Going Analog

Where video game industry veterans introduce great board games to video gamers

Gen Con 2017: The games we wish we played

All of the game we wish we'd played at Gen Con 2017.

The massive tabletop gaming convention Gen Con is only four days long, which just isn’t enough time. Here’s what we didn’t get a chance to play in the 2017 edition but would’ve if the show were, say, four times longer.

  • Too Many Bones (Chip Theory): We’ve heard so much hype for this board game/role-playing game hybrid that uses dice-placement as its main mechanic (and we sure do love dice-placement games). But the reported three-hour-plus playtime plus $120 price tag scared us off.
  • Civilization (Fantasy Flight): This is supposedly a more streamlined update to the previous (long) board game that’s based on the famous (long) PC game of the same name.
  • Bob Ross: The Art of Chill (Big G Creative): It’s a game about Bob Ross. Damn right we’re curious.


  • Spirit Island (Greater Than Games): A switch-up from the typical colonization game where the “workers” are always dark-colored pieces. Here, you play cooperatively as gods protecting natives and their island from invading “white” colonists. (Hey, no political statements here -- the enemy pieces are literally made of white plastic.)
  • Edge of Darkness (AEG): We’re still waiting to fall in love with a game that uses AEG’s supercool and clever card-crafting system (with clear cards that you sleeve and customize throughout a session). Maybe this will be it.
  • Dinosaur Island (Pandasaurus): We backed this dino-park sim on Kickstarter, but this would’ve been a great time to get a preview play in. Plus the hot pink was just calling out to us.


  • Ex Libris (Renegade): Who will collect the most magnificent magical library? This game sold out quickly, and players raved about its satisfying book “shelving” play.
  • Centipede (IDW): Part of a new series based on classic arcade games -- others include Asteroids and Missile Command -- with fantastic-looking retro-style pieces and a clear reverence for the subject material.
  • Gekido: Bot Battles (CMON): Yeah, so what if we’re shallow and were instantly interested in this bot-battling game because of its cool figures? Don’t judge us.


  • The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 (Mondo): Why were so many people laughing and cheering while playing this game based on a terrifying horror film? We didn’t have time to find out for ourselves, but the premise is interesting: Players’ roles are hidden, but more and more become infected through the course of the game.
  • Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 (Z-Man Games): It really doesn’t make sense to demo a game that we know we’re going to buy that we don’t want spoilers for. But how else could we make our Season 1 play buddies Matt and Stephanie feel the FOMO for not going to Gen Con with us this year?