Published by: Z-Man Games
This was number 1 on my most anticipated list and I have been looking forward to this game for years. I am a huge Rob Daviau fan and I credit him with being the designer that got me interested in games. I enjoyed the legacy part of Pandemic Legacy. Reading the designer blogs about the making of SeaFall has only made me want the game even more. If you want it at Gen Con, you better be at the door of the exhibit hall on Thursday at 10. This will go super fast. Will the experience live up the hype? I have trust in Rob that it will.
Published by: Gale Force Nine
We have had 50 years of Star Trek and what better way than a new epic board game to celebrate it. Gale Force Nine has done a wonderful job of using popular licenses in board games. I like how they are adding future factions in the near future that will increase player count. I am usually skeptical about games that start with a low player count and add more players through expansions. Will this be awesome like the Defiant or horrible like the uniforms from the original Star Trek movie? I look forward to discovering new lands and new species.
Published by: Portal Games
Portal Games brings their high level of quality and fun to a new level with Cry Havoc. This is Portal Games first attempt at producing miniatures in a game and they look very good. The game contains elements of deck-building and area control, both of which I enjoy mechanically. The art looks fantastic. Portal's variety of game types is often overlooked but they have done a great job in a wide variety of game types. Early reports have Cry Havoc as a game of the year candidate. Now I just need to get my hands on a copy some how. Preorders are available online with Gen Con pick up. Why risk not getting a copy? If you get the chance, bring Ignacy cookies. He loves them a lot.
Published by: Days of Wonder/Asmodee NA
Ticket to Ride is insanely popular. The series is almost always at the top of any gateway game list. I have yet to play with someone who did not like the game. Rails & Sails takes us from the steel rails to the salty waters. Also included in this edition is the Great Lakes map. As a person from Wisconsin, I am looking forward to venturing through my state. The UK Penn state expansion took Ticket to Ride to a new level. Will Rails & Sails be a breath of fresh air or will be chocking on locomotive exhaust? I think this will sell out by the first day if not sooner.
Published by: Stonemaier Games
Review Link: www.so1ks.com/tacos-take-reviews/tacos-first-take-on-scythe
NOTE: Scythe will be available to buy at the Cephalofair booth. That is where you can purchase all Stonemaier Games.
Scythe was my game of the year for the first half of 2016. I fell in love with it at Geekway to the West and have continued to enjoy it after I got my Kickstarter copy. I stand by my opinion of my first take and will be hard to remove from number 1 game of the year. The opinions I have seen so far have people either loving it or it was not their type of game. The components are top notch and mechanics are very solid. This is the first time that people will be able to purchase it outside of Kickstarter and I anticipate it being a huge seller.
Published by: Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG)
Review Link: www.so1ks.com/tacos-take-reviews/tacos-take-on-mystic-vale
Mystic Vale came out of Origins with some buzz. Any time a new mechanic is introduced it is exciting to check out. Mystic Vale does a great job of introducing the Card Crafting System. The art is spectacular and the game flows fast once everyone is used to the system. You will definitely be seeing more of the Card Crafting System in the future, so you should check out the future now.
Published by: Artana Games
Corrupted Kingdoms is a game that I have kept my eye on since Origins 2015. They have since streamlined the mechanics and made it smoother to play. I enjoyed my demoing this with Raymond (Designer) at both Origins and excited to see his game finally hit the market. The game reminds me of the Senate from Disgaea. Players are trying to get bills passed that benefit their evil corporation. I played as Asmodee... Just Kidding. This is a game that has not gotten much press or talk but I think could be a game many enjoy. If you stop by the Artana booth, say hi to Raymond and Nils. Both are great to talk to and will talk your ear off.
Published by: Blue Orange Games
New York 1901 was one of the sell out games of Gen Con 2015. Blue Orange is hoping for the same success with Vikings On Board. This is the first of 2 Viking games on my list. The components look beautiful and lots of player interaction. Players will be fighting over spots on the raiding boats. Person with the most Vikings on a ship will get the best and most loot. This should be a great game for a wide age group. There are very limited copies because this is an early release and wont see stores to much later in the year.
Published by: Capstone Games
This is probably the heaviest game on the list. Haspelknecht is the first of 3 games in a series that Capstone is bringing overseas to the states. The game has you learning how to mine early coal and the risks that are associated with it. Water pits do not sound like a good thing to have happen. I will probably make at least 5 black lung Zoolander references while playing the game. If you enjoy a challenge and looking to step up your euro game skills, Haspelknecht will be a great choice. I am glad I do not do video reviews because I could never pronounce the title.
