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Gen Con Pictorial Recap

It had been two years since my previous Gen Con. The last time I visited was 2016. I’m so happy my friends and I decided to go back this year! However, instead of a verbose write-up about my experience at Gen Con I thought I’d create a pictorial recap. Enjoy!

 

If you made it to Gen Con 2019 and have some great memories, go ahead and leave a comment! (I’ll approve it when I get a chance).

As a side note, one of the highlights for me was that my buddy and I had a successful game design pitch with the publisher taking home the prototype! Totally awesome!

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Gen Con 2016 Anticipation List

Wow… Gen Con is almost here! One of my favorite things each year is the anticipation of Gen Con and checking out the new games that will debut at Gen Con. There are two great lists that I used to build this article. They are:

On one hand I really like the preview list because it has a ton of games on it. On the other hand it is a disappointing list because like 150% of the list seems to be games that are only available for demos ahead of later release or a later Kickstarter. That’s why I prefer the second list because it has only the new games that people can actually buy at Gen Con. I can get excited about those games knowing I actually have a chance to take a copy home with me.

 

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Exciting New Games I Could Purchase

These are listed in order of their appearance on the list. The order I am listing them has nothing to do with my interest in the games.

Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails – I love the idea of having both trains and ships on the board. I came up with this idea for the Days of Wonder contest in 2013 and told Alan R. Moon about it at BGG Con 2013. I’m pretty sure that’s where he got the idea ­čÖé So of course I’m interested in this one.

Five Tribes: The Thieves of Naqala – I love Five Tribes and this is a no-brainer for me to purchase despite the lustful appearance of the┬áprostitute thief on the cover.

Quartz – I love the artwork and the simple gameplay. I think my kids would like this one.

SeaFall – Our group will be purchasing this if we can snag a copy. We’ve loved Pandemic: Legacy and being able to play a storyline game in a sailing setting will be right up our alley.

Cry Havoc – This game is great. Grant Rodiek has worked his tail off on this one from way back in the day when I designed a “Battle for York” logo for him.

Terraforming Mars – This just looks awesome.

Covert – I played the prototype and loved it. I think this game will be a hit!

Order of the Gilded Compass – A rework of Alea Iacta Est with some improvements means I’m definitely interested in this. Plus, the theme is enjoyable for me.

Oceanos – This looks like one my kids and I could enjoy together. The theme and artwork look great. Plus, Bauza!

Vikings on Board – The components look awesome. The gameplay looks enjoyable. And this just seems like it will be fun to play.

Guilds of London – I’m hoping I can snag one of the 200 copies they’ll have at the convention. I’m dying to play this one.

HONORABLE MENTION

Tides of Madness – This seems a little too similar to Tides of Time to┬ámake my “purchase list” but I enjoyed Tides of Time a lot so I’m placing this on the Honorable Mention list.

Scythe – This is only here because someone in our group backed it and received it already. If your group doesn’t own it, go buy it!

Merchants and Marauders: Broadsides – Merchants and Marauders is one of my favorite games in which to immerse myself. The theme is really thick and enjoyable. The components are fantastic. M&M is a truly enjoyable game. If Broadsides has a similar feel then this might be purchased despite the $45 price tag for a 2 player game.

New Bedford – This is on Honorable Mention because I backed it and have already received it. Go demo and buy this one. It’s a very fun game!

Ta-Da! – Frantic Dice Rolling? Wizards creating Spells? Stephen Avery? I’ll definitely check this one out.

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What games have piqued your interest? What are you looking forward to the most during Gen Con?

Gen Con 2015 Recap With Pictures

Well I am recovered from Gen Con week. Gen Con is always amazing. It’s huge and full of all sorts of different experiences but I think our group had a great Gen Con. One of our focuses this year was sitting down for more demos in the exhibit hall. The tables always seem to fill up, especially Friday and Saturday, so on Thursday we tried to do a bunch of demos. I think we did pretty well with our goal.

What follows is my day by day recap of Gen Con 2015 with pictures…

Thursday

We arrived in Indy around noon, grabbed a quick lunch at Yats, and then headed right to the exhibit hall where we hunted down demos. Here are the pictures worth sharing from Thursday.

