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Gen Con 2015 XXII: Survive: Space Attack!, Among the Stars: Revival, Wonky, Telestrations After Dark, Adventure Time Love Letter, Smash Up: Munchkin, Valley of the Kings: Afterlife & Castles of Mad King Ludwig

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• Finally! (or unfortunately depending on your POV), this is the final video round-up of game demonstration videos recorded at Gen Con 2015, and this round-up mostly features videos that should have been included in previously published company-specific posts, but while scanning the 181 Gen Con 2015 videos(!) in the BGG YouTube queue to assemble posts, I overlooked one or two (per company), so I'm dropping them all here, starting with Survive: Space Attack!, which is a reworking of Julian Courtland-Smith's Survive! by the Engelstein family and Stronghold Games.





Among the Stars: Revival, co-published by Artipia Games and Stronghold Games, serves as an expansion for other standalone Among the Stars titles as well as a two-player game in its own right. Thank goodness we can now represent such relationships decently in the BGG database. Progress!





• I also overlooked two demos from USAopoly, with one of the games being the more-or-less mature party game Telestrations After Dark. Is it more, or is it less?





• USAopoly's Wonky is a kick in the teeth to anyone who worries about having pristinely organized shelves, which means the box nicely represents the gameplay since the challenge during play is to keep things from falling over while placing wonkily-shaped blocks.





• I can see why I didn't spot this video on a first pass or many subsequent passes. The screenshot showed nothing but an iPad screen, so I assumed the video was one of Brad's, but in fact I recorded this overview of the digital version of Castles of Mad King Ludwig with designer/publisher Ted Alspach of Bézier Games in the BGG booth, so I'm claiming ownership.





• A fair percentage of people on BGG already know about Seiji Kanai's Love Letter — but AEG's publication of Adventure Time Love Letter will undoubtedly introduce it to thousands more.





Smash Up: Munchkin combines — or "smashes up", as one might say — two best-selling titles from AEG and Steve Jackson Games, with Munchkin serving as the flavor on the Smash Up gameplay.





• Tom Cleaver's deck-building card game Valley of the Kings: Afterlife from AEG fits the pattern of After the Stars: Revival above, being both a standalone game and an expansion for Valley of the Kings.





• Asmadi Games' 1001 Odysseys from designer/owner Chris Cieslik can briefly be described as Tales of the Arabian Nights in space. For a longer description, check out the video.





• And we've finally reached the end of BGG's coverage of Gen Con 2015, so it seems appropriate to close with our 30-minute long convention wrap, which consisted of us (1) answering questions from those in the chat room who were watching the live feed during the con and (2) saying whatever random things came to mind. You get a little addle-brained after talking for four days straight!

Now it's time to start focusing almost solely on Spiel 2015. Just over five weeks to go until it opens!

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Sun Aug 30, 2015 7:00 pm
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Gen Con 2015 XXI: Champions of Midgard, Switching Tracks, Mare Nostrum: Empires, The Networks, Me Want Cookies!, Te Kuiti, Dead Drop, Council of Verona & Shadows of Brimstone: Caverns of Cynder and More

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• Each time I see the title of Ole Steiness' Champions of Midgard from Grey Fox Games, I don't think of a "middleweight, Viking-themed, worker placement game with dice rolling in which players are leaders of Viking clans" (as the BGG game description states), but a game about people who protect their stomachs — their midsection, as it were, making them midguards. Silly, I know, but there you are.





• Flying Frog Productions brought lots of (half-finished) expansions for Shadows of Brimstone to Gen Con 2015 long before they'll be available at retail outlets, with the miniatures included in these expansions being complete, but the packaging consisting only of a stickered box and the paper components being desktop quality since the other material is still in the works.





• Designer Kris Gould's Switching Tracks from his Wattsalpoag Games has you playing pick-up-and-deliver with goods across the U.S., switching connections between tracks along the way to move faster and block others on your way to fulfilling five contracts.





• Roberto Fraga excels in quick-playing games, and Me Want Cookies! from Le Scorpion Masqué and IELLO is a prime example of this, with the design being ideal for restaurant play while you're waiting for dessert.





