2014 GenCon Games Played/Purchased
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Zionsville
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This was my third time attending GenCon and my first multi-day exposure (we did Thursday & Friday). Since I have enjoyed my experience more each year and plan to continue going (maybe even attending all four days at some point), I thought it would be a good idea for me to keep a record of the games I get a chance to play as sort of a virtual scrapbook.

I am mainly doing this for my sake, but I thought I'd post it publicly for anyone who wants to see my brief first impressions of the games I played and a note on whether one of our group bought the game. I am sure there will be several of these lists published soon.

I will say that we had a great time at GenCon and even though it was packed with people, it never really felt overcrowded and everyone we met was great.
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1. Board Game: Age of War [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:1468]
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We played a four-player game of this at the Fantasy Flight booth. Extremely simple game to teach and plays pretty quickly. It doesn't really do anything particularly new or exciting but I had a good time playing it and it is a light game that my wife will likely enjoy playing. The fact that the retail price is $13 and it comes in a small box is what makes this one worthwhile.

I preordered this one online for $9. I would have paid retail for it at the FFG booth but I was not going to wait in an hour-plus length line to buy this one filler game.
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2. Board Game: The Battle at Kemble's Cascade [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:1540]
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We got to play a three-player demo of this game at the Z-Man games booth. Having heard briefly about the theme heading into GenCon, it sounded like it could be a really neat game. My first surprise was that this game is billed as taking 75-90 minutes to play; not at all what I was expecting for a game simulating a videogame shooter. BGG lists it at 45 minutes but that seems short for how many cards it looks like you need to go through each game but I will say that the game should flow pretty quickly once everyone has a good understanding of how the game works.

The card trays for the columns of cards was pretty nice but I didn't get a feel for how well they would work without being taped (they slide out to scale for the number of players and Z-Man had them taped together at the show) so I'm not sure if they end up making things that much easier in the end. This is not a big deal either way since it is only a small amount of cards each round, but I did wonder about it.

Our game explainer had us playing with a chaotic set of cards and it really did capture the general feel of playing a videogame shooter like this. Initially, it feels like a decent amount of rules and things to keep track of but once you get through a couple turns, it all felt pretty comfortable. I am not sure it is a game that fits our game group too much but it does seem like a success for what it was trying to achieve. I also liked the artwork quite a bit.

We did not purchase this game.
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3. Board Game: Black Fleet [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:641]
S P
United States
Zionsville
Indiana
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This was the game I was most looking forward to trying at GenCon so I was very glad that we got to play it. We played a three-player game and I thought that it was a pretty fun family game, but it really felt like it needed the additional player to shine. I tend not to buy games that require such a rigid player count as our game night counts fluctuate too much these days. Overall though, I thought it was an enjoyable family game that plays quickly and would recommend it to those that are looking for a light game that plays well with four.

We did not purchase this one.
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4. Board Game: Bomb Squad [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:2400]
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Played a prototype version of this game, explained by the designer, at the TMG room outside of the main hall. It's a cooperative game somewhat similar to Hanabi in that only the other players can see the cards in your hand and give you hints but then it crosses that with the programming aspect of a game like RoboRally.

We quickly obliterated the intro scenario in the time frame allowed but the designer explained that the normal scenarios would be much more challenging. It was an interesting game, but I don't think it's a great fit for us.

We did not purchase this game (or rather don't plan on purchasing it when the Kickstarter launches).
 
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5. Board Game: Ca$h 'n Guns (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:508]
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Played an eight-player game at the Asmodee booth. This was mostly to see how the new version compares to the original and I must say that the game feels a lot better now and was fun. I like the set collecting and the Godfather role but it is not different enough to warrant a purchase if you own the first version.

We did not purchase this game.
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6. Board Game: Chicken Cha Cha Cha [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1392]
S P
United States
Zionsville
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Not even close to a newly released game but I have always wanted to play this one since it seems to make every list of great games for kids. After experiencing it with four-players in the Rio Grande Games room outside of the main hall, I see why people like it so much. At its core, it is a simple memory game so it is very easy to teach and play with kids but it has a nice progression of trying to remember where all of the tiles are on the board as you desperately try to reach the chicken ahead of you. I am looking forward to playing this with my kids.

We purchased this game.
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7. Board Game: Five Tribes [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:52]
S P
United States
Zionsville
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Honorable mention. Wanted to demo/buy this one at GenCon but the tables were highly sought after and the game sold out quickly. I preordered a copy online though and am really looking forward to it.

We purchased this game.
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8. Board Game: King of New York [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:426]
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We got a chance to do a four-player demo of this game in the IELLO room outside of the main hall and I thought it was a lot of fun. I liked King of Tokyo but I think this game improves upon the largely same formula and makes the game flow a bit better, as it is more difficult to just hang back and heal yourself. I can't see myself wanting to play KoT now that this game is out.

