor enough that I suspect picking this expansion up will be worth it.
I first played Codenames Duet at the Gathering of Friends, and I fell in love with it. The rules weren’t set in stone back then, so I’m intrigued to see just what’s changed. I love two-player games, so I’m naturally expecting to adore Codenames Duet.
Crossfire is a 5-1o minute social deduction game from Plaid Hat Games and Emerson Matsuuchi. Given my love of social deduction games, I’m eager to give this a play.
Custom Heroes is a new climbing / trick-taking game from AEG. I really liked the “card building” system of Mystic Vale, and here they appear to have mixed it with a climbing game in the tradition of The Great Dalmuti. That has the potential to be a combination that works well, so I’m excited to give this a try.
Mattel will be debuting the Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters: Expansion Pack. I love Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters — it has replaced Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert as my introduction to cooperative games — so I’m hoping to snag a copy of its first expansion. (Honorable Mention: I was a playtester for Wizards Wanted, which Dale reviewed a few weeks ago. It’s a fun and beautiful game being released by Mattel at Gen Con, so that’s worth checking out when you’re at Mattel’s booth.)
Indulgence is a trick-taking game from Restoration Games, a publisher specializing in modernizing classic games. In this case, Indulgence is a remake of Dragonmaster, a trick taking game from Milton Bradley first published in the early 1980s. I’m intrigued to see how this publisher is going to do, and trick-taking is perhaps my favorite game genre, so this has piqued my curiosity.
Photosynthesis wasn’t even on my radar until Dale’s review, but this game from Blue Orange games looks like it’ll have both interesting gameplay and beautiful components. Dale wrote: “I have been struck by the elegance of the game; both for the visual presentation as well as the simplicity of the rules.” Given that high praise from Dale, I’m naturally looking forward to Photosynthesis.
The Ruhr: A Story of Coal Trade looks like one of the few medium-to-heavy Eurogames coming out at Gen Con. It is being released by Capstone Games, and it looks to have a combo of pickup-and-deliver and worker placement, two of my favorite mechanisms.
Shadows in Kyoto is having a very limited (likely sold-out) release: I think they only had twenty copies. But I have one on preorder, and I’m very excited for this follow-up to Hanamikoji, one of my favorite games of 2016.
Whistle Stop received a lot of buzz at the Gathering of Friends, then at Gulf Games this summer, and it is easily one of the most anticipated Gen Con 2017 releases. Sadly, I still haven’t gotten to play it! But it is going to be hot, and several other OG-ers with similar taste to mine have enjoyed Bezier’s latest title.
And four great games I’ve already played…
Caverna Cave vs Cave is a wonderful 2-player version of Uwe Rosenberg’s hit, and Mayfair is showcasing it at Gen Con 2017. The game is excellent, as I described in my review earlier this week.
I wrote a review of Terraforming Mars Hellas & Elysium a few days ago. This expansion really freshened up gameplay for me, and I played it six times in a week! If you like Terraforming Mars, I enthusiastically recommend its first expansion.
Ticket to Ride Germany will be hitting U.S. shelves for the first time at Gen Con. I’m a huge fan of Ticket to Ride — I think it is the best family game ever made — and though I haven’t played this precise iteration yet, my understanding is that it is nearly identical to the Zug um Zug: Deutschland and the Deutschland 1902 expansion, both of which my family and I have enjoyed for years. The new passenger mechanic is clever, adding depth to the game. If you like Ticket to Ride, this will be a cool twist on the series worth checking out.
Tournament at Camelot is a thematic trick-taking game from Wizkids. I have a review copy, and I should have a review out in the next few days. This is a cool trick taking game in which you try to injure your opponents, and the game cleverly works in special powers. The artwork is beautiful, the theme is fun, and as a bonus, the cards are large and high-quality. If you like trick-taking games, this one is worth picking up while you’re at Gen Con.
I am really enjoying Whistle Stop, as it has a feature that I really appreciate and enjoy in that it gives players wide latitude to be creative. I find the game challenging and fun, but it does have the potential to paralyze folks who take a long time to analyze and ponder their options. One of the better games released so far in 2017.
Super excited for the new splendor game! I love the original