This past August, tabletop game publishers from around the world descended on Gen Con 50 like incorporated drug dealers, dishing out samples of Pandemic this, Catan that, for four solid days. And tens of thousands of gamers from around the world showed up and paid for the privilege of being marketed and sold to by these companies. That’s a lot of people chasing that next gaming high.
What’s the draw? At North America’s largest tabletop gaming convention, fans can:
Going Analog was there. And not even 24 hours after we left, we started missing it already. We no longer ask if we’re going next year; that’s just assumed now.
Here are our co-hosts’ faves of the show. (Make sure to check out our Facebook or Twitter feeds for a ton of photos from the event.)
Shoe's Game of the Show:
Princess Jing ( publisher : Matagot)
Shoe: I hate calling anything “of the show” since I probably played about 40 demos out of several million. But from my limited sampling, Princess Jing was the most memorable. It’s a head-to-head, Stratego-like game where you must get your princess to escape through a specific exit on the opposite side of the board.
The catch: Your opponent can’t see your characters, which are all facing you. So you can keep the location of the princess and her animal friends (which show which exit is your true goal) hidden.
The double-catch: Each player also has two characters that hold up mirrors (like, literal shiny mirrors). So if either of those gets moved to the right spot, they can reveal what the opponent is hiding.
What a clever gimmick. I can’t wait for this game to come out in a few months.
Shoe's Honorable Mentions:
Christina's Game of the Show:
Photosynthesis (publisher: Blue Orange)
Christina: It’s always the one that got away...the one game, that is. I didn’t get around to playing Photosynthesis until Day 3, which meant that all I could do was demo a round in the Blue Orange booth and forlornly pine for the then sold-out game. With beautiful design, innovative mechanics (the differing sun position alters which positions on the board are most valuable), and a tight economy system, Photosynthesis is a must-have for a bio-nerd board game enthusiast like me.
Christina's Honorable Mentions:
What's Going Analog?
Veterans of the video game industry (and EGM/1UP alums) getting together to talk board games
What we're playing
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Spell Smashers, which we talk about in episode 4, mixes word-making with some light RPG elements.
Wordsy is the light, accessible word game that Christina recommended in episode 4.
We discuss KeyForge: Call of the Archons in Episode 3 of the podcast. Here is the starter set for the new randomized-deck card game from the creator of Magic the Gathering.
Hive Mind is one of our favorite new party games (also from the maker of Magic the Gathering, by the way). Think of it as "reverse Scattergories," where players must try to think alike.
Shoe calls Everdell: Collector's Edition "borderline overproduced." This worker-placement, tableau-building game starring cute forest animals is definitely fit to show off.
Mansions of Madness is an app-driven, cooperative board game that is very Resident Evil-y -- and the highest rated game we've reviewed in our video series.
In episode 2 of our video series, we review Scythe's bad-ass mechs and some of the most gorgeous art ever seen in a board game.
The subject of our pilot episode of our video series. Great for fans of X-Com's tactical battles.
One of our faves from Gen Con 2017, Secrets is a fantastic hidden-roles game for small groups (recommended for 4-6 players, though it can go up to eight).
Like Risk except good. Mix different races and powers to create unique armies for every match.
Your dice are spaceships. Roll 'em and place 'em to gather resources, get alien tech, and build colonies.