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BGG.CON 2016 Wrap-Up, Part 2

Mary Prasad
United States
North Carolina
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Be sure to check out BGG.CON 2016 Wrap-Up, Part 1 if you haven't already done so!

Board Game Bazaar (Formerly the Flea Market)

The Board Game Bazaar was held Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. This is always a frenzied event. The room is usually jam packed with sellers…and once open buyers, too. It's a board gamer's dream. I always find a few gems to purchase (a real accomplishment, considering how many games we already have). This year it was the Fresco: Big Box. Getting it into luggage was an adventure all on its own.

I shot a short video just before the room opened so you can get an idea of what can be found at the Bazaar. By the way, I was very impressed by how calmly everyone walked in once the doors were opened — great job, people!

Proto Alley

Attendees may try out prototypes at Proto Alley, sponsored by Unpub, which was running this event at BGG.CON for its third year. The event was held for three days (Thursday – Saturday) from noon to 7:00 p.m. each day. There were special guests, special games, and a few surprises. (If anyone knows what the surprises were, please leave a comment – I'm intrigued.)

Charity Auction

This year's charity auction proceeds went to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas. A list of items can be found in this GeekList.

Battling Tops

This is a very loud but exciting event held in the dexterity games section of the main game room lobby. Luckily they close the main game room doors before the event. Below is a photo from this year's event – that's Tom Vasel, from The Dice Tower, in the striped mask doing the announcing. Sponsored by Mayday Games.

Duelist Lounge

From Thursday through Saturday, 6 p.m. - 10 p.m., Level 99 Games provided attendees with drinks, snacks, and a variety of 1-to-1 games from its Duelist Line series. This year, games included BattleCON, EXCEED, Sellswords, and Pixel Tactics. Attendees were also welcome to bring in and play any two-player games from the BGG.CON library.


There were a few tournaments held during the convention, including Poker (no money involved, amateurs welcome), Risky Adventure (Queen Games), and the most important one of all (although probably the least attended since only the best attendees play): Tichu.

There were 13 teams competing in this year's Tichu tournament. It was a double-elimination format this year, across two days. The winners were Stephanie Bennett and Jorge Montero. Winners took home games from Czech Games Edition (CGE) as well as badges to next year's BGG.CON. (Information provided by Jeff Anders0n.)

Designer/Publisher Speed Dating

With all that's going on in the world, busy schedules, etc., it's difficult to meet that special someone. That's why there's speed dating! Okay, this one isn't so much for finding your next spouse as it is about getting designers and publishers together. The good news is, if there's a spark, a bright, shiny new game may emerge! The event is free, but attendees were allowed to present to publishers only if they were pre-approved. (This year's sign up was open until October 23, 2016.) The event was held over three nights, with twelve tables each night. According to the rules, only nearly complete, fully tested games were acceptable and there had to be a working prototype. Games submitted in previous years or games already having been through successful crowdfunding were not allowed. More rules were posted in a Google document. (Information from James Mathe.)

Exhibit Hall

R&R Games

(Information provided by Frank DiLorenzo, President of R&R Games)

Coin Quest was first released at SPIEL 2016, followed by the U.S. release at BGG.CON. It is a light strategy game that plays in about 30 minutes. It uses blind-bidding auctions in which players attempt to build the finest collection of coins. Akin to deck-building games, in this version you are building a bag of coins. The coins won in bids will bring you increased bidding value and extra actions. Gain control of the gold to help outbid your opponents; build a bag with a multitude of actions and bring more of your coins into play each turn; focus on gaining prestige to jump out in front with victory points. There is a lot to do in this diabolical bidding game.

Pyramid Poker will be released January 31, 2017. Pyramid Poker is an abstract strategy game that brings Poker to you in a two-player format. Players each receive wooden blocks that represent cards from a deck; they then take turns building one pyramid in the center of the table, with their tiles facing themselves. Once the pyramid is built, they then take turns dismantling it, using the blocks to form three poker hands that will go up against the hands built by their opponent. This game is R&R's most anticipated release of 2017.

Fun Fact: In addition to running a game company, Frank DiLorenzo, President of R&R Games, is also part owner and designer of Escape Room Adventures (along with Stephen Buonocore, Stronghold Games, and Zev Shlasinger, WizKids). Escape Room Adventures is located in Ft Myers, Florida.

