The Big Board-Gaming Catch-All

Anyone planning on going to gencon this year? I'll be there as usual.

I am.

Yep, I’ll be there!

EriktheRed wrote:

I also went all in on the Thunder Road Vendetta and I am very pleased with it. If you can embrace the chaos of the game, it is a blast. It is not a game for people who prefer Euros with minimal player interaction. You're going to be shooting and ramming into everyone and dying from a chain reaction of cars smashing one into another from across the map.

Also the production value of the game is off the charts. All the vehicles look great, big chunky dice, great evocative artwork, fantastic insert, etc. The base game is very solid, but I think the game really shines with at least a couple of the expansions. I'd say Choppe Shoppe is a must buy. It adds variable player powers and car upgrades that add a lot of replayability and some different playstyles. I have not tried the Big Rig or the bikes yet, but I look forward to it.

We did it with 5 players - and you're 100% correct. Embrace the chaos. We added the extra types of damage markers, fire, and ramps which were fun. We had 2 quakes come up as hazards that made quite a few people lose cars.
I took charge of the big rig for my first go and managed to win just because everyone killed each other. Hadn't realized their dice don't go above 3!

I look forward to trying it again with more expansions!

Tried out a couple of new games last night:

1. Heat: Pedal to the Metal. Just as good as the hype, really enjoyed this one. Also very glad I found a copy while traveling last month, as I don't think any have made it to retail in New Zealand yet.

2. Expeditions. Fun, with many similar feeling mechanics to Scythe without any of them actually being the same. Not racing to the top of my "play again" list, but it's solid. Three player game (including rules teach) was pretty slow. I suspect that it's much quicker once everyone has played a couple of games and has an idea what all the sites and cards do.

What about Heat: There's A Flip Side To That Coin. Is that one any good?

Top_Shelf wrote:

What about Heat: There's A Flip Side To That Coin. Is that one any good?


Sorry, every time I hear about the Heat: Pedal to the Metal, my brain jumps to Heat the movie and then I wish there was a Heat The Movie board game.

Will definitely check out Pedal to the Metal though!

MikeSands wrote:

Tried out a couple of new games last night:

1. Heat: Pedal to the Metal. Just as good as the hype, really enjoyed this one. Also very glad I found a copy while traveling last month, as I don't think any have made it to retail in New Zealand yet.

This is my go-to game right now and I was happy to find out that there's tons more tracks on Board Game Geek that people have uploaded. Most are in a Word doc format you can print each page and put them together.

Here's a list of reviewed fan made tracks:

Anyone going to pick up the Target Warhammer Space Marine game?

Well, if I hadn't already decided to liquidate my collection as it just keeps gathering dust, that looks awesome.

Not today, Capitalism!

Back home from another gencon. It was packed to the gills with people this year. Feels like everyone is ok with covid at this point so attendance was through the roof. Lots of good games and lots of less good games as usual. I will do a write up of all the games I tried out later this week.

Fredrik_S wrote:

everyone is ok with covid

Selection bias. Those who aren't ok with covid are dead or didn't buy any big-event tickets.

A non-insignificant number of attendees were wearing masks, but they were a clear minority.

And Gen Con sold out, though I think most of it was due to Lorcana. There was a very noticeable drop in crowd density after they sold out for the day. And a very noticeable number of one-day badges.

I've decided I'm masking up at conventions from now on. Covid aside, I just don't want to end up with con crud.

Local news was touting 70k attendance which puts the attendance back to the last pre-Covid year of 2019. That was their highest attendance ever. That is also a 20k jump from last year.

Half of those people were only there to try and get the Disney CCG.

Yeah, GenCon was massive this year. Certainly felt bigger than 2019 which was the previous largest year. Even little things like the auction hall and consignment room moving across the street into a hotel ballroom were a clear indicator that the show needed to sprawl out more to make space. I thought the new consignment room setup was a vast improvement, much less crowded than before.

