Every summer the board gaming hobby is overwhelmed with an unassailable amount of new game releases, announcements and demos. This is thanks to Gen Con, the second biggest convention of the year (behind the Essen Spiel), which takes place in Indianapolis. As I write this, Gen Con was just over a week ago and we have scoured the internet looking for what are the most interesting, innovative and just outright fun games that have been played at the convention.
At this point, I feel the need to make a disclaimer. Club Rules did NOT attend Gen Con. As much as we would have loved to, money doesn’t grow on trees… (or does it?). Anyway, we have not played any of these games to date, but these are the 5 games that we are most looking forward to getting our teeth into.
Choosing just five of the hundreds of games being shown at the convention was a difficult task indeed. Being based in South Wales, UK, these titles will be released slowly over time, probably up until Christmas (if last year was anything to go by). But one thing is certain, the second any of these 5 games become available to purchase, they’ll be guaranteed purchases for the collection!
5. Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure
Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure comes in at number 5 and I know what you’re thinking… “Another Deck-Building game?! What makes this so special?!” Don’t jump ahead of yourselves! Stay with me here. Yes, the basic concept of this game is your Dominion standard; draw 5 cards, use them, buy new cards, discard and repeat. But unlike the Grand-Daddy of Deck-Builders your deck is not necessarily your primary focus. You need to worry about the board. In the game you’re an adventurer who is entering a dragon’s lair in an attempt to steal treasure and artifacts which you’re going to need to win the game. As well as that, you need to ensure that you don’t leave your exit from the lair too late! Otherwise you won’t be leaving alive. All the while the dragon will be listening for clanks (sounds) around its lair and may punish those adventurers who are perhaps being too careless! The player with the most money/artifacts/treasures/etc. at the end is the winner of the game.
I’m excited for this one simply because of the extra push-your-luck style that this game brings. Do you delve deeper to get the valuable treasure? Risking the vengeance of the dragon? Or do you make it quick? In and out. Force the other adventurers to panic! It’s an interesting idea. A few years ago a game named Trains from AEG was released. This game was deck-building with a board. However, it never really hit the satisfaction factor that Dominion had. I only hope that when I play this I don’t have the same reaction. Regardless of this feeling, I’m very much looking forward to this!
4. Cry Havoc
Cry Havoc is Portal Games’ attempt of an area control game with miniatures! Players take control of one of the four factions; Humans, Pilgrims, Machines or Trogs. Each army has different abilities which shape the way they’re played. Whether it’s the speedy, dynamic movement of the Humans. The resource extraction ability of the Pilgrims. The relentless aggression of the Machines. Or the brute force of the Trogs; who inhabit the planet being fought over. Whoever has the highest points, after scoring is enabled, is the winner.
This game has been compared to the aggressive nature of Kemet. The unique battle system in the game is innovative. It doesn’t rely on dice or card play; players choose how to attack in a battle. Whether that be focusing on region control, capturing prisoners or completing objectives. The unique abilities of each army makes each faction have a different feel to how you would approach the game. The game comes with lots of impressive miniatures which simply add to the feel of this new release. This is certainly a game I can’t wait to play!
3. Vast: The Crystal Caverns
Like Cry Havoc previously, Vast: The Crystal Caverns has the unique player abilities and asymmetrical play that will make each faction you play feel different. Although, in this game players are taking part in an adventure style game with players choosing to be either; the Knight, Goblin Horde, Dragon or (perhaps the most intriguing of all) even the Cave itself. Each role will have a different goal to achieve. The Knight needs to slay the Goblins and Dragon. The Goblin Horde are trying to stop the hero Knight. The sleeping Dragon who is trying to wake up and escape. Or the Cave, who is building the pathways for the other roles, only to collapse and trap everyone inside!
I love the idea of this game; with each player having a different way of winning the game. This sounds nothing more than great fun! Didn’t hear or see too much about this game prior to Gen Con, but I’ve heard and read a lot since. Hope this lives up to the hype it’s getting once we get our hands on it!
Wait a Legacy game? From designer Rob Daviau who co-designed the current Board Game Geek number 1 rated game Pandemic: Legacy? Published by Plaid Hat Games whose games I thoroughly enjoy playing? Just take my money! SeaFall is a nautically themed 4X (Explore, Expand, Exploit and Exterminate) style game without the extermination! Like the previous Risk and Pandemic Legacy games, the game evolves over time; with decisions you make affecting the future games you will play! Players take on the role of a mainland empire that consults with a consortium of advisers to discover new islands, explore those islands, develop trade, send out raiding parties and take part in ship-to-ship combat.
The fact that I know so little about the actual game play of this one and yet it’s a game I can’t wait to get my hands on, speaks volumes about how exciting these Legacy style games are. The fact that your decisions can affect not just those of other players in the current game, but of yours AND others in future games makes the importance of each decision you make sky rocket to the moon! Pumped is the word I would use to describe how I feel about this one. A must play for legacy fans.
1. Captain Sonar
This is another example of evolution in the board gaming industry. Captain Sonar is a real-time, team versus team game for up to 8 players. Each team has 4 different roles within a submarine crew; Captain, Chief Mate, Engineer and Radio Operator. The name of the game? Eliminate the other team’s submarine. Simple as that. Each crew member has a different job and actions to perform. The Captain, decides where to move around the map in an attempt to find the other sub and take it down. The Chief Mate, decides which system can charge or become online after each movement. The Engineer, manages which systems within the submarine need sacrificing in order to move. And lastly, the Radio Operator, listens to the opposition captain to deduce where they are. All of this is happening simultaneously using dry wipe boards and continues to do so until one of the submarines has suffered enough damaged to be destroyed.
My oh my am I super excited to play Captain Sonar! This game is unlike any other game that I have played or heard about and it’s one I believe could go quite far. Now saying that, I also believe that this is a game that could outright fall flat on it’s face with the wrong group of people. However, with the right group this has the potential to be the next Resistance or Codenames. All these different actions being shouted out and declared across the table with a giant screen separating both teams sounds really thematic! Captain Sonar is the game that I am most excited to play, own and show to everyone from Gen Con. I am relishing the day that this game is sat on my shelf.
And that’s our list! Other honourable mentions include Codenames: Pictures, Junk Art and Ticket to Ride: Rails and Sails!
Do you agree with us? What other games from Gen Con should we look out for? Let us know what you think and be sure to follow us to keep informed on what we have to say!!