APE Games

(Information provided by Kevin Brusky, President of APE Games)

Early copies of The Great Dinosaur Rush were available at Gen Con 2016; it was widely available at BGG.CON. Players take on the role of paleontologists during the Bone Wars of the late 1800s. They collect bones, build dinosaurs and get them into museums to gain fame. Playing dirty gains players notoriety points, which are added to each player's score at the end of the game. But the player with the most notoriety will need to subtract from their score. Players balance taking dirty actions (i.e. dynamiting dig sites), which benefit them in the short term and hinder others against gaining too much notoriety, but could subtract from their score in the end. Building dinosaurs is the heart of The Great Dinosaur Rush. Dinosaur designs are limited only by players' imaginations.

Dark is the Night is an asymmetric two-player game of hunt-or-be-hunted. One player takes the role of the hunter and can move in the lighted spaces surrounding the campfire, while the other player is the monster, secretly moving through the darkness. With only limited tools at their disposal, each player tries to eliminate the other before daybreak. While the goal of each player is to eliminate the other, the means to do it varies for each player, i.e. movement and actions available to the hunter player and monster player are very different.

Fun Fact: Dark is the Night was created by students at Bradley University as part of a game design class project.

Stronghold Games

(Information provided by Stephen Buonocore, President of Stronghold Games)

Great Western Trail pre-released at SPIEL 2016 and BGG.CON, with a general release November 23, 2016. The game takes place in America in the 19th century; you are a rancher, repeatedly herding your cattle from Texas to Kansas City, where you send them off by train. This earns you money and victory points. Each time you arrive in Kansas City, you want to have your most valuable cattle in tow. However, the "Great Western Trail" not only requires that you keep your herd in good shape, but also that you wisely use the various buildings along the trail. It is important to hire capable staff: cowboys to improve your herd, craftsmen to build your own buildings, or engineers for the important railroad line. Cleverly manage your herd and navigate the opportunities and pitfalls of Great Western Trail to gain the most victory points and win the game. Great Western Trail is a heavy Euro game, which uniquely combines deck-building, hand management, point to point movement, and tile placement. It is designed by Alexander Pfister, who has won the Kennerspiel des Jahres award two years in a row for Broom Service and Isle of Skye. Great Western Trail is #7 in The Great Designer Series line by Stronghold Games.

Coal Baron: The Great Card Game is due to be released February 22, 2017. The city of Essen, Germany, at the turn of the 20th century was a center for coal mining in Europe. Immerse yourself in the dark world of coal mining as you extract coal from pits, load coal onto wagon trains, then rail your coal off to distant locations in search of fortunes. This is a standalone game based on the board game, Coal Baron. The game features an innovative system of card drafting. Your hand cards represent workers, which must be used in higher numbers to successfully draft cards from the table. Hand management of your workers is crucial to being able to draft any of the key cards that you need, e.g. Lorries, Wagons, Engines, Orders, Shares, and Innovations, which are used to score VPs. With almost 240 cards, Coal Baron: The Great Card Game maintains the feel of the original game but with distinctively different mechanisms. This is a Kramer and Kiesling game.

Fun Fact: Stephen Buonocore, "Not only am I a passionate gamer, an outspoken industry advocate, and the President of Stronghold Games, but my passion extends beyond gaming into an entirely different realm. I am a Certified Beer Judge and home-brewer. Along with associates in the very plainly-named 'Beer Club' in central New Jersey, I travel long distances to seek out obscure craft beers and breweries, particularly in New England, which is where the sub-style of American IPA, the 'East Coast IPA,' was invented and perfected. Seek me out at any major convention if you want to hear me go on for hours about craft brewing in America."

Ravensburger/Wonder Forge

Suspicion (Wonder Forge) was released August 2016 as a Target exclusive. It is a strategy deduction game, with some Clue-like elements but with more depth. Each person has a secret identity (one of ten). The game plays up to six players, so there will always be at least four characters in a pile near the board that players may peek at during the game (as an action on a card). Players will have two cards in hand (play one/draw one), each with two actions on them: one on top and one on the bottom. These actions can allow several action types; examples include allowing a player to take a gem in the room their pawn is in (rooms have different configurations of gems printed on them), moving one pawn to any location, and asking one player if their pawn can see the character pawn depicted on the card (this is done in secret by passing a yes/no card to the requesting player). Players roll two dice at the start of their turn to move two different characters to adjacent rooms, in hopes of setting them up for gaining information with the action cards or to throw off others in an attempt to hide their identity.

