Gen Con Indy 2014 takes place August 14-17, 2014, and as the largest and longest-running game convention in the U.S. – more than forty years! – it's no surprise that U.S. publishers will demo or sell many new games at the show in order to introduce fresh releases, build buzz, and (of course) make sales.
This Geeklist highlights titles that, to the best of my knowledge, will (1) debut at Gen Con 2014, (2) be released shortly before the convention, or (3) be available in demo/preview form. To add titles to this list (or send me general game news for coverage on BGG News), please write me at wericmartin AT gmail.com. Thanks!
CLEVER is an educational card game that allows players to explore numerous connections to be made between cards representing objects and images with colors, categories, letters & numbers.
Out of the box, CLEVER is playable as a 2-5 person rummy-style game. The object is to get rid of all your cards by playing them in sets of three or more related cards. Cards are related by being sequential in order, spelling a word, matching color, matching category, or being used in a math equation.
It's worth noting that CLEVER is a deck of cards that can be used to create and play different games of players choosing. While the instructions that come with the game offer the rummy-style game mentioned above, trick-taking games, memory games and entirely new games utilizing the multidimensional aspects of the cards are certainly possible with the CLEVER deck.
At first the losses were isolated and simple. As time progressed, the spread claimed more and with it came revolution. The Government fell shortly after, and the many who had 'just in case' emergency plans, found themselves in isolation. Some lost their minds and others simply starved.
The few of us that remain are left in a bleak and desolate landscape. Supplies are scarce and the enemy is strengthening, but we all share the will to survive. With what little hope remains, we band together and make our Last Stand.
Last Stand is a cooperative survival simulation. Players will find themselves in a massive city with dwindling resources that is slowly being overrun with Infected. During the day, players can explore and take actions. They will have many opportunities to build bases, get supplies, assign survivors, fight and make use of special abilities. When Night falls, the Infected roam, but they are not the only threat. Starvation, sickness and the loss of humanity are a few of the other dangers that await.
• Available for demo games Friday afternoon at The Game Crafter's booth (#1645) ahead of the game's scheduled release later in 2014.
The first game in the Cross Hares line — each of which will be standalone with its own expansions — is Cross Hares: Testing Ground, a fairly straightforward game in which you want to move down a trail from your starting area in order to "defeat" a factory at the end of the line.
To start, each player chooses one of the six available characters. As you move down the trail, you'll draw cards, which might be good or bad for you, bad for opponents, or terrible for everyone at the table. You'll also acquire useful items and specialties — with each character having a different set of things to find — have adventures, and come into conflict with other players. Conflict in Cross Hares takes the form of either shoving each other back and forth around the map or stealing items.
Don't worry if you're far back on the path away from everyone else as with the right events or die rolls, you can race ahead of the others! Once you get to the factory, though, you'll need all of your skills and items to defeat it, so be sure you save some of your strength for that.
• Available for demo games at Gen Con 2014 and (assuming all goes right with the planned production) also available for purchase.
It is all going so well for you in Tahiti - sun and surf are yours to enjoy. The Director has not troubled you with silly assignments, such as escorting ill-mannered diplomats to parties; nor have you had to drop off intelligence in trash bins to be picked up by shady, desperate officials. You've made time to rest and do little other than drink martinis... Maybe you should hang up your hat and let someone else handle Dr. Lobo?
Alas, good things never last...
"Agent, you're going to Australia," the Director informs you. "As you are well aware, Australia has descended into corruption and chaos these past several years. You won't have time for barbies on the beach."
In Agents of SMERSH: Swagman's Hope, players have five new city locations to visit and a new book, featuring more than 300 encounters, with its own Reaction Sheet. Australia is the most dangerous country in the world, so why would important persons of intellect and power be trapped there? It is up to the players to come to their aid before SMERSH gets to them. Not only must players gain the normal Yellow Intel during the course of the game, but there are new Red Intel, representing scientists and researchers with vital knowledge for which Dr Lobo is hungry. Hurry to their aid before they get abducted and taken into the lawless Swagman's Hope where they may disappear forever. Swagman's Hope is a godforsaken, desert town in the middle of the Australian Outback - a dirty haven for the criminally insane and insanely criminal.
