2016 Random Gen Con Preview, Part IV

Time for what will probably be my final random Gen Con preview.  Next week, I plan to cover some anticipated games that didn’t come up in this random sampling.  For today, though, here are seven games chosen at random from the BGG Gen Con preview (currently at 340 items at the time of this writing on July 21): numbers 67, 70, 78, 250, 288, 299, and 315.

image by BGG user krakengames
image by BGG user krakengames

Zosimos is a 2-4 player gem auction game from designers Erin McDonald and Christian Strain, published by Breaking Games.  There’s a 30-card potion deck, and on your turn, you will peek at the top one.  It will be in one of five colors, have a number between one and six, and will have 1-2 potions.  You will then make a bid on that potion.  Bidding goes around until all but one person has dropped out.  They win the potion, and must pay the difference between their bid and the potion if they overbid.  They get paid if they underbid, and the card is free if they bid the exact number.  In the end, you multiply the potions you have collected by gems you still have of the same color, then add those scores up.  The player with the most points wins.

There are some interesting ideas here, particularly in the final scoring.  You have to watch your gems – if you collect five green potions, they’ll do you no good if you have zero green gems left.  However, it’s an auction game, and that means it will be a hard sell for me.  I think I’ll pass on this one.  RATING: Probable deny

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

Hive Mind is a 3-12 player party game from designer Richard Garfield and publisher Calliope Games.  In the game, one player will choose a question to ask of the group.  Questions will be something like “What three movies are considered to be classics?” or “What two people in this rom would do best in an Ultimate Fighting Championship?”  Everyone answers, then reveals.  You get points for matching others, and the lowest scoring players move down the hive.  When someone leaves the hive from having too many low scores, all other players win.

This game is part of the Titan series of games, where Calliope commissioned a number of well-known game designers to create games for them.  It was a Kickstarter project, and this is one of the first games out, along with Paul Peterson’s Running with the Bulls and the Weisman Brothers’ Menu Masters.  Having a game with one loser and everyone else winning seems…not good.  Plus it’s a party game that seems to fit the same niche as Say Anything, so I think I’ll stick with that one and give this one a pass.  RATING: Deny

image by BGG user Tangram11
image by BGG user Tangram11

Kill Doctor Lucky was originally published by Cheapass Games back in 1996, as designed by James Ernest.  It’s back in a new and improved edition (the 19.5th Anniversary).  The game plays out as kind of the opposite of Clue.  Rather than trying to figure out who killed Doctor Lucky, everyone is competing to be the one who does it.  He’s moving through the house, and your goal is simply to catch him in a room where no one else can see you.  If you do, you can try to kill him, which the other players can try to stop.  If they do not, you win.

I’ve played Kill Doctor Lucky a couple of times, and it’s a lot of fun.  It’s silly and strange, not too taxing mentally, and it’s fun to get into the theme.  It’s a classic in the Cheapass catalog, and I look forward to seeing what they’ve done with it.  RATING: Definite try

image by BGG user ChrisHandy
image by BGG user ChrisHandy

BOO is one of the nine games in the second Pack O Game set by Chris Handy and Perplext, and the one that is being used as the placeholder for the whole series on the BGG preview.  There’s not a whole lot of information on the game, so here’s the BGG description:

Two players battle for the graveyard in this spooky, strategy game. Players place cards to flip as many ghosts of their color face-up. In the end, the player with the most ghosts of their color, is the winner!

I’m very interested in the Pack O Game games because it’s a very creative challenge – make games that can fit into a pack of gum.  I haven’t gotten a chance to play any of the first set either, so I’ll be sure to look into that at Gen Con.  Set 2 won’t be available for purchase, just to demo.  RATING: Probable try

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

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Boardgame is a game by Samuel Mitschke and Randy Schuenemann that is being published by Steve Jackson Games.  This is a programmed action game where players are laying cards to move around a board, trying to collect historical figures so that you may pass your history exam.  Each round, players play two cards, then move around.  After your turn, some evil dudes will move around on the board (also determined by the cards you play), and if they meet up with you, you will lose a character you just picked up.  The player who collects the most historical figures will win the game.

I’ll say it now – Bill and Ted is one of the finest pieces of cinema from the 80s (after Ghostbusters and Back to the Future), and certainly Keanu Reeves’ best acting job to date.  This game looks like it inhabits the theme pretty well, though I’m not crazy about the board art.  Still, with the theme and programming mechanism, I think I’ll have to check this one out.  RATING: Probable try

image by BGG user EagleEye80
image by BGG user EagleEye80

Terraforming Mars is a game by Jacob Fryxelius that is being published by Stronghold Games.  The game is all about making Mars into a habitable planet.  It’s played over a series of generations (this process apparently takes a long time).  During each generation, you’ll be attempting to raise global parameters, including oxygen levels, temperature, and oceans.  This will be done through card play, using standard projects, milestones, awards, conversion of plants, and conversion of heat.  As you play, you’ll be trying to increase your Terraform Rating, which will contribute to your score at the end of the game, which is over when O2 levels hit 14%, there are nine oceans, and temperature is sustainable for human life (+8º C).  The player with the highest score wins.

This game is getting a lot of positive buzz already.  It’s got an interesting theme, and seems to hit the medium-heavy sweet spot for people.  It looks like a good one, and one that needs to be checked out. RATING: Definite try

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

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is a game from USAopoly and that classic mass-market designer, U.N. Credited.  All I know about it is contained in the BGG description:

The forces of evil are threatening to overrun Hogwarts castle in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, a cooperative deck-building game, and it’s up to four students to ensure the safety of the school by defeating villains and consolidating their defenses. In the game, players take on the role of a Hogwarts student: Harry, Ron, Hermione or Neville, each with their own personal deck of cards that’s used to acquire resources.  By gaining influence, players add more cards to their deck in the form of iconic characters, spells, and magical items. Other cards allow them to regain health or fight against villains, keeping them from gaining power. The villains set back players with their attacks and Dark Arts. Only by working together will players be able to defeat all of the villains, securing the castle from the forces of evil.

It’s a cooperative deckbuilder set in the Harry Potter universe, so that sounds good.  But then, it’s USAopoly whose other offerings at Gen Con include Clue: Game of Thrones, Risk: Star Trek, and Trivial Pursuit: Star Trek.  That said, this looks like the most interesting thing they’re bringing, so I may have to take a look.  RATING: Might try

Thanks for joining me for another random Gen Con preview!  Be excellent to each other…and…



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