The Non-Random GenCon Preview

I’ve had some fun randomly picking out games to talk about from the GenCon preview.  But for this final installment, I’m picking out five of the games that interest me (that I haven’t already talked about).

image by BGG user mechanicalfish
image by BGG user mechanicalfish

Above and Below is a game that was Kickstarted back in March.  It won’t be for sale at GenCon, but the final version will likely be there for preview according to designer Ryan Laukat.  This is a city building game that is a mix of worker placement, card drafting, deck building, and storytelling.  Players are building a town above ground, but eventually will head underground.  In the caverns under the town, a story book much like the one in Tales of the Arabian Nights will be used.  Each player is trying to best develop their own village and are competing for the best resources to accomplish their goals.  In the end, the player with the best developed village wins.

This game looks really cool, and it’s one I’m eager to try out – I think I have a friend that backed it on Kickstarter.  The art looks great, the gameplay sounds pretty unique, and it just looks like a good all-around game.  Here’s Rahdo’s Run Through for a better description of how it works.

image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Consequential is a game I’ve been hearing about for years, and now it may be closer than ever.  It’s coming from Asmadi Games and should be in Kickstarter mode around GenCon with a late 2015 release scheduled.  The game is designed by Chris Cieslik, and I think originally Carl Chudyk was also involved, but his name no longer appears to be attached to the project.  It’s a cooperative board game that takes place over the course of several acts, all released separately, and uses a companion app to help tell the story.

I’ve been watching this project for so long, and there have been so many false starts that it’s kind of hard to believe that it will actually be coming out soon.  I think it was first being shown at GenCon 2012, so this is four GenCons later.  It’s no longer quite as innovative, with apps being used in a number of games, and I think my enthusiasm has waned as it keeps not coming to fruition.  But it’s still one that I’m keeping an eye on.  Here’s the BGG overview from GenCon 2012, though I suspect the game is quite a bit different now.

image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

It had to happen eventually.  Deck Building: The Deck Building Game is coming from Dice Hate Me Games and designer Christopher Badell.  It’s a game about building a deck.  You’re spending screws to purchase wood, building your deck, and staining the deck to keep your opponent from playing rotten wood on it.  It’s only a two-player game, and looks like it plays super quick.  I just like the audacity of naming your game after a mechanism and then creating a pun around it.  For more information, here’s the Dice Tower preview from Origins.

image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Discoveries, from Cédrick Chaboussit and Ludonaute, is the follow-up to the very good 2013 game Lewis & Clark.  This one is a dice game because that seems to be the trend lately – make a popular game, make a dice version.  Rather than being on competing expeditions, players are on the same expedition, but are trying to do the most journaling about their discoveries.  You roll your dice, then use them to do various actions.  You can also spend your turn to recover any dice that have been used previously.  You’re trying to create sets of flora and fauna, as well as to discover new areas and journal about them.  The player who has scored the most points at game end is the winner.

I’ve only played Lewis & Clark once, but really enjoyed it.  It has a unique deck-building mechanism where you are constantly adding cards to your hand, and your hand is your deck.  Once played, cards need to be recalled before they can be used again, which provides for some tense decisions so you’re not giving up too many points.  This game has that feel with dice, but is its own game.  Should be a good one.  Here’s Rahdo’s Run Through for more information.

image by BGG user lolcese
image by BGG user lolcese

Pharaoh’s Gulo Gulo (aka Phar-oh-oh!) is a retheme and rerelease of the highly popular Gulo Gulo.  Designed by Jürgen P. Grunau, Wolfgang Kramer, and Hans Raggan, this is a dexterity game about raiding Egyptian tombs.  On your turn, you either reveal the first unrevealed tile or choose a tile that has already been revealed in front of you.  You then must pull a boulder of that color out of a bowl.  If you are successful, you move to the next space of that color.  If the alarm stick or another boulder falls out, you go all the way back to start.  The first person to have two successful boulder grabs in the burial chamber is the winner.

I hear a lot about Gulo Gulo, and how it’s just this fantastic kid’s game that adults are generally terrible at with their fat fingers.  However, it’s been out of print for a while, so it’s good to see the game coming back.  I have to say, I like the title Phar-oh-oh! much better than Pharaoh’s Gulo Gulo – Gulo means wolverine in German, so it makes no sense in this game.  I know, it’s a branding thing, but still.  This is one I really want to check out.  Here’s a German preview video from HABA.

image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

I do want to give a final honorable mention to Mysterium, which I’ve played and reviewed previously.  The new edition from Libellud is being released at GenCon, and it’s going to be huge.  Grab a copy if you can – it’s a great game.

GenCon officially opens on Thursday.  If you’re going, have fun!  If not, there will be lots of GenCant events to participate in.  Whatever you do, have fun gaming and thanks for reading!

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