Also included in Agents of SMERSH: Swagman's Hope are new Villain, Fate and Status Cards, a new HENCHMAN, the Stranded Deck, Red Intel and Dead Drop Tokens, and 2 new UN agents to join in the hunt. Despite the town's name, hope is in short supply. Best of luck to you, Agent.
The undead hordes are back! But this time they're not miniatures shambling around a modular board - the zombies are coming straight for you! As in most zombie games, you represent a unique character with your own character traits, except in Run, Fight, or Die! you will also have your own individual board with zombies you alone will encounter. Zombies move closer to you every round. You run from location to location, searching for weapons and survivors in a desperate attempt to stay alive. Survivors may bring new skills to help you in your desperate fight for survival, or in some cases, new challenges to overcome. In either case, every survivor provides you victory points. The game ends either when one player finds five survivors and declares the last round, or when a player reaches the town line (and the total Followers in play meets a minimum), or if a player gets bitten and turns. Be careful, some followers may turn against you, while others can slow you down. When it comes right down to it, the choice is simple: Run, Fight, or Die!
Scoring is based on the total points of survivors and remaining health of the players’ characters.
Run, Fight, or Die! is a frantic first person experience for 1 to 4 players (will play up to 6 with the 5/6 player expansion). The game is loaded with goodies, including 4 Action Boards, 5 Character Boards, a Loot Deck, a Location Deck, an Event Deck, a Follower Deck, Mutant Deck, 7 Custom Dice, tokens and beautifully crafted miniatures.
Till Dawn, a 20–30-minute game for 4-8 vampires (or 12, with the expansion), takes place over the course of three nights during which time all self respecting vampires leave their coffins to hunt. A deck of hunt cards is passed from vampire to vampire, each taking one card, reading it aloud, then passing the rest on. If a feeding card is drawn, all vampires gain blood tokens — but the deck is also loaded with events, vampire slayers, a vicious werewolf, invitations from the elders, and the creeping threat of sunrise. Feeling lucky? At any time during a hunt, a vampire may return to his coffin to protect his precious blood tokens. Return to your coffin too early, though, and you may miss all the fun. Then again, centuries of hunting should have taught you the folly of pushing your luck too far...
Till Dawn comes in a coffin-shaped box with approximately 120 cards, more than one hundred tokens, eight character cards, and a "night advancement" track. (An additional pack of four characters will be available to expand your game to 12 players.)
• A production copy will be available for a look-see at Gen Con 2014 ahead of its retail release in October 2014.
There are worlds that are ruled by creatures of the sky, great beasts of mythology that have never known anything but dominance. Generations ago, a rift opened up between these worlds and they became infested with invisible portals that led from one to the other but not necessarily back. The result was a macrocosm that could not be mapped and in which no one could settle. Now, thrust together, these great creatures have been locked in an infinite war, for each species believes that it is its world that is the primary and its right to take control of the new Empyrean.
As a player of Titans of Empyrean, you control a squad of 4 titans placed on a tiny hex battlefield in the sky. Every moving, it is your responsibility to maneuver your titans into positions of opportunity and advantage. Each unique titan has its own special ability and is armed with a deck of maneuver cards for use throughout the game. But be careful. While these powerful maneuvers can be the key to victory, they also double as lifeblood of your titans. Without them, your titan's wounds cannot be healed.
Position your titans.
Manage your maneuvers.
Will your titans control the new Empyrean?
• Available for demo games at Gen Con 2014 to coincide with a Kickstarter funding campaign running in August 2014.
