Gen Con 2014 - Games on My Radar
Travis Merkle
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Although I will not be attending Gen Con, the mountain of game releases is too awesome to ignore.

To simplify the list, I have just three categories:
- Buying - games I have already ordered or intended to pick up
- Watching - games I want to play before buying
- Passing - games that look interesting but I do not plan on purchasing at all

Here is the summary before I get into my thoughts.

Buying:
- Imperial Settlers
- Panamax
- Among the Stars
- Android: Netrunner – The Spaces Between
- Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game – Rebel Aces Expansion Pack
- Argent: The Consortium
- Tasty Minstrel Games - Micro Games - Coin Age, Templar Intrigue, Dungeon Roll: Winter Heroes Pack

Watching:
- Star Wars: Armada
- King of New York
- Shadowrun: Crossfire
- XCOM: The Board Game
- The Battle at Kemble's Cascade - Purchased 2014/11

Passing:
- Warhammer 40,000: Conquest
- Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles – Base Set
- Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game - Purchased 2015/02
- Doomtown: Reloaded
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1. Board Game: Imperial Settlers [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:128]
Travis Merkle
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Status: BUYING

This looks to be another great card game from the prolific designer, Ignacy Trzewiczek. It has a great compilation of mechanisms, such as resource management and variable player powers. The expansion potential is also looking good. The buzz has been pretty hot, so I have preordered anticipating the release!
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2. Board Game: Panamax [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:466]
Travis Merkle
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Status: BUYING

This looks to be a heavy economic game with that time tested strategy of using dice in unique ways. Although it may be a bit heavier than my usual games, I wanted at least one game of this weight, so I preordered with Stronghold games.
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3. Board Game: Among the Stars [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:427] [Average Rating:7.19 Unranked]
Travis Merkle
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Status: Buying

I originally backed the 2014 Artipia Games Kickstarter for this just to get metal coins, but after countless recommendations from reviewers, I decided to preorder everything from Stronghold. I like drafting, and the spatial element of this looks to make it different enough from 7 Wonders to warrant owning both.
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4. Board Game: Argent: The Consortium [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:462]
Travis Merkle
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Status: BUYING (Kickstarter)

Although some production delays have pushed this off a bit, I am excited to see the finished product. This unique take on worker placement looks swell - each worker has it's own abilities, and you draft workers at the beginning of the game. The theme is gnarly - magic school, kind of like Hogwart's - and the random hidden objectives and board layout should keep the game fresh each time!
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5. Board Game: Android: Netrunner – The Spaces Between [Average Rating:8.25 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.25 Unranked]
Travis Merkle
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Status: BUYING

Obvious, really? Why I not pick up the next Data Pack for my beloved Netrunner? The Currents included should shake things up, but I am really looking for a pack that helps the runner more than the corp for once.
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6. Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game – Rebel Aces Expansion Pack [Average Rating:8.14 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.14 Unranked]
Travis Merkle
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Status: BUYING

Another auto-buy as a collector / player of the X-Wing Miniatures Game. I am looking forward to making my A-Wing fleet useful, although I don't think I NEED another model. B-Wings are already strong enough, but FFG has me hooked on plastic crack so here we go again.
 
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7. Board Game Publisher: Tasty Minstrel Games
Travis Merkle
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Micro games:
- Coin Age
- Templar Intrigue
- Dungeon Roll: Winter Heroes Pack

Status: BUYING (Kickstarter)

TMG will finally be dropping these micro games on us after the horrific delays. I am glad that they will be selling these at Gen Con. Despite the problems with the micro games, they have a fantastic line up of games (such as Belfort and Eminent Domain), and I hope them the best success. People really get to uptight over $5 games - it's not like the Dark Darker Darkest debacle.
 