I don't think I'll write up everything that I played, but here are the highlights:

Mindbug ( Really fun and fast two player card game co-designed by Richard Garfield. It's based on the "secretary problem" in computer science which basically asks the question of when is the right time to stop when evaluating a list of things one at a time to ensure you made the best choice. In Mindbug each player has a deck of 10 super powerful cards. On your turn you play one card and then attack your opponent with one creature. The catch is that each player has two "Mindbug" cards that allow you to take over the card your opponent just played and play it as your own. What makes this work is that every card is super powerful so you are constantly debating if this is the right time to use one of them. Really brilliant and one of the best games at the show for my money.

Bonsai ( has you cultivating bonsai trees. Each turn you either pick a card that gives you new pieces to help you shape your bonsai tree, or you can place those pieces out. Pieces are either branches, leaves, fruit or flowers. Each has a different placement rule and you are trying to shape your tree to gain points and meet objectives. I only got to demo this on the show floor but this really felt like a short game with a lot of weight, and it only costs $30 I believe. It sold out at the show but I'll be getting a copy as soon as I can!

SpellBook ( is all about learning spells and casting them to help you earn the most points. Each player has seven spells in front of them along with a central mana pool you can pull from. Learning spells earns you point, as does sending mana to your familiar, but the rest of the game is trying to find the right combinations to help you generate more cubes to gain and build more spells. This really perfectly fits the "game lasts less than an hour and is filled with interesting decisions" space. I bought a copy, played it that evening and it really was a lot of fun.

Path of Civilization ( was the stand out game for me. It's a really stripped down civilization game. There's no map, no armies, just cards that primarily represent new technologies you can learn. There are two things that make the game work:
You start the game with five basic technology cards. Each turn you play two for gathering workers, two for gathering resources and one gets permanently discarded. On your turn you will be required to get a new technology. Workers allow you to increase religion, collect workers, score points, etc.
What makes the game shine is that all turns are simultaneous. Cards are planned and resolved at the same time keeping things moving along nicely. Ties are clearly managed by the "order of the symbols you have collected Let me tell you, this game was awesome. It's not quite out for sale yet but I will likely get a copy as soon as I can. Deciding how to use your technologies is a ton of fun. I'll be keeping an eye on this for sure as it nears release!

Wandering Towers ( Each player has a set of wizards they are trying to get into the big tower in the board which is shaped like an oval race track. On your turn you'll play two cards that let you either:
* Move one of your wizards
* Move a tower
When you move a tower it can end up sitting on top of other towers, in addition to covering up wizards! When you cover up wizards you get to "fill" one of your potions, and those potions allow you to cast one of two spells that game. The winner is whoever is able to get all their potions filled as well as get all of their wizards into the tower.

There's a bit of memory element; as your wizards get covered up you need to try and remember where they are so you can move a tower to uncover them so you can move them forward. Towers can end up stacking multiple levels high and you can pick anywhere in the stack to pick up and move so people are just picking up entire stacks of towers and hopping them along the map, trying to cover up your friends wizards so they can't move them and forget where they are. Additionally, once someone gets their wizard in the main tower that also flys to a different spot on the map! Finally, towers and wizards can only move clockwise.

This game is pure goofy fun. It's a fun race of trying to set your wizards up to get into the tower while messing up your friends so they can't get their wizards into the tower. Is your friend a couple of spaces away from the tower? Maybe cover them up with another tower so they can't move! Or maybe pick up the tower they are on and move it past the main tower so now they need to go all the way around the map again! We picked it up after watching it demoed and had an absolute blast playing it later that day. If you like a bit of chaos and messing with your friends it's a ton of fun.

Best Moment: Meeting and chatting with Matt Leacock, and later watching as my friend got to play Ticket to Ride Legacy with him. While they were playing Alan Moon came over and hung out for awhile. That was pretty great!

Thanks for write up! I was curious about wandering towers and missed it / spaced it as I was wandering (pun absolutely intended) the halls.

I played a game with Matt a few years back when Thunderbirds was released and he is a wonderful person. Glad you got to meet him!

Allright! Here we go. My yearly "All the games (almost) I played at GenCon this year Mega Post 2023. Ready? Lets gooooo!