Game Demo #1: Medieval Academy

Game Demo #1: Medieval Academy

Game Demo #2: Royals

Game Demo #2: Royals

Pseudo Game Demo #3: Giant Flick 'em Up

Pseudo Game Demo #3: Giant Flick ’em Up

Game Demo #4: Ultimate Warriorz (played while others were demoing something else)

Game Demo #4: Ultimate Warriorz (played while others were demoing something else)

TMG Booth Banner. Check out the awesome game they've got on their table!

TMG Booth Banner. Check out the awesome game they’ve got on their table!

This Bad Beets guy was constantly roaming the exhibit hall. Pretty sweet.

This Bad Beets guy was constantly roaming the exhibit hall. Pretty sweet.

Saw this chrome-tastic Shelby Cobra (likely a replica) at our hotel.

Saw this chrome-tastic Shelby Cobra (likely a replica) at our hotel.

My new friend. Hello Rhino Hero! I got the awesom cape too, but there are no pictures of me wearing it.

My new friend. Hello Rhino Hero! I got the awesome cape too, but there are no pictures of me wearing it.

Friday

The next morning we wanted to get to the exhibit hall first thing to try and snag a copy of Mysterium. We failed miserably. They only had 100 per day but we were close enough to the front that we thought we had a chance. Here are Friday’s pictures:

A lot of people were waiting for the exhibit hall to open.

A lot of people were waiting for the exhibit hall to open.

This dude is pretty sweet.

This dude is pretty sweet.

This guy looks slightly more fierce than the boss monster.

This guy looks slightly more fierce than the boss monster.

Demo of New Bedford from Dice Hate Me games and Greater Than Games. Looks awesome!

Demo of New Bedford from Dice Hate Me games and Greater Than Games. Looks awesome!

Patrick Rothfuss signing stuff.

Patrick Rothfuss signing stuff.

This thing was

This thing was “fully functional.” It could move and beep and stuff.

Elysium was one of our groups favorite games of the con.  Really interesting gameplay here.

Elysium was one of our groups favorite games of the con. Really interesting gameplay here.

Rhino Hero was also a good pickup for me. I love the tower building mechanic but I'll probably remove the

Rhino Hero was also a good pickup for me. I love the tower building mechanic but I’ll probably remove the “lose a turn” cards.

Our group enjoying the Rathskellar with live music and a hopping crowd.

Our group enjoying the Rathskellar with live music and a hopping crowd.

Saw this cool brick head on the way back from the Rathskellar.

Saw this cool brick head on the way back from the Rathskellar.

We played a round of Flick 'em Up in our hotel room. It's a lot of fun.

We played a round of Flick ’em Up in our hotel room. It’s a lot of fun.

I got to play Codenames with a bunch of awesome game designers in the open hall around midnight. Our team won. It's a clever game design and was a ton of fun.

I got to play Codenames with a bunch of awesome game designers in the open hall around midnight. Our team won. It’s a clever game design and was a ton of fun.

To end Friday I was able to get my game design, Ziggurat, on the table. The honorable Adam McIver, Kerry Rundle, and J. Alex Kevern were excellent playtesters.

To end Friday I was able to get my game design, Ziggurat, on the table. The honorable Adam McIver, Kerry Rundle, J. Alex Kevern and T.C. Petty III were excellent playtesters.

Saturday

Saturday was our last day so we tried to make the most of it.┬áHere are Saturday’s pictures:

Game Deme: Nautilus Industries. This game was really solid and fun. There are a lot fo ways to mess up your opponents and plan ahead. Recommended.

Game Deme: Nautilus Industries. This game was really solid and fun. There are a lot fo ways to mess up your opponents and plan ahead. Recommended.

We got in on a Mysterium demo. The art is beautiful. The gameplay is fun. I'm looking forward to our group obtaining a copy.

We got in on a Mysterium demo. The art is beautiful. The gameplay is fun. I’m looking forward to our group obtaining a copy.

This squirrel costume was awesome! I love squirrels for some odd reason.

This squirrel costume was awesome! I love squirrels for some odd reason.

