Gen Con Indy 2017 takes place August 17-20, 2017, and as the largest and longest-running game convention in the U.S. – fifty years! – it's no surprise that U.S. publishers will demo or sell many new games at the show in order to introduce fresh releases, build buzz, and (of course) make sales.
This Geeklist highlights titles that, to the best of my knowledge, will (1) debut at Gen Con 2017, (2) be released shortly before the convention, or (3) be available in demo/preview form. If a game has a price listed, then the publisher has told me that it will be available for purchase; if a listing says a game is only for demo, then it won't be for sale; if no such comment is listed, then I don't know its availability status.
To add titles to this list (or send me general game news for coverage on BGG News), please write me at wericmartin AT gmail.com. Thanks!
Thanksgiving Day, the unthinkable happened. The earth shook. An earthquake of a 9.6 magnitude on the Richter scale opened a giant inter-dimensional rift around the White House, bridging the free world to some kind of mysterious void.
A massive horde of monsters came out of this dark void. Evil, frightening creatures hell-bent on crushing freedom and the man who represents them — The President of the United States!
They took the whole White House staff by surprise, slaughtering each and every single person. The Secret Service and Marine Guard gave their life heroically to protect the President, but ultimately failed at containing these hideous monstrosities. The President stands tall, undaunted. He has sworn an Oath to lead the free world, and he won't let us fall! Yet the end is near. Our President's life is at risk, and all hope seems lost...
But in the midst of this absolute chaos rises the silhouettes of men and women. Out of the rubble citizens & tourists become Patriots! They are this nation's last hope and together they stand! With one mission: Save the President, save the world!
Save the President, Save the World is a co-op game with offbeat humor & references to Z-movies. The action takes place in the White House and you have to protect POTUS from horde of monsters.
Any resemblance to real and actual names is purely coincidental.
Superhero — or supervillain? You decide in this buildable dice game. Your customizable dice pool is used to execute a variety of superpowers. Gain special abilities and new play experiences by taking on the role of 10 different heroes / villains.
In Kapow!, players go head-to-head in a classic explosive clash of good vs. evil. Players choose to be a villain or hero (which determines your starting trait dice and unique abilities). Behind a player screen, the dice are rolled and then strategically allocated to attack, defense, and/or power up abilities. Players must decide how to build their dice pool and how to use rolls in the most effective way possible. The fun is fast and furious — get ready to rumble in superhero style with Kapow!
WHY IT'S UNIQUE
This is a dice-chucking game that's heavy on action AND strategy. Players start with, and can gain additional blank buildable "Action Dice." These dice have removable faces that you customize to your liking to best-enhance your character. The combination of choosing how to grow your dice pool, how to customize your Action die faces, and how to use each roll, leads to a very satisfying, strategic showdown.
WHO IT'S FOR
If you love head-to-head style play in about 30 minutes, this game will keep you coming back. Great for casual sparring or more-intense tournament play.
Also contains 2 v 2 (2 heroes vs. 2 villains) and 2 v 1 (2 heroes vs. 1 mega-villain) variants!
Robots Love Ice Cream: The Card Game is a family-friendly semi-cooperative game for 1-4 players ages 10+ that can be played in about 30 minutes or less.
The game is based on the hit mobile video game Robots Love Ice Cream released by Dragon Army, and this card game features all of the same characters and art style found in the video game, plus new illustrations available only in the tabletop version.
In the game, Spinston and his robot army are invading planets in search of ice cream. Your mission is to take control of an ice cream truck and use matching sets of weaponized ice cream to ward off the enemy robots. When the robots are destroyed they drop Sprinkletonium, a supercharged element that can be used to upgrade the weapons on your truck. Defeat Spinston on each planet and rescue the ice cream to score victory points. Saving the galaxy is pretty sweet!
Truck Off is a lightweight food truck card game that packs some serious bite! In Truck Off, you send your food truck team hoping to score a sweet parking spot at a lucrative venue. Your timing and game plan will be critical to your success while your opponents will look for the perfect opportunity to get you to, ahem, truck off!