Fun Fact: Suspicion is set at the home of Baron Whitetooth. "Whitetooth" is a throwback name that the inventors used for a location-based game called Break In, way back in 1995, when they were creating larger-than-life entertainment experiences for ENTROS, The Intelligent Amusement Park. Similar to a present-day "escape room", Entros games were immersive, multi-sensory experiences. In Break In, Dr. Whitetooth was a sinister archeologist who dealt in stolen antiquities, and players had to infiltrate his mansion and steal back a priceless artifact. The character art for Suspicion was inspired by the work of the great caricaturist, Al Hirschfeld.

Suspicion Launch, L to R: Jay Wheatley, Jessica Aceti, Korby Sears, Bran Kirk

Broom Service: The Card Game (Ravensburger) is due to be released January 2017. It is based on the board game Broom Service. It captures the flavor of the original nicely but in about a third of the time. Each player has a hand of between 14 and 17 cards (depending on the number of players). The cards have an associated witch in a particular color, with 3 potions on one end (two of the color and one multi-colored) and 1 colored potion on the other end. All players choose three cards (the rest will be shuffled with the left over cards to be dealt out the next round). The first player plays a card then every player going around the table must play that color if they have it. They may play it either on the 3 side or the 1 side. If on the 3 side, the player who played the card before them must discard their card. The last player who played on the 3 side will select a card (if they are out of cards it goes to the next player). Continue until all cards have been played out that round. Four rounds are played then the hands are scored. Having more potions in a set gives more points. The player with the most points is the winner. In addition, there are some task cards (goals) that may be filled for points. The game also includes an expansion of 19 cards for the board game.


(Information provided by Danni Loe-Sterphone, Customer Service and Sales Manager at IELLO)

Kanagawa was released November 10, 2016. It is one of IELLO's newest card drafting games designed by the designer duo of Bruno Cathala and Charles Chevallier. You play as apprentice painters learning techniques from the grand master Hokusai. Learn how to paint different landscapes, create streaks of the same season, feature various subjects, and above all, create a harmonious print.

Rent A Hero was also released November 10, 2016. It is the most recent in the Mini Games line and is a remake of Seventh Hero. You play using cards numbered 1 to 7, each number representing a different hero. During the game, players will pass cards face-down, choosing to gain clues about the nature of the card. When they receive a card, players either recruit the hero or pass. When a player has six different heroes, they immediately win the game.

Fun Fact: Danni Loe-Sterphone says, "Stephan Brissaud [IELLO's COO] is color-blind, which is only one of the reasons he usually plays the yellow pieces in games!"

Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG)

(Information provided by Todd Rowland, Director at Alderac Entertainment Group)

Treasure Lair is in stores now. Players take turns trying to complete quests by assembling parties of heroes and drawing and drafting for a hand of actions that can achieve victory. Completing quests awards treasure. Once enough treasure has been earned, the player with the most treasure wins the game.

Fun Fact: The game is designed by Arno Maesen and Fréderic Moyersoen. While Fréderic Moyersoen has designed dozens of games, this is Arno Maesen's first published title.

Columbia Games

Tipping Cows was pre-released at BGG.CON, with a mini-version of the game being given to every attendee. The full release is planned for Q1 2017. It is a dexterity flicking game about tipping cows, represented by wooden blocks. They are the company that originated wooden blocks in gaming (circa 1972, Québec 1759).

Fun Fact: Grant Dalgliesh says, "Columbia Games is a small family multinational. The company was founded in Vancouver Canada (1983) and relocated to the USA in 1994. There are plans to open a division in Germany in the next year. The same owner has been involved the whole time: Tom Dalgliesh — also multinational — a Scot/Canadian/American like his son Grant."

The Game Crafter

The Game Crafter is a print-on-demand board game company that allows anyone to turn their game ideas into a real game. They have free templates, a game editor, and parts for your game (pawns, dice, money, and other game pieces).

Studio Woe

Gruff: Clash of the Battle Goats pre-released at BGG.CON. This is a tactical combat card game in which players take on the role of a shepherd with their herd of mutated goats called "gruffs". Players shuffle-build decks by combining sets of cards from each of their gruffs, then take part in a positional melee to try to defeat the opposing shepherd. Clash expands the world of Gruff with a standalone two-player game that is fully compatible with Gruff. Clash adds six new shepherd characters and six new monster goat creatures as part of two new starter decks.

Fun Fact: The gruff "Bubbles" got its name from the designer's three-year-old son who could not pronounce the original name "Bulbous".