I met Antoine Bauza (designer of 7 Wonders, Takenoko, Tokaido, Samurai Spirit and more) and he signed my box for me!

I met Antoine Bauza (designer of 7 Wonders, Takenoko, Tokaido, Samurai Spirit and more) and he signed my box for me!

It's a Gen Con tradition to take pictures of cool cars. I've seen a Ferrari at every Gen Con!

It’s a Gen Con tradition to take pictures of cool cars. I’ve seen a Ferrari at every Gen Con!

But I'd never seen a McLaren before! That thing is so awesome!

But I’d never seen a McLaren before! That thing is so awesome!

Jeremy picked up Thunder Alley for $40  at the Cool Stuff Ding and Dent booth. We got in a lap after dinner. This game is a lot of fun and the movement mechanics make it enjoyable!

Jeremy picked up Thunder Alley for $40 at the Cool Stuff Ding and Dent booth. We got in a lap after dinner. This game is a lot of fun and the movement mechanics make it enjoyable!

Before calling it a night we played the Duel at Hotcreek scenario of Flick 'em Up. The good guys lost but we had a good time.

Before calling it a night we played the Duel at Hotcreek scenario of Flick ’em Up. The good guys lost but we had a good time.

The box cover looks fantastic!

The box cover looks fantastic!

Mark had captured this sweet cookie monster costume and shared the picture with me and now I'm sharing it with you.

Mark had captured this sweet cookie monster costume and shared the picture with me and now I’m sharing it with you.

My

My “Gen Con Haul.” I wish I had snagged a copy of Artifacts, Inc. by Red Raven Games.

My purchase of the con was Francis Drake. I’ve been wanting it for two years but never pulled the trigger due to the $80 price. But I found it for $45 at a booth and snagged it up! I’ve also looking forward to both the Imperial Settlers expansion and the Five Tribes expansion. Those are two of my recent favorite games. I got Nations, Akrotiri, Tokaido, and Escape in the Math Trade. So I didn’t really buy that much this year. Maybe next year! Thanks for checking out my recap.

Impossible!

No, the title doesn’t refer to your shock that there’s actually a new blog post on Boards & Barley. Instead it refers to a new abstract game design of mine.

Waterfall (1961). Photo Credit: mcescher.com.

When I was a child I found a small print of M.C. Escher’s Waterfall Lithograph in my dad’s at-home office. At first I thought it was kind of neat but after a few minutes I realized how truly awesome the artwork was. There is an impossibility in the physical concepts of a waterfall flowing uphill. But yet this artwork makes it actually appear possible.

M.C. Escher has long been an inspiration of mine. I love trying to wrap my mind around the 2D artwork that portrays 3D impossibilities.

So I decided to make an abstract tile placement game around that concept. It is based on an impossibility that occurs in the waterfall lithograph. That impossibility is known as the Penrose Triangle. While I’m not using it exactly, I am using the fundamental idea of the Penrose triangle. I’ll show you below.

But first, because I have an illness where I must create a logo for any game design I am working on, here is the prototype logo:

Impossible Logo V2 - White Background

The game is currently still in the concept phase. I have been trying to work out some “Euro-y” type scoring conditions but I’ll have to playtest it before I decide if they should be public goals or private goals, or a combination of both.

Here is an example scoring condition:

Nodelink-3 Scoring Condition

If players build a nodelink matching these colors then they will earn the points shown on the card. The first player to build such a nodelink would earn the 4 points while the second player would earn 4 points.

I currently have a bunch of different scoring conditions based on the nodes that will be built during the game. I’m looking forward to playtesting it and figuring out some of the balance about these cards.

The basic gameplay is simple. It’s sort of a mix between Carcassonne and Qwirkle. Players will play 1 tile anywhere that it fits onto the board. Nodes will be built up this way. Once a node is completed, it’s color is determined by whichever color is of a majority at the node.

There will also be one-time use bonuses that allow players to play more than one tile at a time. These should allow for players to make awesome moves in the game and have rewarding moments. My hope is that it also allows for some “take-that” type action where you can mess with something that other players are working on.

