GenCon just happened. Its a big board game convention in Indianapolis, now the 2nd biggest release point for games other than Essen and definitely the largest in North America. Over 250 games came out this year and here are a few of the highlights to wet your appitite:
1.Five Tribes (Days of Wonder) – Bruno Cathala
DoW’s first Gamers game. Early reports on this are very good, with people really excited after initial plays, here’s some blurb:
“Designed by Bruno Cathala, Five Tribes builds on a long tradition of German-style games that feature wooden meeples. Here, in a unique twist on the now-standard “worker placement” genre, the game begins with the meeples already in place – and players must cleverly maneuver them over the villages, markets, oases, and sacred places tiles that make up Naqala. How, when, and where you dis-place these Five Tribes of Assassins, Elders, Builders, Merchants, and Viziers determine your victory or failure. “
Available – September
2. King of New York (Iello) – Richard Garfield
It’s King of Tokyo, but in New York…with a bigger Board!
“What’s new in King of New York is that you can now try to become a star in the big city; more specifically, you can achieve “Fame”, which nets you VPs, but superstar status is fleeting, so enjoy your time in the spotlight. The game board for King of New York is larger than in with each monster occupying a district in the city and everyone trying to shine in Manhattan. When you attack, you can displace a monster in another district, whether to escape military forces or to find new smashing opportunities. Yes, smashing because you can now destroy buildings and get bonuses for doing so, but the more destruction you cause, the more intense the military response.”
Available – October
3. Dead of Winter: A Crossoads Game (Plaid Hat Games) – Jonathon Gilmore/Isaac Vera
Zombies!!! Phew it had been 27 seconds since the last Zombie game came out, getting worried there for a second…the people who made this apparently loved the Battlestar Galactica game, but wanted something quicker and with some improvements (in their opinion anyway). The result was this:
Dead of Winter is a meta-cooperative psychological survival game. This means players are working together toward one common victory condition — but for each individual player to achieve victory, he must also complete his personal secret objective. This secret objective could relate to a psychological tick that’s fairly harmless to most others in the colony, a dangerous obsession that could put the main objective at risk, a desire for sabotage of the main mission, or (worst of all) vengeance against the colony! Certain games could end with all players winning, some winning and some losing, or all players losing. Work toward the group’s goal, but don’t get walked all over by a loudmouth who’s looking out only for his own interests! “
Available – October
4. Imperial Settlers (Portal Games) – Ignacy Trzewiczek
Probably the hottest game at GenCon and by the guy who did Robinson Crusoe. It reimpliments his earlier game 51st State. Hopefully it’ll get a Canadian distributor soon.
“Imperial Sttlers is a card game that lets players lead one of the four factions and build empires by placing buildings, then sending workers to those buildings to acquire new resources and abilities. The game is played over five rounds during which players take various actions in order to explore new lands, build buildings, trade resources, conquer enemies, and thus score victory points. ”
Available – ???
5. Castles of Mad King Ludwig (Bezier Games) – Ted Alspach
Suburbia was one of my faves from the last couple of years and this game takes the premise of that one and adds funky shaped pieces and a Mad King, I’m all over this like a virus in a post apocalyptic world.
“In the game, each player starts with a simple foyer. One player takes on the role of the Master Builder, and that player sets prices for a set of rooms that can be purchased by the other players, with him getting to pick from the leftovers after the other players have paid him for their rooms. When a room is added to a castle, the player who built it gains castle points based on the size and type of room constructed, as well as bonus points based on the location of the room. When a room is completed, with all entranceways leading to other rooms in the castle, the player receives one of seven special rewards. After each purchasing round, a new player becomes the Master Builder who sets prices for a new set of rooms. After several rounds, the game ends, then additional points are awarded for achieving bonus goals, having the most popular rooms, and being the most responsive to the King’s demands, which change each game. Whoever ends up with the most castle points wins.”
Available – October
6. X-COM: the Board Game (Fantasy Flight) – Eric Lang
Aaaaaagh, it invovles a digital App, board games are mutating…we must all Freak out! Yes its based of that game and is supposed to be pretty good and a co-op game in real time to boot. We shall see what this leads to in the future:
The app’s primary function is to coordinate the escalating alien invasion, randomly selecting from one of five different invasion plans. Each invasion plan represents a general outline that the alien commanders will use to coordinate the arrival of new UFOs, plan strikes against your base, and respond to your successes or failures as it seeks to conquer Earth. The app manages all of these tasks and heightens the game’s tension as it forces you to respond in real-time. Then, after you move quickly to coordinate your response, you engage the enemy in the untimed resolution phase and feed the results to the app. Based upon these results, the app launches the invasion’s next strikes.”
Available – December
7. Cash and Guns 2nd Edition (Repos) – Ludovic Maublanc
A reprint of the game that makes Mexican Standoffs cool. Point your gun, get some money and point again. Its a really good big group game, so I’m glad its coming back:
“Each round, one player is the Boss, and he controls the pace of play. First, loot cards are revealed on the table to show what’s up for grabs. Next, players load their guns by secretly selecting either a “Bang!” or a “Click! Click!” card from their hand. The Boss counts to three, and on “Three” each player points his foam gun at someone else; due to his status, the Boss can tell one player who’s pointing a gun at him that he needs to point it in another direction. After a pause to observe threats and measure the seriousness in an opponent’s eyes, the Boss counts to three again and anyone who doesn’t want to risk getting shot can chicken out and remove themselves from the round.Everyone who’s pointing a gun at someone still in the round now reveals their card, and anyone who’s the target of a “Bang!” takes a wound marker and gets none of the available loot. Starting with the Boss, everyone still in the round takes one loot card at a time from the table — money, diamonds, paintings, the position of Boss, medical care (to remove a wound), or a new bullet (to add a “Bang!” card to your hand) — until everything has been claimed.”
8.Sheriff of Nottingham (Arcane Wonders) – Sergio Halaban/Bryan Pope/Andre Zatz
Don’t know much about this one other than the stuff written under here and the fact that the Sheriff looks utterly AWESOME:
“In Sheriff of Nottingham , players will not only be able to experience Nottingham as a merchant of the city, but each turn one player will step into the shoes of the Sheriff himself. Players declare goods they wish to bring into the city, goods that are secretly stored in their burlap sack. The Sheriff must then determine who gets into the city with their goods, who gets inspected, and who may have their goods confiscated!Do you have what it takes to be seen as an honest merchant? Will you make a deal with the Sheriff to let you in? Or will you persuade the Sheriff to target another player while you quietly slip by the gate? Declare your goods, negotiate deals, and be on the lookout for the Sheriff of Nottingham!”
Available – October
One other big announcement was Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars: Imperial Assault. Star Wars based on the Descent system…nuff said!