Matagot Editions

(Information provided by Stefan Brunelle, Director of Communications & Marketing at Matagot Editions)

Room 25 Ultimate was released at BGG.CON. The game has two game modes: social hidden identity and cooperation. Trapped in a prison in which each room has four doors but apparently no exit, the players must try to find Room 25. But some amongst them might be guardians of the prison, waiting for the right moment to strike. In Room 25, not everyone wants to escape from imprisonment. Each turn, player moves are preprogrammed, requiring discussion, negotiation, and possibly betrayal.

Cyclades: Monuments will be released in early 2017. Attract more favors from the Gods with this mini-expansion for Cyclades that consists of ten monument miniatures and ten associated monument cards. Now you can build temples dedicated to Zeus or Poseidon's glory, a great university to Athena, or a citadel from which Ares will watch down with each of these new buildings giving you a unique power to achieve victory.

Fun Fact: (from Stephan Brunelle) Before BGG.CON, we received an email from a submarine officer asking for games; he's in charge of the lives of 120 people working for a seventy-day duty. The game we will send is Captain Sonar, although they don't yet know what the game will be.

AdMagic — Print and Play Division

KLASK released in the first half of 2016. It is a dexterity game reminiscent of air hockey but with magnets. Each player's "klask" is magnetic, controlled from under the board (the magnet moves the top piece). There are also three small magnets on the board that may be knocked into the other player's piece (or get stuck to your own if you aren't careful). The object is to get the most points by either getting the plastic ball into the other player's goal (one point per goal) or by one player getting two magnets stuck to their klask (in which case the opponent scores). The board resets after each point.

Flick Wars will be on Kickstarter in mid-2017, with a release later in the year. This is a dexterity game with strategy and tactics in which the flicking combines to create a greater war strategy. A fairly large player mat as well as terrain objects are included in the game to create a 3D battlefield above and below the mat (e.g. an object under the mat will create a slope for pieces to "climb," simulating a mountain).

Fun Fact: The prototype mats for Flick Wars are all real earth terrain images that have been color modified.

SolarFlare Games

(Information provided by Dave Killingsworth, owner and designer of SolarFlare Games)

Nightmare Forest: Alien Invasion will be on Kickstarter on January 24, 2017. This is a cooperative, push your luck, dice and card game. Work as a team to defeat the aliens before the timer expires.

Fun Fact: Dave Killingsworth says, "This is the same forest as Nightmare Forest: Dead Run and people who keep close watch might notice some alien friends that bear a resemblance to a few of the zombies from the first game. Alien Invasion is an expansion to the Nightmare Forest Universe but a standalone sequel to Dead Run."

Dawn of the Archmage will be on Kickstarter on August 2, 2017. This is a card and dice, small unit skirmish game. Summon your monsters and use combat dice and spells to defeat your enemies. Be the first to collect eight victory points and become the Archmage.

Fun Fact: Dave Killingsworth, "This will be a small unit skirmish game that will play in an hour or so and that is rare but SolarFlare Games will keep our sense of humor and fun we put into all our games. Also, the Dawn universe is connected to the Nightmare Forest universe via dimensional rift."

Firefly Lasers & Blue Cherry Faerie

Blue Cherry Faerie sells specialty and custom drawstring/dice bags, among other things. Firefly Lasers sells laser cut dice towers.

Paizo Publishing

(Information provided by Mike Selinker, Designer of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Mummy's Mask)

Released in October 2016, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Mummy's Mask takes a simple principle — explore an ancient tomb — and makes it into a mind-bending ride through a fantasy Egyptian setting. This is a fully cooperative standalone game that allows each player to choose their character's class, build a deck of equipment, magic, and allies, and explore dangerous locations as they journey through an exciting fantasy tale. As the adventures continue, players add unique gear and more powerful magic to their decks as they gain incredible powers, all of which will be needed to defeat increasingly more powerful threats. The game starts with an introductory adventure and leads all the way to curse-filled scenarios that will test the skill of even the most hardcore of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game players.

Fun Fact: Mike Selinker says, "There is a puzzle in the game that the Lone Shark Games design team has told nobody about until today."

Quick Simple Fun Games

(Information provided by Patrick Havert, President of Quick Simple Fun Games)

Hanamikoji was released at SPIEL 2016 and due to be released in the U.S. in December 2016. This is a deep and elegant game for two players in which each player takes the role of a restaurateur in old Japan trying to win the favor and patronage of the local geisha. Sway them to you through strategic offerings of flower cards, which you play through your four different actions each turn. Each action must be taken exactly once each full round. They often allow your opponent to take one or more of the cards you play. Sway four distinct geisha to you or geisha with a combined value of eleven points or more to win.

