The Gen Con 2018 Hopefuls (Brandon Kempf)
Hat tip to W. Eric Martin over on Board Game Geek for always putting together such a wonderful resource for finding the new games that will be showing at Gen Con!
Here comes Gen Con! It seems as though it were last week that we were sitting around the light of the computer monitor, checking out what we were looking forward to getting from the previous Gen Con. But it wasn’t, because that’s just not possible, it’s been about 365 days and they just keep flying by. So what better way to celebrate this time passing than by doing that thing that all board game bloggers and reviewers do, and we’ll give you some titles that I am excited about that are going to be for sale at Gen Con this year, 2018. I am not including demos as my Gen Con experience will be over in a flash, I’m there Wednesday night, Thursday and till about noon on Friday and then we’re heading home. 4 days of Gen Con is not really all that exciting for me anymore, so we’re just doing half of it, and that means no time for demos, only time for buying and talking to friends, both old and new.
First, let’s do a bit of a look back at what we got from Gen Con 2017 and if it’s still in rotation. First up we had the two big releases from Restoration Games that were seeing retail release, Downforce & Indulgence. Both were really good games, but only one of those is still seeing action today, Downforce. Then we had the Renegade Games titles, Ex Libris & Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Card Game. Sad to say, neither of those is in any kind of steady rotation. We enjoyed Ex Libris the handful of plays we’ve had so far, but Scott Pilgrim has never made it to the table in spite of our love of the source material. After reading the rule book, I just never got excited enough to bring it to the table sadly. You can read the rest of what I was excited about last year, right here and probably know what happened with most of the rest if you follow me at all. But short story, of the 63 games I put on my BGG watchlist last year, I’ve only played about 17 of them, and haven’t bothered catching up with the rest, you just can’t do it.
But you all aren’t here to read about last year, you want to know what I’m excited about this year, and hoping that those titles will also excite you! So here we go, in no particular order of importance, 10 games that I’m looking forward to from Gen Con 2018.
Railroad Ink from CMON and designers Hjalmar Hach & Lorenzo Silva
That’s right, a roll and write train game to kick off the list from the design team who brought us Dragon Castle, one of my favorites from last year’s Essen titles, oh and Hjalmar also did that one game, Photosynthesis which took Gen Con by storm last year. Beautiful production, hot mechanism, trains and a reasonable price mean that I may end up picking up both the Red (Lava) and the Blue (Water) editions of this one.
Gizmos from CMON and designer Phil Walker Harding
Engine building with marbles in a really cool 3d marble dispenser from one of the best lighter weight game designers around. He’s only missed his mark with me once, and that was with Barenpark, but this looks like a hoot to play and the table presence will be a huge selling point here. Hope it lives up to expectations.
Carson City The Card Game from Quined Games and designer Xavier Georges
I absolutely adore Carson City, it’s probably a Top 10 game for me easily, so I was really excited to see that Xavier Georges was doing a card game version of this, dare I say, classic. Seems to combine some trick taking elements in a game where you are still building your city and trying to make it prosper as much as you can. I wish we would have gotten some previews or reviews out for this before Gen Con, but this is probably a blind buy for me at the moment.
Dinosaur Tea Party from Restoration Games and designers Rob Daviau, JR Honeycutt & Justin D. Jacobson
Once again, Restoration Games has grabbed my attention with a fun re-make of an older title, this time with a remake of WhosIt? It’s a deduction game, so that’s automatically a worry for me, but I think with the theme and the fact that this is aimed at a younger audience, this could be a hit at our house. Here’s hoping!
Downforce Danger Circuit from Restoration Games and designers Rob Daviau, JR Honeycutt & Justin D. Jacobson
Well, if you paid attention, you knew this would be on the list. Two more tracks for one of my absolute favorite games from last year and some more fun driver powers is pretty much a no brainer.
Coimbra from Eggerstpiele and designers Flaminia Brasini & Virginio Gigli
This is easily the heaviest game on my list, Gen Con really doesn’t seem to cater to that crowd, but this will stand out like a wonderful sore thumb in the crowded halls of overproduced miniatures and card games, but I digress. I’m looking forward to playing this one after much anticipation.
Reef from Next Move Games and designer Emerson Matsuuchi
Continuing down that lightly themed abstract line that Next Move is creating, is this, the game that follows Azul. Pretty big shoes to fill. Reef is lighter and it’s more approachable by families with younger kids and non-gaming relatives and it has the table presence that looks like it will be a lot of fun and can draw people in. Can’t wait to give this one a try as well.
Lost Cities Rivals from Kosmos and designed by Reiner Knizia
We are late comers to the joy that is the Lost Cities/Keltis family of games, so I won’t hesitate to pick this up. We’ve even have auctions here!!
Yellow & Yangtze from Grail Games and designer Reiner Knizia
We have seen a resurgence in love for the good Doctor’s games over the past year, and rightfully so, he has so many classic designs that gamers should be exposed to that it would be wrong to just let some of his older titles disappear from the board gaming hobby, but here comes something else, a "sister" game to one of the greatest games ever created, Tigris & Euphrates, with art by Vincent Dutrait, yeah, this is a must buy.
So there you go, there are 10 games that I am most looking forward to at Gen Con this year. But it was I really tough to narrow it down to those 10. So here’s a handful of games that I am going to be really interested in seeing and learning more about if I can:
Forbidden Sky from Gamewright and designer Matt Leacock
Gunkimono from Renegade Games and designer Jeff Allers
Paper Tales from Stronghold Games and designer Masato Uesogi
Blue Lagoon from Blue Orange Games and designer Reiner Knizia
Whistle Stop Rocky Mountains from Bezier Games and designer Scott Caputo
That’s it. Well, that’s not really it, but that’s all I am going to talk about right now. I am looking forward to this whirlwind visit to Gen Con. I’ll be joined by good friends Chris Wray and John Luker and we expect to meet and see a lot of people along with checking out all of the new games that the folks will be showing off and selling this year. This will be my third time at Gen Con. First time was with my wife and oldest daughter and it was a Sat/Sun trip in 2012 and we had a good time. Second trip was with my Brother in Law and we shacked up with The Hillier’s for a whirlwind 4 days. I “worked” that event, going from scheduled interview to scheduled interview and missing out on quite a bit, but it was a really good time. This time, we’re back to attending like the first year, just kind of wandering for a day and half, but while I think Gabby would like to go, I’m not sure Kerensa would really care to, although she did say last night that she “can’t wait for us to get back with all those new games to play, you know, since she’s tired of playing the same old ones, two or three times”. I don’t think there was a bit of sarcasm there? Do you?