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Coming the Week of January 18th (17 Jan 2020)
First Impressions of Return to Dark Tower.
Reviews of Clank!, On the Underground, Cover Your Kingdom, and Arkham Horror LCG: Circle Undone Core Box.
It Came from the Tabletop's take on Sanctum.
Part 3 of The Others.
And more TBA
PAX Unplugged Updates
My plan is to meet with a bunch of publishers and get the scoops on interesting new & upcoming games. Hopefully there will actually be some games that are actually of interest to you all. Reporting on new games used to be easy, because there used to be only a few hundred of them, and it was pretty easy to gauge what might be of interest to folks here. Now, there are thousands, and, quite frankly, most are hardly worthy of note. However, I will do my best to sift through the wares on display, and hopefully find something worth sitting up and taking notice of.
The plan for tonight, however, is to make it to Philly in time to attend a meet and greet for board game media folks at a nearby pub. I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends and finally meeting some long time e-friends f2f. Right now, however, that doesn’t look promising, as it is snowing more heavily and traffic sucks.
I also accepted an invite to a party later tonight by a publisher that I thought was Level 99 (Argent Consortium), but when I checked the tickets just now, is actually 9th Level. I don’t know what they publish, but I guess I will find out.
Today I met with OP, Gamelyn, WizKids (Zev), Ultra Pro Playroom Division, Iello, Catan Studios, Atomic Mass Games, Kolossal, Fowers Games and 9th Level, Legomancer Games, and the designer of Overbattle All Out War.
My overall impression is that although it may seem like we are seeing an endless stream of samey, over priced piles of grey minis (and there certainly was a lot of that), there is actually a wider variety of games out there, aimed at reaching a wider and more diverse market, than ever before.
I am now going to get some dinner and hopefully a cocktail or two, put up my tired feet and relax a bit.
Elzra (Catacombs) announced my next game (Pete is working on it as well), called Phantom Division. This is a spiritual successor to SEAL Team Flix but it's set in space; imagine lots of neon and goofiness. I think the game will benefit from ditching the real world setting, and production will be several orders of magnitude better. This will also serve to basically be Catacombs in space, but full co-op instead of adversarial.
I also landed a contract for a drafting / dice rolling game that I have been working on for quite a while. I don't know when that one will get announced, so that's all I'll say on that for a while.
GAMES I SAW / PLAYED:
The designers of the upcoming Sniper Elite were gracious enough to give me a demo. This is from Rebellion Unplugged and will be on Kickstarter soon. It is a hidden movement game in which 1 player is Karl Fairburne and the other players control squads of soldiers who are searching for him.
Being based on a video game (a FANTASTIC game, you should totally play it), they had to do some heavy abstraction. Most of Karl's tricks are one-time use, while in the video game he could do them over and over. The actual sniping mechanic is interesting; you use a "bag building" mechanic and have to draw cubes out of the bag in an amount that you specify, but you have to pull at least as many cubes as you are spaces away from your target. You can press your luck and pull more cubes than necessary in order to obfuscate how far away you were from the target. The spaces themselves are different lengths, with wide open spaces being longer, making it easier for the sniper to shoot farther.
This game plays very swiftly, and I think it has a lot of potential.
Return to Dark Tower was on the floor, and I saw it being played. It looks very cool. Unfortunately when I actually went to get my own demo of it, they had removed it from the floor. Boo.
I got a demo of Unmatched. This game is the real deal. I was glad that it was impossible for me to cart around games due to luggage considerations, or I might have ended up with a bunch of this one. Plays quick, easy, and the characters are cool.
It's a Wonderful World: I met up with the Wolf Designna team (Guards of Atlantis). My original intention was that we were going to put in some design time on Guards 2, since I'm supposed to be helping out on it. But we never actually did that. We played this drafting game. You generate cubes of various colors to "build" cards that generate cubes of various colors so you can build more cards etc etc etc for four rounds and then you add up all your points. The game itself was decent and we played it twice. I would play it again. There is zero player interaction, of course. The cards have great artwork on them and the board is not ideal; it comes in two parts and they don't connect via puzzle tabs.
A friend and I played two games of Volt. This is an older game that recently had a reprint that dramatically improved the components. Each player programs movement and shooting for a robot, trying to destroy the other player's robot. There are a bunch of "advanced" rules that add power-ups and a bunch of complexity, but we had so much fun in "training" mode that I think you could play for a long time before wanting any of that. I will definitely consider picking this one up.
Next we checked out Kick-Ass by CMON. Both of us enjoyed the movie. As we struggled to set this thing up, I tried to pick my way through the rules. It's a lengthy rule book that does not lend itself to learning at a con. Saying that, the game library had SEAL Team Flix and I saw that it got checked out. I hope those people already knew how to play. Anyway, we attempted a turn and finally said fuck this and threw it all back in the box.
I had the privilege of finally getting to meet Al and Uba for dinner and drinks. Later, Saul showed up, and we also happened upon Matt Fantastic. It was a ton of fun to hang out with everyone!
Overall it was a really great experience, but I'm glad I am home and no longer walking the convention hall!
Msample wrote: You go thru NYC or take 287/Tappan Zee?
Oh, Man! We were surprised at how much the GPS wanted to put us on the GW, but we pushed ourselves over the Tappan Zee nonetheless. Unfortunately traffic just kept building up unexpectedly. At one point we were using three programs at the same time (GPS, iPhone and an iPad)trying to get around the mess when a New York driver forced us into the wrong the wrong lane and onto the GW going back into NYC! Paid $15 to sit in bridge traffic again.
Despite the bad start we had an awesome time once we got there. More stories to come. . .
On Saturday I met with Asmadi, Czech Games Edition, Everything Epic, Archon Games, Letiman Games, Talon Strikes Studion, Wizards of the Coast, Funco Games (Prospro Hall), Elzra, and Arcane Wonders.
Saturday night I went to a meet up for women in the industry. That was fun. Plus I got to hang with my niece, who was attending as a designer. Sadly, I didn't get to talk to many of the woman in board game media, because they were mostly "still on the clock" either shooting video and doing interviews, or, like me, were so exhausted they parked themselves at a table and didn't have the energy to walk around and mingle.
Sunday I met with AEG and Flying Night Bear Games. Then made our last lap around the floor to pick up some demo copies to hand deliver to our reviewers.
Now I have about 5 articles with of material to start organizing.