Similarly, Celestia: A Little Help was released at SPIEL 2016 and due out in the U.S. in December 2016. True to its name, Celestia's first expansion gives players the tools they need to work together when it benefits them. Helper equipment lets passengers contribute to overcome challenges, allowing the crew to explore more of Celestia's magical islands. It also introduces special player powers for each member of the crew, which may be used once per game for different effects. New double equipment cards allow multiple identical threats to be handled at the same time; new hazards allow players that abandon ship too soon to delay or disrupt the voyage.

Fun Fact: From Patrick Havert: "SPIEL 2015: We were going through the media hall, and someone who did not even get a table, but was assigned a window sill, had some games on display. A cute little airship display caught my eye. This game obviously turned out to be Celestia. It was nice stopping by this very strange area, and discovering what turned out to be such a gem."

The Dice Tower

The Dice Tower (podcast/video reviews) had a booth selling some games and game knickknacks. (I'm guessing there were dice towers.) This photo makes me smile every time I look at it. (I actually had a really cute gif but BGG doesn't like gifs. Boo.)

L to R: Sam Healey, Derek Porter, and Eric Michael Summerer

Level 99 Games

(Information provided by Brad Talton, President of Level 99 Games)

Witch Hunt was released at BGG.CON. It perfects the social deduction genre by providing skilled players with unique roles and tools that redefine the classic game style found in Werewolf, Mafia, and others. Every player in the game receives a unique special character, separate from their team affiliation. Once players die, they go on to the afterlife as either Angels or Demons and continue to influence the game's outcome.

Tomb Trader is due to be released January 2017. It utilizes negotiation and hidden roles. This is a fast-paced game centered around a group of fake archaeologists. As one of these ne'er-do-wells, your goal is to loot as much as possible from an ancient temple, negotiating the best items for yourself before time runs out.

Fun Fact: From Brad Talton, "Did you know that our fighting board game BattleCON was inspired by Ace of Aces? Ace of Aces and the Lost Words books that followed after it used a pre-defined matrix to determine how combat actions were resolved. I was a big fan of these series and set out to design a combat matrix that would resolve attacks based on arbitrary stats and positioning, rather than hard-coding every possibility in the way these classic combat game-books did."

Key illustration for BattleCON

Fantasy Flight Games

(Information provided by Elena Christensen, Marketing Writer, Asmodee North America)

Fantasy Flight Games ran demos of Star Wars: Destiny, DOOM: The Board Game, and New Angeles at the convention. Star Wars: Destiny and New Angeles are in stores now, with DOOM: The Board Game being released on December 15, 2016.

Star Wars: Destiny is a collectible dice and card game for two players. In every game of Star Wars: Destiny, you gather your small team of iconic characters and battle to defeat your opponent, using your collection of dice and cards in your deck. The last player with characters left standing wins the game, but to successfully outmaneuver your opponent, you'll need to carefully consider your options and enhance your deck with new dice and cards.

DOOM: The Board Game is a fast-paced board game of tactical combat for 2 to 5 players. You can take on one of two distinct player roles: an elite UAC Marines or the invader player, controlling Hell's most threatening monsters. The game guides players through two cohesive operations, each comprised of six missions. The invader commands their demons to slaughter the soldiers time after time as the marines fight to survive and achieve their unique objectives. The invader's numbers rise throughout the game as they summon more demons, while the marines grow more powerful, picking up weapons and expanding their action deck. Win or lose, DOOM: The Board Game is rich with death and destruction from start to finish.

New Angeles is a board game of corporate greed and machinations for 4 to 6 players set in the Android universe. Players each gain control of one of the world's most powerful mega-corporations, then use their wealth and influence to create more of each. The catch is that while you're doing everything you can to amass greater sums of capital than your rivals, you still have to work with them to keep the city of New Angeles from spiraling into chaos. This leads to a semi-cooperative experience with a more competitive attitude; the heart of the game lies within the tensions you'll navigate as you cut deals and forge temporary alliances, all while you're trying to figure out which player is the Federalist looking to sabotage everyone else.

Fun Fact: From Elena Christensen, "Though the two board games are quite different, this is not the first time Fantasy Flight Games has published a game inspired by id Software's DOOM video game series. Doom: The Boardgame came out in 2004 following the release of Doom 3."