Truck Off is played over five rounds, after which the player with the most money earned wins. Each round, players simultaneously select, then reveal which venue they will park at placing their food trucks next to that venue. A die is then rolled at each venue to determine how many people actually showed up at each venue. Each player then simultaneously selects which special action(s) they choose to execute this round. Starting with the first player token, players play and execute one action in a clockwise manor until all actions have been played and executed. After players are done executing actions, profits are split between each truck at the venue.
Truck Off game-play mechanically captures the ups and downs of food truck owner by rewarding both long-term planning and short-term tactics as well as throwing many curve-balls such as low venue attendance, competition, and crazy weather.
In The King's Will, players must discover the victory point conditions over the course of the game, while also deciding on their own individual scoring.
In AD 962 Otto the Great becomes Holy Roman Emperor. In this age of the 'itinerant kingship,' the king did not rule from a capital but travelled from palace to palace. In The King's will, the players assume the role of the dukes whose palaces the King is visiting. They try to find out what the King's current will is and climb in his favour while they steadily enlarge their duchies. After four rounds, the duke (player) who proved himself to be the best in meeting the wishes of the King will win the game.
The victory conditions in this game are set up completely different every game and need to be discovered by the players throughout the game.
The King's Will offers:
- secret and random vicotry-conditions that provide ever-changing games
- players act synchronous, so less downtime for non-active players
- additional flexibility because players can influence the game-time
- a lot of gaming material made of wood
• Only 60 copies will be available for purchase at Gen Con 50.
Take control of a magic pen and draw the cutest monsters to bring them to life. Collect each monster to use their special abilities each round or affect your final score.
In Ink Monsters, you use movement cards to influence where the pen is placed. Sometimes you'll move to get the best cards for yourself, and at other times you'll try to set up your opponents to draw monsters with negative effects. The gameplay mechanisms are simple, but the strategy goes much deeper the more you learn how different monsters interact with each other.
• In addition to what's listed below, on Friday during Gen Con 2017 AEG will host its annual Big Game Night, which as AEG's Todd Rowland explains 'is now up to 750 people, has tons of games to play, lots of drawings, and the yearly Big Game Night swag box." Another feature during Big Game Night will be AEG Labs, which will feature demo opportunities of new prototypes on AEG's calendar for 2018.
Guildhall Fantasy: The Gathering is a standalone game in the Guildhall series, featuring six never before seen professions. Additionally, this set contains two mini expansions: "The Chapter Masters" and "The Master Houses".
The Automobiles: Racing Season expansion adds multiple elements to the Automobiles base game.
First, players can adopt the role of a driver who has a special power unique to that character. Players can also acquire sponsors during the game, and each sponsor has an array of actions available to them.
Automobiles: Racing Season includes three new tracks, two smaller ones on half of the game board and a larger one on the reverse side of the entire board. Cards are included for these boards and those in the base game, and now players can compete in a season of multiple tracks, keeping their driver for the entire season and (more importantly) keeping their bag intact as they move from one track to another, thereby supercharging the race right from the starting line for each race past the first.
Custom Heroes is a card-crafting, climbing trick game in which plastic cards are added to sleeves in order to modify the cards already in those sleeves.
Please note: Custom Heroes is shipped with a protective plastic film on each card which should be removed prior to play. Once removed the colors will be more vibrant and it will be easier to see cards in a stack inside a sleeve.
The players attempt to win rounds by getting rid of their cards as quickly as possible using the classic climbing trick mechanic. e.g. If a player leads with three 4s then the next player must play three of a kind of equal or higher value. When all players pass, the last player to have played cards leads a new trick with whatever card or set of equal cards they want. Go out of cards first for first place, second for second, etc.
However, you also have advancements you can sleeve onto your cards. These may increase or decrease the value of the cards, or even add new abilities such as turning a card into a wild or reversing the direction of the values (i.e. you are now playing lower numbers instead of higher) or making cards count as multiple copies of themselves, etc.