After more than three years of development, Conflict of Heroes: Eastern Front - Solo Expansion revolutionizes solo tactical play. Instead of AI units being individually programmed as in past games, AI units utilize a unique emergent behavior and agent-based logic. Each situation is evaluated and the AI implements the best course of action using available resources and unit assets. Even veteran CoH players will be challenged to hone and adapt their playing styles in order to overcome the AI!
In the Conflict of Heroes Solo System, players no longer track APs, but must make a Unit Spent Check after every action. The higher the cost in APs an action was, the higher the probability that the unit will be spent. Now a player must decide if he will augment his action with APs or increase his chance of keeping the unit fresh!
Each Firefight has its own Mission Track. A Mission Track is a series of events that are triggered if the Mission Marker lands on an event's space. Certain orders advance the Mission Marker 1, 2 or 3 spaces, so the game is different each time you play. The firefight ends immediately when the Mission Marker lands on or passes the last space of the Mission Track.
Note: The base game 2-player scenarios are NOT playable with solitaire rules "out of the box"; solitaire scenarios need additional elements (mission track etc). So additional homebrew tinkering is needed to adapt an existing 2-player scenario for use with the solitaire system. But the solitaire expansion comes with many (new) scenarios, and the Firefight Generator expansion permits creating solitaire scenarios.
• Price $35
• Here's a preview video of Solo that I recorded with Academy's Uwe Eickert at Origins 2013. Man, time flies!
Fief: France 1429 is a game of dynastic ambition in which players assume the roles of nobles in the 15th century kingdom of France. Each player strives to become the most powerful ruling force in the kingdom by gaining control of Fief and Bishopric territories. In turn, they acquire Royal and Ecclesiastical (church) titles which give their families influence to elect the next Pope and King. Players strengthen their positions by negotiating marriage alliances between their families, setting the stage for love, treachery and deception!
Fief is a classic French-language game and is being re-introduced by Academy Games in English with updated rules, new units, a new and larger consolidated map, and more. This edition also includes additional components, which enhances game play.
The game board represents a portion of the Kingdom of France in the Middle Ages. Villages have square outlines that are connected by roads that allow Lord and Troop movement. The villages are grouped into eight colored background areas that represent individual Fiefs, which are domains given to Lords to preside over. Fiefs have different colored backgrounds and Bishoprics have heavy bordered outlines that include several different Fiefs. Each village also belongs to one of five church Bishoprics; each Bishopric is outlined with a heavy border line and is numbered between 1-5 along the edge of the board inside a Bishop's Mitre.
Each player controls up to four family members, comprised of male and female nobles. These family members will rise in power by gaining Royal and Ecclesiastic Titles.
In Fief: France 1429, a player may attempt to gain control of all the villages in a Fief to gain the Royal Title of Baron, Earl or Duke. For each Fief a player controls, he gains 1 VP. These Titled Lords may now take part in the election for the next King. They may even be a candidate to become King, thus bringing 1 VP and more power to the family! Other members of your family may follow the calling of the Church to gain the Ecclesiastical Titles of Bishop and then Cardinal. These titles allow you to Tithe Bishoprics, taking the Church's (i.e. "your") fair share of income from other Fief Lords! The highest goal your clerical family member can attain is to be elected Pope, bringing 1 VP and special privileges to your family!
You win the game as soon as you have 3 VPs. This is easier said than done and you may need to form alliances with other players through diplomacy and marriage to obtain your goal. When one of your family members marries a noble of another family, the two of you become allied. You now win the game together with 4 VPs and cannot win alone, unless your marriage is annulled by the Pope or your spouse is "mysteriously" murdered or dies of some other foul means!
In addition to being wary of your fellow players, you may draw event cards that can quickly change your destiny. Bounty Event cards are beneficial to the Player and include "Good Harvest", "Good Weather" and "Added Taxes" cards. But some cards are Disaster Cards that can randomly effect all players in specific Bishoprics. These include "The Plague", "Heavy Rain", "Famine", and "Peasant Uprisings"!
Income can be increased by players imposing church tithes on their opponent's villages or taxing their own Fiefs. Players may purchase new Fief titles, improve their village incomes with mills, and fortify their cities.
