Our Most Anticipated Games of Gen Con 2018

Okay, listen up. Gen Con 2018 is right around the corner, and there are an awful lot of games to talk about. We couldn’t possibly cover them all (but we’ll damn sure try), so in the mean time, the three of us knocked our heads together, and came up with ten games that we’re all excited to see and hopefully play over in Indianapolis.

If you want each of our personal top five lists, be sure to give the podcast a listen! Here goes:


10. Horizons

Look, if you’re going to put beautifully illustrated alien portraits on your front cover, you’ve basically already got my vote. Horizons is a low conflict 4X-adjacent game (3X?) that’s more about colonizing space and completing missions, than it is about bashing your opponents’ heads in. You’d think reducing aggression would lower it in our estimations, but there’s something really appealing about transcribing the bigger, grander ambitions of a game like Eclipse into a more pleasant experience that doesn’t take hours and hours to finish.Also, I’m not kidding about that artwork. Everything is beautifully illustrated with tons of colour. The competition for best looking box art Space Lion is heating up. – Neilan 

 


9. Taj Mahal (Reprint)

“But wait,” you shout, “that’s not a new game!” To which I reply, “Right, it literally says Reprint right there in the title, you big idiot.” Yeah, Taj Mahal is almost twenty years old, but it’s also one of my favourite Reiner Knizia games. Provinces become available in a set order, and players have to manage their cards well in order to build sets and establish connected routes. The new edition looks beautiful, and even if all it does is fix the daft graphic design of the cards, it’d be a win.This seems like the perfect opportunity to break out this classic game again, or for new players to discover what they’ve been missing out on. It’s a tight game, that’s equal parts fun and infuriating … much like the crowds at the actual Taj Mahal. – Neilan

 


8. Gizmos

An engine-builder powered by the perennially-decent CMON struck a chord with me when browsing the 500+ games available at Gen Con. Games compared to Splendor, but with just a little bit more going on always are must-tries for me. Pair that with a marble dispenser (that is entirely necessary), and you have me stoked.Just count me out for the 7+ expansions that are already designed and ready for Kickstarter distribution, from the absurdly powerful engine that CMON built. – Kalen

 


7. Endeavor: Age of Sail

One of my favorite aspects of our hobby is discovering hidden gems, those underappreciated games that seem to come and go without getting thier due. Even better is when one of those gems gets a nice polish and a chance to shine again. Such is the case for Endeavor: Age of Sail, a reimplementation of the almost decade old Endeavor, a tight semi-cooperative Euro that perhaps suffered from a few faults in the gameplay and from a controversial (and perhaps controversially handled) theme.This new version seems to have fixed the gameplay while retaining the moral questions it raises about imperialism, both choices I’m happy to see … and I’m happy to see this diamond in the rough get another chance to sparkle. – Mark

 


6. Coimbra

You know when Kalen says, “I might want to play that Euro game,” then it’s probably worth checking out. Then you see the designers’ pedigree includes games like Leonardo da Vinci, Grand Austria Hotel, and Lorenzo il Magnifico … sure, tell me more. But, it’s that Chris Quilliams aesthetic that really seals the deal, wrapping the whole package up in some of the most vibrant, colourful art I’ve ever seen in a Euro game.The dice drafting at the game’s core also has an interesting twist, in that the colour of the die you draft matters, not just its value and placement. While perhaps “European City: The Board Game” leaves a lot to be desired thematically speaking, I can’t wait to get this one to the table. Even if just to look at it. – Neilan

 


5. Lost Cities: Rivals

The true doctor has a few games debuting at Gen Con. And no, not the one-time doctor Finn who graced us with a mildly themed religious card game. Dr Knizia. This take on Lost Cities is supposed to be “meaner” and more “cutthroat”. It also plays up to four players unlike the original. You couldn’t plan this any better for me.I’m excited to get “meaner” and more “cutthroat” with Mark and Neilan. They won’t know what hit them. – Kalen

 


4. Yellow & Yangtze

That’s right. The Doctor himself makes yet ANOTHER appearance on our list! But there’s a reason that Yellow and Yangtze is the highest Knizia on our countdown (or is it … ??? Okay, it is) considering it’s the sequel to the beloved 21 year old Knizia CLASSIC, Tigris and Euphrates.Those are quite big shoes to fill considering that of the doc’s 500+ games, T&E is generally considered the preeminent masterpiece in a career filled with them. But if there’s a man capable of improving on near perfection, it’s Reiner. – Mark

 


3. Ultimate Werewolf Legacy

“Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in with their lupine claws!” That is both a slightly altered reference to the worst Godfather movie, and an accurate representation of my feelings on legacy games. After Pandemic Legacy’s brilliance and novelty ushered in more copycats than bullets at a Long Island toll booth (sorry, Sonny), the novelty had worn off and the time commitment demanded by games of the genre often went from a source of excitement to a grinding burden. And yet, like some glistening cannoli in the distance, I can’t help but be drawn to the idea of THE classic social deduction game getting the legacy treatment.Now if they’d just given the same treatment to Mafia instead of Werewolf my references would have made a lot more sense. – Mark

 


2. Nyctophobia

A one vs. all game that made the list is improbable to say the least. Luckily, this one is as unique as it gets. The “many” play blind. Literally blind, and not the blind you get when you bid in boring auction games. Blindfold Blind. The “one” is out to get you. Everyone else is using their words and hands to maneuver around a tactile game board. I’m flying halfway across the country for this.There are different modules and different versions of the game. Mage. Hunter. Vampire. I’m sure you feel like all of those things while you play. Blind! – Kalen

 


1. Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game

If you know me at all (and I’d like to think that we’ve grown close), then you’ll know that I really love a narrative driven campaign game. Well, here comes the big one, both in game and in title, with Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game. Each of the five scenarios in this campaign are several hour long affairs, each one feeding into the next in a cohesive overarching story. You and your partners will have to make use of evidence, your collective wits, and even the internet, to crack the case.It’s certainly ambitious, even a little scary, but if early buzz is anything to go by, then Portal Games are delivering some strong storytelling. Looks like this Detective isn’t just … loose canon. YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAH!!! – Neilan

 

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