The New, The Hot, and The Sexy

Every year I count down the days until GenCon, excited for the adventures waiting to be experienced. Ten consecutive years have taught me that no two people go to the same convention. With more than 17,000 events to choose from, your adventure is entirely unique from everyone else’s. Over the next few days my posts will share some of what I did between Wednesday at 1pm and Sunday at noon of GenCon 2018. Is it August 1st yet?

This final edition of GenCon write ups covers all the odds and ends in between major events. Like it says above, 17,000 events, seventeen THOUSAND. Among those thousands of events are a massive list of new releases and classic favorites alongside a growing trend in board gaming, adults only games.

The New

As GenCon is the largest gaming convention in this hemisphere the list of new and special releases quickly grows beyond reasonable counting. For that I defer to BoardGameGeek and their list of the 625 titles released at GenCon 2018.

Describing just how jam-packed the Dealer Hall gets to someone who has not made it to GenCon is nearly impossible. Only the brave, the bold, and the reckless can navigate the great sea of nerd flesh. Oh, but it is glorious! Here are my highlights of The New.

Arcane Wonders always impresses with their growing list of games. In six short years, AW has grown from focusing on its very popular Mage Wars IP to a growing generalist gaming company. This year’s GenCon they brought in further support for Onitama with The Way of the Wind expansion. Onitama is in many ways a new take on chess-like strategy games. Rather than pieces with established moves, the players use and then pass to their opponent move cards. Way of the Wind introduces a neutral piece that adds a whole new layer to the intense strategy of the game. Strategy lovers need to check this one out. 

GoodCritters and Critical Mass also landed at GenCon this year. Teased at Origins 2018, Critical Mass is a 2-player mech fighting game. Excellent deck building is required to expose your opponent’s cores and scrap their mech. Sold in two-player deck boxes with four unique themes, Critical Mass fits perfectly in the arsenal of the more serious gamer. GoodCritters, on the other hand, is a light-hearted bluffing game where players try to split up the loot as disproportionately as they can slip by their co-conspirators and the Boss before the fuzz show up. Anthropomorphic animals of all kinds lie their way to the better cut with simultaneous actions giving an advantage to any made GoodCritters that can keep a straight face.

Following the wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, RWBY Combat Ready is the fourth new game from Arcane Wonders brought to GenCon. A great license to pick up, this co-op sets Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang against a number of unique scenarios trying to take out the villain and their minions while accomplishing additional objectives. Comboing off of each other and supporting your allies play big in this game as everyone wants to come out ahead.  

Having gently soothed the souls of gamers everywhere with last year’s Bob Ross: Art of Chill, Big G Creative follows up with Bob Ross: Happy Little Accidents and a bevy of nostalgic licenses tied to excellent mechanics. Far from the innuendoes and violence of modern party games, Happy Little Accidents brings a more wholesome and peaceful spin on gaming. Random doodles transform into masterpieces as they work their way around the group.

The most amusing item on the Big G Creatiuve menu is Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game. Boo Berry, Count Chocula, Fruit Brute, Fruity Yummy Mummy, and Franken Berry use luck, strategy, and unique powers from their decks to combine milk and cereal leaving the one who munched the most the winner. Available year round at Target by the end of August.

A quick play family game with holiday sweater art theme pits Kevin against the Wet Bandits in Home Alone Game. Play either as the left behind preteen turning home sweet home into a fortress or the infamous burglars themselves overcoming and bailing with as much loot as possible before their propensity to plug sinks links their string of crimes.

Last of Big G Creative’s GenCon offerings sees The Brady Bunch Party Game bringing families together to stay out of trouble. Cousin Oliver himself, Robbie Rist, joined me for the demo as we sought to trick Alice and keep her off the trail of the troublemaker. The ability for the tattletails to win if Alice figures out who dunnit puts a very interesting twist on this social deduction game. Lie all you want to Alice, but she will get a chance to see who is lying and who is tattling as part of her turn. Information management is a huge highlight of The Brady Bunch Party Game and gameplay is incredibly deep with a wonderful 70s motiff.

The Hot

Still falling under the New category, some of the 625+ releases garnered quite the following. A few games had lines weaving around the Dealer Hall to the point that casual seekers took one look, threw up their hands and walked away. An action I saw play out twice and did myself once.

Of course every little Disney fan’s dream is to take on the role of the villain. Villainous, by Wonder Forge, delivers exactly what it says on the box. Everyone was turning in princess crowns for villain cowls. As the line wrapped around the booth, the workers looked on in awe. Notably their “END OF LINE” guy just did not know what to do with all the attention.   

Gamewright continue their Forbidden series with Forbidden Sky. Having only bought a four-wide booth in the Family Fun Pavilion the line quickly wound down the walking path reminding everyone why the Dealer Hall is no fun to traverse. Fabulous for a game about inevitable destruction as the crowds press in from all directions. Forbidden Con Hall is next. I’m calling it now.  Forbidden Sky is the first Gamewright game with an electronic component as players build an electronic circuit before they know the full form of the terrain.

Personally, I wanted so bad to roll out of GenCon with a copy of the Transformers Trading Card Game. My almost six year old tried it out Saturday and nearly beat the poor sap sitting across the table. By the time I found the Past Times booth (they were in the Exhibit Hall, not the Dealer Hall) the line had stretched halfway to Steak n’ Shake. Well not really, but it felt like it.

The Sexy

Oh you know you held on long enough to see what kind of kink found its way into this year’s GenCon. Besides the regular burlesque shows, 18+ only Cosplay Deviants’ booth, and an assortment of mandatory smiley stickers over naughty bits in the Dealer Hall, GenCon offered a number of games pointed toward a more (or is it less) mature audience. I blame Cards Against Humanity for what is quickly becoming a board game genre.

Games Adults Play has embraced a more grown up kind of gaming. Shit Happens and Tossed Salad are new on the Games Adults Play’s roster. The former is the game “would you rather…” assuming every situation went through a panel of experts and was given a definitive, qualitative answer. Tossed Salad is what happens when you ask everyone to write out their naughty thoughts so we can use them for charades. Interestingly enough, the very fun Oregon Trail: Journey To Willamette Valley game is also on the list. Unless we are remembering very different versions of Little House on the Prairie, it is the outlier. A lot of fun, but certainly the third wheel.

As I wrap up this last and longest of the GenCon posts, I realize how much didn’t make the cut. Dawn Patrol, the longest running game at GenCon (all fifty-one years and counting), was checked off my GenCon bucket list. Oh God the charts… Death Cup, another bucket list item, was killer fun and Simon was a blast to learn his game from. I almost remember how to play. Another ten or so demos of various games and a terrible story about losing a ticket to a sold out event. I am still healing from that one, but it will be a chuckle-worthy anecdote one day . One day soon I hope. With GenCon one week in the past it is time to say, “Goodbye. So long. See you next year.”

Is it August 1st yet?

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