Wander: LaClucks Revenge. We only did a short demo of dungeon crawler and it seems to be competent enough. Do a move. Do a fight. Next player. It did have some interesting ideas such as the fog of war tiles that hides all monsters until you step into it. Is it a safe tile? Or maybe a trap? Who knows! It seemed competent but compared to other dungeon crawlers, it looked to be a little too anemic.


3 Ring Circus
One of the hyped games this year and we got to play it in the BGG hot room. You play a circus, traveling around the US, putting on shows, hiring new people, playing bigger shows, hiring bigger talents, etc. Every turn you can move your troupe to a new town, city or LARGE city. The two bigger cities have certain attractions they want to see which gives you bonus things if your circus contains them. It was very generous with both movement and money, so it never felt very restricting as other worker placement games can be. If you are looking for something that might tickle your strategy noodle a little, but is easy to play and understand this might be for you.


My personal winner for best game at the con. See that stack of dice sitting on a lazy susan? That's a space ship thing that has landed on Earth. After every turn, the lowest die (both in height and value) gets removed and placed under it. When 3 of a kind has been removed from the Tesseract (the stack of cubes), a point to the doom tracker gets added. 7 and its game over. You play as a group of scientists who are trying to stop the doom from happening by taking dice from the tesseract and trying to make patterns with them. You can pass dice to other players, rotate them, switch them and all kinds of fun powers. A cooperative puzzle that will have you discussing strategies with your fellow players and then cursing when bad things happen forcing you to think on your toes. Highly recommended.


Snack Attack
A quick push your luck card game where you are stacking (meals) cards on three plates. Once you decide enough is enough, you take one stack. The other players can force yuck cards into your plate before you take it which renders it unusable. It was kinda meh, honestly.


Star Wars Alliance
Apparently this duel card game comes out next year. I guess so it doesn't compete with Lorcana. It was most excellent as far as deck building / card duel games I've played. Very smooth game play with really no friction points. It could be that the theme is very known to us, but as soon as we sat down and after a 1 minute intro we were playing it like we have played it for years. You have three cards in your hand, pay a resource to play a card out, then attack with any ready cards. The other cards in your hand goes into your resource pool. Very easy, very fast. I think I'll be picking this up when it's eventually released.


Sumo Rumble
A dice chucking game of Sumo wrestling. You grab a character that has special powers, a handful of dice and toss the dice into the box. If you can knock your opponents dice out of the ring, you win. Very simple, and seems like a good game to have a very light hearted fun with friends over a drink. Not much too it, but sometimes it's not needed.


Dicey Devices
Still in kickstarter phase, but it seemed neat enough to warrant an extra look. It's a worker placement game where you want to be the maddest scientist on the block. You do this by sending your henchmen out to collect materials, collect sets of things and even has a tiny bit of area control (in the section where your henchmen go) and eventually be the first to build your doomsday machine. It seemed competent and well thought out. I did like the design of the game as well with the retro future look.


Reality Shift
This was an odd one. One one hand, the magnetic player pieces and the ability to move and twist the cubes, that form the track, around is very enticing. On the other hand, I don't think I've ever played a slower racing game than this. Because you can't pick up the cube pieces and check them (the demo lady said no no no to that), you kinda have to blindly guess that where you rotate the blocks ends up being a good rotation. I think my friend said it best when he said "really neat concept, shame about the gameplay".


Lunar Dial
This one I was super interested in because of the art and layout of the game. Turns out it's an almost exact copy of Illimat. The only thing they changed is that instead of Luminaires, it's moon themed.


Shake that city
Or is this my Game of the Con? Oh, it's a VERY close call. I was absolutely delighted. I randomly picked it up to play in the BGG hot room and first thing the next day, I went and bought it. Let me explain.. no that's too much. Let me sum up. Each player has a board of empty land. Each turn the active player looks at the 9 cubes and picks one color. Then he grabs tiles of that number and color and places them in his city with the same orientation as the cubes. The other players then grabs tiles of any other color. That's pretty much it. If you can't fit the tiles into your board, you can't pick that color. Oh, wait.. you can't rotate the tiles, so if (see photo) you pick green tiles, they MUST fit on your board in that same pattern. Oh wait.. you also need to take the placement into consideration because industry shouldn't be next to homes. But shops need to be next parks. Etc. Oh wait! You also get bonus points if you put tiles in the right column and row. A most excellent brain teaser that will keep you going "just one more try.. I can do better". Oh wait.. the mechanism to getting the cubes out on the table actually made me gasp a little. Ok.. that's enough. If you like puzzles, get this.


