Welcome back, Nerd Lifers, for the final installment of the Gen Con wrap up. There are a few more hot games from this years convention yet to look at. We will start with one of the games with the biggest hype going into the weekend.
Flick Em Up
Flick Em Up had some of the largest hype going into the convention. Blending the dexterity challenge of Rampage with a fun wild west theme and an engaging story mode Flick Em Up will delight casual gamers along with the more serious crowd looking for a dexterity game with a bit more substance. The $70 price tag is a bit hefty for a game of this type but when you factor in the large amount of wood that comes with this game it is a pretty fair deal.
Mysterium, the paranormal mystery game, finally got it’s United States release at Gen Con this year. Sporting updated artwork of a more cartoony variety, an added screen for the ghost player, upgraded components, and a new psychic points mechanic rewarding better guess work had people racing to Asmodee Games booth each day of the convention to score one of the 100 copies they were selling each day. Having played the original Polish version this year I can attest that this is a game that is well worth all of the hype surrounding it and I cannot wait to have a copy of my own come October of this year!
I finally got a chance to play Cool Mini or Not’s arena style dungeon crawler battle game, Arcadia Quest this year! I was absolutely enchanted by the depth of play this game offered! A wide variety of playable characters each with their own unique skills, beautiful high quality miniatures, a wide variety of avenues for victory, and the unique blend of cooperative and competitive play got this game up to the top of the list of games that I want to buy despite having a terribly awkward and distractable teacher demoing the game! It’s high MSRP of $90 will have me checking out my lovely FLGS Miniature Market for a discount copy!
Strife was one of the few games that I had almost no knowledge of going into the convention. The demo that I played was a very solid game that I enjoyed quite a bit. Strife gives each player an identical deck of cards filled with fantasy characters or varying strength and powers that you can use to conquer locations on a shared board. The winner is the player that can strategize the powers of these characters the best and outwit their opponents in a quick and clever battle of wits. A good choice for a two player game while you wait for the rest of your D&D buddies to arrive for a night of gaming!
Secrets of the Lost Tomb
By far my favorite game of the convention was a complete surprise to me. Secrets of the Lost Tomb was a kickstarter success that somehow flew under my radar this year and popped up to become one of my most anticipated games! This game takes what could be a great Indiana Jones story and adds a creepy H.P. Lovecraft theme to it. The theme enough was enough to get me excited but after playing the demo and finding that it had inspirations from some of my favorite games like Betrayal at House on the Hill, Arkham Horror, and story driven dungeon crawlers like Descent made this game an insta buy for me!
Ashes: Rise of The Pheonixborn
Plaid Hats big release this year was Ashes: Rise of The Pheonixborn. It has been a smash success and lots of people have really enjoyed it’s similarity to games like Magic and Hearthstone with the inclusion of a unique dice based resource mechanic. I found the gameplay to be a little underwhelming. The play of the game really only replicated the first few turns of the aforementioned games and each play seemed to escalate very slowly without any of the amazing payoffs that you get from those games in the later rounds. As always Fernanda Suarez’s artwork is absolutely stunning and it’s nice to see her get a permanent position in the ranks of Plaid Hat Games, it just isn’t enough to make this game exciting enough for me to suggest very highly. A disappointing step backwards for a company that had an incredible streak of fantastic games.
Discoveries: The Journals of Lewis and Clark
Asmodee’s other big hit this year was with Discoveries, a new dice based version of their popular Lewis and Clark game. This game was introduced to me at the Secret Cabal Meet Up on Saturday night and it was a great deal of fun! Luckily they got a resupply of the game in after selling out so I could get my hands on it. The game has you taking on the role of a member of the expedition to explore the Louisiana Purchase. You will have to roll dice and wisely spend resources to hire Native American guides both friendly and malicious to help guide you through the wilderness as you chart and chronicle the vast new addition to this country. Gameplay was fast, strategic, fun and had a great deal of beautiful artwork that really brought the theme to life!
The Village Crone
Another favorite of mine this year was the Village Crone from Fireside games. This game has players take on the roles of different witches trying to gain control of a small village by using their familiars to acquire the components needed to cast spells that bedevil and pester the poor villagers of Wickersby in a race to become the most feared and respected witch. This game has a lot of deep strategy coupled with a good dose of mayhem as all of the players recite silly spells to further their own agendas while throwing cogs in the plans of their competitors. Great fun!!!