Mary PrasadUnited States
BGG.CON was held November 16-20, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency DFW Airport, Texas. This will be the location for the next two years. In 2019, BGG.CON will move to the Hyatt Regency Dallas where everything will be about 50% bigger, including the exhibit hall (one room), ballroom space, hotel rooms, and number of attendees!
Fun Fact: The number of attendees for 2016 was about 2,950.
Check-in was greatly improved this year, thanks to a few changes. The opening line was basically done in one hour, with around 1,000 people checked-in. The main improvements included eight check-in stations rather than 4–6 and raffle tickets being pre-separated (with half added to badges).
Fun fact: The first people in line for registration were there starting around 1:00 a.m., but once registration was opened (a little before 10:00 a.m.) no one stood in line for more than 35-45 minutes.
Everyone received a copy of Dragon Punch from Level 99 Games as well as promos for Tipping Cows (Columbia Games) and Abandon Planet (Orange Machine Games). Everyone also received one game from each of the following:
Large game choice:
• Mage Wars Academy (Arcane Wonders)
• Terra (Bézier Games)
• Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles or Wrath of the Righteous (Paizo Publishing)
• City Hall, Captains of Industry, or AquaSphere (Tasty Minstrel Games)
Medium game choice:
• Space Sheep (Stronghold Games)
• Strategy & Tactics Press Magazine Wargames (Decision Games)
• Valdora (Funagain Games)
• Hold Your Breath, Get Bit, Walk the Plank bundle (Mayday Games)
• Bookmaker or Kragmortha or The Big Idea (Passport Game Studios)
Small game choice:
• Airships or Robber Knights (Funagain Games)
• Mini Meteor or White Elephant or Lemonade Stand (Mayday Games)
• Tapple (USAopoly)
• HEX CASTERS (Hasbro)
A special thanks to Jeff Anderson for providing much of the information above.
I'd like to give a shout out to Team Geek 2016. You may read about all the wonderful things they do in this thread.Photo posted by Lainie Theys
Once again Rio Grande Games sponsored the Grapevine Shuttle, making trips to local restaurants and stores free to convention attendees.
This year I went with my buds from The Dice Tower (joined by a few other friends) for dinner at Babe's Chicken Dinner House. Just thinking about those chicken fingers is making my mouth water – probably the best I've ever had. The batter is crispy and light, the chicken tender and juicy. The food is served family-style. Everything was tasty – green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, buttery biscuits (added honey to half – it's good both ways), creamed corn, and the dessert – oh my! I had the banana pudding; it was fantastic!The Dice Tower and friends at Babe's
Most days I had breakfast at Jacob's Spring Grille, the hotel restaurant. This year the buffet was reduced to $12.95 for attendees (normally $19.95). The only difference is that they don't have the omelet bar, but there's still quite a lot of food from which to choose, including steel-cut oatmeal and toppings, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, French toast/pancakes, a variety of pastries and breads, fruit, cheese, and usually some type of potatoes. (I'm probably forgetting a few things, too.)
Another annual tradition is dinner at Mr. G's Steak House, also in the hotel. The food is usually pretty good, but they always seem to mess up something. This year the waiter had to take the checks back four times (yes, FOUR) before they were done correctly. (My husband and I had dinner with friends Ted and Toni Alspach, Bézier Games: two couples = two checks… we didn't think it would be that challenging.)
This year's special guests were: Matt Leacock, Eric Lang, Rich Sommer, and Rob Daviau. There was a special Q & A panel held Saturday evening with Matt, Eric, and Rob. Maybe someone can leave a comment on how this was… I didn't attend; it was dinnertime for me.
Every attendee is given a Geek Buzz code with their badge. The Wiki Geek Buzz page has some information on how it works. Results are posted on the full leaderboard. Here are the top ten (as of December 2, 2016).
1. Flag Dash
2. Terraforming Mars
3. Captain Sonar
4. Nightmare Forest: Dead Run
5. No Respect: Rodney Dangerfield's Game
6. Fabled Fruit
8. Cottage Garden
9. Aeon's End
10. Kodama: The Tree Spirits
The following is a list of games that were available in the Hot Games area, including the number of copies. Information provided by John Mellby.
