Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |
Late summer is the time for barbecues, concerts in the park, and (most importantly) making the trek to downtown Indianapolis to play tabletop games with 60,000 other board game fanatics for four days straight. Gen Con—the biggest tabletop gaming convention in North America—is now in its 51st year, and it’s not slowing down. According to the organizers, this year’s show was once again an attendance record-breaker.
We played a truly obscene amount of games to sort through the noise and bring you this big list of 20 top titles. These games should be available soon; check with your favorite local or online game store for when they’ll be getting them in. (And be sure to check out our Gen Con image gallery if you missed it earlier this week.) Of course, with more than 600 new games from 520 game companies and 17,000 ticketed events on offer, we weren’t able to sample everything. We focused on board games; roleplaying games and miniature wargaming were sadly not in our purview. Nevertheless, we think there’s something here for everyone.
Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Reef
Emerson Matsuuchi, Next Move Games, 2-4 players, 30-45 minutes, age 8+
Reef is an inviting family-weight game filled with difficult choices.[/ars_img]Next Move Games hit gold with its Spiel des Jahres-winning family-weight abstract game Azul last year (we absolutely loved it), and the company may be set to continue that trend in 2018. Reef is a new game about stacking up chunky plastic coral reef pieces to score points—which is to say it’s an equally approachable abstract board game.
On your turn, you either take a card from the common display or play a card from your hand. If you play a card, you collect the colored pieces shown on the top of the card and place them anywhere on your board. You then score points if you’ve matched the pattern on the bottom of the card. Sounds easy, but you have to think several turns ahead in order to trigger scoring at the right time, and even further ahead to set yourself up for multiple good turns in a row.
You can teach the game in minutes, but the strategy required to wring the most points from your cards is surprisingly tricky, and pulling off a big move makes you feel like a genius. A new entry in the “easy enough for anyone to learn but interesting enough for seasoned gamers” category, Reef is easily one of my favorite games from the show.
Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Root
Cole Wehrle, Leder Games, 2-4 players, 60-90 minutes, age 10+
Two years ago, Leder Games’ asymmetric dungeon crawler Vast was the sleeper hit of Gen Con. This year, the company is back (with more hype) to inject its trademark asymmetric gameplay into the wargame genre, this time working with designer Cole Wehrle.
In Root, you play one of four factions of cute little woodland creatures vying for control over a forest map. As in Vast, each faction in Root plays differently from the others, with different goals, win conditions, and mechanics, essentially making the game four games in one. Marquise de Cat’s faction, for instance, starts out with units all over the board, and its goal is to secure the kingdom by building buildings. The Woodland Alliance, on the other hand, starts with little presence on the board and must spread its influence throughout the forest while gaining sympathizers opposed to the Cats’ rule.
With so many different mechanics in one game, Root could end up being a tough one to teach, but the gorgeous artwork and intriguing premise have us eager to dig in further.
Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Arkham Horror (Third Edition)
Nikki Valens, Fantasy Flight Games, 1-6 players, 120-180 minutes, age 14+
A new edition of the modern classic Cthulhu mythos game