Cardboard Children – Gen Con News

Hello youse.

Gen Con Gen Con Gen Con. Gen Con Gen Con Gen Con. As any fool knows, Gencon is the world famous game convention thing, with the Con in Gen Con standing for “Convention” and the Gen in Gen Con standing for I don’t know what. Today I want to tell you the stuff from Gen Con that IN MY OPINION is of interest to board game fans.

But first!


There’s a couple of guys out there who are REALLY jonesin’ bad for my update to my XCOM review. You’ll remember that I recommended it as a solo game, and thought it was a very clever and fascinating wee game with a lot of challenge to it.

Well, I promised that I would let you know how it plays with more players. Sadly, I haven’t played it with the full 4 yet, but I have played it with 2 (two) and 3 (three) and it remains a clever and fascinating wee game, with a lot of challenge to it. Additional players means that you have an extra communication dynamic at the table, which is nice, and sometimes annoying in a good way. Look, it’s good. Just fucking shut up and buy it. It’s only about 30 quid. Jesus.


Okay, I’m going to do this in bullet points, because there’s a lot of stuff to get through.

  • Fantasy Flight is bringing back RUNEBOUND, which is their take on the fantasy adventure board game thing. You take a character, travel around a fantasy world, fight baddies and get stronger. I played the earlier edition of the game, and it was very long. This new edition looks to be a streamlined thing with a really interesting mechanic that has you shaking up and casting little cardboard discs that have symbols on them. Look, when it comes to fantasy adventuring, I’m a guy of extremes. At one end, I adore Talisman, with all its lightness and chaos and variety. At the other end, I adore Mage Knight, with its rules upon rules and super-long play time. There’s definitely a gap in the market for some medium weight adventuring, so hopefully the new Runebound fills that space nicely. It’s out this year.
  • STAR TREK games are on the way from Gale Force 9 – the folks who gave us the masterpiece SPARTACUS and the cool SONS OF ANARCHY and more. Now, there aren’t a great deal of great Star Trek games out there, so the news that GF9 are working on something is great because they seem to be a company that can really nail the tone and feel of an IP. I really hope they do something with a real retro feel, set in the world of the original series. A nice co-op game or something. Or even some kind of space exploration game, where players take control of their own Federation ship. OOH IT WOULD BE NICE.
  • Upper Deck, who gave us Legendary Encounters: Alien and are about to release Predator, announced that they’d be doing a BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA game too. This basically makes them the company of our geek dreams, right? Let’s hope they stay on track with this stuff, giving us a They Live game or something, and don’t start scraping the barrel with games based on films from the 80s that are actually pretty bad, like The Goonies. Yeah, I said it. NOBODY EVER LIKED THE GOONIES.
  • Okay, Fantasy Flight again – and they announced WARHAMMER QUEST. Yes! Yes! Yes! This is the best news ev- Oh, hang on. It’s actually called WARHAMMER QUEST: THE ADVENTURE CARD GAME. Oh got dammit. I own and love Warhammer Quest, which was a big Games Workshop game that actually functions like a dungeon crawl sandbox. You can solo it, or you can GM it, and there are rules for roleplaying your time in towns and countryside between adventures. It’s crazy good. To see it transformed into a small-footprint card game? Hm. Huh. Hm. It’s definitely a great setting, but I can’t help feeling a little bit disappointed that it’s a small box of cardboard instead of a giant box full of thick books and plastic miniatures. Word from Gencon is good, though, so we’ll see how this co-operative card game turns out later this year.
  • Perhaps the BEST news from Gencon, for you guys anyway, is that COLOSSEUM (one of my favourite board games of all living times in this universe) is being reprinted. It’s been picked up by Tasty Minstrel, and they’re doing something called an Emperor’s Edition – a big deluxe edition. More deluxe than the original release? I mean, the original edition from Days of Wonder is GORGEOUS. So I’m interested to see what they do here with this wonderful game. It deserves the very best treatment, seriously. I’m just glad that those of you who missed out on Colosseum first time round will be able to feel the thrill of staging some kickass entertainment extravaganzas in Ancient Rome.
  • Seriously, though. Colosseum. How lucky are you?
  • It’s more hope than expectation when it comes to DRAGON TIDES. It’s a martial arts miniatures game, featuring Bruce and Brandon Lee. 1-5 players take control of martial arts stars and battle through various scenarios, beating up bad guys and having one-on-one showdowns with big bosses. This was a Kickstarter last year, but it was being demoed at Gen Con and I think it’s reasonable to think it might land a wider retail release. If you’re scared that it might not (and I’m a little bit scared) you can still get in on the action straight from the publisher’s website. Go take a look. I think it looks lovely and there’s a real need for a game that tries to give you that martial arts action movie experience.
  • There were loads of expansions announced. A new Egypt-set side-board expansion for Eldritch Horror. More stuff for Descent. An expansion for the excellent KEMET. Oh, and-
  • I love IMPERIAL ASSAULT. And now there’s a RETURN TO HOTH expansion coming. And we all know that the Hoth stuff is the BEST stuff in Star Wars. It comes with new missions, snowtroopers, two wampas, and even HK assassin droids. YES, PC GAMERS. It comes with four HK-47 style droids. And as part of that release cycle, the Hoth suit Princess Leia is coming too. This game is just superb, both as a campaign and in its under-rated skirmish mode. And it just keeps getting better. I think, by the end of the road, it’s going to be like a mini Star Wars figure collection with battle rules. That’s dream-come-true stuff for a boy like myself. Oh my gosh – LOOK.