2 - A Feast for Odin
2 - Great Western Trail
2 - Terraforming Mars
2 - Cottage Garden
1 - Inis
2 - Oracle of Delphi
1 - Captain Sonar
2 - The Colonists
2 - Railroad Revolution
2 - Adrenaline
2 - Fabled Fruit
1 - Key to the City - London
1 - Mechs vs. Minions
1 - Power Grid: The Card Game
1 - Lorenzo il Magnifico
1 - La Granja: No Siesta
1 - Cry Havoc
1 - Fields of Green
1 - Dream Home
1 - First Class: Unterwegs im Orient Express
1 - Manhattan Project: Energy Empire
The BGG.CON Game Library contains 5409 games, and here's a list of the titles that were added from the SPIEL 2016 convention in October. The full collection is listed here. This year there were 11,815 checkouts of 2,093 unique titles.
Here are the top ten games check out preceded by number of checkouts. It does not include the games in the Hot Games, which were checked out once at the beginning of the convention. Click here for the full list. (Information posted by Scott Alden.)
120 Fabled Fruit
86 Dream Home
80 Potion Explosion
71 Mystic Vale
71 Mystic Vale: Vale of Magic
69 Ice Cool
66 7 Wonders Duel
65 Pandemic Iberia
This year was the 10th anniversary of the BGG.CON Math Trade. A Math Trade is a trade between a many people at once, using an algorithm to decide who gets what. Games are traded 1 to 1. There is no risk as traders get to decide their preferred games in the trade – at worst keeping the game they started with. This year 96 people traded at least one game (more may have participated) and 430 games were traded. Organized by Mischa D. Krilov.
Virtual Flea Market
There were 7,124 games listed this year for the Virtual Flea Market. According to organizer Michael Schwerdtfeger over 3,700 games were sold (it's difficult to get an exact count for various reasons). The nice feature about this is that the games are pre-sold, so you only have to bring the games that sold to the event! No wasted space.
Board Game Bazaar (Formerly the Flea Market)
Stay tuned (BGG.CON 2016 Part 2) for information on the Bazaar, including a video!
In one of the exhibit halls there were four booths that would change each day, differentiated by red curtain backdrops. Mainly, these were reserved for small independent game companies. When at BGG.CON, be sure to stop here every day to see what's new.
AssassinCon was a Gen Con 2016 release. It is a game for 4 to 6 players, although the sweet spot is 5 players (with less than 6 players there are robot players - random movement for those characters). The object of the game is to get the most points. The board shows a convention map layout. Each player is given a target card and a deck of movement cards. The movement is hidden - each player plays a card determining direction of movement, which are shuffled before being displayed and the standing character tokens moved to their new locations. Players move from location to location looking for their target, while trying to avoid being a target themselves. Booths/rooms can give a player special abilities. For example, the sniper booth allows you to target characters in three other booths (i.e. as if they are in the same location). Players get one temporary point for identifying their target (plus they get their target's target card, i.e. a new target), and two points for correctly figuring out who is targeting them plus any temporary points they had. A round ends in the unlikely case where the movement decks run out, if there are only two players left, or if someone attempts to identify their assassin (right or wrong). Temporary points become permanent and a new round begins. When one player gets five permanent points they win.
Fun Fact: At BGG.CON, Mayday ran a live AssassinCon game with about 95 participants who signed up pre-con and were give ribbons. They were randomly assigned a target and given a card that looks like an oversized card from the game. If they found their target, the target signs that card, then they give that player their target card (the target can no longer participate but keeps their score). The person with the highest score at the end was the winner. 1st place received $100 to Fun Again and some Mayday goodies, 2nd place $50, 3rd $35.
Update on the new Mayday Crokinole boards: The new release is expected in February 2017. It will have a wax finish rather than shellac, which allows the wooden disks to glide more easily across the board. The Kickstarter price is $99 plus $15 shipping. MSRP will be $145.
The Crokinole carrying case retails for $50. I highly recommend it; it's a beautiful padded case with carrying strap.
—Thames & Kosmos
Legends of Andor: Journey to the North, the first full board expansion to be released in the U.S., came out in November 2016. It includes four new legends, continuing the story of the original heroes. It also includes travel by sea. Players can customize their ship during the game. Ship movement is influenced by weather. There is a new character, the bard. The characters are in a new land; they want to spread their fame. Winning depends on how successful they are, as measured by the bard's faith in them. Their success is contingent upon the bard spreading word of their victories (tracked on the newly introduced Hall of Fame section of the board).