That’s the current status of┬áImpossible. I will be bringing the prototype to Gen Con and I’m hoping to get it in front of some people. Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions.

Monday Brews: 8-18-14

It exists! And it’s awesome!

Gen Con 2014 is over and it was awesome! Why? Because I got to hang out with great friends of mine and because I got to hold, unwrap, punch, and play a production copy of Scoville! Special thanks are due to Jeremy, Adam, Ben, Mark and Mike for making Gen Con 2014 a memorable one.

If you are new to this blog, Scoville is my first published game design. It is published by Tasty Minstrel Games and should be available later this year, so put it on your Christmas lists! You can go pre-order it from your favorite local game store or the online game outlets.

So with Gen Con in the books, and with recently quitting on Brooklyn Bridge I feel refreshed and ready to move on to some exciting new designs. I have one that I’m keeping a secret, one that will occasionally mention, and The Grand Illusion, which I am openly designing and blogging about on this site.

But enough about that. Let’s check out the Boards & Barley that I’ve enjoyed over the past two weeks.

The Barley:

An excellent complement to Optimator!

An excellent complement to Optimator!

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT: Spaten Optimator

Why such a standard brew for the spotlight? Because it was enjoyed at the Rathskellar in Indianapolis with my friends. This has become a tradition for us. On Friday night we went to the Rathskellar and enjoyed beer, cigars, and a fantastic live band. Plus, attending the Rathskellar is a great way to escape the geek world of Gen Con for a few hours. We had a great time and I enjoyed a delicious 32 ounce Optimator! The picture on the right shows the appetizers we ordered (Sausage platter, Brat balls, Jalapeno poppers, and Chicken Cordon Bleu rolls).

The Boards:

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT: Scoville

How could it not be Scoville? I love the game even after over 100 plays. I love how a 2p play at Gen Con provided a situation that really tested me. The decisions are so interesting. The play changes from game to game with different players. As the fields grow from round to round there are more and more choices, so the game naturally ramps up. I love this game so much and I was so excited to crack open a new copy and get it to the table. Here are a few pictures to show how it looks. If you like how the peppers look, click on the picture and thumb it up on BoardGameGeek.com.

6 Player Scoville ready to go!

6 Player Scoville ready to go!

The amazing peppers!

The amazing peppers! (Click to go to BGG and thumb the pic!)

6 Player game in progress.

6 Player game in progress.

Here are the games I played prior to Gen Con:

Our Samurai Spirits were crushed in defeat!

Our Samurai Spirits were crushed in defeat!

And here are the games I played at or after Gen Con:

There was nothing on the Gen Con Preview that I felt was a “must-buy” this year but there were a few that I was interested in. The one I was most interested in was Instabul, which I bought.Here is a picture of the modular board:

5 Player game in progress.

5 Player game in progress.

In Istanbul each player also has a small player board of their own. The goal in the game is collect rubies. To do so you will need to manage your resources and money as well as utilize your location placement of your merchant and their assistants. It was an excellent game and well worthy of the Kennerspiel des Jahres award.

Surprise Hit #1: Camel Up

Camel Up was awesome. We played with 7 players at the Z-Man booth and we loved it. It won the Spiel des Jahres and when you play it you can understand why. I picked up a copy because it was fun, interactive, and plays up to 8 players!

Surprise Hit #2: Samurai Spirit

I am not normally a fan of cooperative games but this one had so much awesomeness that I can’t wait to play it again. It was a struggle. We lost badly. In fact, the first time we attempted the game we died after the first (of 3) rounds. There are some very interesting choices and some really cool combinations that can be done in the game. It was a lot of fun.

And here is a picture of my Gen Con 2014 haul. Several of these games came from the math trade, some were freebies. Missing from the picture are the King of Tokyo promo cards and the Tokaido promo cards and Eriku character promo.

I'm looking forward to playing all these!

I’m looking forward to playing all these!

Overall it was a great Gen Con. I’ll be writing another post this week about one specific experience from the convention. It was great to meet so many awesome people, especially those I follow on Twitter that I had never met in real life. I’m already looking ahead to Gen Con 2015 (partially because it is unlikely I’ll attend GrandCon, BGG.con or Origins before then).

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