Gen Con 2023 – Czech Games Edition

Gen Con has set another record with 70,000+ unique visitors and now that it’s over it is time for the OpG rundown of the show, at least my contribution. This year I’ll be trying something different, creating many smaller posts. Hopefully, that will make it easier for people to refer back to, or share specific posts. If you prefer the huge rundown-post of yesteryear, be sure to kindly let me know in the comments.

Today we talk about two Czech Games Edition titles, specifically the new Arnak expansion, The Missing Expedition (out in the next month or so) and Kutná Hora: The City of Silver (releasing at Essen, and in the US around Christmas.).

Lost Ruins of Arnak: The Missing Expedition

As is traditional, Arnak’s The Missing Expedition expansion adds more of everything: New leaders, new artifacts, new item cards, and five new assistants. The two new leaders, the Mechanic and the journalist. The Journalist collects newspapers spread around on the board in order to slot them into their player board to gain benefits. The Mechanic has spinnable wheels that can slot in assistants or cards.

What may catch most players’ eyes are the solo and co-op opportunities in the expansion. The expansion provides a six scenario solo/co-op campaign that changes up the game with unique setups, along with an ongoing story arc told through events and flavor text. In general, the game setup is substantially changed and players are presented with a main goal along with 2 to 3 secondary objectives. The scenarios often feel a bit puzzle-y oriented with players trying to work out the best way to take advantage of what they have.

Some highlights include a carrier pigeon that can be used to exchange resources between players (you send it over with something, later they send something back, etc..) There are two new double-sided research track boards, similar to the boards in expansion 1, bringing the total to 6 total possible ones to use.The event cards can be played for an immediate benefit or set aside for a later benefit. These event cards are tracked and, along with completed secondary objectives, can lead to unlocking additional bonus cards later in the campaign. The story conclusion of the six scenarios will vary depending on player choices during the campaign.

Kutná Hora: The City of Silver

This is a city building game based on the historical city in Czech Republic, famous for its silver mines which led to a strong silver coin minting industry. Here 2-4 players vie to mine and smelt ore, using the proceeds to build and develop the city.

A key part of the game is the game economy. Buying and selling goods will cause the prices of goods to rise and fall, so timing a good cheap purchase (or pushing the price up to screw a neighbor) is important. However, there are no actual goods tokens in the game. There is only one resource and that is money. Resources are bought and or sold the the turn they’re needed. Need wood to build your building, you better hope prices are low the turn you build, there is no stockpiling ahead of time.

The asymmetric game provides each player with the same starting player board but there is a a central slot. At the start of the game, players draft tiles to place into this slot which gives each player a small asymmetric boost to their gameplay and strategy.

In addition to tracking everything on your player mat, there is a shared central board showing an upper (above ground) and lower (below ground) area where players can place buildings and mines. To build a building a player must first reserve a building, reserve a slot on the board for that building, and then pay the resources to build it. Players can reserve a building and pay for it as a single action if desired.

Gameplay comes through playing action cards. Players have a hand of six cards and will play them in batches of 2,2, and then 1 (leaving one card unused.) Each card is double-sided so players have some flexibility but may give up an action on one side because they desperately need the other side. Players do have a joker card which works as a wildcard.

The possible card actions are:

  • Reserve a building plot (must be adjacent to another plot
  • Acquire a building tile
  • Build a tile on the board (This provides players with “stuff” and will score points based on its adjacency)
  • Generate income
  • Contribute to building the cathedral (this provides bonuses and points, with later bits providing greater benefits.)
  • Mine (build off existing mine tiles which affects the economy – endgame scoring off symbol majorities.)
  • Joker (any one of the above actions.)

I’ve mentioned the economy several times so I thought I’d point out the spiffy little sliders with windows used to keep track of the various prices. As things are bought and sold the sliders are moved right or left.

While we’re on the subject of game bits, the player pieces in the game are made with 100% recycled materials. They are 80% recycled wood with 20% other recycled materials. The end result is pretty impressive. As shown in the photo, one ends up with wood-feeling pieces but with far better detail than a typical wooden piece.

There is a lot of game here, expect to hear more about it from the OGer’s as Essen gets closer.

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...
This entry was posted in Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Gen Con 2023 – Czech Games Edition

  1. Chris R. says:

    Thanks for this! Were these games provided for free to you from the publisher? Also the title above the Arnak image has a typo, reading Arnack.

    • Thanks for the spelling catch!

      I was given a copy of Arnak for review, but not a copy of Kunta. I didn’t put in a disclaimer for this article about it as my intent is that these reports should fall under “news” rather than “reviews.” For the most part I hope I’m not giving much subjective thoughts and mostly reporting objective information.

      I will certainly mention the review copy when I put together a review for Arnak. (I do not expect to do a review of Kunta…)

    • To clarify, all the reports I’m writing come from the information I recorded at the show, rather than anything I’m analyzing at home.

Leave a Reply