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Gen Con 2015 Short Takes
Brad and I were lucky enough to attend Gen Con last weekend in lovely, and hot, Indianapolis. The show was incredible and we took a lot of great video footage, some of it incorporating my thumb going over the lens, of just about everything we saw. Of course, videos take a long time to edit and get in front of your eyeballs, so I thought it would be cool to just do a quick run down of what we saw and what you can expect to see more about in the coming week or so.
Everything below is coming directly from my memory, so if I can't remember something perfectly, I'll give you only what I can remember or skip it. Also, all pictures were taken with my phone while I was trying to record Brad with the video camera, so the quality on many of the shots might be a bit subpar. Heck, that's being a little too generous, some of them outright suck.
If you'd rather just wait for each video to arrive and don't want to be spoiled, don't continue reading. Leave now. Seriously. I'm going to begin...now.
Mayfair had but one thing to show us this year and it's a biggie. Steam is into beta now and Alex Yeager showed us a little bit of it on his iPad. Not just some screenshots, he played the game and it looked fantastic. It hews very close to the cardboard version not just visually, but in how you play. Lots more detail in the video on what we can expect when Steam lands later this year.
Greater Than Games (Dice Hate Me Games) / Handelabra Games
For everyone who was upset that the original release of Sentinels of the Multiverse only had pass-and-play multiplayer will be happy to know that online multiplayer is a thing now, and they had it up and running at the convention. No ETA on when it might land, but they have so many other big plans for 2015 that I can't imagine it not being soon. Expect two more mini expansions and two full expansions either before 2015 ends or shortly thereafter.
Oh, and the Handelabra guys were having more fun in their booth than just about anyone at the con.
Obsidian Entertainment / Paizo Publishing
Obsidian is one of those companies that we know a lot of you wanted news from, mainly for news on their port of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. First, however, we got an update on the upcoming expansion for their Infinity Engine-esque Pillars of Eternity. It looks great, and I can't wait to add more to Pillars, but there are a lot of details in the upcoming video that aren't in my head. We also have some footage of the expansion in action.
Now, on to the real meat. Obsidian was running a demonstration of PACG at the convention and it will definitely be
one of the best looking board game port ever. Seriously, what they've managed to fit onto an iPad is amazing. We played it for a bit, as well, and the game seems like it will be a blast to play. They've added cutscenes to expand the storylines and added new art as well. While I really enjoy the cardboard version of PACG, the digital version was 3rd or 4th on my App Anticipation chart. It's moved up. It really looks like PACG is a perfect fit for digital. The video has a lot more info and actual gameplay, so keep an eye out for it.
We talked with prolific game designer Ted Alspach about the upcoming Castles of Mad King Ludwig and got a chance to see it in action. Looks really great, and the AI beats Ted somewhat regularly, too. I don't remember the multiplayer situation, but it will definitely have a single player campaign similar to that of Suburbia.
Lots more in the video for this one, including the game in motion.
Plaid Hat Games / Nazca Games
We met with Plaid Hat to see if they had any follow up to last year's announcement of a possible helper app for Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game. Well, it's not just possible, it's actually happening. The app will take the place of that stack of Crossroad cards on your table. The best part about the app is that it hides text and game mechanics until after the trigger happens or choices are made. This is going to make Dead of Winter feel even more like a storytelling game, which is going to be great. Also, the app is voiced by Eric Summerer, so now you can have your Crossroad cards read right to you.
Nazca also mentioned that they're working on a companion app for Specter Ops that will take the pad of paper out of the game for the Agent player. It's still a ways off, but it is in development (or at least starting up).
At last year's convention we saw Tsuro in action and it looked great. This year, it looks even better. This is about as close as you can get to opening up a box and playing the cardboard version without heading down to your game room. We saw it in action, including online multiplayer. On top of there there are three different modes you can play in.
Harebrained Schemes had so much stuff going on that it's hard to keep track of it all. First of all, Golem Arcana is going strong and there are a bunch of things coming. How's that for specificity! Next was the return of BattleTech to PC in a brand new isometric RPG-style game that will be coming to Kickstarter this fall. Lastly, they're also working on a Dead Souls-like, 3rd person roguelike but the name escapes me. Ugh. Seriously, watch the video. Pretty sure my thumb makes it into this one.
