GenCon 2012, Part Two
August 21, 2012 1 Comment
Welcome to part two of my highlights from GenCon 2012!
I was happy to find Mantic Games in attendance. This company has so much potential and they have superb products. Ronnie himself was at the booth and I chatted briefly with him before taking some photos. He was also kind enough to show me several unpainted Enforcers models that will be released next month for Warpath (these are amazing, the photos on Mantic’s website don’t do them justice), as well as some models from the upcoming Dreadball game (there were figures for Enforcers, Verr-myn, and Marauders). There’s more info for Dreadball available in the newsletter.
Mayfair Git Together
Alchemist and I attended the Git Together, which is basically an evening of snack and drink supplied board gaming with anyone who attends. You sign out a Mayfair game and play for as long as you want and then sign out a new one. I was approached by a very friendly lady name Erica – fiance and friends were off playing D&D (which she doesn’t play) – who was looking for a group to play with. The three of us started playing a game called Alchemist ( an enjoyable, potion making game that involves trying to get rid of certain colors of cubes and scoring more points than the other players. The mechanics were quick to pick up and play involved a good balance strategy, planning, and bluff. It’s worth a try if you have the opportunity. I forgot to take a picture.
Next was Atlantis a fast-playing tile-removal game in which the players are trying to flee from the sinking city of Atlantis. This was very simple mechanically and was a lot of fun, I highly recommend it.
The last game we played (Alchemist and I had to prepare for the trip home) was a flop for all three of us. It’s a new one by Mayfair called Rocket Jockey. On the surface, it tempts you with the potential of being a fast and fun but the game play is tedious, unfulfilling, and prone to confusion. We got roughly half way through the game before calling it quits. The concept has potential but the execution is flawed. I’m tempted to go into detail but… just play something else.
AEG Boardgame Extravaganza
This event was pretty awesome. You pay 38 bucks or something to attend but you come out with more than you pay for. Everyone gets a box of loot at the end of the event (they actually gave them out early because of high demand to play Smash Up). Attendees also get a numbered bracelet for the raffle that runs over the course of 4 hours. AEG gives out numerous copies of their games, often in packages containing a game plus all of the expansions. The final draw is for one copy of every game they produce (which amounts to roughly 800 dollars of loot!). Unfortunately, neither Alchemist or I won a raffle prize. The rest of the event involve tables and tables of demo and pickup games with event staff and attendees. This even is not to be missed.
Each box of loot contained copies of the new Smash Up game (with a limited release foil box), NightFall: The Coldest War, a pack of promo cards for Thunderstone: Advance, a special edition figure for the Ninja boardgame, and an Emperor Edition L5R starter box (we both sold our starters off).
Smash Up was an unexpected hit. EVERYONE wanted to play it. The game deserves it’s own write up but essentially, it’s a card game with 8 kooky factions, each with their own flavor of minions and abilities. Each player choose two factions and combines the cards to create a different combination. Minions are played on bases to try and accumulate victory points. The text, art, and mechanics are lighthearted and family accessible while the gameplay involves a lot of disruptive player interaction. The game breeds friendly smack talk (which is half the fun in board games for me) and plays fast enough that almost anyone would enjoy it. I was really happy that we got copies of it because it’s going to see a lot of play at my house.
I don’t know much about the NightFall series except that it’s a deckbuilder themed around vampires and werewolves. I’ve heard good things about it and that it’s rules system involves a unique card chaining mechanism. The Coldest War is a standalone expansion, so I’ll be able to try it without shelling out any cash.
Thunderstone: Advance is another deckbuilder with it’s own uniqueness that sets it apart from Dominion (the standard to which deckbuilders are typically compared). I’d been interested in trying it but heard mixed opinions about it so wasn’t sure what to expect. I played through several demo games at the Extravaganza and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll be picking up the main box to go along with my promo cards for sure.
Aside from the free games and many games played at the event, I’ve learned that AEG makes excellent boardgames that do not suffer from the overcomplexity of the L5R CCG. It was sort of weird to be surrounded by so much L5R, having recently gotten out of it. If I was still playing, I’d likely have competed in the tournament and my entire GenCon trip would have been significantly different. However, seeing it all further solidified my decision and I’m glad I was able to spend time discovering and enjoying AEGs other offerings instead of burning myself out against hardcore L5R competitors.
Stuff I really wanted to do but couldn’t
Star Wars LCG – There was one demo table for this and I watched for a bit but that’s about it. It looks, perhaps perilously, close to the old Star Wars CCG from the late 90s.
Netrunner LCG – This was everywhere, and impossible to get in on. I have a feeling that there will be a ton of support and community for this game. That in itself may be enough to buy in. I heard nothing but praise for it.
Infiltrator – Alchemist and I were both keen on checking this out but like all of the demos were consistently congested.
Well that’s about it. There were plenty of other things that we did, such as True Dungeon and the MechWarrior pod sim, but I think the majority of that is better left for others to describe elsewhere.
I’ll likely not be back to GenCon anytime soon. Alchemist and I have been tossing ‘maybe in another 5 years or so’ around but it’s really hard to say. I’m definitely jealous of the people who live in or around Indianapolis that get to attend yearly with little expense. It’s made me think that I should make an effort to attend local game conventions.