Arcane Wonders

(Information provided by Tony Gullotti, Director of Sales at Arcane Wonders)

Spoils of War has a planned release of June 2017. The game was designed by Bryan Pope, creator of Mage Wars and CEO of Arcane Wonders. In it, players are Vikings splitting up the treasures accumulated after successfully raiding a city. Once strong allies, the Vikings are taken by greed, and soon a heated debate ensues – who will get what spoils? Fortunately, they devised a way to resolve this difficult task many years ago – they will play a game of chance and skill to decide who will claim the best treasures.

In each round of Spoils of War, players roll their dice, and then in turn order, bid a quantity of dice and a value of dice that they believe are in play (e.g. "Seven 5s!"), counting all of the dice rolled by all players in the game. Bidding goes around until a Viking challenges the bid, then all players secretly side with either the Declarer or the Challenger, while making a bet (in gold). The winners of the round get to claim treasures to add to their collection in order of the size of their bet, while those who chose poorly lose their gold and prepare for the next round.

Fun Fact from Tony Gullotti: "Nick Deligaris, when creating the illustrations for the Warrior and Viking characters, used likenesses of Lance Myxter of Undead Viking Videos and Kevin Burkhardsmeier of Board Game Theater. Look forward to a fun promotional video by Lance and Kevin in the future."


(Information provided by Elena Christensen, Marketing Writer, Asmodee North America)

Asmodee featured three titles at BGG.CON: the recently released Inis, Legendary Inventors (released day one of the convention), and Conan, which hit stores at the end of November 2016.

Inis is, at its core, an area control game in which 2 to 4 players struggle to take and maintain control over sanctuaries, territories, and opposing clans. Drafted Action cards come together with territory-based Advantage cards and acquired Epic Tales cards to form a hand that directs every action you are able to take throughout each round. The game also features incredible original art, heroes and legends of Celtic mythology, and an ever-changing game board.

Legendary Inventors combines engine-building and set-collecting mechanisms, giving you numerous paths to take in your reach for victory. Each player has a team of four great minds whose knowledge points they can use to help complete historic inventions. When an invention card is completed, the three players who contributed most to it gain rewards, which will allow them to form collections, improve their inventors' skills, or simply attain straight victory points. The player with the most victory points at the end of three ages wins the game.

The Conan board game features an innovative combat system that makes it a novel take on the classic adventure board game genre. One to four heroes push through a variety of scenarios, opposed by the Overlord player and their host of minions. As they do, both sides are able to manipulate their actions by spending or saving their limited supply of energy gems. The game also features seventy-four detailed miniatures and four lavishly illustrated game boards that establish the game's adventures in the sword and sorcery setting of Robert E. Howard's iconic barbarian. Along with the game's combats, the components almost draw your attention away from the clever resource management mechanisms at the heart of the game.

Fun Fact from Elena Christensen: "Inis is often pronounced by players with an 's' sound at the end, though in its native Old Irish, Inis (meaning 'standing in water', or 'island') is actually pronounced with a 'sh' sound, like 'inish'."

Knight Works, LLC

(Information provided by Don Lloyd, owner of Knight Works)

Hands in the Sea was released in September, 2016. It is a deck building two-player war game about the struggle between Rome and Carthage during the First Punic War. The actions you can perform in the game are determined by the cards in your hand and in your deck. Each of the major powers has its own set of cards, though certain cards are shared by both players. You may increase your range of available actions by drafting new cards and putting them into your discard pile, from which you will eventually draw. Players can purchase strategy cards that represent semi-permanent abilities giving an Empire a special advantage over the normal rules. There are also random events, which happen at the end of every turn. These represent events that either did occur, or plausibly could have occurred, at the time of this conflict. Your ability to overcome various disasters through the course of the game will be crucial to your success. Each player has a fleet that can move to various sea zones on the board. There are advantages to controlling a sea zone, such as interfering with your opponent's ability to supply or reinforce certain areas. The game ends if one of the game ending conditions occurs, ranging from scoring enough VP, to a sudden death victory by capturing your opponent's capital.

Forged in Steel was released in September, 2016. It is a card-driven city building game that focuses on the local history of a steel town from 1890-1920. Cards are played for either points, which can be used to purchase or seize buildings, or for the card's ability. Certain cards have headlines, which introduce an effect on the game board. Players take the role of an influential family and make decisions on building out the city of Pueblo, Colorado. The game is played over three eras, each with a corresponding deck. Players score points based off various buildings such as factories, mines, commercial buildings, and houses. There is also an unrest track in the game, to which players are forced to add cubes when they take certain underhanded actions. Once the track hits 8, a riot occurs; the player with the most cubes is the target. Players also take on various positions such as mayor, mob boss, mining official, etc. This is a highly strategic game providing many interesting decisions.