Players will also need to protect their land and castles. Men at Arms and Knights can be purchased, as well as Siege Engines. If you feel that other players are not running their Fiefs as well as you can, you may try to invade their territories! But you must risk one of your family members to lead the troops into possible battle, where they might be killed or taken prisoner. If two opposing armies are in the same village square, a Battle may be initiated. The players assess the size and strength of their armies, which determine the number of Battle Dice each may roll. Each "f" rolled is a hit. Men at Arms are defeated with one hit, while Knights require three hits to be removed from the battle.
The Kickstarter Edition of Fief: France 1429 included the Fief: France 1429 Expansions Pack and offered 3-D buildings and metal coins as 'add ons.' These items are all still available directly from Academy Games.
This game is the most recent edition of Fief. It re-implements:
Fief (third edition with completely revised rules and material, 2011)
• In May 2014, Academy Games' Uwe Eickert said that this title is a maybe for Gen Con 2014 depending on long the game takes to ship to the U.S. That said, copies will still be on hand for demo games should the pallets of copies for sale not show up in time.
As soon as you saw the ad in today’s Tribune, the certainty flooded over you. At last, this is your chance, the reason for all your training! All that work waterproofing your utility belt and practicing your one-liners will finally pay off. You call into work sick, feed the cat, and turn on your police scanner, waiting nervously for the first call--or at least, the call that’s close enough for you to get there first. You’ll stop at nothing to join your heroes, The Champions of Zeta City, and woe to any wannabe crime fighters who stand in your way!
Heroes Wanted is a tactical board game for 1-5 superhero hopefuls, attempting to fulfill their dreams of becoming a member of Zeta City’s exclusive crime fighting super team: The Champions of Zeta City. Each time you play, you will create a unique superhero comprised of two hero cards. You will then choose a scenario and face a different villain (or villains), but the objective remains the same: gain as much fame as possible by KO’ing minions, completing headlines, and thwarting the villain. At the end of each game, the superhero with the most fame is the winner and joins the prestigious ranks of The Champions of Zeta City.
Gothic Doctor is a card game for 2-4 players in which doctors compete with each other to earn the most money in a single night that's broken up into eleven one-hour turns. The patients that the doctors are treating are characters from Gothic literature, such as Mr. Hyde or Frankenstein's Monster.
Patients are "cured" with a combination of cards from the hand indicated on each patient's card. The number of treatments required range from 2 to 4 treatment cards, and harder-to-treat patients earn the doctor more money. There is also a "wild card" treatment in the game to speed up gameplay (though his treatment is required for some patients).
In addition to patient and treatment cards, there are also action cards, which allow doctors to affect how easily patients are treated, to draw additional cards, or to hinder another doctor's efforts.
• Price $30, with the game available in a limited number of copies ahead of its full retail release in February 2015.
The classic collectible card game Deadlands: Doomtown returns as an Expandable Card Game in Doomtown: Reloaded. Featuring four factions fighting for control of Gomorra, California. Doomtown: Reloaded allows you to build your own deck from a fixed set of cards in the box. Play your dudes to control deeds in the town, and use actions, hexes, and more to thwart your opponents.
Shootouts are resolved via a poker mechanism as every card has a suit and value. Preparing for the hands you want to draw is as much a part of deck building as choosing the actions and dudes you'll want to play. Your deck is built around an Outfit, one of the four main groups attempting to control Gomorra, California, and these outfits are:
The Law Dogs: The Sheriff and his deputies, tasked with enforcing law and order in an extremely chaotic town.
The Sloane Gang: The main cause of a lot of the chaos, the Sloane Gang takes what they want, no matter who it costs.
The Morgan Cattle Company: Progress and investment, Morgan Cattle has moved into the surrounding ranch lands and uses its deep pockets to influence the town.
The Fourth Ring: It's that circus that's been here for months, but I swear it just arrived...