Te Kuiti from designers William Baldwin and Jim Harmon and publisher Ludically is a two-player game in which one person tries to fence in sheep and the other tries to keep from being fenced in. Solitaire rules are also available.





• Uwe Eickert from Academy Games ran down what's new and different in Mare Nostrum: Empires, a new edition of Serge Laget's Mare Nostrum that's due out before the end of 2015.





• Gil Hova's The Networks from his own Formal Ferret Games challenges players to run their own television networks, with them needing stars and ads in order to create shows that anyone will watch — but shows age over time, of course, so replacements need to be waiting in the wings for when viewers start to fade away.





• At Origins Game Fair 2014, I played four quick rounds of Jason Kotarski's super-clever deduction-driven microgame Dead Drop from Crash Games, and one year later the game is now in print and encased in a nigh-impenetrable box — not that I think anyone would want to penetrate it, mind you.





Council of Verona: Collector's Edition from Crash Games pulls together the original Michael Eskue microgame of feuding families, the poison expansion that allows everyone to share the joy of an early death, and the separate Where Art Though Romeo? microgame.

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Sun Aug 30, 2015 4:00 pm
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Gen Con 2015 XX: Apocalypse Chaos, Dragon Farkle, Flick 'em Up!, Stallion Canyon, DragonFlame, Chaosmos & Magic: The Gathering – Arena of the Planeswalkers

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• One of the biggest items buzzing at Spiel 2014 was the prototype of Magic: The Gathering – Arena of the Planeswalkers from designers James D'Aloisio, Ethan Fleischer, and Craig Van Ness. Could this be the second coming of Heroscape? Could MtG be transformed into a board game while still feeling like MtG? D'Aloisio visited the BGG booth to talk us through the game:





Apocalypse Chaos from Florian Fay was the big release from Z-Man Games at Gen Con 2015, and I mean that somewhat literally as I was surprised by the size of the box when I first saw it at the con. For all that I feel I know about what's coming out, I'm glad that I can still be surprised, even by the little things. Next: Let's have a publisher pack each game with a live mouse. Now that would be a surprise!





• Every time I heard the name Dragon Farkle, I thought, "Really? Dragon Farkle? Why would Z-Man Games do that?" But of course why wouldn't Z-Man Games do that? Robert J. Hudecek's Dragon Farkle takes the basics of Farkle — the gameplay of which will be familiar to almost anyone who's played a press-your-luck dice game — and places it in a fantasy context, with players now collecting soldiers instead of points and pushing to defeat a giant dragon in order to end the game. You're not simply trying to reach a point threshold, but to do something with all that you've gained during the game.





• In late 2014, F2Z Entertainment — owner of Z-Man Games and Filosofia Éditions — announced the founding of Pretzel Games as another brand that would focus on high-quality dexterity games, and that promise was fulfilled at Gen Con 2015 as for four days straight dozens of people gathered around three playing areas devoted to giant versions of Gaëtan Beaujannot and Jean Yves Monpertuis' Western-themed disk-flicking game Flick 'em Up!

F2Z's Martin Bouchard has been overseeing Pretzel Games, and his enthusiasm about the line has been constant since he first demonstrated the Flick 'em Up! prototype to me in April 2014. Now he finally got to share the game with others on a large scale, and Flick 'em Up! was one of the early sellouts at the show. Here's an overview of what's in the game:





• Bouchard later led me through an overview of Flick 'em Up! Stallion Canyon, the first expansion for the game, which debuts at Spiel 2015.





• I appreciate designer Matt Loomis' refreshing candor in this demonstration of DragonFlame from Minion Games. As a dragon, yes, sometimes I just want to watch things burn — or, preferably, burn them myself.





• Designer Joey Vigour practically bled enthusiasm when I interviewed him at BGG.CON 2013 about Chaosmos, and just under two years later the game is now out in the public with the Ovoid being available for all to chase.