Fun Fact from Don Lloyd: "Forged in Steel captures the local history behind Pueblo, Colorado where the designer, Wade Broadhead, served as a city planner for many years. Wade's passion as both a historian and a gamer fueled his long road to design the board game."

Z-Man Games

(Information provided by Elena Christensen, Marketing Writer, Asmodee North America)

Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu was released at Gen Con 2016. The game was designed by Chuck D. Yager and Matt Leacock, based on Leacock's Pandemic system. Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu is a chance to take on the Old Ones, or at least stop them from entering our world, and thus save humanity once again. You will travel across the towns of Arkham, Innsmouth, Dunwich, and Kingsport to share clues with your team, defeat cultists, risk your sanity by encountering Shoggoths, and unleash your mind with powerful relics. It's not going to be easy; sometimes your sanity will hang by a thread, or a die roll. Should you fail in sealing the gates, Evil will finally awaken from its slumber and humanity will slowly succumb to insanity.

A Feast for Odin was released at SPIEL 2016 in Essen, October 13, 2016. In the game, you lead your own Viking clan. Your object will be to raid, pillage, hunt, trade, explore, and migrate to new lands with the goal of becoming the most prosperous clan. Of course, this being an Uwe Rosenberg game, you need to prepare a feast for Odin at the end of each game round (feed!). The game centers around a worker-placement system mixed with a dose of Patchwork-style tile placements. With your Vikings, you will do actions that give you goods, which you can then allocate to your home board or any island you may have migrated to. By cleverly placing your goods tiles, you can increase our revenue.

Some actions require rolling a die. What is great about this system is that even though you might fail your roll, you are not too penalized and do not completely lose your action; in a way, this simulates your clan learning through trial and error. The game has rules to play from 1 to 4 players.

Fun fact from Elena Christensen: "Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu is the first themed Pandemic, but it is not the first spinoff. That honor belongs to Pandemic: Contagion, a majority game in which players control a disease whose goal is to infect as many cities as possible. Reign of Cthulhu brings back the cooperative element, but this time against the Old Ones."

Czech Games Edition (CGE)

(Information provided by Jana Zemánková, Marketing & PR Specialist at CGE)

Adrenaline, designed by Filip Neduk, released at SPIEL 2016 in Essen. It brings classic first-person shooter video games to your gaming table (a Euro-style board game that's a first-person shooter!). It combines resource management and area control mechanisms for the scoring, with no dice! Players must move around the arena, choosing the right guns for the situation, grabbing the ammo and shooting their opponents. When you get shot, you move faster.

Codenames: Pictures pre-released at Gen Con and was officially released during SPIEL 2016 in Essen. This game is the follow up to Codenames from Vlaada Chvátil. Codenames: Pictures contains mind-twisting images that have taken the place of the words. The rules are still the same: teams give 1-word clues for their team to make guesses. It can even be combined with the original.

Fun fact: Filip Neduk, the designer of Adrenaline is also the illustrator of a few images in Codenames: Pictures. For example, the sombrero with the cactus on the top of it, holé!

Ultra Pro Entertainment, with Jolly Roger Games & PieceKeeper Games

(Information provided by Sean Lashgari, Senior Director Entertainment Division, Ultra Pro Entertainment)

Road Hog debuted as a prototype at Gen Con, to be released Jan 2017, with a soft release in December 2016. This game is under the Jolly Roger Games line and caters to all player types, including social and family. Your objective is simple, be the first player to drive your car from the beginning to the end of the highway. Players lay out square tiles, themed like a highway, and put "traffic cars" on them to complete the set-up. On their turn, a player uses cards and dice either to get ahead of traffic and opponent vehicles or to stop opponents from getting ahead.

Flag Dash pre-released at BGG.CON. In Flag Dash, you play as one of several childhood friends who promised to play their favorite pastime game, Capture the Flag, after they "grew up." Flag Dash takes place over multiple rounds until one team returns home with the opposing team's flag or collects a complete set of flags the opposing characters are wearing. In every round, each player plans two moves in advance, and for each move chooses to move either the runner they control — with a unique special ability — or the defender they share with their teammate.

Fun Fact from Sean Lashgari: "Road Hog designers spent hundreds of hours driving many of the highways and road systems across the United States to give the game as much fun and realism with the cards and dice mechanic – Rule the Road!"

