10 Things I Will Definitely Be Doing At GenCon

August 04, 2014

gencon The grand convention looms large on the horizon, and I am just way too excited about it. Without my friend Adrian, I'm not sure it can live up to last year, but we can try, can't we? Due to my heavy schedule of demoing Forge War, I decided I needed to do a bit of planning to make sure I got the most use out of the time I am available to wander the exhibition hall, basking in brief moments of bliss in between getting swatted by people's backpacks. Hence, a list! This is mostly for my own satisfaction, but feel free to play along. abyss 1. My first stop on Thursday will probably be at Asmodee Games. They've always got a large selection of super-fun games to demo and there are 3 that I really want to check out. First of all, we've got Abyss. I first ran into Abyss because I decided "Abyss" was a great name for a board game I was working on, and I was wondering if it was taken. Turns out it was. By some game with ridiculously good art. I normally don't care too much about the aesthetic of a game, but come on, I am only human. Look at that picture. I just want to sit down at the demo table and stare at the cards. There are two keys to selling pretty much anything. You've gotta have a good product, of course, but before that, you've gotta get people to notice your product and take an interest. Good artwork isn't going to make up for a bad game, but Abyss has my attention at least. Next under the Asmodee banner is the Mascarade Expansion. Mascarade was one of my highlights last year and I am very interested in checking out some of the new cards, despite the lazy choice of title. And lastly there is Lords of Xidit. It's by the same designer and artist as Seasons, so, yes, you have my attention. Plus the mechanics sound pretty cool. Definitely worth a spin. EpicResort 2. Okay, sorry, I got a lot of mileage out of that first bullet point. And the fact that there is so much mileage to get out of Asmodee is why it's my first stop. Once I'm done messing around, though, I'm bee-lining it to Floodgate Games (booth #467). My love of Floodgate's Legacy is well-documented, and I could not back their new game, Epic Resort, fast enough. I know they unfortunately won't have copies at GenCon, but I am desperately hoping there will be some sort of demo going on with an advance copy. I want to enjoy my slaycation, dammit. Also I secretly want to be Ben Harkins' BFF. He's my hero. heroes 3. Speaking of friends, though, I also have to make the time to hang out with the guys at Action Phase Games (booth #255). I got a chance to demo Heroes Wanted during the Kickstarter (and write about it), but I'm very interested in checking out the final version, which will be for sale at the con, and maybe sit down and make some silly super hero names with Travis Chance. Travis has been monumentally helpful in the Kickstarter campaign for Forge War, and I want to take the time to congratulate him on a job well done on getting his game ready in time for GenCon. tragedy 4. After that, it will be time to get down to the business of checking out some outside-the-box storytelling games. Two in particular: Tragedy Looper from Z-Man Games (booth #2009) and Consequential from Asmadi Games (booth #649). I've been exploring outside-the-box ways to infuse more storytelling into board games myself and so these two titles intrigue me greatly. I definitely want to give them a whirl and see what they're all about. fivetribes 5. All right, so who is this Bruno Cathala character and why does he have, like, 7 game being published this year. And one of them by Days of Wonder no less. It's enough to make an aspiring game designer rather envious. I'll admit, I'm eager to try out Five Tribes, Days of Wonder's next big game. It looks a little abstract and AP prone, but I do love the spatial reasoning aspect of it. Definitely gotta give it a try. castlesludwig 6. So the last time I play-tested this tile placement game I'm working on, someone mentioned I should check out Castles of Mad King Ludwig. It has wildly different mechanics, but a very similar theme. And it just looks like a lot of fun. Who doesn't love building crazy looking castles? I'll have to swing by Beizer Games (booth #2629) and check it out. panamax 7. Is it just me, or is everybody really excited about Panamax? This is definitely a case of peer pressure for me. The theme does nothing for me, and the game play, at a glance, feels overly complicated (seriously, whoever organized that English rule book needs to be fired - I could not figure out what was going on). But everyone is so pumped about the game, though, I figure it's worth a try. I'm definitely no stranger to the heavy Euro, and surely it will be easier to understand in person. Off to Stronghold Games (booth #2231) it is! imperialsettlers 8. The last game on my list to check out in the exhibition hall is Imperial Settlers by Portal Games (booth #664). I'm not a huge fan of direct conflict in games, so I'm kind on the fence about it. But it looks like it could be pretty entertaining despite that, so I definitely want to give it a try. forge 9. While I would love to hang around and play games for 4 straight days, the thing I will be doing the most at GenCon is, of course, demoing Forge War. It's by Cephalofair Games and I don't have a booth, but I will be in Hall E at table green 40 all day Friday and red 6 all day Saturday, so it's almost like a booth. I love that there are so many people excited about demoing the game and I am happy to take the time to run the demos. And because people actually know about the game this year, I can run eight demo sessions without going through the First Exposure Playtest Hall, which is great! I feel like I've graduated. Not quite to that booth level, but maybe next year... secretcabal 10. Party. There is going to be some serious board game partying. Well, maybe not too serious, since I do have to drive home at some point, but I am greatly looking forward to DFW Nerd Night's party on Thursday night. It's a fundraiser for an Indiana food bank, which is awesome, and it's just a great chance to hang around and play games with cool people. I'll also be giving away a Kickstarter copy of Forge War as a door prize, so you should come hang out, too. The second party I'm looking forward to is the Secret Cabal meetup on Saturday night. Not only is it a chance to hang out with the guys from the Secret Cabal, which is my favorite board game-related podcast, but Rodney Smith of Watch It Played tends to show up at these shindigs, as well. It's kind of funny because a year ago my friend Adrian introduced me to Watch It Played and the Secret Cabal by dragging me to these events, and now I am a huge fan, so I am going even without him...which is kind of sad. TerraMystica 11. Yeah, okay, I lied. There's another thing I gotta do at GenCon. Any time I have free, I gotta get in as much open gaming as possible. I know my schedule doesn't afford too much extra time, but Friday night at least I will definitely be camped out in the game library, playing whatever I can. If anybody wants to challenge me to Terra Mystica, I will take you down (in as friendly a manner as possible).

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