“The best four days in gaming” they call it and I cannot disagree. GenCon 2015 was last weekend. It’s a great opportunity to get broad data on the whole of the industry, to see the direction each company is taking, to see some old friends, and to make new ones.
Through the experience, we featured three games and saw a number of other interesting ones. Here are some of the highlights from Indianapolis.
Luther took the lead with Sentinel Tactics this year while I focused on Dragon Tides. His coverage will be appearing here soon. Here’s a picture to tide you over…
The Sentinel Tactics tournament, going strong.
There’s an annual horror story at Gen Con–the critical game that arrived late or not at all. APE Games was the recipient of this dubious distinction last year when the entirety of their booth waited until opening day to arrive. Luther and I were immeasurably relieved to see that we were not this year’s candidate. Our printers proofs of Dragon Tides arrived and we could finally share it with the world.
Whole the Sentinel Tactics tournament progressed, a steady stream of players was experiencing Dragon Tides for the first time.
Immeasurable gratitude must be given to these fine folks for taking DT out for a spin. It was a blast taking them on, even if they did mow through my minions like the veritable thresher through wheat.
The second expansion for Rolling Freight will be coming soon. Gen Con’s Puffing Billy tournament created the perfect opportunity to share these maps with rail enthusiasts.
For you designers out there, Expansion #2 is a good example of listening to public demand. We saw a large number of requests on the message boards for two-player maps and for faster-playing maps. These maps–one for Mexico, one for the Austro-Hungarian empire–were created specifically to respond to these demands.
Formal Ferret Games
Gil Hova’s came down with a major mental affliction last year when he announced his intention to self publish. It was then that Formal Ferret Games was born. With all teasing aside, Gil has already revealed some remarkable designs. Gil was tireless at Gen Con, dashing here to show his solid eurogame Battle Merchants from Minion Games, scampering there to preview his new pharmaceutical pitch game Bad Medicine, and clambering over there to preview his television programming game The Networks. I’ve played them all and am humbled to see how good each one is.
Gil Hova teaches Battle Merchants to a rapt audience.
Quartermaster General Expansion
The core set of Quartermaster General was one of my final purchases at Gen Con last year. We liked it so much that their Air Marshal expansion pack was one of my first. If you enjoy card-driven wargames, definitely give it a try.
But Wait, There’s More!
Jay Cormier and Sen-Foong Lim are neat-o guys so it follows that they would create a neat-o party game. Put simply, players have to make pitches for products in the late night infomercial vein. Each product must include special features in their pitch–the eponymous “but wait, there’s more” of the game. My group enjoys this kind of game quite a bit, having already tried Ewen Cluney’s anime-TV pitch game Channel A and eagerly anticipating Gil Hova’s pharmaceutical pitch game Bad Medicine. I’m expecting this one to be a big hit at our table.
Having played this gem only a few weeks ago, it went directly onto my MUST BUY list. You can check out my overview of the game here. As yet, Codenames still stands as this year’s pick for best game to play with nongamers.
I hadn’t seen its Kickstarter but the a group playing Norsaga in the boardgaming hall caught my eye and when that game wrapped, designer Kevin Bishop kindly gave me a walk through. At its heart, Norsaga is a game of building your family tree. At a glance, Norsaga is reminiscent of Familienbande by Leo Colvini. However, I found Bishop’s approach clean and engaging. I plan to pick up a copy sometime soon and take it out for a full play.
This game was only loosely on my radar but I did get to play a brief overview. Vangelis Bagiartakis game is at its heart a combination of Dominion with Kingsburg. Some players compared it to Machi Koro but I found its decisions to be significantly more interesting. The booth demo only allowed for a few short turns but that was enough to convince me that Dice City deserves a try when it comes out in October.
Those were my highlights of Gen Con 2015. How about you? Were you at Gen Con this year? What stood out for you? Share with your fellow readers in the comments below. And if you’re enjoying what you’re reading, create an account with WordPress and follow this blog. If you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.