Shipwreck Arcana
Phenomenal little game and so simple. Each round you get two tiles that has numbers on them. You put one face down in front of you. The other tile you put face up under one of the four cards being displayed. These cards say things like "if your other tile is a 3, 4 or 5, put a tile here". The other players then guess what the hidden tile is. If you succeed, one point closer to victory. If you fail, one point closer to collectively losing. You can also pass, but if a card has X number of tiles under it, it gets removed and another point of doom is added. All the games I've played this has always been tense, exciting and make you feel clever. Excellent.


Escape from site 19
What the heck!? What started as an explanation of something very mundane ended up with me and my friends recoiling, physically, in horror from the table where he was explaining it. We did NOT play this game, but an explanation was enough to leave us wide eyed. The game is based on the SCP mythos, and you have to escape one of their black sites, by going through the rooms with all the.. things. So when you enter a room, you draw a "challenge". This challenges are things like "chew up food and give it to another player to eat" or "lick three body parts of another player" or "write these music notes in your own blood". That's gonna be a no from me.


Point City
Very clever little game where you are building a city out of two sided cards. One side has the resources and another the building. You draw two cards from a 4x4 grid each turn (cards have to adjacent) and either gain resources or build a building using resources you gained in earlier rounds. Each building you build will either gain you resources or points. It was fun! Easy enough, but there are some good, meaty, choices in there. Yea, I'd play it again.


Four humours
Honestly I was not paying attention at all. It's a game of placing your worker on a card and when the card has enough resources it goes away... or something. Pass.


I did not like this game. Two players get one word each. They then try to think of a third word that connects the first two words together. If they say the same thing you win. It's a party game, but it seems like it's so hard to win that it would get very frustrating very fast.


Project A.R.T.
I had very high hopes for this cooperative, stop the art heist game, but they were quickly dashed as we found out that if you don't do one specific action in the beginning, you more than likely will lose the game. Each turn you get a few cards in your hand that shows which resources your team will gain this turn, but something bad also happens. After all players has shown their cards, you move (as a team) around the board trying to stop thieves by rolling a certain number on a die. I had really hoped for something.. else. If you enjoy cooperative games that can easily be quarterbacked by a player who knows the game, then this is for you.


A much better heist game is this one called Caper. It's a head to head, tug of war, game of stealing art at three different sites around the world. Each site has a meter that shows who is winning the heist. You add points to your side by hiring crew and assigning them to a location. Then add tools and such. Once the meter is fully on your side, you get to steal the artifact. It's very good and reminded me of Blitzkrieg in that you have all these arenas but only resources to win a couple of them. I think this game will be played a ton if you are on the lookout for a two player game. Yea! Good game!


Boop! surprised me quite a bit with how good it is. For all the cute looks and the cat theme, there's a very difficult strategy game in there. When you place one your cats down, any other adjacent cats will take a step back (hence the boop name). Your goal is to get three cats in a row. Twice. Very neat game!


Someone made a dueling card game based on GWAR. It's not good. Too complicated. Too fiddly.


Joyride is a racing game that is Formula D, but less interesting. Rebellion should just make a decent Judge Dredd game instead.


Mission Control
I have found that if I play a time based game without the timer and I still have fun, it's a solid game. This is not it. Without the timer the choices are uninteresting and tedious. Here's the run down: One player is sitting in space and need to rewire.. something. The other players are ground control. Each turn you roll three dice (shared by all) and select two numbers. The ground control uses them for things like fill out a column, do a sudoku or fill out a grid to form a shape. Once they have filled out a square that contains a star, the player in space gets a piece of a pipe puzzle. With the timer, it's stressful and chaotic and anger inducing. Without the timer it's dull. Pass.


