Next week about 50,000 gamers will converge in downtown Indianapolis. Gen Con is the largest tabletop gaming convention in the United States, and arguably the largest in the world. There will be hundreds of new games being demoed in the exhibit hall and many of them will be available for purchase for the first time at the convention.
While I’ve heard rumblings that this year’s crop of Gen Con releases is smaller than normal, there are more than enough quality games to break your wallet. So I’ve narrowed down to the Top Ten New Releases that will be available for purchase. Some you can preorder today; others will be a very limited supply and you’ll likely have to be quick and lucky to score a copy, good luck!
Top Ten 2015 Gen Con New Releases I’m Looking Forward To
Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot! is a scenario-driven pirate adventure game. The sheer number of components in the box is astounding. Each ship has unique artwork and there is a huge pile of unique upgrades as well. I can’t wait to play this, just to build a sweet looking ship. Rattle, Battle features a unique dice-dropping mechanic where one player will drop player’s and enemy dice in the bottom of the box, and the relative positions after that roll help determine the outcome of the battle. This is available for preorder on the Portal Games website for $60 so you can beat the rush.
The Grizzled, from Cool Mini or Not, was announced this week to be available in limited supply at Gen Con. A cooperative card game, players are World War I soldiers trying to survive trench warfare. Despite the war theme, there is no combat in the game. While I haven’t found much information on the mechanics of the game, the theme really interests me. Looking at war from an angle outside of combat. Also, the artwork is unique and attractive. I will be stopping by Cool Mini or Not and am excited to get to try The Grizzled.
Viceroy is often described as Splendor-Plus. Splendor obviously is an incredibly successful game, but one that never held my attention as it just didn’t have enough going on. So a more in-depth version seems right up my alley. Viceroy is a set collection game but with a bidding element that increases the interaction between players in the game.
Lewis and Clark: The Dice Game, otherwise known as Discoveries. Discoveries initially caught my eye because of the beautiful artwork by Vincent Dutrait. It’s both a worker placement game as well as a dice-rolling game, which is a combination that I’m interested in checking out. There will be limited copies available from the Asmodee booth.
Vlaada Chvatil may be the most well-rounded board game designer working today. You want a big adventure game — Mage Knight. Drawing based party game? Pictomania! A real-time thematic game, try Galaxy Trucker. The newest hotness from Vlaada — Codenames — creates a ton of buzz when it was initially played at the Gathering of Friends. A party-game where players divide into teams and words are laid out in a grid. You give one-word clues to try to get your team to choose the right words to match, not pick any for the enemy team, and avoid the “Assassin” word that will make you immediately lose the game. Czech Games Edition is bringing this to Gen Con and has preorders available. You don’t even need to pay in advance!
Blue Orange Games is known for simple kid and dexterity games. They’ve had a lot of success in that area, but their biggest game to date, New York 1901, is creating a ton of buzz in the weeks before Gen Con. Limited supplies will be available and an exclusive expansion/promo will also be available. New York 1901 is a light game, similar in weight to Ticket to Ride, and will likely be heard from again for next year’s Spiel des Jahres awards. Oh, and another game with wonderful artwork from Vincent Dutrait.
Eighteen cards, 2 players, 10 minutes. That’s the requirement to play Tides of Time. I had the great pleasure of playing an early version at Origins and there is a lot of game packed into a small number of cards. I’m looking forward to owning a copy and being able to have a good gaming experience anytime I have a few minutes to spare. Portal Games is also offering this for preorder and its only $12!
Originally released in Poland and Ukraine, Asmodee is bringing Mysterium to the US. Mysterium takes Dixit and mixes in Clue for a unique cooperative experience. One player is the ghost and all other players must guess items, locations, and people only through receiving cards from the ghost. These “dream” cards are the only communication available – no talking allowed. Information available right now suggests there may be only a few hundred copies of Mysterium for sale at Gen Con, with the rest coming in October. So if you really want to pick this up – do it quickly.
Ashes: Rise of the Pheonixborn is a card game for two players, in a similar vein to Magic: The Gathering. However, there is no collectible element and players use dice as resources rather than land cards. Also, players get to search through their deck and pick their starting five cards for their hand, allowing them to craft a strategy and get off to a quick start. This is another game I had a chance to demo at Origins and I’ve been anxiously awaiting its release, especially so I can try to draft it, as it provides a 4 player draft out of the box.
I’m not always a huge fan of mini-based combat games. But Blood Rage seems to have a much greater focus on strategy and tactics. Players draft cards each round that can give them special abilities and help them earn the most glory. The viking theme is really cool and the minis look spectacular. You can earn glory by winning battles, completing quests, and even losing battles. There is no real focus on area control, you can have all of your warriors die every round and with the right cards still win the game. Cool Mini or Not has advertised very limited quantities, so another one I wouldn’t wait very long to pick up if you are interested. And you should be!
That’s the top ten list for Gen Con releases. There are more games being released that didn’t quite make the list, including some expansions for Five Tribes and Imperial Settlers. What are you excited to try at Gen Con? Let us know in the comments.