Arcane Wonders didn't have a lot of huge new news. We talked about their companion apps for Mage Wars Arena and Sheriff of Nottingham, which have been around for a bit. Brad and I did get to try out the prototype version of their upcoming game, Onitama, however. Not in digital format, unfortunately, but it's a great little 2-player abstract. They mentioned that it would be a perfect fit for a tablet (and I agreed, of course) but those plans are somewhere in the future, or maybe never. We can only hope, I guess.
We talked with the designer of my family's current #1 game, Red7, at the con. That is Asmadi Games' Chris Cieslik, of course, and he showed us some games that take the concept of Tales of the Arabian Nights and add a digital component. The first was Consequential and the other one was early in the development phase, but is a sci-fi game. The idea behind each game is great, and seems like a really good fit for a cardboard/digital hybrid.
Level 99 Games
We got to see the new version of BattleCON for PC/Mac and tablets and it looks really great. I'm not too familiar with the game, but Brad knew it and was impressed. I think. He's hard to read. He's like the wind.
We met with Stephen Buonocore, but there wasn't too much news from Stronghold this year. Survive: Escape from Atlantis! is coming to Android soon, and the digital edition of Core Worlds is coming along nicely. Of course, Stephen has more details and is just a great guy to watch anyway, so I know you'll check out the video when it pops up anyway. It's worth it.
Asmodee / Repos Production
One of the highlights of the con was being shown 7 Wonders from Antoine Bauza himself. Not only was he super nice about meeting with us, he also let the AI win in his demonstration game. So, yes, 7 Wonders exists but the beta is just starting up, so no ETA yet. We can say that it looks great and we watch Antoine play an entire game in the video. Check it out when it uploads. I promise that I get rid of the massive glare about 1/4 of the way in, so it's worth a watch.
This wasn't really Z-man, but instead F2Z Media which has both Filosofia Éditions, Z-man, and F2Z Digital Media under their umbrella. (Oh, and Plaid Hat Games, too.) That said, people associate Pandemic: The Board Game with Z-man so it seemed like a good section break.
Digital Pandemic is getting the rest of the Pandemic: On the Brink expansion later this year, which is great considering that we got the roles from OtB back in 2013 if I'm not mistaken. They also have other big plans, but aren't talking just yet. Lots of good info in the video for this one!
Jon Sudbury Games
The cardboard version of Ortus Regni was released at last year's con but this year they've really upped their game (pun intended). We stumbled into the Ortus Regni room almost by accident, but it was hard to miss with the really cool medieval ambiance. Not only that, there were big screens and iPads everywhere. How did we miss this?
Ortus Regni is available on PC/Mac now, but we learned (and saw) that it's coming out for iPad very soon. We played a bit and it seems like a really good card game with a ton of options and without the need for buying card packs. It's a closed system, so the cards you have are the cards you have. That's it. Really good video for this one, so if you're not familiar with the game be sure to check it out.
Czech Games Edition
We saved the best--or at least what I was most looking forward to--for last. CGE has a ton of digital stuff going on right now. Of course, we all love Galaxy Trucker, and we learned that we'll be getting expansion materials in the digital game soon. It won't be the complete Galaxy Trucker: The Big Expansion or Galaxy Trucker: Another Big Expansion or even Galaxy Trucker: Rough Road Ahead. Instead, it will be bits and pieces from all the expansions mixed in. Disappointed? Don't be. It actually sounds great. We'll also be getting more solo adventures as well. In a cool twist, the new stuff from the digital version will be making its way to cardboard soon. That's right, a new expansion for the tabletop version is in development, bringing in a bunch of the new stuff that's being tried out in the app.
What about Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization? That's the main focus right now, and not just the digital version. Vlaada Chvátil is working on the 4th edition now (it's in playtesting now, and it's awesome) with the hope of releasing the physical edition at Essen. Shortly thereafter, but before the end of 2015, they are planning on releasing the game digitally. We didn't get to see a moving copy, but the screenshot we were shown was mind blowing.
You'd think that's all they're working on? No, we have news about Codenames and Dungeon Lords as well.
want need to watch this video when it drops.
There were many more interviews that I just can't remember enough details to talk about here. Don't worry. Brad is hard at work getting the videos edited and uploaded and we'll get them to you as soon as we can. The wait will be worth it.