I really wanted to like this one. You basically play poker with dice, but a bit too simplistic for my flavor. So each turn you roll a handful of dice and assign them to slots on the board. If you are the last to play in a row, you get a payout. But you HAVE to assign dice if you can. In the end, there wasn't enough fun decisions to make so I'll decide to pass on this one.


Spy Family Card Game
We are huge Spy Family fans in my family, so when me and my kid saw this we pounced to try it. You get two cards in your hand and keep one and play the other face up in either a keep pile or a discard pile. Each card has a power that activates depending on where you play it. These powers can be things like "switch active cards with another player" or "find a card in your discard pile and set it to be your active card". All the powers fit the theme very well. Anya can force other players show you their hands. Bond saves Anya. Loid can assume other identities etc etc. In the end of a very short stack of cards, you combine the card in your hand and the active card to form a pair and score that. It's short, fits the theme and doesn't over stay it's welcome. I liked it quite a bit actually.


Phantom Ink
So. Divide into two teams (you need four players minimum to play). One player on each time is a ghost who is trying to get their team to figure out a word on a card the two ghosts know. The living players get to ask a question to the ghost (by selecting one of two cards) such as "when you eat this, what does it taste like" or "what color is this usually" and many other questions. Once selected, the ghosts answers by writing out the answer, letter by letter. The fewer letters the ghost writes, the fewer clues you give the other team. Once the living players think they know the word, they guess. It's a party game, of course, and actually quite clever and fun. I think there are better ones out there, but I had fun trying it out.


Mini Express
Ticket to ride combined with resource gathering. It wasn't interesting enough for me to remember much more than that. It seemed fine?



Dreaded Gazebo wrote: Really fun and fast two player card game co-designed by Richard Garfield. It's based on the "secretary problem" in computer science which basically asks the question of when is the right time to stop when evaluating a list of things one at a time to ensure you made the best choice. In Mindbug each player has a deck of 10 super powerful cards. On your turn you play one card and then attack your opponent with one creature. The catch is that each player has two "Mindbug" cards that allow you to take over the card your opponent just played and play it as your own.

For me it lands in the "it's fine" area of card dueling games. I would rather play other ones such as the Star Wars game I talked about above. The whole "stealing your opponents card" is really neat though.


Outrun the bear
Yeah.. again it's fine. It's a racing game where you are trying to escape a bear that slowly move towards the players. You play a card that moves you X steps away while also giving you some wacky powers. Each character has unique powers that allows them to bend the rules a little. It's fine. It's a game.


Cockroach Poker
I finally bought a copy of cockroach poker and we played the heck out of it during the con. When I got home my family and I played the heck out of it. It's stupidly easy, good fun and super easy to learn. If you haven't heard of this classic game of bluffing here's how it works. You get a stack of cards and are trying to avoid getting four of a kind. Each turn one player around the table draws a card from their stack, looks at it, and passes it to another player while stating that the card is one of 8 bugs. The player who receives the card can then state that the player is lying, telling the truth or they can simply pass, look at the card and pass it to another player. IF they state that the first player is lying or telling the truth, they look at the card to check if they were correct. If they were, the card gets added to the losing player's collection. It's a super fast game of bluffing and lying. If you have players who are uncomfortable with that, then avoid. I tried it with my game group of two of the players felt gross afterwards, so mileage may wary.


Beaver Creek
Nifty little dexterity game in the vein of Tokyo Highway. Each turn you roll two dice. The dice shows how and how many beavers and logs you need to add to dam. If it topples the other player gives you a log from your reserve. First player to run out of logs wins. Super simple and super fun. Good stuff.


That's it! Those are the games I played at GenCon 2023. Did I buy anything? Yes, a few things. I have been looking at Folklore for about a year now for a new RPG in a board game after we finished up Gloomhaven and I am very excited to get it on the table. Also very excited to try the Illimat expansions as well as the Cosmic Frog expansion. Cubequest and DoomSeeker I found in the auction room for stupid cheap so decided to get them. Me and son have already played about a dozen games of CubeQuest. Thanks for reading (or scrolling past) this giant, yearly, post.