We Purchased this one.
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9. Board Game: Ortus Regni [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:2618]
S P
United States
Zionsville
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There was a lot of advertising for this game at GenCon, though in my opinion a lot of it was poorly done as you wouldn't have known the advertising was even for this game unless you were already familiar with it.

We played a four-player demo in the Ortus Regni room and I was not impressed at all. The demo cards have text on them, which was nice, but nothing seemed very apparent as we just jumped right in or even very useful throughout the game. I ended up "winning" due to everyone else running out of cards before me (yay for going last, I guess) so it was very anticlimactic. To be fair, this was a demo game that was not using some of the more interactive/complicated cards, but as an intro to the game, it was an experience that will not likely have me going back to trying it again.

The artwork is fantastic though and it certainly looks unique.

We did not purchase this game.
 
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10. Board Game: Pandemic: Contagion [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1578]
S P
United States
Zionsville
Indiana
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I was hoping to get to demo Pandemic: The Cure at GenCon but it was not at the show. Instead, we got to play a three-player demo of Contagion at the Z-Man booth. I hadn't read anything about this game before the demo so I was surprised when I saw that it was a standalone game and not an expansion for the base Pandemic game. I did end up liking this one and I think it is a game my wife would enjoy playing as well, which is a big plus for me. It plays quickly and the actions each turn are pretty streamlined so it doesn't feel like much downtime at all.

I will say that the relationship to the Pandemic franchise is only cosmetic though, so just because you liked Pandemic doesn't necessarily mean you will like this one.

We purchased this one.
 
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11. Board Game: Scoville [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:516]
S P
United States
Zionsville
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We played a five-player demo of this in the TMG room outside of the main hall and I thought it was pretty fun overall. I backed the Kickstarter on this one and am glad I did. There was a definite learning curve to the mechanics on this and we all agreed that there is a decent amount going on with these simple mechanics.

One thing I will note is that we had a shortage of peppers for several types, especially brown. I'm not sure if this was due to our fairly poor play at the beginning of the game or if there are just not enough included. If it wasn't because of our poor play, users will need to create a multiplier system to use.

We purchased this one (via Kickstarter before GenCon)
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12. Board Game: Sheriff of Nottingham [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:244]
S P
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We got a chance to play a five-player game of this at the Arcane Wonders booth. A simple game to teach and play and it uses a bluffing mechanic that I have not seen before, as we do not play many bluffing games. I had a good time playing it but since we were playing with 3 strangers, the bluffing aspect felt a bit random. I think this will play quite nicely with a group of people that know each other and really try to mess with each other's minds.

We purchased this game (and picked up the promos from the Dice Tower booth).
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13. Board Game: Space Cadets: Dice Duel [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:943]
S P
United States
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This wasn't a new release this year but we played a demo of this game at the Stronghold Games booth. I had no interest in played the original Space Cadets game and wrote this one off by association when it first was announced. In hindsight, that was a silly thing to do since they seem to be quite different. In short, this game is just plain fun. Each person has such a simple-sounding job to do but how everything ties together and changing strategies on-the-fly based upon opponents actions was done really well.

I must also say that the people at the Stronghold Games booth also seemed to be the friendliest and most eager to help out of all of the booths I visited at GenCon. I didn't have any negative experiences at any booths but there was something about the Stronghold booth that really stood out.

We purchased this game and the new expansion being released at GenCon.
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14. Board Game: Star Wars: Empire vs. Rebellion [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:2224]
S P
United States
Zionsville
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We were able to play a two-player (as it is only a 2 player game) demo at the Fantasy Flight Games booth right before the hall closed on Friday night. In short, it's Blackjack with a few modifications and it was fairly enjoyable in our one play. I don't see this one maintaining our interest long-term though but it is another on of those small game with a $13 retail price so it is very accessible for those who think they may enjoy it.

We did not purchase this game.
 
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15. Board Game: Subdivision [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:2053]
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United States
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This was a game that I had only a passing interest in playing but ended up doing a three-player demo since we arrived at the Bezier Games booth right as a game as finishing. I was quite surprised at how much I liked this game. I thought I would like it as I enjoy Suburbia but I thought it might feel too similar for my tastes. I was wrong. It plays pretty quickly and is easy to teach. The drafting style of the tiles makes the game flow really well too with little downtime. I highly recommend this one and it was probably our favorite game of the show.

We purchased this game.
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16. Board Game: Valley of the Kings [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:627] [Average Rating:7.13 Unranked]
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We got to demo this one with the designer at the AEG booth. The designer was a nice guy and did a great job discussing how the cards can work together in the full game (the demo only used some of the cards to allow more people an opportunity to try the game). Overall, it seemed like a different enough take on the deck building games I have played and it really makes you think about how to manage the cards in your deck, since every card can be used in multiple ways. It also comes in a smaller box, which is great for storage and portability.

We did not purchase this one but it is on my list of future considerations.
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