Top 10 Games from Gen Con 2016
Gen Con 2016 is in the books and, as usual, we had a great time at “The Best 4 Days in Gaming”. There were a multitude of great games released at the convention this year, but which ones were the best. We were able to whittle down the list of new releases to our 10 favorite. While there were many game we wanted to include, these were the ones we ended up buying and playing repeatedly. Keep an eye out for them when they finally go on sale in a month or two.
Top 10 Games from Gen Con 2016
10. Junk Art
The newest dexterity game from Pretzel Games (Flick ‘Em Up) has players trying to stack differently shaped wooden pieces in variety of ways. With over a dozen ways to play the game, this one made it to our table quite often during the convention. It’s quick, fun, and very unique. Game play varies from real time stacking, to communal stacking, to choosing pieces for your opponents to play.
With some amazing visuals, Lotus from Renegade Games (Lanterns: The Harvest Festival, World’s Fair) , has players trying to make sets of flowers, all the while trying to make sure you have the most amount of influence on them. Lotus combines an easy to learn card playing mechanic with a healthy does of area control. I was bummed I couldn’t buy this one as it sold out pretty quick.
8. Tides of Madness
The sequel to the 2015 Gen Con hit Tides of Time, Tides of Madness takes the mechanics from the original game and puts a new spin on it. However it’s not just a Cthulhu based retheme. In Tides of Madness. players must also try to avoid going insane over the course of the game. Selling for a very affordable $10 at the convention, Tides of Madness was an easy choice to buy.
7. Legendary Encounters: Firefly
The next game in the popular Legendary series from Upperdeck (Legendary Marvel, Legendary Alien), Legendary Encounters: Firefly takes place in the same universe of the TV show and Movie. You’ll take on the role of your favorite crew member and have to work together with your fellow players as you complete objectives based around each episode of the show. While the art is a little subpar, the mechanics and theme are rock solid.
The newest “Legacy Game” (Risk: Legacy, Pandemic: Legacy), SeaFall is a 4x game (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate) without the exterminate. Set during the Age of Sail, players take on the role of an empire trying to establish their dominance through the games different ages. As a legacy style game, the things you do in one game can have lasting effects and carry over to later games you play. This one sold out almost immediately at the convention.
5. Ice Cool
This was one game that was completely off my radar, but I feel in love with right away. Ice Cool is a new game from publisher Brian Games (Sly Dice). It’s a dexterity game that has players flicking penguins around 5 different boxes. While the game sounds silly, it’s actually an insane amount of fun. Keep an eye out for this one.
4. Mystic Vale
I wasn’t too sure about Mystic Vale, because games from publisher AEG (Trains, Love Letter, Dice City) tend to be super hit or miss for me. However, Mystic Vale and it’s new “card crafting system” ended up being a unique take on the deck builder genre. Players actually build their cards as the game progresses using transparent cards and sleeved base cards. It’s a great concept for sure.
3. Potion Explosion
This was a game that had all the potential for bust, but ended up being pretty great. Potion Explosion, published by CMON Games (Blood Rage, Zombicide) has players pulling matching colored marbles out of a series of chutes. It’s a novel take on the “match 3” genre that has permeated mobile gaming for many years. As players collect the marbles, they use them to complete their potions to earn them victory points and special powers. Easy to learn and very unique.
2. Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu
I was prepared to write this one off as just a Pandemic retheme, but publisher Z-Man Games (Pandemic, Merchants and Marauders) really did a great job on this one. Set in the town of Arkham, players must work together to stop cultist from summing an evil elder god. In Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu, players will be using relics to use and defeating cultists, all while trying to make sure their investigator doesn’t go insane.
1. Cry Havoc
My absolute favorite game of the convention was Cry Havoc from Portal Games (Imperial Settlers, Robinson Crusoe). Selling out instantly at the convention, Cry Havoc was one of those games where the hype was justified. A tactical minis game that focuses on area control and its 4 asymmetrical factions. The game plays quickly (especially for a war game), has some very unique rules, and each faction really does approach the game differently. I cannot wait to play this one again.