But since all of the cards are reshuffled and dealt to start a new round, the changes you made may end up with someone else (and vice versa), and the common distribution of values will begin to change and shift over multiple hands. Thus, a good strategy must factor in not just doing well in the current hand, but also managing your resources (card advancements) over multiple hands and maximizing their impact though well timed plays.
You earn points and more advancements based on your end of round position. Be the first player to go out each round and gain the most points, but draw fewer new advancements for the next hand. To win a player must first get to 10 points, and then win a hand.
The throne to the Kingdom of Aurum lies unclaimed. Six great houses vie for control of the land in an ongoing dispute of title, territory, and birthright. Embroiled in conflict, the lords and ladies lock eyes on the crown as they fight to contend with a great plague that has now turned upon the people, ravaging the kingdom for which they war.
In Cutthroat Kingdoms, you take on the role of a leading lord or lady of one of the six eminent Houses in the Kingdom of Aurum — a grim fantasy world fraught with danger, intrigue, and plague. You must use your armies to claim territories, gather wealth, recruit hirelings, and hire mercenaries as you pursue your nefarious plots and jockey for power. Political intrigue and assassinations abound, and powerful strategic alliances are offset by bloody conflicts. Most importantly, will you strive for domination alone, or tie your fortunes to another house through a well-placed political marriage?
Cutthroat Kingdoms is a competitive game that features marriage-alliance team mechanisms in which strategic planning and decisive military moves can swing the course of the Kingdom. Changing territories and events make each game unique. Open negotiation, deal-making, and tabletalk are all encouraged — nay, necessary to win!
Edge of Darkness is the third Card Crafting Game from Alderac Entertainment Group designed by John D. Clair. Edge of Darkness combines Card Crafting, Worker Placement, shared deck-building, and a whole new Threat Challenge system in a medium-weight euro-style boardgame of 60 to 120 minutes for 2 to 4 players.
Players are the heads of powerful guilds in the City. Each Guild vies with the others to become the leaders of the City in a desperate struggle against great evil. But the Guilds must also work together because the dangers facing the city can harm them all.
The Guilds exert their control in the city by sending agents to various locations where they can generate resources or abilities and enable the Guild to take actions. Guilds grow in power as they maneuver their agents and loyalists into positions of importance in the districts and organizations of the City. Over time the Guilds can seek to create synergies between the places their agents have been assigned and the tendrils of influence the Guilds have connected to the City's infrastructure.
To win a Guild must have the most power in the city when the game ends. Power is gained having the allegiance of important citizens and nobles, by accumulating wealth, and by undertaking actions beneficial to the City such as defending it from external and internal threats.
Here are some highlights of the mechanics in the game:
Card Crafting: Similar to the original card-crafting game, Mystic Vale, all cards are constructed of crafting slips which have game content on 1/3rd of the slip and are transparent on the other 2/3rds. During the game players will construct cards, combining (sleeving) different effects onto one card (ideally in ways that make strategic sense). However, unlike Mystic Vale, the transparent cards are double-sided, and when you upgrade the "good" side of the cards (front), you also add strength to the "bad" side of the cards (back).
Group deckbuilding using one shared deck: Rather than having your own deck, there is a central deck that all players draw from and discard to. Different players will have the allegiance of different cards in that deck. Using other players' cards means you have to pay them. During the game you can claim allegiance of more cards in the deck by sleeving a slip into the card with your color and seal.
Card-driven worker placement: While your actions are card-driven, most costs in the game are in the form of opportunity cost. Advancements don't have a cost, instead they require the use of workers to a greater or lesser degree depending on the power of the card. e.g. many effects require placing or pulling workers from different city locations as dictated by the card effects. Since you have a limited number of workers to use, you will constantly be choosing to forgo one useful thing in order to do another.
Threat Tower: There is a Threat Tower which dictates when and whom Threats will attack. Cards leave the shared deck and enter the Threat Board, where they accumulate Threat Cubes on each player's turn. These cubes are color-coded, and when a threshold number of cubes of a given color accumulate on a card, it attacks the City. If the color matches one of the players, it attacks that player. If the color is black, it attacks all players!
