I feel like this post should have been posted sooner than today (now that we’re more than a week past the end of Gen Con). However, I kept putting this post off because I feel like once I post it, Gen Con is officially over for me. That, of course, isn’t entirely true. I still have a number of games that I picked up and Gen Con to post reviews for (and those will be coming soon). So, without any further delay, my recap of day 4 – my final day – at Gen Con 2016.
My first event of the day wasn’t scheduled to begin until 10am. I still showed up at the convention center around 8, so I had a couple of hours to kill. The first thing I did was go to the First Exposure Playtest Hall and check out the upcoming games. It was there that I got my playthrough of Sharknado: The Board Game! with the designers. Since I already posted a review of the game a few days ago, I won’t say anything more about the playthrough – other than to say you can check out my thoughts here.
After I completed my playthrough of Sharknado, I headed to my first event of the day, some light play with a little game called Takenoko (designed by Antoine Bauza and published by Asmodee) – or so I thought. Now, I will start by saying that I had never played Takenoko before. I’d watched video playthroughs on YouTube, and always wanted to give it a try, but I just never got around to it. So, when signing up for events, I thought “let’s play some Takenoko,” and I signed up for a Sunday morning event to play. What I didn’t pay attention to – and didn’t find out until I arrived for my event – is that I was not signing up to simply learn to play the game. I had – completely by accident – signed up to play in a three-round AsmOPlay tournament to win prizes. Well, this should be interesting. I was one of twelve players completing in three rounds of Takenoko, with the winner taking home a really nice Takenoko playmat. Having never played the game before, I was a bit nervous. I only had a passing knowledge of the gameplay and some very basic framework knowledge of the rules. Luckily, for my first game, the guy to my left ended up being the first player. This meant I’d get to see three turns before I had to do anything! I lost the first game pretty badly, only scoring 19 points, but I felt like I had enough know-how to at least get me through the final two rounds. Round two went far smoother, and I ended up putting up 37 points, tying for the win. By the time the third round started, I knew what I was doing, and was able to strategize a bit more than I had been. I ended up with a second-place finish (26 points, losing by only 3) in the final round. I didn’t win any prizes fro the tournament, but I didn’t finish dead last either, so I considered that a win (since I’d never played the game before sitting down at the tournament table that morning). I did get a promo item – a set of alternate art player boards for the game – so I guess I need to add Takenoko to my home collection. I absolutely loved this game, and could see my kids playing it a lot. Does it get any more adorable than that chubby little panda?
I then had time to grab a quick lunch before heading to my final scheduled event – a Marvel Legendary win-a-box event. The winner of this event would go home with a copy of the new Legendary: Civil War (published by Upper Deck Entertainment)! This contest was one I actually scheduled myself to take part in, unlike the Takenoko tournament. The rules were simple. Players would play Marvel Legendary: Civil War for one hour. At the end of the hour, whoever had the most victory points from defeating villains who win and go home with the spoils. There was four other players at my table, and since the focus was on victory points, none of us paid any attention to attacking the Mastermind. The focus was solely on knocking villains out of the city and scoring points. I used a strategy that, in addition to defeating villains, focused on rescuing bystanders (since each rescued bystander was worth one victory point). Every chance I had to recruit a hero that allowed me to rescue a bystander simply by playing the card (thank you, Spider-Man!), I would jump at the chance. At the end of the hour, the final scores were tallied. Our fifth place finisher scored 16 points. Third and fourth place were tied – each scoring 21 points. The first and second place players had each scored 22 points – and I was one of those two players! It came down to tiebreakers. The first tiebreaker in Legendary is who hit the Mastermind the most. Since neither of us had hit the Mastermind, we had to look at the second tiebreaker – the most villains defeated. This made me nervous because quite a lot of my points had come from rescuing bystanders. Would this strategy end up hurting me in the end? The other player had five villains in her victory pile. I had six! I won on tiebreakers by one villain, and walked out of the contest with a shiny new box of Legendary: Civil War to add to my ever-growing library of Legendary Marvel games. What a way to end Gen Con.
Before heading home I hit the exhibit hall one last time to see if I could snag any last minute deals. At the Vesuvius Media booth – where I had gone on Thursday to pick up my Kickstarted copy of Cosmic Pioneers – I found a deal that was too good to pass up. The designer of Centauri Saga, Constantine Kevorque, was at the booth and offering to sell all three of their games – Cosmic Pioneers, Centauri Saga, and Dwar7s Fall – for $60. This is a great deal on its own, because Centauri Saga itself is $70 – so I’d essentially be getting two games for free and a discount on their largest game. I mentioned to Constantine that I was a Kickstarter backer of Cosmic Pioneers and, as such, had already picked it up (so I didn’t need it). He replied, “Fantastic! We take care of our Kickstarter backers. Since you already have Cosmic Pioneers, I can do the other two games for $40 total.” This was a great offer, but I had not intended to buy anything on Sunday, having spent quite a bit on games on Thursday. I told Constantine that, while it was a great offer, I hadn’t intended to spend any more money at the Con, to which he said (with a smile on his face), “$30. Both games. Final offer.” I looked at him and said, “you’ve got a deal.” He signed my rulebook for Centauri Saga, handed it and Dwar7s Fall to me, shook my hand, and wished me the best. Finishing out my trek through the hall, I picked up information about a couple of other games I plan to check out, Dragoon from Lay Waste Games, and JunKing from David Gerrard and Junk Spirit Games.
All in all, I think Gen Con 2016 was a huge success for me. I was able to pick up a lot of games I had been eyeing, play some games I’d never played (found ones that I need to add to my collection like Castle Panic, Fool’s Gold, and Takenoko), met some great game designers along the way (special shout outs to Nick and Carla at Weird Giraffe Games, David Gerrard at Junk Spirit Games, Constantine Kevorque at Vesuvius Media, and Eric and Anthony at Devious Devices), and – most importantly – played a lot of games with friends old and new.
I look forward to what Gen Con 2017 will bring – especially with it being the 50th anniversary. That only leaves me with one question …. is it Gen Con yet?