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?
A news video series about great board games for video gamers. From game-industry veterans (and ex-EGM alums) Dan "Shoe" Hsu, Seanbaby, and more.
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Episode 10's Flip Ships brings back classic arcade shoot-em-up action to your tabletop.
Episode 9's Mansions of Madness is an app-driven, cooperative board game that is very Resident Evil-y.
Episode 7 and 8's Between Two Cities has a unique co-op + competitive setup, where you must work with each of your neighbors.
Episode 6 and 8's Quadropolis lets you build out the perfect city, like in the SimCity video games.
Episode 5's Adrenaline simulates multiplayer arena shooters like Quake or Unreal Tournament.
Episode 4's The Pursuit of Happiness lets you play out a full, hopefully happy life, a la The Sims.
Episode 3's T.I.M.E. Stories features cooperative time-traveling adventures for up to four players.
Episode 2's Scythe features bad-ass mechs and some of the most gorgeous art ever seen in a board game.
Episode 1's War of Indines simulates one-on-one fighting games.
The subject of our pilot episode! 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 (4-8P).
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.