Monday, August 17, 2015

Gen Con 2015 Games I Tried Part II

Continuing the list of games I tried at Gen Con 2015 (see Part I here)...

New York 1901 is a city-building game where players put up the best skyscrapers to earn the most points. Downtown Manhattan is divided into various colored regions. Each player takes turns drawing plots of land and either building on that land or putting a worker on the lot to reserve it for constructing larger buildings later. Each player has their own set of buildings. The players can also build some speciality buildings (including the Woolworth Building!) for extra points. The game is similar to Ticket to Ride with a bit more complexity, but not too much. So much fun, I've already put this on my Amazon wish list!

New York 1901 in progress

Paradox is a successful Kickstarter game where players try to collect the past, present, and future of various worlds that are in jeopardy from a space storm called the Quake. Players chose planet cards from a tableau and place them on their time track. The past worlds have more turns to be saved than the present or future. Then, players try to gain energy by playing a Bejeweled-style side game with a five-by-five matrix of colored and symboled disks. With enough energy, the cards can be secured. Meanwhile, the Quake is going around the circular track of planets, damaging each one it lands on. A damaged world scores fewer points at the end of the game. With all these different things going on, you'd think the game would be confusing and frustrating. Somehow it isn't. I found it enjoyable but probably wouldn't buy it. The art on the cards is fun, showing the past, present, and future of various planets.

Paradox play area with the circle of planets and two-row tableau next to it

My matrix, planets, and time track

Slightly closer look at the planet track

Zombies!!! the Card Game is a stripped-down version of the popular Zombies!!! board game. Two to six players divide a deck of cards equally, then draw three cards from their deck as a hand and discard three cards as bullets to use against zombies. On a player's turn, the top card of their individual draw deck is put in the middle of the table. The card has a location and number of zombies on the back. The player rolls a die for each zombie and kills the zombie an a 4, 5, or 6. If a lower number is rolled, bullets can be used to increase the number. If the player can't kill all the zombies, that player has to pick up the middle deck and add it to their draw pile! The cards in the player's hand have special powers or actions that can help the player or harm other players. The game is okay with some fun interaction. I won the first game we played and won a copy of Bowling for Zombies!!!, which I've brought home.

The cover and some cards from the Amazon link

Set Dice is like the Set card game, where players need to find sets of three matching cards, but now each player rolls five dice and tries to add them to a Scrabble-like board. The game is an interesting variant of Set but I found it much harder.

Another Amazon capture--I must have been out of picture taking mode for a while!

Karma is a light card game where players have three cards dealt face down in front of them and six cards dealt to their hand. Each player then places the three highest cards (cards range in number from one to sixteen) onto the three face down cards. The first player then plays their lowest card. Subsequent players must match the number or go higher. If the number is matched, all the cards in that discard pile are taken out of play. Once a player cannot play an equal or higher card, that person collects the whole discard pile into their hand. The object is to run out of cards. Once the hand cards are gone, the player has to play the face up cards in front of them. Once those cards are gone, the player plays the face down cards, hoping they will equal or be higher than the current card. The game moves quickly and some cards don't have numbers but special actions (like "make another player pick up the discard pile"), so a bit of variety is thrown in. The game comes in a small restaurant-size container for two to four players, or a regular deck size for two to six players. I bought the restaurant size.

Karma mini-round, easily fits in a pocket or purse

I played a Dice Masters Rainbow Draft with the Age of Ultron booster packs but only got one rare card. I also lost pretty quickly, "earning" the participation prize--two standard cards with special art.

Rainbow draft (note how I am not in the picture!)

Participation/consolation prizes--I already have both these characters, luckily!

Nuns on the Run was the final game I played at the con. It's a game of hide and seek in a convent. A bunch of novices sneak out of their cells on secret missions (like taking a forbidden book from the library or getting a drink from the liquor cabinet). Players keep track of where they go on a small card. The abbess and the prioress (a.k.a. the seekers) chase after them along certain paths. If the seekers are ever in a position to see a novice or are close enough to hear a novice, they get clues where the naughty nuns might be going and can deviate from their path. The game is fun and not too complicated. According to the people I played with, it is a lot better than Scotland Yard.

Nuns on the Run

I did a final demo of the game Ortus Regni, Latin for "Birth of the Kingdom." It's a card game where each player is an earl from Anglo-Saxon England trying to build up their position so that they can claim to be ruler of England. They start with a deck of cards and draw five for their initial hand. Cards can be played either face down as a tower to add defense or face up as whatever place, person, or action it shows. Places included castles, fields (to support armies), churches, and market towns. People include vassels (to be used for combat or intrigue), soldiers, and monks (to be used as emissaries). Actions include political intrigue, where a player may try to steal land or resources from another player. After a few rounds, it is possible that the Vikings will show up and cause havoc for one of the players. The game looks interesting (and the demo room was well decorated) and is available for PC/Mac and soon from stores (though of course it was available for purchase at the con). I didn't buy it but may download it, especially if an app version comes.

Ortis Regni demo room

Banner outside the room

The room was fairly empty because I arrived around 3:40 (the convention closed at 4 p.m.). My demo  was short but intriguing.

Paradox is available for pre-oder from here, with the expected shipping date of December 2015.

Information and download for Ortis Regni is available here.

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