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Sat Aug 29, 2015 9:00 pm
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Gen Con 2015 XIX: Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn, WWE Superstar Showdown, Helionox: The Last Sunset, Ninja Camp & Heroes Wanted: The Stuff of Legend

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• Isaac Vega's Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn from Plaid Hat Games is a thing of beauty, and it was one of a handful of titles that had people salivating in anticipation prior to Gen Con 2015. How does the game play? Vega visited the BGG booth to give us (and you) and overview.





• Gale Force Nine has made a name for itself with licensed game releases that live up to the spirit of the license, and its latest offering along these lines is WWE Superstar Showdown, with Matt Maggitti almost yelling himself hoarse as the ringside announcer in this presentation of the gameplay.





Heroes Wanted: The Stuff of Legend from designers Chance and Little and publisher Action Phase Games adds more of what you found in the base game — two-part adjectival & noun hero and villain cards that come together in strange ways — as well as new scenarios in which to start the action.





• Adam E. Daulton's Ninja Camp from Action Phase Games brings together gameplay reminiscent of Hey, That's My Fish! with animal karate masters that pick up movement cards which determine which actions they can possibly perform on future turns.





Helionox: The Last Sunset from designer Taran Lewis Kratz of Zeroic Games was something I missed seeing on Kickstarter, but man, does this game have eye-catching graphic design!






Sean Brown of Mr. B Games is providing fulfillment for the KS, and he came by the BGG booth at Gen Con 2015 to explain this movement-based deck-builder.

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Sat Aug 29, 2015 1:09 pm
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Gen Con 2015 XVIII: Thunderbirds, Pocket Imperium, Warehouse 51, Attila, Heavy Steam & Yashima: Legend of the Kami Masters

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• Designer Matt Leacock and cooperative games go hand-in-hand, it seems, and he's cementing that relationship in late 2015 with the release of Thunderbirds from UK publisher Modiphius Entertainment. At Gen Con 2015, Modiphius had a final production copy on hand, and Leacock visited the BGG booth to explain what's going on in the game.





• Of all the 100+ Gen Con 2015 game videos that I've packaged with final graphics for publication on the BGG YouTube channel, this is my favorite, with the cropping of the cover working perfectly in the space allowed. As for the game — Pocket Imperium from David Mortimer and LudiCreations — well, I haven't played this mini-4X-in-space yet, but I was hired by LudiCreations to do a final edit on the rules prior to publication. Just wanted to mention that!





• LudiCreations shared space in the Passport Game Studios booth at Gen Con 2015, and Passport is co-publisher with Funforge of Warehouse 51, a bidding game from Bruno Faidutti, Sérgio Halaban and André Zatz in which billionaire players try to acquire items from the famed Warehouse 51, where the U.S. government keeps all of our most precious treasures.





• Another Faidutti title on hand in Indy was Attila, a tiny two-player design published by Blue Orange Games that plays out like a mini battle between chess knights on a modular game board. I've played this game a handful of times, and it's a neat





• GreenBrier Games showed off two miniatures-based games at Gen Con 2015, the first being Heavy Steam from Scott Kimball, with players controlling mechs constructed from turn-of-the-20th-century technology that doesn't work as well as you might hope.





• The other miniatures title from GreenBrier was Yashima: Legend of the Kami Masters from designers Tony Gullotti and Joshua Sprung, with the former showing up at our booth to present and overview of gameplay

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Sat Aug 29, 2015 1:00 am
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Gen Con 2015 XVII: Level 99 Games — BattleCON: War of Indines, Pixel Tactics 5, RESISTOR_, Dragon Punch, and the Exceed Fighting System

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• Designer D. Brad Talton, Jr. of Level 99 Games loves head-to-head fighting games, especially if they feature individualized characters that each put a spin on how the battle plays out. He's designed and published other types of games as well, but when you look at the title with which he launched his company — BattleCON: War of Indines, now out in a new "remastered" edition for 2015 — you'll get a good taste of his design style.





Pixel Tactics is a series of head-to-head tactical combat games from Level 99 Games' Brad Talton. Each set is a standalone game of two 25-card decks, with each player choosing a leader from one of the 25 characters included in their deck, then using the other cards as attackers or supporters or orders — with each card being able to fulfill all of these roles in different ways.

At Gen Con 2015, Talton presented an overview of the Pixel Tactics system, while also showing off the forthcoming Pixel Tactics 5.





