With the “Best 4 Days of Gaming” only a week away, it’s time to set your excitement meter into overdrive. If you’ve never been to Gen Con before, you’re in for a treat. Gen Con is really a great gaming experience with people from all over the globe descending upon Indianapolis to share their passions. Last year, the convention broke its attendance records with 49,058 attendees. If I had to guess, I’d say this year will easily beat that (judging by how quickly housing and events sold out). If you are a first time attendee and are feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t worry. It’s still just about the games, but to get you started, check out this article on tips for new Gen Con attendees we wrote.
For the rest of us veterans, I wanted to take a look at what I’m most excited about…new games! We have been trying to compile what new releases will be at the convention throughout the summer with varying degrees of success. I can only report what I know and not every publisher responded (Boo on them). Regardless, based on the buzz I’ve heard and other rumors, I’ve got my want list set. I’ve decided to rank them in to the 10 games I’m most excited to try at Gen Con 2014. It was really hard narrowing the list down to only ten, but here you go.
Top 10 Gen Con New Releases I’m Looking Forward To:
Honorable Mention: Fantasy Flight Games
This is cheating a little, but Fantasy Flight Games is very tight-lipped on what they will have for sale at the convention. They like their surprises and they always draw a crowd to their mega-booth. While last year’s offering was a tad disappointing, I have higher hopes for this year. I am hoping to they will have that hot new release that just wows everyone.
Pandemic is a fantastic cooperative game and one most people have probably played. This is Z-Man Games first expansion into the Pandemic universe that is completely separate from the base game. In a fun twist, Pandemic: Contagion has players taking on the role of diseases trying to competitively wipe out humanity. I’m curious as to how this one plays.
We love Space Cadets: Dice Duel here (check out our glowing review if you haven’t yet). It’s fun, frantic, and really unique. One of the only downsides is the player count starts at 4+. The Die Fighter expansion for Dice Duel solves that problem. Now two players can jump into fighters and duel it out. I’m really looking forward to jump trying out this new expansion by designer Geoff Engelstein!
Suburbia is a fantastic city playing game that spends a lot of time on our table top. We reviewed it here last year if you missed it. Subdivision is the newest game in the “Suburbia Universe”, but takes it to a smaller scale as players are creating just a subdivision now. I’m curious to see if designer Lucas Hedgren can match the magic of Suburbia.
Argent: The Consortium raised over $130,000 on Kickstarter earlier this year and is finally reaching the general market. The game sounds like something out of a Harry Potter novel (which isn’t a bad thing in my opinion), and is billed as “A 2-5 player game of secret conspiracies, power, and intrigue at a Magical University.” I hope the game play can match how great the artwork and components look.
War of the Ring is a fantastic game that I almost never get to play even though I’ve owned a copy for the better part of a decade. This is mostly due to its length and complexity. Still, that doesn’t stop me from absolutely loving the subject matter and dreaming of someday playing it again. Ares Games is finally taking us back to Middle Earth with their Battle of Five Armies, a game developed by the same designers as War of the Ring. While this time the game is based on the climax of JRR Tolkien’s novel The Hobbit, the game still uses some familiar mechanics from War of the Ring.
Days of Wonder has long been known as a company that makes very accessible board games. Their most well-known game is probably Ticket to Ride, one of the biggest gateway games out there. Their card drive war game, Memoir ’44, even topped our list of our Top Ten Entry Level War Games. At Gen Con this year, Days of Wonder is finally breaking into the gamer-game realm with Five Tribes. Created by veteran game designer Bruno Cathala, this worker placement game promised to have DOW’s usual easy to learn rules, but allow for more complex strategies.
2-4 Players • Ages 13+ • 60 minutes to play • $60.00
Portal Games makes their first publisher appearance at Gen Con and gives us a brand new game as a debut. Imperial Setters builds on the mechanics from their successful 51st state line of games into this brand new title. Imperial Settlers is a card drive game that has players building up their empire over 5 rounds. If you want to know more about it, check out our interview we did last week with game designer Ignacy Trzewiczek. Or you can just head straight to the portal games website to pre-order it for a Gen Con pickup.
Shadowrun is an awesome RPG setting set in a cyberpunk future where players can be mages, hackers, trolls, and street samurai (among other things). It’s really a unique world that’s a lot of fun to play in. Shadowrun: Crossfire is a cooperative deck-building card game for 2 to 4 players set in this universe. The game seems to be highly thematic and also set in a persistent world, so you can take your character on multiple missions across different games. There is already a print and play version out if you want to try this one out today.
I’m a pretty big fan of the Marvel Legendary Deckbuilding Game. I have all the expansions and even picked up an organizer for the box. I was only ho-hum on the new Legendary: Villains game as it felt like a simple re-theme with changes only skin deep. But Legendary Encounters: Aliens I’m super excited about. First, I love the Aliens franchise. Seconds, the game is fully cooperative, but there is a chance during the game you can be infected by a face hugger, turn into an alien, then go hunt down, and kill your former teammates. Tell me that doesn’t sound awesome.
I pre-ordered Dead of Winter from Plaid Hat Games a while ago and have been excitedly waiting to try this one out. Dead of Winter is the first in their line of “crossroads” games that “that tests a group of survivors’ ability to work together and stay alive while facing crises and challenges from both outside and inside”. This game puts a group of weakened survivors in a world filled with flesh hungry zombies. What I like most about it is that it promises to have players making hard decisions during this heavily thematic game.
So there you have it, my Top 10 Games I’m looking forward to for Gen Con 2014. It was hard narrowing down the list, other ones that just missed the cut were Samurai Spirit and Abyss. What is on the top of your list? Let us know in the comments below!