Fun Fact: The boards for the Legends of Andor base game and the expansion, Journey to the North, line up perfectly with each other. Included in the Companion Guide rulebook with the game is a link to a free download, a 70-minute atmospheric soundtrack to enhance game play.
Colony was released November 2016. This is an engine-building, dice-as-resources game. It comes with 28 different sets of variable cards, 7 of which are used in a game "making it infinitely re-playable" (according to owner Ted Alspach). There is a free app available for download that helps you customize your game set-up.
New York Slice is due to be released March 2017. It is a reimagining of Jeffery D. Allers' Piece O' Cake using pizza slices instead of pie/cake. A few additional elements give the game more depth than the original. One of those new additions is a set of chalkboard-style "Today's Specials" that provides unique variations on the standard "I cut, you choose" game play of the original, i.e., these are small chalkboards that may be added to a portion of slices. New York Slice also has combo slices (with two types of pizza on one slice), nasty, nasty anchovies, and even a supreme slice.The images from New York Slice may be prototype images; they could change with final publication
Fun Fact: During development, Ted and Toni Alspach ordered dozens of uncut pizzas of all the types represented in the game in order to use them for the prototype in testing the game — except for anchovy slices because that's just gross.
—Daedalus Productions Inc.
Daedalus makes beautiful wooden inserts for game boxes. The stained wood adds a nice touch. The internal boxes fit perfectly and organize the pieces well.Ben Hillyard, Daedalus Productions, Inc.
(Information provided by Andrea Elliott, HABA USA E-Commerce Manager)
Meduris (European release: SPIEL 2016, North American release: BGG.CON 2016) is a medieval-inspired worker placement, resource management game designed by Stefan Dorra & Ralf zue Linde, illustrated by Miguel Coimbra of "7 Wonders". As a medium-weight game, this is HABA's heaviest release to date. Players compete to make offerings to the gods in order to score victory points. You collect resources depending on how high your worker is in each meeple tower. Players also compete to build huts; they do this by paying resources. Each additional adjacent hut adds one of each resource to the cost of newly placed huts. The more and more huts that are built/placed, the more expensive the real estate. Scoring works in a similar manner, as hut construction, by paying the druid resources as he moves around the board. The player who strategically builds their huts and temples, while conserving enough resources to use in the final round of offerings, will win the game.
Picassimo (European release: SPIEL 2016, North American release: January/February 2017), designed by Carlo A. Rossi and illustrated by Christian Fioret, is a crazy twist on the traditional party drawing game. It includes 900 terms to be drawn and 3 levels of playing difficulty. Players simultaneously draw a secret term from their cards; they must use the whole drawing surface to complete their drawing. When only one person still drawing, a 3-2-1 countdown starts; when the countdown ends, they must stop drawing and put down their marker. The player who finished drawing first turns over a "transformation" card, which will show everyone how to re-arrange their drawing board tiles. Once boards have been re-arranged according to the card, in turn order players reveal their artwork to the other players. They are trying to guess the original word drawn before the artwork was re-arranged. If guessed correctly, artist and guesser will receive points. After all drawings have been revealed and guessed upon, a new round begins. After 7 rounds of play, the artist with the most points is the winner.
Fun Facts: HABA has more than 15 game and book designers who develop over 450 new products each year. Their home factory in Germany produces over 1,800,000 dice every year!
Jumbo Jets (Jet Set Expansion 2) was pre-released at SPIEL 2016 and now at BGG.CON; it is expected in stores early in 2017. It includes four expansion modules that add jumbo jets, hotels, charter flights, and city bonuses. It also includes more flight cards — completing the full collection of combinations — as well as both easier and more difficult Final Flight cards (12 of each).A jet and cute little clear meeples from Jumbo Jets
Fun Fact: Kris Gould, company owner and game designer: "The Wattsalpoag logo used to have a squirrel with a question mark above his head, looking at the name 'Wattsalpoag'. (Wondering what the heck it means.) As a tip of the hat to this original unofficial mascot, we had to include a squirrel as one of the animals on the dice in A Fistful of Penguins."
Pack O Game Set 2 will be released in Q2 2017. As with set 1, this set will include eight new games:
• Spy - a 10-minute table-less deduction/memory game (i.e. it may be played without a table!), great for standing in line.
• Rum - a push your luck, set collection bottle game with a twist.
• Orc - a 2-player hand management territory battle game that you can play in 5 minutes.
• Dig - a dog-themed pick up and deliver game.
• Gym - a team game in which players create teams and compete in gym class events.