And that just scrapes the surface of the Gen Con news. Lots of exciting stuff coming, huh? Did you see anything that tickles your fancy? Anything you think I’ve missed? Are you running out of money yet? I’m broke.

Next time – I can go indie or go mainstream. What do you fancy?


  1. Greg Wild says:

    I was mostly excited by all the stuff Wyrd had on display for Malifaux. Sadly, I am broke, and thus unable to buy the stuff they had available on the store while it was on.

    Particularly interested in seeing how the new game they announced (but showed next to nothing of) turns out.

  2. Tiax says:

    When can we expect XCOM review part 3 ?

    • merbert says:

      LMFAO Tiax! Nice one!

      Thanks Rab, i know we rode you pretty hard on this one….but you’ve created tenacious followers!

      Ok, I will do as you suggest and just go buy the fricken thing!

      Re Indy / Mainstream for next week? Your call as always, but I’d love to hear anything you might know about the supposedly realeased since June 30, Alien Vs Predator.

      Also love to hear any thoughts or reviews on an oldie called Hannibal : Rome Vs Carthage…’s supposed to be brilliant…..?!

  3. Edgar the Peaceful says:

    Gen stands for, I think, Geneva. As in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin where Gary Gyjax developed Dungeons and Dragons in his basement in the early Seventies. Gen Con was the first PnP RPG conference to be held, some time in the mid Seventies.

    If I’m wrong somebody will be along to point it out!

    • welverin says:

      You are correct sir, about the name anyway. I believe it may have started out as a war game convention however, can’t remember for sure at the moment (I’m sure even a cursory search will yield the correct answer for anyone who cares).

    • Nasarius says:

      It was indeed originally a wargaming convention. For anyone interested in the history of D&D (and therefore the whole modern notion of RPGs in general), I’d highly recommend “Playing at the World” by Jon Peterson. It’s a massive academic tome that’s also very enjoyable to read. It’s also a fascinating cultural snapshot of gaming nerds in the 70s. Gary and Dave really are directly responsible for so many of the axioms of modern videogames, particularly fantasy RPGs, but also anything that has XP and levels.

      Anyway, I’m looking forward to receiving my copy of Mouse Guard: Swords & Strongholds, a beautiful little strategy game by Luke Crane. It’s so difficult to design a small game with a lot of strategic depth, and also make it approachable for beginners.

      Oh yeah, and Obsidian’s tablet (and maybe PC) adaptation of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. Super excited about that. It’s something you can just buy and play yourself, but having it in electronic form seems much more convenient.

    • HopeHubris says:

      So, it’s the Geneva Convention? I wonder why they would shorten that

      • MacTheGeek says:

        Abbreviation. Abbreviation never changes.

      • Phasma Felis says:

        Rab was mistaken, actually. The “Con” is short for “Conclave.” Geneva Conclave. Seriously.

  4. Pazguato says:

    The Goonies bad…
    Anyway: what about 50% mainstream and 50% indie?

  5. Dare_Wreck says:

    Nobody ever liked the Goonies?? What in the world are you going on about, Rab? It has a 91% audience rating over at Rotten Tomatoes. Clearly someone likes it. I loved that movie as a kid, for that matter.

  6. csbear says:

    I know it may not be the popular answer here, but how about a wargame once in awhile? Combat Commander:Europe or Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear as examples. That’s as “indie” as it gets :)

    I understand the focus for most of the games here are thematic with great components. I love Imperial Assault and other FFG stuff as well, but I also play wargames. Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear (2nd ed.) is a good intro into tactical wargaming with nice components. Just a thought…

    Or maybe that’s more appropriate for The Flare Path…

  7. wraithgr says:

    Casting a vote for a more “mainstream” game here too.

  8. Spacewalk says:

    Warhammer Quest as a card game doesn’t fill me with much excitement either but I guess Fantasy Flight don’t want to cannibalise Descent sales by making it a proper dungeon crawler.

    • TomxJ says:

      They also made a spacehulk card game. A couple of years later GW splash released the 3rd edition boardgame. So fingers crossed?

  9. demicanadian says:

    Does X-Com still require iPhone to play? Because if it does, then well… You know how game licences tend to be revoked, and games are no longer available from developer? If that happens, say goodbye to your X-Com app.

    ps. No, I wouldn’t buy X-Com anyway. Coop games require too many people (and even if people say you can play by yourself, it’s not fun to me).

