Gen Con. That magical time of year when thousands of gamers of all kinds – tabletop, board, card, video, RPG – flock to Indianapolis to enjoy four straight days of uninterrupted games! I had the privilege to attend this annual event for all four days. What follows is a recap of day 1.
The day started with an 8am playthrough of Munchkin Quest by Steve Jackson Games. While I’ve played Munchkin quite a bit, I’d never had the chance to play this version – a board game based around the popular franchise. I was grouped with five others, and we dove headfirst into the dungeon, immediately finding a troll – that we quickly improved to a level 35! Needless to say, he hung around quite a while. We also ended up with a few other large monsters – a level 18 squidzilla, a level 20 plutonium dragon, and a level 22 Mr. Bones. I had a great time, shared some laughs with people I’d never met, and ended up placing fourth out of the six of us. I really enjoyed this game. It stays true to the Munchkin franchise, and adds a very fitting – and well done – dungeon crawl/exploration mechanic.
From there, it was off to the exhibit hall to try and grab a copy of Scythe. Throughout my playthrough of Munchkin Quest, I kept receiving texts from a friend, showing the crowd at the Cephalofair Games booth (where Scythe was being sold during the Con). He kept saying I was going to miss out on getting my own copy (and poking a bit of fun at me for choosing an 8am event over the exhibit hall rush at 10). Of course, all of these texts were sent AFTER he’d picked up his own copy. What a friend! [Note: He actually is a good friend – ribbing each other just comes with the territory]. Long story short – he was completely messing with me. There were plenty of copies still available at the booth when I got there, and I was able to pick up the number one game on my list.
Picking up Scythe turned out to be just the beginning of my day one purchases, as I also secured copies of Potion Explosion, Mystic Vale, Fantahzee: Hordes & Heroes, Dreamwell, Scoundrel Society, Imploding Kittens, and Grimslingers. I also picked up my Kickstarter rewards for Onami, Cosmic Pioneers, and The Goonies: Adventure Card Game.
After spending a little over an hour (and a Brazilian dollars – in honor of the Olympics in Rio) in the exhibit hall, it became decision time for me. I had purchased an event ticket to learn to play Between Two Cities. This is a game I’ve been interested in for a little while. The problem? It was an event – my only event, in fact – located outside of the convention center itself. I wasn’t sure I wanted to leave the convention center, especially now that I was carrying 10 or so games with me everywhere I went. At one point, I had decided I was going to just eat the cost of the event ticket and not go. I’d learn Between Two Cities some other time. However, a nagging feeling in my gut told me I should go, so I trekked across Maryland Ave (completely neglecting the connected skywalk like the genius I am) to the Marriott hotel and its Denver conference room. And I’m glad I did.
Between Two Cities is an interesting game, but interesting in a good way. In the game, you build a city between yourself and the person to your left. You do the same with the person to your right. So, as you play the game, you will be building two separate cities and sitting between them (hence the name of the game). You score points for various combinations of types of buildings in your city. At the end of the game, your lowest-scoring city is your final score. The game itself is incredibly fun and a quick filler game, playing in about 20-30 minutes. It’s light enough to help you unwind between heavier games, but has enough strategy to it so it doesn’t feel as light as it is. Our group played the game twice in the hour allotted for the event and I definitely would have played more if we had the time. However, the game itself wasn’t the highlight of the event for me.
I had the pleasure of meeting – and playing Between Two Cities with – Nick and Carla of Weird Giraffe Games. Nick and Carla are currently prepping their new game, Super Hack Override, for a September 12 Kickstarter launch. The game is a super fun, super fast card game where you get to take on the role of a hacker. A preview of the game and Kickstarter – as well as a more in-depth review of the game itself – is coming soon. Had I decided to skip the Between Two Cities event, it is extremely likely that I’d have never crossed paths with Nick and Carla. I’m glad I listened to that little voice in my head saying, “stop being a big baby and go play the game you signed up to play.”
After grabbing a quick bite to eat, it was off to my next event. I had the privilege of playing Cthulhu: A Deck-Building Game with the designer of the game, Philip Loyer. The game is a cooperative deck-builder that has each player take on the role of an investigator and trying to stop one (or more) Elder Gods from destroying the world. I’m a big fan of co-ops and deck builders, mainly because they are easy to play solo – something I do frequently. I also adore the Lovecraftian world and mythos. The artwork in the game – done by Graham Sisk – is simply gorgeous. It does a great job of capturing the grim tone of the game. The group I was with chose to go straight to the intense difficulty setting – taking on two Elder Gods at once. This proved to be very tough at the beginning, but – through the use of some incredible combos – we were able to defeat both and win the game. Once we were done, I – along with two others from the group – practically ran to the Wyvren Gaming booth to grab my copy. I had to run because the game is THAT good (and the exhibit hall was closing, but I’d have run anyway).
Once the exhibit hall closed, I met up with some friends to play some games. When I arrived, they were finishing up a game of Potion Explosion. We then decided to break out Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents. At first glance, the game seemed to be all about making as much money as possible. However, the goal of the game is to build the best stock portfolio by buying and selling stocks of your own company, as well as those of your opponents. There is also a very fun bidding war that happens every few turns to acquire new luminaries to assist you in your quest to become the most powerful business man of the time. I had a great time playing this game, and I hope to get to play it again soon. I ended up placing third (out of five of us) with a stock portfolio worth $255 million. That brought an end to day one of Gen Con 2016 for me. As you’ll see in my next posts, days 2-4 proved to be just as fun and exciting. Until next time, thanks for stopping by.