• Boo - a 2-player game with an Othello-like mechanism, crossed with Super Mario Brothers "Boo" character.
• Box - an abstract game, optionally playable in teams, in which players try to create the largest squares they can with their secret color (a square is defined by their color being in the four corners). Players score for the number of dots along one edge of each square.
• Sow - a gardening game with a Mancala-like mechanism, for two to four players.
Fun Fact: The chocolate brown lab in Dig was inspired by designer and owner Chris Handy's dog Rex. He has been immortalized in the game as a cartoon; his photo dedication can be found in the rules.
Dastardly Dirigibles released in July 2016. It is a steampunk airship building card game where players are trying to build a matching airship to score the most points. Each player has a set of plans, playmat, for their airship with 7 spaces for cards, e.g. lift engine, nose cone, tail. Players try to collect and place like parts for their dirigible; there are 8 varieties plus 2 wild. Whenever a player decides to add a part to their ship, all players must simultaneously play that part if they have one, in that slot, replacing a card if there is one already there. A round ends when one player finishes their dirigible. Players score 2 points for matching parts plus one point per wild (other types of parts do not score). The player with the most points after 3 rounds is the winner.
Castle Panic: Engines of War was released November 23, 2016. This is the third expansion to Castle Panic. It adds an engineer who uses resource cards to build new weapons and defenses, new monsters, and siege engines.
Fun Fact: On the back of the Dastardly Dirigibles there is a Handbook of Victorian Insults: "In anticipation of your rivalry, the Professor has provided this handy reference guide of stinging insults, biting terms, and vengeful sayings. Use them against your adversaries as you will." For example, gormless means lacking any common sense. Justin De Witt, the Chief Creative Officer and designer of Dastardly Dirigibles, came up with the idea and did the research.
1754 Conquest: The French and Indian War is due to be released in December for preorders, in stores May 2017. It completes the Birth of America trilogy, which includes 1775 Rebellion: The American Revolution and 1812: Invasion of Canada. These strategy games are easy to learn, educational (some included teaching books), and fun to play.
878 Vikings - Invasions of England will be on Kickstarter in late December 2016. This is the first game in the Birth of Europe series. It has the same game mechanisms as the Birth of America series. There is always about a 5% change in each game, which gives them an individual/unique feel.
Fun Fact: Academy Games newest Conflict of Heroes Q & A is in section 42. There are lots of funny bios on their website – about half true and half false; they leave it to the readers to figure out which is which.
Tiny Epic Quest will be released Q3 2017. This is the fifth installment in the Tiny Epic series. It is a puzzle type game, reminiscent of the old RPG video games e.g. Zelda and Dragon Quest. It features ITEMeeples, which are configurable meeples. You can equip the meeples with items such as swords, staffs, shields, etc. The puzzle aspect comes into play with quest cards, each with some map configuration that players need to meet with their colored ITEMeeples. If successful, the player gains the quest card, which is worth victory points plus an item to equip or some advantage. Points may also be gained from slaying goblins, learning spells, and acquiring legendary items. The player with the most points at the end of five rounds is the winner.
Heroes of Land, Air, & Sea will be launching on Kickstarter on January 26, 2017. This is a 4X game, with elements of area control, resource management, and engine building. It is Gamelyn Games first game with miniatures - lots of miniatures! In some ways it's the "grownup" version of Tiny Epic Kingdoms.
Fun Fact: When CEO and founder Michael Coe had to come up with the name of his company, he knew exactly what he wanted to use. During his junior high/high school years, he was dungeon master for the RPGs he ran, but more than that he loved creating worlds. So he made up his own scenarios, featuring an NPC he named Gamelyn. This became his moniker; as he grew older, he wrote about the character in a screenplay created in film school, and finally used it as the name of his company.
USAopoly is mainly a licensing company.
Munchkin: X-Men edition was just announced. It is due to come out in March 2017. Takes place in Marvel's X-Men universe. The game will include 128 cards, 4 role cards with plastic trackers, and a die. Each player will take on the role of a character.
Fun Fact: Their first game, 23 years ago, was La Jolla Monopoly.
Bonus Fun Fact: The Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle game has ages 11+ on the box because that is the age First Year students are allowed to attend Hogwarts.