Victory Point Games

(Information provided by Grant Taylor, Public Relations & Marketing, Victory Point Games)

Twilight of the Gods will be on Kickstarter starting December 27, 2016 with an estimated release date of Q4 2017. It is primarily a two-player game but may be played with up to six. It is an expandable card game from designer Chris Kluwe in which each player takes the role of one of four gods: Hera, Mars, Enlil, or Reader of Portents. Players construct decks from different factions to use against their opponent(s), casting spells and summoning mythological monsters with special abilities to attack their opponent's deck. Fortifications and Intrigues can be played to bolster your side with recurring effects. Players can even use their god's single-use ability to affect the battle. The first person to run out of cards in their deck is defeated. Creatures and spells are cast by using resources you put into play. However, these resources are only available by trading the cards in your hand with your opponent at the beginning of your turn. Players will need to be wary, as these traded resources can also be traps with negative effects, which can be sprung on your opponent using other card abilities.

High Treason: The Trial of Louis Riel was released November 2016. It is a trial simulation game from designer Alex Berry. The game is set in 1885, with one player playing the defense lawyer of Louis Riel and the other playing as the prosecution. Over the course of five rounds, players learn information about the jurors for the trial, dismiss those that aren't favorable to their side, and use cards to influence the remaining jury's final verdict. Players can influence different aspects of the jurors to be more favorable to them, appealing to their religion, language, or occupation. At the end of the game, you tally all the aspects of the jurors and if the total is 100 or more, the prosecution wins. If it is less than 100, the defense wins.

Fun Fact from Grant Taylor: "Victory Point Games was started eight years ago but it didn't begin in an office space. Its first games were printed right in CEO Alan Emrich's home attic! Using only desktop printers, he printed his student's game projects as a way for them to begin getting experience with publishing. After initial success and requests for more of the titles, VPG was officially established as a company and began publishing games in its own warehouse on an industrial printer."

Red Raven Games

(Information provided by Andrew Frick, Marketing and Game Development at Red Raven Games)

Islebound: Metropolis Expansion will be released on January 25, 2017. This expansion to Islebound includes one new deck of Metropolis buildings. With this expansion, players can buy buildings from a second card row above the standard building cards. Metropolis buildings are often more powerful than the standard buildings and are worth more points. Players must already own one or more standard building cards for every Metropolis building they wish to add to their city.

Near and Far will be released on May 3, 2017. This is a standalone sequel to Above and Below. Near and Far includes a spiral bound atlas of eleven maps, each of which is a separate game. Players recruit adventures and visit towns, traveling across one map per adventure, and forming a travel campaign through the atlas. The game includes four different game modes and eight unique characters. Each decision you make in the story leads you down a another path providing almost endless replayability.

Fun Fact: Three of the adventurers that can be recruited in Near and Far are modeled after:
• Ryan Laukat, co-founder and president of Red Raven Games
• Malorie, co-founder and co-owner of Red Raven Games
• Brenna Asplund who does PR, writing, editing, conventions, and shipping

L to R: Ryan Laukat, Malorie Laukat, Brenna Asplund as characters in Near and Far

Formal Ferret Games

(Information provided by Gil Hova, Game Designer and Owner, Formal Ferret Games)

The Networks sold out at BGG.CON; a reprint is expected in stores in February 2017.

Wordsy is planned to be released in July 2017. It is a game of longer words. Over the seven rounds of the game, you are trying to find the single best word on the board. Unlike other word games, you don't need all the letters in your word to be available, but you'll want to use as many as you can. So go ahead and use those really long words; they may just pay off.

Fun fact from Gil Hova: "Wordsy emerged from my attempt to develop my first game, Prolix, into a mobile app. I was looking for mechanisms to streamline, and I realized I had developed an entirely different game! I can't promise a Wordsy mobile app (turns out mobile apps are hard), but I used a lot of the code I wrote to make @WordsyBot, a Twitter bot that sends out a Wordsy board about every 30 minutes."

And More...

Engage your skills at the Puzzle Hunt, play games in the Spiel-a-Thon charity fund raiser (and maybe win prizes), if you are alone or attending for the first time, meet up with others at the Orphans and First-Timers Meet-Up, run the bridge of a star ship with Artemis, play a little Rock Band, see your favorite podcaster at the PodCasters Panel and Q&A, participate in the Game Show (sponsored by USAopoly)…and the list goes on!

You never know what you'll find roaming the halls
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