Modular set up: Edge of Darkness will come with 12 Locations. Each game you use only 10 of these Locations, which can be specifically selected or chosen randomly, making for a lot of variety from game-to-game in the types of challenges you will face and the strategies you will need to employ. These Locations are comprised of a Location Board and Crafting Slips. Location Boards may specify special rules for worker placement, or extend the basic rules with all new systems. For example, a combination of Location Boards can be used to assemble a party of heroes to take the fight to the Threat Tower and engage in a Monster Hunt!
It is the 1920s, and the world is in a state of confusion following WWI. During this time, you and your friends find yourselves amongst mysterious events. You are surrounded by strange figures, letters with unreadable texts, as well as sudden appearances of being unknown. By relying on your connections, you set out to investigate these incidents. Unknown to you are the frightful truths that lie in wait ahead of you...
Lovecraft Letter is a card game that combines the Love Letter system with the world of H.P. Lovecraft. In addition to the standard sixteen cards in the Love Letter game are new versions of the cards that include special "insanity" powers. If you have one of these cards in your discard pile, then you are insane (at least for the current round) and on future turns can play insanity cards for their regular power or their special power, giving you more options during play. The risk, however, is that you must undergo a sanity check at the start of each of your turns, drawing as many cards from the deck as the number of insanity cards in front of you; draw one or more insanity cards, and you're out for the round.
If you win the game, whether by being the last person standing or the player with the highest single card after the deck runs out, you win a token colored to reflect whether you were sane or insane. Win enough tokens of the right type, and you win the game. Cthluhu can also help you win the game if you release it at the right time...
Will you put an end to the evil schemes as an investigator, or will you help guide the world to destruction as one of insanity's disciples? It all depends on you.
A famous captain has arrived at the island with news of plunder and treasure. He seeks a few good men to add to his crew but will accept only members of the Brotherhood of Pirates. Rumor has it that he has amassed a huge fortune and is now looking for his replacement so that he can retire in a quiet plantation.
Oath of the Brotherhood is a strategic worker-placement game for 2 to 5 players. The players try to gather the necessary resources in order to fulfill their missions and gain the necessary victory points to win.
Smash Up: Big in Japan brings the most kawaii base-bashing you've seen to Smash Up, with four factions born from Japanese pop culture: anime fighting girls, cute collectible critters that are totally not Pokémon, colorful fighters that are in no way Power Rangers, and Godzilla.
NOTE: The box says that there are 4 dividers and 4 Titan cards in the expansion. However, something truly MAGICAL happened at the factory! Like a group of smaller robots forming into a larger one, the Titan cards became the divider cards! So you aren't missing anything. Quit emailing us. - AEG Customer Service
Thunderstone returns with Thunderstone Quest. Recruit your heroes, arm your party, then visit the dungeon — and the dungeon has new perils not seen in prior Thunderstone releases. All-new dungeon tiles create new challenges and rewards as you explore deeper and deeper in the dungeon. Each quest brings new dungeons as well as new side adventures!
Thunderstone is a fantasy deck-building game. Each player starts with a basic deck of cards that they can use to purchase, or upgrade to, other, more powerful cards. Thunderstone Quest brings new play modes to the table. The game will tell a specific story with a series of pre-set dungeon tiles, monsters, heroes and support cards. Each will come with a series of mini-adventures and a story booklet that tells players what happens as they progress through the scenarios.
Once players have completed the quests they will be able to enjoy great replay value with the available selection of monsters, heroes, and support cards, as well as the new dungeon tiles, by choosing random set-ups before the start of play. Aside from heroes such as wizards, fighters, rogues, and clerics, cards will include supplies that heroes need like weapons, spells, items, or light to reach further into the dungeon.
The dungeon deck is created by combining several different groups of monsters together. Certain groups of monsters may be more or less susceptible to different hero types, so players have to take this into account when they choose what to buy.
Unicornus Knights is a cooperative board game where the players are generals who must assist the Princess of a Kingdom to reach her capital. Chased away from the capital by a sudden attack from the Empire, the Princess is set on returning, and will stop at nothing. The players must pave way for the princess so that she does not run into enemy hands.