Broken Token makes lovely wooden organizers for game boxes. The perfectly fitting inserts even hold the upgraded pieces, such as those shown for Scythe below.Greg Spence, Broken Token, showing Scythe box organizer
Succession! was released October 2016. It is a 10-minute card game that plays up to six people, using a rock-paper-scissors mechanism. It is not a party game, but bluffing and memory are involved. The small size makes it really portable.
Fun Fact: Succession is based on a German game that CEO Dave Ferguson's girlfriend really enjoyed. He considers it his love-letter to her.
—Two Lanterns Games
Agility was released in May 2016. It is a two-player game about adopting and training dogs to run agility courses. It uses an action rondel. The card you play on your turn moves the action marker on the rondel, landing on the action you perform and giving you a training resource(s) (choice of two types). There is also a drafting element to the game when choosing courses (each player will draft three during the game, out of six). The first player to complete their courses wins the game.
An expansion to Morels, to commentate the fifth anniversary of the game, is being planned for Kickstarter in early 2017 to be released in late 2017. They are planning to add action cards, character cards, and some additional means to manipulate the forest(s).
Fun Fact: One of the cards in Agility features a living room, decorated for Christmas, with a puppy in a gift basket. It was Two Lanterns Games President Brent Povis' unrealized dream gift as a child. He gave the artist a photo of his living room and the scene come to life in the art.
—Trader's Luck Games
Star Traders will be released early 2017. The game got its start as a Steve Jackson first and only release in their Asimov line. It is a pick up and deliver game, reminiscent of Merchant of Venus, with a streamlined board and duel purpose cards. Anyone can pick up a particular good but the first person to deliver gets extra points for each person they beat. There will be one contract per player available during the game, when one gets filled another replaces it. There are 5 actions on a turn, tracked by dice (which is also what is rolled when you decide to move). There are also Personality cards that give abilities to each player.
Fun Fact: The names of the worlds in Star Traders are creator/company President David Ladyman's favorite sci-fi authors. There are also a lot of other references to sci-fi fiction, including movies and TV. Ryan Archer, the graphic designer, drew images for the back of the money denominations as follows:
1 features a play-tester, Lucas Coyne (also the name of the 1)
2 shows a dragon, honoring Dragon's Lair store in Texas (play-testers)
5 professor Meeple, from the Malted Meeple store in Ohio (play-testers)
10 coin name is Marty, honoring the designer's wife (Martha)
20 Zelda, the graphic designer's dog, is featured
Steve Jackson and a few others are featured on the cards as Personalities.
—North Star Games
Evolution: Climate was released November 2016. It is a big-box standalone game that introduces climate into the ecosystem. This is a gamer's game, a heavier game in the realm of Terra Mystica or Agricola weight-wise. It is a conflict driven game (predators), very rich in theme. The concept is adaption - staying one step ahead of changes.
A super hero themed version of Wits & Wagers is planned to be on Kickstarter in March 2017. Each player will have a superhero/villain, with two minions and a superpower that affects game play in some way. For example the Wizard of Odds can switch around two odds after everyone has placed their bets.Concept drawings for Super Hero Wits (working title)
Fun Fact: Evolution is currently being used at the University of Oxford in an evolutionary biology class. Four scientific advisors and nine game developers helped in the design of Climate.
Shadowrift, the updated second edition, was released at BGG.CON. This is a fully updated version including new artwork, streamlined rules, and now a board, which makes setup much easier. Some of the cards have also been tweaked, e.g., rules clarifications and keyword updates.
Black Orchestra was released at BGG.CON. It is a historically accurate cooperative game based on the plot to kill Hitler. Each player character was based on an actual person and member of the conspiracy. The game plays out over seven rounds, each of which has an event deck containing events based on actual occurrences. Players need to monitor their suspicion and motivation levels in order to pull off plots to wipe out the Nazi leader and his deputies by collecting items and cards.
Fun Fact: Cody Jones, Project Manager: "Black Orchestra was called 'Hitler Must Die' until very late in the game's development, becoming 'Black Orchestra' only weeks before the game was officially announced."
—Vile Genius Games
Thwarted! is due to be released end of January 2017. It is a card game where players each take on the roll of a super villain whose goal is to take out the superheroes. Each super hero has a box of requirements, in the upper left corner of the card, for capturing them. For example, two fire cards may take out a particular superhero. A superhero may have immunities, e.g. to cold cards. The interesting twist is that if another player plays a block card to stop them from attacking, the attacking player gains the block card, which gains them an advantage in the game.
