Gen Con 2016 in Photos, Part 4

Remember how I said in last year’s Gen Con photo recap that you should remind me not to schedule anything so close to Gen Con in the future? Apparently not, because nobody reminded me. This year, after I got back from Gen Con, I had (in the same weekend) high school friends in town for a wedding, my parents in town for a visit, and some out-of-town skaters attending a roller derby boot camp—we had a revolving door for a while there. So… a month later, I’m finally wrapping up my Gen Con photo recap.

(In case you missed it, here are links to Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.)

Sunday is when things start winding down a little—a lot of attendees head home on Sunday so the hall is not as crowded, and many of the booths start marking things down because, hey, nobody wants to ship games back from Gen Con. I’d started making a list on Saturday evening of the things I still needed to do on Sunday and—surprise!—that list got really long really quickly.

Even on Sunday, the crowd waiting for the exhibit hall to open is still pretty impressive. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Gotta get a photo of this every year.

Michael Coe of Gamelyn Games. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

So on Sunday I caught Michael Coe at the Gamelyn Games booth. I’m a big fan of the Tiny Epic series of games designed by Scott Almes, and I knew he had some new projects in the works. He showed me a prototype of Tiny Epic Galaxies: Beyond the Black, an expansion that will hit Kickstarter on September 7, as well as a peek at Tiny Epic Quest, which has some really awesome components that I can’t tell you about just yet. Just you wait. Also in the works is Heroes of Land, Air & Sea, which will be a big epic game: a 4x game with miniatures and everything. Stay tuned!

Gamelyn Games had Viewmasters with slides of their various titles. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

A fun touch: Gamelyn Games had Viewmasters so that you could look at 3D pictures of various titles. I love Viewmasters.

Crafty Games booth, with a game of Mistborn in the foreground. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

I wrote about the Mistborn: House War Kickstarter campaign back in June, and I was pleased to see people playing demos of a prototype at Gen Con. (I’m also particularly pleased to see the custom PennyGems because that was something I’d encouraged Crafty Games and Improbable Objects to team up for.)

Evolution: Climate from North Star Games. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The North Star Games booth was pretty busy all weekend, too, with finished copies of Evolution: Climate. I hope you backed it when I wrote it up because it turned out looking great (and it’s just such a fantastic game). I’ve got a copy of this one, so watch for a “Reaping the Rewards” post on that one in the future. The other thing drawing people to the North Star Games booth was Happy Salmon, a really silly card game that has everyone high-fiving and fist-bumping and switching places. I expect one of the GeekDads will be writing about that one soon, too.

Tiffin from Rio Grande Games. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

I snapped a photo of Tiffin at the Rio Grande Games booth, which had severe discounts on everything for Sunday. Tiffin was designed by some friends of mine here in Portland, Rael Dornfest and Jonathan Hager, and it’s one that I had played some very early iterations of in a playtesting group, so it’s really fun to see it out “in the wild.” It’s a game inspired by the lunch-delivery system in Mumbai and is another one I have for review.

Super Dungeon Tactics. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Super Dungeon Tactics is a videogame based on Super Dungeon Explore, a miniatures game with lots of heroes and bad guys (and itself somewhat videogame-inspired). I think one of the other GeekDads was planning to take a closer look at this one so I didn’t stop to play it myself.

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Tokaido app (still in development). Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Tokaido, a gorgeous game about traveling the Tokaido road from Edo to Kyoto, is going to be an app soon. Passport Games had a little demo running at their booth, and it looks really beautiful (as you might expect). I also like that it’s not just a direct port of the game’s graphics, but is made to look something in between a board game and a videogame.

John Wrot talks to some customers at the Gate Keeper Games booth. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

John Wrot is the designer and publisher of The King’s Armory, a tower defense board game, and he has an interesting Kickstarter story because it did not fund the first time around, so he made a lot of improvements, got a lot of feedback, and then succeeded. Since then, he has run a few more Kickstarters, learning new lessons each time, and then sharing them in his Kickstarter Advice Columns. He also has had Kickstarter advice panels at Gen Con, where he assembles a group of people from the industry and just lets the audience submit any questions they have. I had the privilege to be on one of the panels this year along with Greg Spence of The Broken Token, Max Salzberg of BackerKit, and Dan Halstad of the League of Nonsensical Gamers.