The base set of Doomtown: Reloaded will be followed by Saddlebag expansions, in-store OP events, and the Badge Series of tournaments.
• AEG is taking preorders for Doomtown: Reloaded for pick-up at Gen Con 2014 with a preorder deadline of July 20, 2014. No need to rush the door!
Lost Legacy: The Starship is a game of risk, deduction, and luck for 2–4 players. You start the game with one card in hand from a deck of sixteen cards. On a turn, you do the following:
Draw: Draw the top card from the deck and add it to your hand.
Play: Choose one of the two cards in hand to play and place it face up in front of you.
Effect: Carry out the played card's effect, after which the card is considered as discarded.
End: If there is at least one card left in the deck, the turn goes to the next player; if not, the investigation phase starts. Using the investigation speed indicated on the card each player has in hand, players take turns guessing which player (whether yourself or someone else) holds the "Lost Legacy" card; this card might also be in the "Ruins", a location that holds one card at the start of the game and possibly acquires more cards during play. The player who guesses correctly wins; if no one finds the Lost Legacy, then everybody loses.
By combining different Lost Legacy sets (while keeping only a single Lost Legacy card in play), up to six players can compete at the same time.
This is the English release of the 16 cards The Starship set in Lost Legacy. The Flying Garden set is released separately.
Pagoda is a two-player only game in which players compete to build multiple layers of up to six pagodas. Each player has five face-up and two face-down colored cards, and they use these cards to build colored pillars and levels of the pagoda. Once a pillar has been placed on the ground floor, all other pillars placed must be of the same color. When someone places the fourth pillar on a level, he places a floor tile of the pillars' color on top, with this tile have colored dots to indicate which color of pillar can be placed on top.
Players score points each time they place a pillar, with a pillar on ground level being worth one point, a pillar on the second floor two points, and so on. When a player places a floor tile, he gains one point as well as two actions associated with that color on his individual action board. The fourth floor tile is placed upside-down to show only one colored dot. Two pillars can be placed on this dot, each worth five points, and once placed the pagoda is finished. After three pagodas are finished, players finish the round, then the player with the most points wins.
Say Bye to the Villains – a.k.a., 成敗 ("Punishment") in Japanese – is a cooperative card game in which players share information in limited ways to collectively defeat a villain who has harmed people in some manner. Players can discard certain cards to learn hidden information about the villain, go through special training to increase their attack abilities, and take special actions from other cards in the game.
The card deck in Seventh Hero consists of 77 cards, with each card representing one of seven different heroes. Players each start with two random heroes, and each hero has a special power that can be activated once. Each turn, a player sends a card from his hand face down to the next player, who can choose to take it or pass it on. If he takes it, he adds it to his group of heroes, but if it's a hero he already has, both hero cards are sent to the discard pile. Before sending a hero away, the player must obey the current round's limitations, such as the card must be odd or must be below or above a certain number.
The first player to collect six of the seven heroes wins.
Smash Up: The Big Geeky Box is a storage case for Smash Up cards that also contains a single faction deck for the game: "The Geeks", based on the characters and shows on the online Geek and Sundry channel, including TableTop.
"The Geeks" faction (as well as Smash Up: All Stars) will also be included in Smash Up: The Bigger Geekier Box, slated to be released August 20, 2018.
Trains returns with all-new cards and strategies for you to build the best rail system in Japan. Trains: Rising Sun not only features all new cards, it includes three entirely new boards. Two of the boards are designed specifically for two-player games, while the Nagoya map is for 3 to 4 players. This standalone game can mix easily with the original Trains game for even greater replay possibilities!
Trains: Rising Sun also introduces Route Bonus Cards, allowing you to score additional points for being the first to connect specific stations. Route Bonus Cards are included for the original Trains game as well!
Finally, Trains: Rising Sun includes the Trains: Nagoya Map expansion that was first produced only by the designer for use with the original OKAZU Brand production of Trains. (This item is not linked to in the information box for database reasons.)