Tales from the Taverns: Legends of Goblins Past, is currently on Kickstarter, with a planned release of August 2017. Each player gets two actions per turn: play a card on their play mat, draw two cards, pay a gold to get a bardic talent (i.e. extra win conditions for victory points), or beg for gold. Players start with a hand of five cards (they must use an action to acquire more). They are building a tableau grid of four stories, each with three parts (hook, rising action, climax) plus an epic card (this is automatic when a story is completed). Stories may be interrupted by other players. A deck of 10 candle cards is built at the start of the game to track rounds. There are four versions of each card. Candle cards may have good or bad events on them, such as all expenses are doubled this round or no interrupts may be played this round. The game ends after 10 rounds; the player with the highest score wins.
Fun Fact: Lyft and Uber have a group of "prestigious members" (informally named the Rideshare Brotherhood by Stephan Brissaud, Vice President of GAMA and COO of iELLO). It includes Mark Siemens, CEO of Vile Genius Games, and Jeff Bourbeau, freelance developer and designer (a literal Jack-of-All-Trades).Mark Sierens, Uber driver on Halloween
Legends of the Searobbers (working title) is a scenario-based campaign-like expansion containing three modules for Catan: Seafarers. Games evolve as they are played, e.g., characters you acquire in one scenario you can keep with you for the next scenario. Scenarios are heavily objective based and depending on how a scenario evolves may change how the next one is played. Each has a different board set-up for Catan with Seafarers, with new components. The game is due to be released Q2 2017.
Fun Fact: The Crop Trust is an international organization whose goal is to safeguard crop diversity by maintaining a vault of seeds and banks throughout the world. Catan Studio is working with the Crop Trust to create Catan scenario for the base game with "pro-seeds" to go to the Crop Trust.
—Grey Fox Games
London Dread had a limited release in August 2016, with a full release November 2016 (the 2nd printing expected December 2016). It is a Victorian era cooperative horror game with elements of real-time programming. The publisher describes it as Arkham Horror meets Space Alert. Each player is an investigator participating in a story where they are attempting to defeat an antagonist. There are four stories in the box, creating one encompassing story arc. The stories are highly re-playable.
Champions of Midgard: Valhalla, an expansion for Champions of Midgard, is due to be released Q1 2017. It adds a new dice type, new cards, new monsters, a new leader, and two new boards, one of which allows players to fight new monsters, the other which allows players to upgrade their Viking clan or Viking leader, creating asymmetry between players.
Fun Fact: In London Dread there is a dread card called The Black Cat. It is more powerful than a cat has any right to be. Initially the difficulty stat was a misprint, but the designer decided to keep it as a way to troll the developer.
Pyramid Arcade released November 2016. It contains 22 games: 20 designed by Andrew Looney, 1 by Kristin Looney, and 1 by John Cooper. The game contains 90 pyramids (3 trios of 10 different colors) - the largest set of pyramids to date. It contains 8 mini game boards, 1 folding game board, 2 deluxe plastic game boards, 9 dice, 3 various decks of cards, 1 drawstring bag, a turn token, and a large colorful rulebook. One of the decks of cards has one card per game, each with a short description, picture, and summary of game attributes - simple/medium/complex, fast/medium/long, number of player, and time to play. It makes it easy to select a game to play.
Better with Bacon, an expansion pack to Just Desserts, has a planned release of January 2017. It is a set collection game. You win by collecting 3 suits (colors) or 5 different colors of "customers" that you attract by fulfilling their orders. Better with Bacon adds a new suit (brown); it is a 10 card pack with both new desserts and new customers.
Fun Fact: Kristin, Andy, Andy's brother Richard, a family friend Gina, and customer service person Alison are all featured on customer cards in Just Desserts. At LooneyCon, their first convention held in July 2016, they had a Just Desserts Cosplay Contest where people were asked to dress as characters from the game. Alison dressed as her character, Nature Girl, but lost to a very young girl also portraying Nature Girl.
Black Locust Games
(Information provided by Casey Willett, Black Locust Games)
The Opulent was released in November 2016. The Opulent is a 1-4 player cooperative game set during 1920's prohibition. Each player operates a station of the speakeasy that has a separate mini-game and mechanisms from the rest of the stations (Doorman, Band, Bar, Club Manager). Together, these stations try to provide a night of glitz and glamour to visiting patrons in hopes of parting them from their hard earned money, all the while trying to avoid drawing the attention of federal prohibition agents that are tasked with shutting down the club. The goal is to have enough money at the end of the game to pay for operating costs so that you can stay in business. The game includes 10 scenarios spanning 1920-1929, which can be played as individual gaming sessions or linked together as a progressive campaign.