It’s Pikachu, drawing all Pokemon fans! Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Pokémon had its own booth at Gen Con this year. I don’t know if they have in the past—maybe they did and I just didn’t notice, but this year there was a giant inflatable Pikachu hovering over the exhibit hall. The booth was very popular, as you might expect. (I don’t play Pokémon GO myself, but I know a lot of people were catching a lot of them over the weekend.)

J’Accuse! from Smirk & Dagger Games. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

I’d been trying to catch Curt Covert at the Smirk & Dagger Games booth all weekend to chat about the new titles, but he was pretty much always running a game and I didn’t want to interrupt. (I also ran into him several times in the evenings but while he was in the middle of running tournaments.) On Sunday, I finally caught him at a relatively quiet time and got the lowdown on a couple of new titles. J’Accuse! is a sort of murder mystery game, with motives and opportunities and weapons and suspicious characters—but it’s not so much about finding the actual murderer as it is about pinning the blame on somebody else. Players use cards to shift the evidence (and blame) around, and once somebody has enough evidence in front of them, you can accuse them of the crime (by pointing and shouting “J’Accuse!” of course).

Specters of Nevermore. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Another new title from Smirk & Dagger is Specters of Nevermore, an expansion to the hate-drafting game Nevermore (read my original review here). The expansion adds characters taken from Edgar Allan Poe’s tales, and each one has two abilities: one for human form and one for raven form. It also includes the poker chip tokens that had been given out at Gen Con last year as a promo because people loved those so much but many people weren’t able to get them. Watch for a review of this title later!

Cry Havoc from Portal Games. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Cry Havoc from Portal Games was one of the popular titles at Gen Con this year but, alas, yet another thing that I didn’t have time for. I managed to swing by the Portal Games booth, said hello to Ignacy Trzewiczek, and got this photo of a game in progress. It’s a big area-control battle game with a sci-fi theme and it looks fantastic… but I’ll have to wait until later for it.

Card Caddy—a carrying case that turns into a deck-holder. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Jim Kelly mentioned the Card Caddy in his recap post, but it had also caught my attention. (Well, part of that was the teenager working the booth, who was doing an excellent job pitching the product.) The two halves of the Card Caddy snap together to form a carrying case, or can attach side-by-side to make a deck/discard holder while you play. They come in various colors, and there are even double-decker versions (as you can see in the photo) though those aren’t available on the website yet.

Darrell Louder with a giant version of VIkings on Board. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Darrell Louder is a game designer (Compounded, Bottom of the Ninth) and he also now works for Panda Game Manufacturing, one of the companies that actually produces a lot of the games you own. I ran into him at the Blue Orange booth, where he was chatting with them about components.

Fate of the Elder Gods. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Fate of the Elder Gods is a Lovecraft-themed game from Darrell Louder, Chris Kirkman, and Richard Launius that was on Kickstarter during Gen Con. I got a brief overview of the game at the Greater Than Games booth, but in all the post-con catching up, failed to tell you all about it sooner. Sorry! The campaign smashed its funding goal and is expected to be delivered in May 2017, so stay tuned.

One more photo with Ray Wehrs. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

It was time to head to the airport, whether all the things on my list were checked off or not (they weren’t), so I made my way to the exit. I decided to say hello one more time to Ray Wehrs at Calliope Games since the booth was right near the doors.

I failed to take a photo of my last game of Gen Con: one more round of Deep Sea Adventure, played at the airport while waiting for my flight.

My Gen Con haul, before and after un-nesting things. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

And, finally, Gen Con was really and truly over. Time to unpack everything—and start playing, so I can get to all those reviews I’ve promised! Who’s ready to play some games?

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This post was last modified on January 16, 2018 2:08 pm

Jonathan H. Liu

Jonathan H. Liu is a stay-at-home dad in Portland, Oregon, who loves to read, is always up for a board game, and has a bit of a Kickstarter habit. I can be reached at jonathan at geekdad dot com.

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