Well, Matt Forbeck’s done it again… releasing the second book in his Dangerous Games trilogy set at Gen Con. Let me go ahead and stop you right here before you read any further; if you’ve not yet read the first book, Dangerous Games: How to Play, you’re really missing out and you should make a point of reading it first before tackling this new, second book, How to Cheat. You can easily read this second book without any prior knowledge of the events in How to Play — but conversations and background information found in this second book may ruin your enjoyment of the first book should you choose to go back and read it at a later time.
So, feel free to read my original review of How to Play if you’re still on the fence. And keep in mind that some of what you’ll read below may contain spoilers from How to Play, so consider yourself warned. Possible spoilers from this point forward!
Liam Parker is back at Gen Con, a year older and a year wiser under the guidance of Matt Forbeck (yes, Matt’s put himself right in the middle of the book along with a lot of other names you’re sure to recognize from the gaming world) as they’ve worked together to bring their card game, Mojo Poker, to life after a successful Kickstarter. (There is so much meta here… this trilogy was part of the 12 for ’12 KIckstarter.)
The events from the previous year are still being talked about — two murders and a third attempt foiled by Liam during his investigations sanctioned by the Gen Con event organizers. Liam is still in shock that someone directly related to the crimes is still free, not to mention a key player at this year’s Gen Con. But the show must go on, and most of the attendees are just happy to be back and playing games and checking out all the new products for sale, including Liam and Matt’s game.
Liam would be happy to just talk about the game and sell as many copies as possible, but he’s once again dropped right in the middle of an investigation by the Indianapolis Police Department (at the request of the Gen Con organizers) when another murder occurs on the day before the start of the four-day event. Liam has his suspicions, but his primary suspect has a rock solid alibi (and tons of witnesses to back it up). Liam’s got to balance his duties as Gen Con Liaison to the police with his desire to meet and greet the fans of his new game.
It’s a whirlwind story… I read the entire 200 pages within hours of getting my digital copy. Matt’s thrown a great little mystery into the mix along with some fun name drops, more behind-the-scenes details of the game publishing world, and a very likable lead character and a despicable villain.
I’m not able to attend Gen Con this year (2013), but I am doing my best to try and find a way to make it for 2014. I have no doubt that Matt has captured the spirit of Gen Con in these pages, and it’s made me even more anxious to make my first trip.
I don’t have any information on the release date for the third book in the series, How to Win, but Matt did describe it as Die Hard meets Gen Con.
Well, yippy-ki-yay! I can’t wait.
Note: Visit Matt’s website for more information on where to purchase.