Fun fact: All The Opulent patrons are named after the great grandparents of each model [who posed for the game art] as a way of honoring the family lineages that lived during the highs and lows of the roaring 20's!
Nawakwa is slated for a Q1 2017 Kickstarter launch. It is a 2-4 player game where players are young members of a native American Indian tribe on their first hunt as a trial of manhood. Players turn in a set of cards in exchange for a hunting opportunity card from the various animals that can be hunted in the region. Totems can be found in the hunting region, which grant players additional information about the region or give other abilities. Wild cards make turning in sets easier but also accelerate the progression of winter, which ends the game. Once all the animals have migrated or hibernated out of the region, points are tallied and the player with the highest score wins.
Fun fact: Translated, Nawakwa means "in the middle of the forest."
—5th Dimension Games, Inc.
(Information provided by Mitchell Whittier, Marketing and Sales, 5th Dimension Games, Inc.)
Budō is a mixed martial arts card game that challenges each player to manage a dojo of martial arts skills while striving to knockout their opponent. This side-scrolling turn-based strategic fighting game requires players to adapt their character's mat position and craft a deck of attack and defense skills. Learn to manage a dojo in ten minutes then spend a lifetime mastering the martial way.
The Budō expansion, coming in 2017, will feature Capoeira, Jeet Kune Do, Wing Chun, and Krav Maga. The expansion is designed to play as a stand-alone game or to be integrated with the base game, which contains Karate, Muay Thai, Boxing, and Tae Kwon Do. Whether playing with the expansion, the original or both, Budō provides the opportunity to create a truly mixed martial arts gaming experience. Select your favorite skills from any and all the characters to create a custom mixed martial arts character.
Fun Fact: Karate and Tae Kwon Do feature the images of two of the 5th Dimension Games founders. Andrew Thomasson, game designer, posed for all the Karate skills and Mitchell Whittier, lead play-tester, posed for the Tae Kwon Do moves.
(Information provided by Adam Growden, Administration Assistant, Devir Americas)
Barcelona: The Rose of Fire will release in January 2017. It is a thematic game in which the players take turns constructing buildings and finishing city blocks over five phases. These buildings all have the ability to employ a different number of workers. The player will compare these workers to the current immigration rate and gain a number of striking workers in the Raval. Workers on strike increase the unrest in the city causing problems for the player who places them there, as well as triggering events that affect everyone in the game. At the end of each phase, players will collect special popularity cards depending on their success in the previous round. These popularity cards contain many famous buildings from Barcelona, such as the Sagrada Familia, which will have special abilities not seen on the base cards. Barcelona is a Euro game with many different moving pieces requiring careful management of worker unrest, player prestige, and long term planning to win.
Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft debuted at Origins in 2016. It is a quick set collection, worker placement game for 2 players, easy to learn but with enough depth and re-playability to keep it interesting. Players take on the roles of Sherlock and Mycroft, collecting investigation tokens to get them the most clues. They use characters from Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories to help them along the way by providing investigation tokens, ways to find clues, or even ways to steal clues from their opponent. After seven days of investigations, the player with the most clues wins the case.
Fun Fact: During the conception of the original idea behind Barcelona, Devir chose neutral Italian designers Marco Maggi and Francesco Nepitello in order to avoid letting the political leanings of local Spanish designers influence the game design process.
(Information provided by Randall Ford, Cryptozoic Entertainment)
Poker Assault released just before BGG.CON. There are four factions in the game. Each team has its own custom suit theme and artwork. Play any deck versus any other deck, or even 3- and 4-player variants. Several cards in each deck have bonus abilities that can aid you while assaulting your opponent, or defending against an assault. Additionally, if you can craft a Straight, Flush, Full House, or Four-of-a-Kind, you will earn a Power Card. These unique cards give you new strategies to pursue. With your initial hand of five cards, likely you aren't going to have much of a poker hand. But by playing only one card at a time, and drawing a new card from your deck after each play, you can slowly build up to something great. How great depends upon how risky you want to get. Craft a hand of at least a pair, and your assault is underway. Now your opponent must block your cards using the cards in their hand. The defending player likewise plays only one card at a time and draws a card from their deck after each play. To block an assaulting card, match the value (2 to Ace) or play a card of the same suit (Heart, Diamond, Club, Spade), but with a higher value. Each assaulting card that gets through knocks your opponent's hit points down by one. Bring your opponent's health to zero to win.