    • Asurmen says:

      It’s never required an IPhone.

      • demicanadian says:

        iPhone, Android… It’s still a platform that has killswitch removing stuff from your machine.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      If having people over is a problem, then tabletop games as a whole are probably not for you.

    • Immobile Piper says:

      If you don’t like coops, fair enough.
      Sounds a bit odd that you’d pin X-COM’s ability to seat up to four people to it being a coop. Lots of non-coop games these days seat four people. Many much more than four.

  10. thekelvingreen says:

    It’s more or less a timer and a few routines to tell you when and where to play things; I’m sure that someone will be able to put together an alternative if the official program disappears. There’s probably already one online somewhere.

  11. TomxJ says:

    I didn’t attend GenCon (we have Salute!) But… I did grab the New USArdina Pack for Infinity direct from Corvus Belli with the GenCon Exclusive miniature. Which kinda counts.

    It has yet to arrive.

  12. Blackcompany says:

    Is it just me, or has Fantasy Flight began to over-complicate all of their cards games for the sake of useless complexity? Unnecessary steps and phases abound, with edge battles and what not…its just…to much. I miss Warhammer: Invasion, with its straightforward premise and play.

  13. Azhrarn says:

    Did you get a chance to play one of the two different Kingdom Death: Monster demonstrations that were given at GenCon? (at their booth, and at neighbouring Gallery 42 to be exact).
    The game is finally done, and after it’s almost 3 years in development following their $2M kickstarter should be on its way to backers (and consumers) soon-ish. Downside, the final box is a staggering $400, but it’s a whole lot of game for that money. ^_^ The miniatures included look astounding.

  14. Shiloh says:

    Another Eldritch Horror expansion… just had a look at the FFG website, I’ll admit I’m more interested in the Egyptian theme than I am the Strange Remnants one… but I’ve yet to get SR, has anyone played it? Does it add anything that Forsaken Lore and Mountains of Madness don’t have?

  15. Dave Tosser says:

    I had this Gen Con ’92 poster on my wall for years that I found in a magazine even though I’d never been to a convention and had no interest in it. I just liked the dragon clutching a dice. Didn’t even play pen and paper games either to be honest.

  16. Dawngreeter says:

    In case anyone cares about some RPG news, GenCon was also the place where Vampire: the Masquerade 4th edition was quite unexpectedly announced for the classic World of Darkness. Post-Gehenna but not post-apocalyptic scenario and new system are part of the deal.

    In much less unexpected news, new game line for new World of Darkness was announced – Deviant: the [unannounced subtitle]. Deviant is pretty low-powered, on par with Hunter, and is about people who had things done to them and are now out for vengeance. Akira-level play is theoretically possible, but it is more focused on emulating stories like Sense8, Scanners, The Fly, etc.

    • thekelvingreen says:

      That is a surprise; I thought everything had closed down over at White Wolf.

      • Dawngreeter says:

        No, it’s just that for a while now, after White Wolf – CCP merger, the RPG development has been done by The Onyx Path. Which is basically all the people who were White Wolf. Bottom line is, for all your White Wolf needs, look here: link to

        Classic World of Darkness, new World of Darkness and Exalted (3rd edition coming out any day now!) are all getting very regular and, more importantly, very high quality supplements. nWoD is slowly transitioning to 2nd edition, too (recent game lines being directly published for 2nd ed, older getting core revisions). These IPs are still owned by CCP, but The Onyx Path is the one doing the actual work and publishing.

        Scion and AEon (Adventure!, Aberrant and Trinity) game worlds have been bought by the Onyx Path and are probably on track to being published anew next year. New original systems and all.

  17. derbefrier says:

    I think Imperial Assault is the next game i am buying or Descent( probably Star Wars with my group) My DnD group has embraced board games though since i started buying them a few months ago (yay!) Stayed up till 6 in the morning this last weekend playing Twilight Imperium which is quite an accomplishment for a bunch of dudes in their mid 30s.

    I’ll have to check out this Colosseum also.

  18. clg6000 says:

    Word on the street about Warhammer Quest is that FFG only has a license from GW to do board games–NO MINIS! That’s apparently why Relic (the WH40K retheme of Talisman) only has little character busts instead of full figures. A full Warhammer Quest board game from FFG is likely out of the question (at least until Asmodee swallows up GW like the giant board game Unicron it appears to be).

    Oddly, this is exactly the opposite with it’s Star Wars license. FFG cannot make Star Wars BOARDGAMES (that’s Hasbro’s territory) but they can make MINIS-based games–which is how Imperial Assault is classified on the FFG website (Descent, notably, is listed under Board Games).

    Anyway–just got the Warhammer Quest app for Android in the recent Humble Bundle sale. It seems fun so far–anyone care to comment on how it compares to the actual game?

  19. clg6000 says:

    And that Colosseum reprint news is kind of a scoop! First I’d heard about it anywhere, and I’m usually a lot of everywhere. THanks for that!

    Wonder why there’s not more buzz about it? People have been waiting a long time!