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Gen Con 2015 XXI: Champions of Midgard, Switching Tracks, Mare Nostrum: Empires, The Networks, Me Want Cookies!, Te Kuiti, Dead Drop, Council of Verona & Shadows of Brimstone: Caverns of Cynder and More

W. Eric Martin
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• Each time I see the title of Ole Steiness' Champions of Midgard from Grey Fox Games, I don't think of a "middleweight, Viking-themed, worker placement game with dice rolling in which players are leaders of Viking clans" (as the BGG game description states), but a game about people who protect their stomachs — their midsection, as it were, making them midguards. Silly, I know, but there you are.





• Flying Frog Productions brought lots of (half-finished) expansions for Shadows of Brimstone to Gen Con 2015 long before they'll be available at retail outlets, with the miniatures included in these expansions being complete, but the packaging consisting only of a stickered box and the paper components being desktop quality since the other material is still in the works.





• Designer Kris Gould's Switching Tracks from his Wattsalpoag Games has you playing pick-up-and-deliver with goods across the U.S., switching connections between tracks along the way to move faster and block others on your way to fulfilling five contracts.





• Roberto Fraga excels in quick-playing games, and Me Want Cookies! from Le Scorpion Masqué and IELLO is a prime example of this, with the design being ideal for restaurant play while you're waiting for dessert.





Te Kuiti from designers William Baldwin and Jim Harmon and publisher Ludically is a two-player game in which one person tries to fence in sheep and the other tries to keep from being fenced in. Solitaire rules are also available.





• Uwe Eickert from Academy Games ran down what's new and different in Mare Nostrum: Empires, a new edition of Serge Laget's Mare Nostrum that's due out before the end of 2015.





• Gil Hova's The Networks from his own Formal Ferret Games challenges players to run their own television networks, with them needing stars and ads in order to create shows that anyone will watch — but shows age over time, of course, so replacements need to be waiting in the wings for when viewers start to fade away.





• At Origins Game Fair 2014, I played four quick rounds of Jason Kotarski's super-clever deduction-driven microgame Dead Drop from Crash Games, and one year later the game is now in print and encased in a nigh-impenetrable box — not that I think anyone would want to penetrate it, mind you.





Council of Verona: Collector's Edition from Crash Games pulls together the original Michael Eskue microgame of feuding families, the poison expansion that allows everyone to share the joy of an early death, and the separate Where Art Though Romeo? microgame.

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