Spyfall 2 has a planned release of Q1 2017. It is an easy-to-learn card game of bluffing, questions, answers, and suspicion. At the start of each round, players receive a secret card letting them know where they are; except one player receives the Spy card instead of a location. The Spy doesn't know where he is, but wins the round if he can figure it out before he blows his cover. Players then start asking each other questions during the 8-minute rounds. Non-Spy players want to ask questions and give answers that prove to the other players that they know where they are. The Spy will also sometimes be asked questions (just like the other players) and will have to come up with questions without knowing anything about their location. This stand-alone expansion allows for two spies: when one tries to guess their location, the other one takes a guess as well. It also plays up to 12 and includes 20 new locations.
Fun Fact: Randall Ford: "Poker Assault was a game that we had in hand for three years and almost didn't get around to publishing. However when our playtesters kept asking when we were going to publish it, we could tell it had made a big impression on them. So we brought it into the world and based on the response it's been getting, we're glad we did!"
(Information provided by Alex Yeager, Mayfair Games)
The Colonists will be available in early January 2017. It is a "worker movement" game in which players walk their stewards from location to location in order to gather goods or perform actions. Players build their community on a personal board over the course of an Era, with an Era lasting ten game turns. The game can run multiple hours in its full four-Era version, but you can break up the game and only play Era 1, or just Eras 2 and 3, with the rules included in the game.
Oh My Goods: Longsdale in Aufruhr (Longsdale in Revolt) will be available in very limited quantities through Mayfair directly, with a general release later in 2017. It builds on the SPIEL hit Oh My Goods! by adding a five-chapter storyline, with each chapter introducing new building and characters into the game. Cards are persistent from chapter to chapter, so your game set grows with each additional story.
Fun Fact: When the prototype for The Colonists was submitted, rather than the four eras that are in the release, there were eight eras for play.
—Creative Cove Games
(Information provided by Jack Poon, Founder of Creative Cove Games)
The Depths of Durangrar is a dungeon crawl board game that is played in the dark. Players take on one of two roles, explorer or monster. Explorers light up to only illuminate what is directly in front of them in a 3D modular maze. Explorers compete against one another to be the first to a thousand gold and out of the maze alive. However, while they are competing against each other, another player, the monster player, will be hunting them all down. The monster player is wearing night vision goggles so they can see the whole maze. The monster remains concealed in the darkness. All players use action points to move around the maze, collect gold and attack one another. Combat works using dice with consecutive attacks becoming increasingly difficult to pull off. Players can also choose how to setup of their unique explorers and monsters' abilities, strength, and health to create different strategies.
The Depths of Durangrar was launched on Kickstarter in May 2016 and is currently planned to be delivered in May 2017.
Fun fact: Jack Poon, "The Depths of Durangrar originally started off as a cooperative horror-movie-like game where the explorers were a group of friends trapped in a horror mansion and had to find their way out. They had to choose to split up to cover more ground and be easy targets for the monster or stay together to better fight the monster but ultimately be worn down by the mansion. Unfortunately, early play tests proved that this wasn't as fun as I pictured and the game quickly evolved into a dungeon crawler."
Indie Boards & Cards
Aeon's End was pre-released at BGG.CON, with a planned release in December 2016. This is a cooperative fantasy deck building game in which players are mages, the last bastions of society, as the world has been destroyed by monsters. There is a twist to the deck building aspect - the cards do not get shuffled, but rather are flipped back over in their current order to be played.
Kodama: The Tree Spirits, 2nd edition is due to be released in December 2016.
Fun Fact: The designer of Aeon's End, Kevin Riley, was a professional gamer for Star Craft.
The Highlight of the Convention...
There is so much going on that it's hard to pick a favorite, but I think for me it was playing the Middle Earth CCG with lead designer Coleman Charlton and hubby Ravindra Prasad (a.k.a. Snoozefest). Coleman kindly brought along his cards, maps, dice, and hobbit pawns; he was very patient teaching us the game again (we learned it years ago). It was a privilege to play with him as well as a reminder of how wonderful the game is.Coleman Charlton (L) and Ravindra Prasad (R) playing Middle Earth CCG
Be sure to stop by again for part two of the BGG.CON 2016 Wrap-Up!