Published by: Cool Mini or Not Games
I am sure you were expecting Bloodborne or The Others on the list, but the game releasing at Gen Con that I enjoyed the most at CMON Expo was Potion Explosion. The marble components were great and the game was fun. If you have ever been addicted to puzzle games like Candy Crush or Dr. Mario, you will love Potion Explosion. You are collecting ingredients (marbles) to make potions. You are trying to make different sets of Potions to score the most points at the end of the game. Once a potion is made, you get to use it for a special bonus as well. This is another game that will be enjoyed by a wide age group.
Published by: Rock Manor Games
Brass Empire is a deck-builder set in a Steam Punk universe. Each player will have a set of faction cards that only they can buy, as well as a main deck that may be purchased by anyone. I demoed this at Origins and thought it brought some fresh air to deck building. The art is very nice and the game has a decent amount of player interaction that you usually do not see in my deck-builders.
Published by: NSKN Games and Passport Game Studios
This is the second Viking game on my list for Gen Con. The Viking theme was big last year with Blood Rage, Champions of MIdgard and Vikings the Board Game. Each had their own flavor and different aspect of Viking society that was represented. In the Name of Odin appears to be the first that shows the whole Viking experience from enhancing your village to going on raids. You will be able to recruit famous Vikings to go on raids with and your goal to become Earl. I hope I can recruit Hagar the Horrible.
Published by: Renegade Game Studios
Renegade Game Studios has brought us hits in Lanterns and Worlds Fair 1893. Each game they put out is unique and beautiful in some way. Lotus looks so beautiful from the pictures I have seen. They had brilliant marketing at Origins where they handed out seeds saying that if you planted them when you got home, they would bloom when it was time for Lotus to come out. You and your opponents are growing flowers and picking them when they are at full bloom. If you are the one that receives the flower, you will gain much wisdom. The game seems very zen like. I am very curious how this one plays.
Published By: IDW Games
Arcane Academy was designed by the duo of Kevin Wilson and Eric Lang. Yep you read that right Wilson and Lang. Both have designed some brilliant games. You and your friends will be rival students trying to be the best student in class. You will be designing magic items and casting a wide range of elemental spells. I know very little about this game but it looks very interesting and should be a great family game.
Published by: Mayday Games
This compact bluffing game forces players to work together to earn gems. Each player will secertly select an attack card to attack a dungeon monster. If the combined value is strong enough to defeat the monster you will divide the loot. However, the person who had the least attack value gets to select their loot first. If two or more players play the same attack value, it is ignored and not counted towards defeating the monster. You are free to talk to everyone, but that does not mean they are telling the truth. Players get the most points by collecting sets of each gem color. I played this at Origins and had a blast. My review of Dungeon Busters should be up before Gen Con, so please be sure to come back and check out my take on it.
Published by: Iello Games
Oceanos is designed by the legend Antonie Bauza. Oceanos is a card drafting, set collection game that has players piloting subs to find treasure in reefs. When I spoke to Iello at Origins, he mentioned that Antonie Bauza felt this was one of his best designed games. That is a statement that I greatly look forward to testing. Iello Games always does a great job with the illustration art of games and this one follows that course. How will this stack up to other great Bauza games like 7 Wonders, 7 Wonders Duel, Hanabi, and Takenoko? If you are a Bauza fan, this should be an early stop of Gen Con as I think it will sell out by day 1 or 2. Also be sure to stop by and say hello to Danni at the Iello play room.
Published by: Red Raven Games
Ryan Laukat designs his board games, does all the art, and runs Red Raven Games. No matter if you enjoy his games so far or not (most really enjoy them), you have to give him credit for all the hats he wears for his games. Islebound looks like some of his best art in a game to date. You are in charge of your capital city and will set sail to find goods and commission new buildings to be made. You will recruit crew to help you on your journey. A mix of worker placement, deck-building, and card drafting make this game a must try for me. So far reports from Kickstarter backers are very positive.
Published by: Action Phase Games
Dreamwell is an abstract strategy game with some of the most unique art i have ever seen. Players are trying to find their friends in the Dreamwell. During the game you will be moving your pawn to various locations and manipulating the grid. The game looks like a weird dream that you had when you were a child. I am very intrigued by the game and loved their previous game, Kodama the Tree Spirits.
Published by: Czech Game Edition
Codenames was the party of Gen Con 2015. CGE brings all the Codenames fun and adds pictures instead of words this time. Will it receive the same love the original did? I know many who are not into gaming that purchased it for when they have people over. This is a game that will add enjoyment to your night with friends.
Published by: Upper Deck Entertainment
I thought about leaving my description of this game with one word, Firefly. If you are a fan of the TV series or enjoy the Legendary game series, this will pretty much be a sure hit for you. I do not know much about this one, but Upper Deck has done a great job of enhancing the Legendary experience with each new title. Here is hoping Legendary Encounters: Red Dwarf is next. I expect this one to sell out day 1, so if you are interested, be sure to stop by there very early on Thursday.