Boop is excellent. I got it a couple months back and have played against my wife (tough games) and young kids (they're not terrible), as well as taught it to several others. Yes it's cute, but surprisingly deep.

Thanks for the impressions, Fredrik_S! Very interesting.

It's Nerdz Day! Game Nerdz the online board game retailer hosts this once-a-year sale that typically has the best prices of the year. You can check out more about the history of the sale on BGG, but it usually lives up to the hype.

I've grabbed Ark Nova and am planning on getting Sleeping Gods too. Check out the anticipated releases ahead of their time at this BGG Nerdz Day Clues Page.

Edit: if you see a game at a price you like, click the restock notification. These prices will be good for the next couple days of restock waves.

Huzzah! My first "quote is not edit"!

Hey, all! Do we have a separate thread for solo board gaming? Or is this the one stop shop for all my one player gaming news?

I've been on a tear this month with solo games. Favorites from the past 30 days include Final Girl (bought three movies back to back), Warp's Edge, The Lost Expedition, For Northwood, Sleeping Gods, Cascadia, and will be trying Legends of Arnak once the kids go to bed tonight.

Any recommendations? And has anyone tried the Arnak expansion solo? Tempted to get it as I really like the base game. It's that or another Final Girl box.

Tell me more about Final girl. It looks intriguing. Whats so good about it?

Oh, I dont think there is a separate thread for solo games. Id say of its boardgames it goes in here.

Final Girl is a solo board game that turns the horror movie genre into a single-player experience. It work so many levels. It puts you in the shoes of the lone survivor in a horror film, facing off against a killer in various locations. The twist is that the game is modular, offering multiple boxes or "feature films" that can be mixed and matched to different killer and location combination. Each feature film box has a distinct killer with different mechanics and locations.

Gameplay is all about hand management and dice rolling. The game requires the player to make decisions on which actions to take this turn AND which actions to buy for next turn. This means you have to decide if you want to have a monster turn now, but do very little next turn, or pull back and prepare.

If you decide to pick it up, know that you'll need to pick up both the core set (containing the basic mechanics for the game) and a scenario box (which has the killer and location cards).

Finally found a nice little board game group to join up. Got to play Ark Nova for the first time. Yes it's very terraforming mars but a lot of it's own things as well. Never played a game with that scoring system before. Where it's the difference between two different scores.

Overall I liked it. Same sort of interesting choices as terraforming mars but with other twists. I liked the unique maps for everyone and the amount of options. It did take a while for me to really understand the cards and all the unlocks, but eventually I got it. Even if I was last in the end but that's not unusual for this sort of game.

My wife received Ark Nova for her birthday and we haven't gotten a chance to play it yet. I read the rules and wanted to play a game on BGA before teaching it to my group. If anyone is interested in joining I have a 4 player turn-based game setup and here's an invite:

master0 wrote:

Ark Nova ...that scoring system before. Where it's the difference between two different scores.

Note that the devs must have realized there was a problem with that scoring system, I suspect meta-players very carefully manipulating their endgame actions to some ridiculous un-fun degree. So they changed it:

We are going to implement 2 small rules updates to Ark Nova from now on. It will take a while until these are going to be included in printed games, but they will be part of the online implementation on BGA.

1) Scoring:
In the future, all conservation point spaces will feature a small number so that to determine your score, you only have to add the number of the space with your conservation point marker on it and your appeal to have your total score. No more calculating the distance between your 2 markers.
Also the numbers are calculated in a way that having your 2 markers reach other will score you exactly 100 points. If your markers cross, your score will be above 100, if they dont, it will be below. But nobody should finish with a negative score anymore.
When playing on BGA, note that 100 is the point threshold to end the game.
Edit: BGA will only use the new scoring method in its implementation of the game. We thought about offering both scores, but have decided against it in the end.

This is from a game I played on Board Game Arena, so it already has the random tiles placed for choosing. But the score indicators should be accurate.IMAGE(