• Not available for purchase at Gen Con 2014 as the game will now come out in October 2014
In Vikings' Return, first released as Lighthouse Run, you control a set of five sailboats as they race along the coast from lighthouse to lighthouse. Unfortunately, the lighthouse company is understaffed, with only three workers to man the six lighthouses. To make matters worse, a storm is coming up the coast. You have to manage which three lighthouse will be turned on at any one time to move your sailboats. Some moves will help all players, while others will help only you. How far will you manage to get you sailboats before the storm catches you?
In more detail, each player has an identical deck of fourteen cards. The game is played over twelve rounds, and each round a player has a hand of three cards. Each turn, the player plays a card to move a number of boats, some their own and some belonging to other players. The cards also adjust which lighthouses are lit, and the boats may move only if the lighthouse they are approaching is lit. At the end of each round, the storm move closer to the boats on the board. Any boats caught by the storm are out of the game and will score points for the last lighthouse that was passed. The game ends when the storm reaches the harbor at the end of the twelfth round. Player add the points earned for each of their boats and the highest total wins.
• Available for demo games at the Game Salute booth (#1623) ahead of a scheduled release in late 2015.
Step right up to play Arcadia, APE's card game of theme park construction. Compete with fellow park owners to build the amusement park of your dreams. Hire builders, inspectors, and other professionals to add rides, shows, midway attractions and shows.
Experts in various fields can get attractions built even faster. Start with a simple teacup ride and add charming carousels, roller coasters, acrobats, shooting galleries, and even a "Meet the Characters" restaurant!
• Available for demo games at Gen Con 2014 ahead of its release in late 2014.
Island Siege is a fast-playing game of fort-building and colonization in the Caribbean Sea. Players build shoreside forts to defend their colonists from attack and to score points. Forts allow you to put colonists in play, which in turn can safely build ships and buildings which provide abilities and points. Attacking allows you to chip away at your opponent's fort while gaining cubes which are used to build forts of your own. Your goal is to score 20 coins or get all of your colonists in play!
In RARRR!!, players first draft monster power cards in order to build their perfect monster, then draft power bid cards to fuel their monsters' rampages through cities. Cities are destroyed using a bidding system, and players are limited in their bids by the amount of each type of power that their monster possesses.
Will you build a super fire-spewing dragon monster, or a more balanced monster that can flatten cities time and time again for the long haul? Either way, it's not a good day to live in the metropolis.
Rolling Freight: Great Britain and India, an expansion for Rolling Freight, includes a double-sided game board that features maps of Great Britain and India and new rules for canals, ferries and caravans. Canals are links that exist at the start of the game, but which become owned by individual players when rail is built over them. Cargo can also be moved using ferries and caravans, which are permanent map placements that cost one dice to cross. These new maps also include rules for improvements that decrease in cost as the phases advance.
• Price $20
• This expansion will be featured in the Puffing Billy tournament at Gen Con 2014, according to APE Games' Kevin Brusky.
Ancient Balinese legend describes a host of powerful spirits who help poor rice farmers achieve success. These farmers have long used a sophisticated irrigation system to organize rice cultivation by integrating religious devotion and social responsibility with traditional farming methods. Even modern farmers seek to placate the spirit world in their quest to produce an abundant harvest.
In Spirits of the Rice Paddy, players must compete with fellow rice farmers to construct and tend rice paddies. Oxen can build walls and remove large rocks. Ducks can be employed to eat harmful pests and fertilize the fledgling crops. Weeds must be kept at bay. Most importantly, water must be conserved and released with the greatest of care. With a little luck, all that back-breaking labor will pay off in the end. The good news is that the spirits are eager to assist, granting many special abilities, blessings, and magic. The farmer who produces the most rice over seven rounds wins the game.
• Available for demo games at Gen Con 2014, with a Kickstarter campaign to be conducted for the game in 2014. Designer Philip duBarry will also be running Spirits of the Rice Paddy events on Friday and Saturday.