Games to look out for at GenCon 2023

GenCon 2023 is nearly here!  I’m getting ready for a day or two in Indianapolis to try to catch it all – and here is a list of the things that I’m interested in learning more about!  This list is by no means meant to be comprehensive or exhaustive.  As the calendar for boardgaming changes, GenCon is starting to have nearly as much volume as SPIEL as far as releases go!  Also, the list includes a few notes on games that I already have seen and reviewed, but I want to highlight so others check them out!

Maglev Maps expansion 1 – I guess I’ll start with a shameless plug for my own game.  I mean, I’m super excited to see it for the first time too though!  This expansion comes with 4 new maps to play.  Highly recommended :)

And now, everyone else in alphabetical order…

Aurum (Pandasaurus) – a trick taking game from the company that brought After Us to the USA.  This one is themed around transmuting metals into gold.  I’m a sucker for TT games, so I’m looking forward to giving this one a try.

Barcelona (Board&Dice) – one of the big releases of the show for me.  In Barcelona, you will take on the role of builders in 19th-century Barcelona who are working on the new expansion to the city. Your main goal is to construct buildings to accommodate the citizens who want to leave the old city, and in the process, you will also build streets, create tram lines, and build public services.  I have been eagerly awaiting this one all summer… especially as I have loved all of my trips to the city.

Big Top (Allplay) – this is the new reprint of Suroborous, one of the neatest and most unique auction games I’ve played in awhile.

Bonsai (dv Games) – a really neat tile-laying game where you construct your own bonsai plant – reviewed earlier this year

Castles by the Sea (Brotherwise) is a puzzly sandcastle-building game for 1-4 players. As a group of tiny folk called “shorelings,” your goal is to build and populate a seaside kingdom.  I’ve liked a lot of the other games from this company, and this puzzle game looks like my jam.  Each turn, you’ll place blocks and meeples on the map to earn victory points. The core gameplay is similar to abstract strategy games like Santorini, in that players must optimize three-dimensional placement on a shared grid.

Catan Soccer Fever (CATAN) – Umm, what?  Soccer and Catan?  Using a die?  What?  I mean, given my love of soccer and the fact the Women’s World Cup is currently going on, this one is on the must-check out list.

Cosmoctopus (Lucky Duck) – This is an engine builder where apparently you’re trying to be the first to build 8 arms to complete your octopus and win?  Theme alone has me curious to learn more!

Forest Shuffle (Lookout) – we did a preview on this nature-themed card game.  Lots of things to think about as you organize animals/mushrooms around the different trees in your forest.

Hamlet By The Lake (Mighty Boards) – this is an upcoming expansion to Hamlet, a game I first saw at SPIEL 2022.  I want to know what this will add to the base game.

How Dare You! (Alion by Dr Ø) – A party game where you try to answer questions with numeric answers without going over!   The designer/publisher has warned me that there is a gamer-y expert variant which I’m interested to learn more about as well…

Lord of the Rings: Adventure to Mount Doom (Kosmos) – Players follow the story of Frodo’s perilous journey to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom – a cooperative dice rolling game from one of my favorite publishers?!  I’m in!.

Make the Difference (OINK) – a super fun game (which I totally suck at) – players get a line art paper and add marks to it with a marker.  Other players have to try to figure out which lines have been added.

Miller Zoo (Randolph) – though the game has a 2022 release date on it, it’s still new to me. I’ve read lots of good things about this family-level cooperative game where the team runs a zoo together.

My City Roll and Build (Kosmos)- the Roll and write version of this great legacy game will be coming out at GenCon as well.  We’ve already had a chance to play it, but I know it is high on a lot of people’s lists to see.

My Island – This is the legacy followup to My City. Not quite sure if this one will be available at GenCon or not, but this is also super high on my list to play – and I think we’ll try to play this one in my remote gaming group, just as we managed to do with My City.

Next Station Tokyo (Blue Orange) – the followup to Next Station London, a 2023 SdJ nominee.  I am a big fan of all of Dunstan’s RAWs, so this one is likely to hit my sweet spot.  I might go play another round of Waypoints to get ready for this one too.

Pick-a-Pepper (Amigo) – this is the US version of Sauscharf – a game that really was the hit of the 2022 Spiel des Jahres dinner for me.

Point City (Flatout/AEG) – I loved Point Salad, so I’m really looking forward to seeing this one.  The design group behind this has made a number of games I have really liked.

Princes of Florence (Wizkids) – We just reviewed this, and I put this game on the list because many people new to the hobby have never played this classic, and everyone should do so now!  It was great to see how well this game has held up after 20+ years!

Rauha (GRRRE / Hachette) – my rep from Hachette has been selling this one hard, and it is intriguing – playing cards/tiles to your player board and then scoring for the arrangement of icons.  Sounds like the puzzle-y sort of thing that I love.

Redwood (Sit Down! / Flat River Group) – At SPIEL 2022, I first got a preivew of this game of movement estimations and angle of view where players have to take pictures of wild animals to compose the most beautiful panorama.  During their turn, each player will have to choose between different movements and their angle of view (materialized by real plastic elements) to catch the animals in the picture (without disturbing them).  I have been waiting for almost a whole year to see this one again.

Sagrada Artisans (Floodgate) – Wow, a legacy version of Sagrada?!  I had spoken with Daryl about this in the past, but I didn’t realize it was coming out this year!

Sail (Allplay) – this is a reprint of Hameln Cave, an intriguing cooperative 2 player trick taking game.  The game seemed impossible to win on my first play, but after learning the ropes, it has turned into a really fun challenge.

Seas of Strife (Rio Grande) – This reprint of Texas Showdown, one of my favorite trick avoidance games, is finally out.  I’m looking forward to an updated copy of the game (with cards that aren’t completely worn out!)

Shake that City (AEG) – a neat tile placement game with a really cool cube mechanism

Spellbook (Space Cowboys) – This one is demo only, but from one of my favorite publishing houses and one of my favorite designers… In SpellBook, each player, accompanied by a familiar, possesses a grimoire and collects Materia to master spells and feed their familiar. The game provides pre-drawn spell sets for use in the early rounds, but soon players start drawing spells randomly or create their own spell combinations that are common to all players. Each spell combination gives an effect that lasts the rest of the game, and the more ingenious the combination, the more powerful the effect.  Looking forward to learning just how combotastic this game is!

Star Wars Rivals (Funko) – a 2p dueling game that we had the opportunity to try out earlier this summer. I’m interested in checking out what some of the other characters have to offer…

Steam Up (Hot Banana) – Looks like this Dim Sum themed game has made it to the market; we reviewed it as part of the KS campaign, and the little bits are adorable!

The Search for Lost Species (Renegade) – the followup to the super cool deduction game, Search for Planet X.  Thousands of plants and animals have been discovered but haven’t been seen for decades and could be on the brink of extinction. In order to save these species, we must first find them again. The Search for Lost Species is a game about this real-world search. You are scientists on an expedition to find one of those lost species, focusing on those in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.  Like the original, this game will be dependent on a phone app.

Ticket to Ride: Legacy of the West  (Days of Wonder) – The much anticipated legacy version of Ticket to Ride.  I’m super curious to see how they have incorporated the legacy ideas into this classic game.  I’ve sent a note to Alan Moon to see if he’d give more details, but I haven’t heard anything yet.  So… looks like I’m headed to the DoW booth to learn more!

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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