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8. Board Game: Star Wars: Armada [Average Rating:7.95 Overall Rank:181]
Travis Merkle
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Status: Watching

So this is how FFG wants to let us play with Star Destroyers? It is obvious that the large Star Wars ships wouldn't work well with the current X-Wing game, but I am cautious to buy into ANOTHER space combat minis game when I barely get to play X-Wing as is. Knowing FFG, it will be good, but it seems like it will either split the X-Wing fan base or just be an X-Wing distraction. The $100 MSRP and unknown cost of expansions is concerning. I want to play it a bit, but I think I will have to avoid buying in.
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9. Board Game: King of New York [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:426]
Travis Merkle
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Status: Watching

I am sure this will be fun. Richard Garfield is an amazing designer.

But will it be different enough from its predecessor, King of Tokyo, to warrant owing both? I am already pretty happy with the length and complexity of King of Tokyo, and this looks to lengthen and deepen the gameplay by adding more locations and options. But do we need this? Only time will tell as Iello has been very secretive about this release.
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10. Board Game: Shadowrun: Crossfire [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:617]
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Status: Watching

Honestly, this game looks great. A class-based coop deckbuilder that looks to play fun, and has "level ups" like the Pathfinder card game. But I am so sick of deck builders. There are a million! And I am still waiting on Shadowrift and Xenoshyft, so I don't want to add another coop deckbuilder to collection, yet. I will be willing to play this one anytime however!
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11. Board Game: XCOM: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:483]
Travis Merkle
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Status: Watching

This was a bit of a shocking announcement. The XCOM video games are swell, and FFG is probably the most capable company of converting a digital game into a board game (see Gears of War and Starcraft for great examples). But it isn't fully a board game - you need an app to control the AI. This is probably most the appropriate intersection of digital gaming and board gaming, rather than the other demonstrations we have seen. I am a bit wary of the longevity of an app based game - how long will FFG maintain the license and app? What if the power goes out from a real alien invasion? These questions need to be answered, but I still want to try this game out!
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12. Board Game: The Battle at Kemble's Cascade [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:1544]
Travis Merkle
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Status: Watching

The retro 2D space shooter theme of this game looks AMAZING. Although I wasn't much of SCHMUP player in my youth, I still love that this game exists. It seems like it might get old cast though, so I want to play it once or twice before buying.
 
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13. Board Game: Warhammer 40,000: Conquest [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:601]
Travis Merkle
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Status: Passing

FFG doesn't disappoint with their LCGs, although a lot of the mechanisms and timing structures (bar Netrunner) feel samey. I am sure this will be a fun game, but I already don't have time for the LCGs I want to play. I am sure this will do well for FFG, and I hope the 40k pantheon buys the crap out of this. I will stick with what I have for now.
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14. Board Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles – Base Set [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:658]
Travis Merkle
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Status: Passing

I will admit that I loved the original Rise of the Runelords path for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, but I got a little worn out by playing 6 characters by myself. Even though I finished the RotR campaign, I still have plenty of game there when trying new characters. The addition of boats to PACG looks cool, but the change to monthly releases means that this would be competing for more of my time than I want. I will stick with what I have.
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15. Board Game: Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:64] [Average Rating:7.75 Unranked]
Travis Merkle
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Status: Passing

This game looks amazing, and everyone seems to think highly of it. And I really want to play it! But it's not the kind of game I need to have in my collection. The zombie theme works perfectly for this semi coop, narrative based game, but I will be content with a single playthrough I think. The game here is more the social interaction than the mechanisms.
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16. Board Game: Doomtown: Reloaded [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:832]
Travis Merkle
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Status: Passing

I was stoked when this was announced, but like 40k above, I am content with my current LCGs. I think AEG should have a hit on their hands here, but I will be passing for the time being. I may pick up a core in the future, since the poker hand mechanism for shoot outs deserves a second look, but I want to see the "Saddle Bag" expansions first.
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17. Board Game: Coup: Reformation [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
Travis Merkle
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Status: Buying (Kickstarter)

I forgot this game was debuting at Gen Con. I both love and hate Coup at the same time - it is fine as a filler, but I don't want to play it more than a few times a night. I hope this expansion makes the decisions more interesting.
 
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