Nerds from all over the world have converged on Indianapolis for another year as Gen Con 2016 has kicked off. The streets and hallways of nearly every building are teeming with boardgames and people who appreciate them. The local businesses have also gotten into the spirit of Gen Con by wearing cosplay outfits, making special Gen Con menus, and even crafting special event items like Sun King’s 20-Sided Rye. The first day was exceedingly successful, having played and viewed a solid number of games and I even snuck an interview with the community manager for Steve Jackson Games in there. Be on the lookout for that write-up later on this week! Now let’s get to it.
Mansions of Madness
Mansions premise is much of the same as Betrayal at House on the Hill but with its own twists. If you’re not familiar with Betrayal (you should go get familiar with it, it’s also a great game we played last year) Mansions is a macabre horror set in a Cthulhu mythos in the derelict town of Arkham, Massachusetts. 2-5 players explore a mansion in a pre-designed story. Luckily for the players the game is directed by an app that can be played through a phone or tablet so no one has to sit out and be a rules keeper. One person does get to play the monsters, though, and handle the other malicious powers at play. Everyone else explores while combating the mansion’s obstacles as well as their own mental health. Each scenario has its own preconditions to meet, so each play through is unique! Mansions of Madness is a fun game for a smaller group that loves exploring and horror mystery games.
Castle Assault pits 2 players against each other or 1 player against the game itself to break down the enemy castle. It blends a unique combination of almost MOBA-esque lanes with strategic portions of Magic the Gathering, and progressive advancement of RPG’S. Players choose from a variety of races – Undead, Elves, etc. and use their natural strengths against the enemy’s weaknesses. A highly interesting
game with very unique gameplay, Castle Assault is brutal and quick with action. Anytime two opposing factions touch they battle and with only three lanes of movement it doesn’t take long for the swords to start swinging. There is a lot of strategy and this will definitely bring out the competitive side in anyone. Castle Assault is great for anyone looking for a new mix of game mechanics that doesn’t require a large group of people to play.
Tiny Epic Galaxies
You may have heard of Tiny Epic before, they’ve done several different titles – Tiny Epic Defenders (again, played and purchased last year), or Tiny Epic Kingdoms, but Tiny Epic Galaxies is by far their most popular. Each player controls a galactic empire looking to impose their influence over other planets and eventually add them to their army. The game is deceptively complex with heavy strategy needed to make the most out of each turn. Winning is more than just collecting the most powerful planets in the galaxy, there is also a secret objective that can turn the tides of the game. Tiny Epic Galaxies delivers an epic time in a small box. Definitely check this out and all of Tiny Epic’s other titles.
10’ to Kill
This game is a thoroughly enjoyable hitman game where every player gets to play a hitman. Each hitman has 3 targets given to them and 3 weapons in their possession to complete their contracts: a knife, a gun, and a sniper rifle. The board is set up randomly with victims and hitmen also placed randomly throughout. Players must find a way to line up their victims without getting discovered by the police or by their fellow hitmen! 10’ to Kill is a great 2-4 player game with lots of bluffing, guessing, and laughs. This was a definite purchase for this year.
Brought to you by the same people as Sushi Go, Sushi Dice brings the fantastic card building game into the dice world. Two players face off each turn, drawing a card and rolling dice until the dice match the sushi picture on the card. If you catch your opponent rolling a black sushi you holler “BLACK” (or usually just BLAH) and they have to start their whole roll over. If the non-rolling players catch both players with a black sushi at the same time they yell “CHOP” and get to steal the turn. The person who gets 4-6 cards first (depending on how many players there are) wins. Sushi Dice is fast, super fun, and is rules light for kids and non-gamers. A must grab.
A 2 player game, Tally Ho! pits the hunter against hunted. The board is filled with squares each player must turn over in order to determine what role they will take. The first person to turn over a lumberjack or hunter plays as the humans! The other person gets to play as bears and foxes. Both factions are vying for the ducks for food while also trying to stay away from each other. The lumberjacks clear paths that make it easy for the hunters to find the ducks but it also helps the bears track down the humans to eliminate them before they get to the ducks. However, as the game progresses and tiles get removed from the game, things can change quickly to favor one side or another. Who will it be?! Strategy and luck are in full swing in this cute game.
Brain Games brings us a game that is new to the US but is already a hit in the UK. Ice Cool is a dexterity game where players are penguins in a school and are trying to collect fish to win. One player is assigned to “catch” the other penguins in order to steal their ID’s and get their own points. The tokens are rounded-bottom meeples that you flick from one side of the board to another. The board is a series of inter-stacking boxes that push together to form the school and you can arrange them differently every time! This a terribly cute family game that is loads of laughs and a great time.
There were several other games we got to view but not fully demo. Luckily it’s only day 1 and we have THREE DAYS LEFT. Well, 2.6 but we’re rounding up. Stay tuned for more Gen Con 2016 action here at Techaeris!