2016 Random Gen Con Preview, part II

Time for some more random games that will be at this year’s Gen Con, as well as my rating of Buy, Try, or Deny.  As of the selection of these games (on July 4 – I’m working ahead), there were 235 listings on the BGG Gen Con Preview, and my numbers this time are 9, 26, 75, 104, 126, 193 and 210.  Once again, I’ll be rating each on the Buy-Try-Deny scale.

image by BGG user alexnev
image by BGG user alexnev

Behind the Throne is a game designed by Olexandr Nevskiy and Oleg Sidorenko that is being published by Ares Games.  It’s a push-your-luck style game where players are revealing cards, trying to see how far they can go.  Cards are numbered, and you want each revealed number to be lower in value than the last.  If you don’t bust, you can take the set and add them to your influence.  If you have the most of each type of card, you can use its special ability.  At the end of the game, you get victory points for each set in which you have more than one card, and the player with the most points wins.

I like push-your-luck games, but I wonder if this is making things too complex with all the special abilities, as well as the ability to swap or destroy cards.  On the other hand, it is by the same guys who designed Mysterium, so that’s something.  This is quite different than that one, but it will be interesting to see if this one gains any traction.  RATING: Possible Try

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

My First Bananagrams is a junior version of the popular speed Scrabble game, Bananagrams.  There’s not a whole lot of information about this game, other than it uses lowercase letters and letter combinations.  There are also apparently different activities and mini games the letters can be used with.

I do like Bananagrams, even though I don’t play it much.  The original isn’t NOT kid-friendly, but this one looks like it will have more appeal (get it?) for the younger set.  RATING: Possible Try

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

Dastardly Dirigibles is a new game from designer Justin de Witt and Fireside Games, the same folks who brought us Castle Panic and its many rethemes.  This one is a card game about building an airship.  On your turn, you get three actions, which can be to add a new part to your airship, discard, swap cards, or replace available cards.  Whenever you add a card to your airship, all other players must add a matching part to theirs if they can, even if that means replacing another part.  When one player completes their airship, the round ends and you score two points per card used in your most common suit, one point for wild cards, and one point per card in an incomplete airship with no pairs or wild cards.  You can also score a Muddle, which is an airship made of seven different suits.  That’s 20 points.  After three rounds, the game ends and the player with the most points wins.

This seems like a fun set collection type game with an interesting concept.  It’s got that steampunk theme on it, and that’s always fun to explore.  So this is one I think I’d like to check out.  RATING: Probable Try

image by BGG user imprimis5
image by BGG user imprimis5

Spirit Island is a game by designer R. Eric Reuss that is being published by Fabled Nexus, one of the imprints of Greater Than Games.  It’s a cooperative game where players are spirits trying to defend their island against invaders (aka explorers).  Each round, you’ll be adding presence to the island, which increases energy earned or the number of cards you can play.  After playing cards, you can perform any fast powers before the Invaders take their turn – they ravage, build, and explore.  You’ll then perform any slow powers and move on to the next round.  The players win if they meet the victory condition on the current terror level, but they lose if they run out of blight tokens, a spirit is completely removed from the board, or the Invader deck empties.

This seems like an interesting game.  The Invader AI seems pretty interesting as you can see what’s coming from the deck of cards.  This game won’t be available for purchase as Kickstarter backers won’t have theirs yet, but it will be there to demo.  RATING: Probable try

image by BGG user GreenM
image by BGG user GreenM

Vast: The Crystal Caverns is a game by Patrick Leder and David Somerville that is being published by Leder Games.  It’s an asymmetric dungeon crawl game where every character has its own objective – the Knight wants to kill the Dragon; the Goblins want to kill the Knight; the Dragon wants to escape the Cave; the Cave wants to collapse on everyone; and the Thief just wants to get away with all of the money.  Each player has its own actions and strategies to pursue, and there are several potential setups depending on the number of players.

This game looks super cool.  I didn’t know anything about it, and now I really am interested to check it out.  I’m going to have to add this to my list.  RATING: Definite try, possible buy

image by BGG user Sirlin
image by BGG user Sirlin

Codex: Card-Time Strategy is the latest game from Puzzle Strike and Yomi designer David Sirlin.  It’s a two-player dueling game where players select three heroes.  These heroes will determine what cards are available to you, and will be kept in a Codex binder.  On a turn, after readying your cards and collecting gold for your workers, you spend gold to play cards. These cards can be used to attack or defend your base.  At the end of your turn, you discard your hand and draw a new one (two cards more than you discarded, up to five total).  Then you add two new cards to your discard pile from your Codex.  The player who reduces his opponent to zero life first (you start at 20) is the winner.

This game looks cool enough, but it’s a style of game I generally have no interest in.  I usually end up liking them, but they’re not something I seek out to play.  Sirlin Games are usually pretty good, though, so I might check this one out.  RATING: Might try

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

Arcane Academy is a game being published by Th3rd World Studios and IDW, designed by super team Eric M. Lang and Kevin Wilson.  There’s not a whole lot of information about it yet, so here’s the BGG description:

Challenge rival students to become the best in class in Arcane Academy, an innovative board game of tile-linking, wizardry for 2-4 players that pits young spellcasters against one another in a duel for honor and prestige. Forge potent magic items and wield wickedly powerful elemental energies to outthink and outmaneuver your opponents in this elegantly simple and quick-to-learn board game that will appeal to families and experienced players alike! Arcane Academy is based on the critically acclaimed, all-ages comic series Finding Gossamyr, which is set in a fantasy world in which math is the language of magic.

I don’t know the source material, but I do know the reputations of Lang and Wilson, and that is enough to pique my interest.  It’s supposedly a drafting and tile placement game, which are things I like, and I’m a fan of this whole magic school theme, so this is one I’ll probably seek out.  RATING: Probable try


That’s it for today – thanks for reading!

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