RESISTOR_ was not initially a Level 99 Games. Designers Anthony Amato and Nicole Kline from Cardboard Fortress Games ran a Kickstarter project for the game, then subsequently partnered with Level 99 to make RESISTOR_ part of that publisher's "Duelist" series of two-player games, thereby allowing the more experienced Level 99 to get involved with fulfillment and distribution.





• This video covers two forthcoming releases from Level 99 Games: Dragon Punch and Exceed. The story with Dragon Punch is similar to that of RESISTOR_; designer Koen Hendrix started a Kickstarter project to fund Dragon Punch, then decided to partner with Level 99 Games in the middle of funding, which increased interest in this two-player fighting-based microgame, but also delayed production since more backers came in and the game went from being a hand-assembled job by Hendrix to an actual published game.

Exceed is a new two-player fighting system from Talton, and if you like the short description of it at the end of this video, you can download the rules and cards from the Level 99 Games website to try it for yourself right now.

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Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:00 am
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Gen Con 2015 XVI: Artifacts, Inc., Above and Below, The Last Spike, Arcadia, Chaos Cove, The Great Dinosaur Rush & Spirits of the Rice Paddy

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• One of the many sellout titles at Gen Con 2015 was Ryan Laukat's Artifacts, Inc., published by his own Red Raven Games, and I believe that a second small batch of games was rushed in for the weekend to ensure that as many folks as possible could go home with a copy. Thankfully Laukat stepped away from folks wanting to hand him money long enough to talk about the game in the BGG booth.





• The second title that Laukat presented to us at Gen Con 2015 was Above and Below, which is due out before the end of 2015. This storytelling/town-building game has a sweet look to it, with the storytelling being something along the lines of Tales of the Arabian Nights.





• Tom Dalgliesh's The Last Spike from Columbia Games is a new edition of a game first released nearly four decades earlier from Gamma Two Games. You never know when something's going to return to print...





Arcadia from designers Greg Bush and Phil R. Chase and publisher APE Games is one of several amusement park-themed games to hit the market in recent years. What's going to be the next setting to sweep through the game design community? I'm guessing soft serve ice cream shops.





• And now we enter the preview section of this post, with Spirits of the Rice Paddy from Philip duBarry scheduled to hit stores in September 2015, with players trying to be the best rice farmer they can be.





• Designer Scott Almes has been placing designs all over the place, with The Great Dinosaur Rush due out from APE Games at the end of 2015, giving players the chance to dig up (wooden) bones and assemble dinosaurs from their finds.





• Finally from APE Games is Chaos Cove, a 2016 release from Andrew Federspiel with player mercenaries using special gadgets and their unique skills to complete missions.

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Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:00 pm
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Gen Con 2015 XV: Asmadi Games — Mottainai, Meow, Adorable Pandaring, One Deck Dungeon, The Phoenix Syndicate, Consequential & Innovation

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• Carl Chudyk's Mottainai from Asmadi Games debuted at Gen Con 2015, and this involved card game is a successor (in gameplay terms) to Chudyk's Glory to Rome, with cards moving from one gameplay zone to another, changing their role in the game in the process.





• About as far as you can get from Mottainai in terms of complexity is Meow, a party game from Alanna Cervenak and Asmadi owner Chris Cieslik that challenges you to question whether or not other people are cats.





Adorable Pandaring is another simple design from Cieslik and Asmadi Games, with players trying to get pandas into play that match the current law of adorableness so that they can score bamboo.





• And now we get to the preview section of this Asmadi Games-centered post, starting with an overview of Cieslik's roguelike card game One Deck Dungeon.





• Cieslik's Consequential has been in the works a long time, as Brad Cummings notes in this overview, and here we are again for another look at how the game works.

This digital/analog combination won't be to everyone's tastes, just as XCOM: The Board Game turned off some due to the required app, but I don't fault designers and publishers for taking whatever approaches seem best to them for the material in hand. I might not like their choices, mind you, but my money's not at risk on their publication and they know what they're trying to do better than I do, so I'll see what emerges from the vat, then evaluate things from there.





