Hello everyone! We are back from Gen Con, and its taken me way longer to write anything about it here than it should’ve. I will write a small paragraph in the beginning here about my experience at the con, then we will move into some games that we’ve played since returning home.
We arrived in Indianapolis on Wednesday evening, and left Sunday afternoon. Over the course of the Best Four Days In Gaming, we had plenty of meetings and interviews with many of the companies present at the convention to get sneak peeks at new games, more information on freshly-released games, and more. We enjoyed re-themed restaurants in downtown Indianapolis, met lots of great new people both at the con and at our hotel, and took advantage of much of what Gen Con had to offer. While I was sad that it had to end, it made me excited for next year, as we’ve already laid out a game-plan, so to speak, for 2014.
As you can imagine, we came home with plenty of games, and while I certainly won’t be reviewing them here, I thought I’d post a few first impressions of some of the games we’ve busted out already.
Smash Up : The Obligatory Cthulhu Expansion
My factions for our first round of the new Cthulhu expansion for Smash up were the Innsmouth Locals and Miskatonic University. The Locals strength lies in (small) numbers. The greatest strength among their minions is 2 and, well, the Locals are the only minions available. They quickly build up and can easily overrun a base, as well as many buffs that give minions with power 2 or less +1 strength. Miskatonic specializes in the balance of benefits and downfalls of Madness. Oftentimes you will find yourself deliberately drawing Madness cards to boost the efforts of your eager minions, while a decent number of the cards allow you to return Madness to its pile to remove it from your deck.
We will certainly be playing this more before a review goes up as I’d like to try the other factions and see how they mingle with the existing sets, but from my experience, the Elder Things and Cthulhu Cultists are powerful. Forcing other players to draw Madness cards (which count as -1 VP per 2 Madness cards at end game) can really change the outcome of a game.
Art is solid and follows the style of the other expansions, I see great things for this set.
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
Oh, the Pathfinder Card Game. This game has already seen great praise and criticism. Selling out in 3 hours at Gen Con, its popularity caught the curiosity of many con-goers as they waited patiently to get a demo. Without telling you to actually play it and make an assessment for yourself, think of a deck building game mashed with location/dungeon crawl similar to Smash Up, but with Pathfinder characters/rules/items/world.
We broke this out for our gaming group for a test run last night, and honestly, the worst part is the set-up. It takes a long time to put together the character and location decks, so I think that pre-planning for this game would be good. Perhaps having the host set it up before game night actually started?
The game comes with a set of dice, but does not have a d20. The idea is that since each class has their own strengths and weaknesses, the die that they roll for those checks should reflect that. From a d4 to a d12, characters get bonuses to certain checks in order to pick up items/spells, defeat enemies, or recruit allies. Our group spread out among the 6 locations available to us, which proved to be a mistake here and there. I could’ve buffed player X had I been where they were, etc.
I liked it, and am looking forward to giving it another go.
Mines Of The Sacred Dragon
I am mixed on this so far. It has nothing to do with dragons. Kind of to do with mines? I don’t know. Its more of a map/tile placement game in which you are meant to earn as many points as possible while building, and extending your “mine” (wooden cube token).
So far, this is what I have to say about it. The components aren’t the best, the paper tore on the back of a few of the tiles as I punched them out, and the rules aren’t very straightforward, especially for a solo player mode, which is what I did. Once all 10 of your tokens are placed on the board, its game over. There are very specific rules for how a mine extension can happen, which greatly affects your score. And the number one thing I can tell you about this game is this : I can see this being a nice quiet puzzle game for a solo player, but I can already tell I am going to have the rage of a thousand dragons when I play this with other people.
If there’s anything I didn’t cover about these games that you are curious about, please don’t hesitate to comment and ask questions. I will answer them to the best of my abilities 🙂