The game is played on a modular board, where each board contains an enemy general. When a player closes in upon an enemy general, random "fate" cards are drawn that will represent the connection between the enemy general and the player, adding to the narrative and available tactics.
In the Year of the Dragon: 10th Anniversary consists of the In the Year of the Dragon: 10th Anniversary base game and the The Great Wall of China & The Super Events expansions that first appeared in the alea Treasure Chest.
In In the Year of the Dragon, players take on the role of Chinese rulers around the year 1000. The game plays out in twelve rounds, with each round representing one month in a year that seems to go from bad to worse. Disease, drought, and attacks from the Mongols may claim lives, but make sure you have enough money to offer a tribute to the Emperor.
The game play is easier than it may appear. Every player has a set of "person" cards. Each round, you choose one action (most of which call on your workers' abilities) to help you prepare for the months ahead. Then you play one person card, recruiting that person and placing them into one of your palaces. Each person brings different skills and abilities to help you ride out the year. (Farmers help you gain rice to survive a drought month, tax collectors raise money, etc.) At the end of each round, that month's event is triggered, which may cost you some of your workers, some money, or give you points.
Careful planning is the key to surviving "the year of the dragon", but survival alone may not win you the game.
When you add The Great Wall of China expansion to the game, every player takes the six Great Wall tiles in their color. When a player choose the new action "build Great Wall", they choose one of their remaining Great Wall tiles, receive from the supply the symbol shown on the tile, then place this tile under the first event tile. The tiles give 1 rice, 1 rocket, 2 yuan, 1 palace level, 3 VP, and 3 spaces on the order track.
For The Super Events, shuffle the ten super event tiles face down, then randomly draw one of them and place it face up on the seventh event tile. It will be resolved after this event.
Notre Dame: 10th Anniversary contains the Notre Dame base game, the New Persons expansion that first appeared in the 2009 alea Treasure Chest, and a new "New Persons" set of nine characters.
In Notre Dame, players take on the roles of the heads of influential families in Paris at the end of the 14th century. In the shadow of the Notre Dame cathedral, the players compete for prosperity and reputation. Each family controls one of the 3–5 boroughs that surround the site of Notre Dame. As head of their family, each player tries — through clever use of their action cards — to advance the power and prestige of their family, but penalties are assessed on those who do not take care of the health of the people who live in their borough. The player with the most prestige at the end wins.
The "New Person" expansions allow for more variety during gameplay since these characters make different actions available to the players, and they consist of the following characters:
A period cards:
Bell-ringer: When hiring the bell-ringer, take 3 prestige points for each influence marker of their color on the central Notre Dame sector.
Priest: When hiring the priest, players take one influence marker from the general supply and place it onto the central Notre Dame sector. Nothing else happens.
Procurator: When hiring the procurator, players execute the action of any one of their seven sectors according to the influence markers (incl. the trusted friend) in it.
B period cards:
Benefactor: When hiring the benefactor, players may return any number of victory points to the supply. For each returned victory point they may move their rat marker one place backwards (but never below 0)
Butcher: When hiring the butcher, players place one influence marker from the general supply into each empty sector in their borough. The corresponding actions are not executed
Trader: When hiring the trader, players take 1 gold coin from the supply for each of their marketplaces that don't have message tokens on it.
C period cards:
Actress: When hiring the actress, players move all influence markers (incl. their trusted friend) from a sector (not Notre Dame) to any other sector in their borough (not Notre Dame!) and execute the corresponding action.
Gravedigger: When hiring the gravedigger, players take prestige points from the supply, the number of points corresponding to the current plague value.
Mistress: When hiring the mistress, players take one influence marker from the general supply, place it in the sector with their trusted friend, and execute the corresponding action. (If the trusted friend is not yet in the borough the mistress evokes no action.)
Notre Dame: 10th Anniversary also includes a small expansion for The Castles of Burgundy titled Trade Routes.