The Phoenix Syndicate from Rebecca and Ted Vessenes is another Asmadi project that's been in the works for a while, but in case you've missed it before, you can learn something about this network-building, contract-fulfilling game now.





• Finally, we close with another Chudyk design — the deluxe edition of the greatest game of all time, as judged by me, Innovation. This new edition of the game will include two new expansions while incorporating a graphic design overhaul to make the cards easier to read and use during play. Stoked!

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Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:00 am
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Gen Con 2015 XIV: The 7th Continent, Nefarious, Risk: Game of Thrones, Lift it! Deluxe, Garbage Day, Hoplomachus: Origins & Fantasy Fantasy Baseball

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• Jamie Johnson showed up at Gen Con 2015 to represent French publisher Serious Poulp, which has an immense "choose your own adventure" style of board game in the works from Ludovic Roudy and Bruno Sautter titled The 7th Continent. This video gives a taste of what will undoubtedly be an immense undertaking.





• Mainstream U.S. game publisher USAopoly is branching out a bit in its catalog with its licensed versions of BANG! and now with its reprint of Donald X. Vaccarino's Nefarious, which features artwork from the Russian version of the game. I've said multiple times that a Despicable Me license would have been a great way to attract mainstream gamers, but given the ho-hum ratings for Minions, perhaps it's better that this design wasn't entangled that way.





• Speaking of entangling licenses, USAopoly has also published Risk: Game of Thrones, which places the Risk gameplay in Westeros with many fancy plastic pieces and a double-sided game board.





Lift it! Deluxe from Per Gauding was first released by a couple of European game publishers, and now those in the U.S. can also enjoy the feeling of strapping a crane to their forehead and trying to assemble something fragile and fleeting.





• Strangely enough, Shane Willis' forthcoming Garbage Day from Mayday Games is not the first game about stacking things precariously on a garbage can as the 2013 design Ab in die Tonne from Carlo Rossi covered the same ground, but if we can have hundreds of games about elves in a fantasy world, then we can find the room for two garbage can games in our lives.





Hoplomachus: Origins from designers Adam and Josh Carlson and publisher Chip Theory Games makes good use of the fancy materials included in the box for this 1-2 player dueling game.





• Finally for now, designers Daryl Andrews and JR Honeycutt snuck into the booth to preview Fantasy Fantasy Baseball, a card game coming from CSE Games in 2016. So many preview videos...

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Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:13 pm
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Gen Con 2015 XIII: Favor of the Pharaoh, Suburbia 5★, One Night Ultimate Vampire, Noble Treachery, Crowns and Axes, & The King's Armory

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• While we intended to focus on newly released games while broadcasting game demonstrations at Gen Con 2015, Ted Alspach of Bézier Games apparently did not get the message — or he did receive it, then crumbled it up and did what he wanted to anyway. In either case, here's an overview of Tom Lehmann's Favor of the Pharaoh, a reworking of To Court the King that Bézier will debut at Spiel 2015 in October.





• Alspach also shilled heavily for his One Night Ultimate Vampire, co-designed with Akihisa Okui. That guy is absolutely shameless.





• Thankfully Alspach did have one new Gen Con release to feature on the BGG cameras, thereby somewhat justifying our time in Indianapolis. Here's a ninety-second rundown of Suburbia 5★, the second expansion for the tile-laying game Suburbia.





• Garrick Shurts from Great Northern Games presented a nice overview of Jay Meyer's Noble Treachery: The Last Alliance, which was released at the end of 2014 and therefore new by our standards of not previously being available at Gen Con.





• That said, Shurts also explained the basics of the forthcoming Crowns and Axes, which Great Northern Games plans to Kickstart for a 2016 release. We have only ourselves to blame for such violations of our rules.





• One of the things that we all noticed at Gen Con 2015 was the lack of long games. Everything seemed to top out at sixty minutes — ninety minutes, tops! — and while that's perfect for my tastes, not everyone feels the same way. Thus, The King's Armory from John Wrot! and Gate Keeper Games was a standout with its 120-minute playing time, while also having a solo play option for those who want the option of solitaire play.

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Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:00 pm
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