In the Battle Universe, the Alliance Wars between Nlife (natural life made up of Humans and Aliens) and Alife (artifical life made up of Androids, Beasts and Clones) continues to rage on. Furthermore, Xlife (divine super creatures known as Xpets) have been summoned by the HA Masterbeings to intervene as Alife led by Andromeda will not stop until they control all worlds of Nlife. Superbeings from all corners of the universe have taken their sides; it's the rise of the Superbeings Battle Universe!
Superbeings is a relaunch of the anime-styled Humaliens Trading Card Game released in 2003 by AEG with a new design and storyline by creator Rick Medina. Superbeings features a 6-Super Team concept of playing with multiple frontline attackers and multiple backline reinforcements with the objective to win by one of three ways: (1) knocking out your opponent's entire frontline, (2) knocking out a total of 5 Supers, or (3) knocking out 15 rank points worth of Supers. The game uses a variety of D6, D12 and D20 dice-rolling mechanics for establishing turn actions, attacks, and more.
The traditional two-player heads-up game is the easiest to start with and is the preferred play style — but when the opportunity for a massive four-player game is called upon, there's an entirely different feel to the game!
In Dice Hospital, a worker placement game, players must treat as many patients as possible to appease the local authorities! Players use their hospital staff to treat patients on their personal hospital player boards. However, players may also call in specialist staff to react to certain situations that arise to score more points with the authorities! The game uses worker placement mechanics for the staff, dice as the patients where low scores indicate low health and a personal player board of actions to treat patients. The player with the highest reputation wins the game!
Flip the script on the horror films of the 80s with Monster Slaughter !
At the head of a family of monsters (werewolves, vampires, zombies, or golems), this time, you're the one who will have to hunt down and slay those insufferable teenagers who have taken refuge in a house in the middle of the forest.
The hardest part? Choosing the order in which you will eliminate them, and then... executing!
Travel to Chaos Cove and hire the best talent to complete increasingly-difficult goals. Each mercenary has a different set of skills and can carry unique items. The heroes you hire must combine their talents if you're going to win, and their skills include:
Attack: Injure an opposing hero in the same space
Sprint: Move two extra spaces this turn
Steal: Take an item held by another mercenary
Fuse: Drop a bomb in the current space and fuse it
Push/Pull: Push another agent or item or pull it to your space
As an example, on your turn you use your hero Moaf (who has Attack and Push/Pull skills) to pull an opponent to his space, then you use your agent Qun to steal the detonator item from the opponent and use it to explode all of the fused bombs on the board, thus completing your goal!
A Hunter has set up camp in a dark and dangerous forest. In the middle of the night she is awakened by a sound in the darkness, just outside the light of her small fire. Again! A guttural growl informs the Hunter that she is not alone. To survive this night, the Hunter will need keen wits and sharp aim with her crossbow.
Dark is the Night is a two-player game of hunt-or-be-hunted. One player takes the role of the hunter and can move in the lighted spaces surrounding the campfire while the other player is the monster, secretly moving through the darkness. With only limited tools at their disposal, each player tries to eliminate the other before daybreak.
• MSRP $20, with $30 getting you both this and Major General: Duel of Time (listed below)
Well there you go getting yourself involved in a time war. Fortunately, you have the best generals in history on your side. Unfortunately, so does your opponent!
In Major General: Duel of Time, each player has a set of eight Order cards which they play beside the battlefield, overlaying existing orders. All orders for both players that are still showing are resolved after each card is played. Control the most territories at the end of the game to win!
• MSRP $15, with $30 getting you both this and Dark is the Night (listed above)
Moa takes its inspiration from the events surrounding the settlement of New Zealand, recasting them with anthropomorphized birds and mammals. The inhabitants of the Pacific island are represented by giant birds, such as the moa and kakapo, while the settlers from the west are played by dogs, rats, possums and weasels.
Players take on the role of the defenders of the land, competing with their fellow players for control of the regions while staving off the advances of the mammals. However, the cunning bird may consider selling their land to the mammals rather than fighting to defend it.
Moa is an original design inspired by Martin Wallace's stay in the Land of the Long White Cloud.