All right, I’m on my next-to-last post about Gen Con 2023, an event that has now been forgotten by nearly everyone. All of those games that debuted in Indianapolis? Gone! Everything is a distant memory, but thankfully I still have pictures and notes that prove it wasn’t all a dream…
• When I wrote about Elizabeth Hargrave and Mark Wooton‘s Undergrove in March 2023 in a round-up of future titles from AEG, I had only prototype images to accompany the description. At Gen Con 2023, the publisher showed off the game’s current look of this 2024 release in which you play a Douglas-fir tree that uses fungi to spread and establish its seedlings.
• At the Phase Shift Games booth, designer Scott R. Smith gave an overview of Drop Drive, an engine-building, pick-up-and-deliver game that is akin to his debut design Dungeon Drop in that you drop all the pieces on the table to determine the starting conditions, but with much more going on.
• Upper Deck Entertainment teased future game releases such as Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game – Marvel Studios’ What If…? and the Neopets Battledome Trading Card Game on a giant banner in the events hall.
I didn’t get an overview of the gameplay as I had an appointment, but the gist of the game seems to be that you use tools to find treasure in space, with three levels of cards coming into play over time.
• Also spotted in the event hall: a simultaneous tournament of Gen Con 2022 darling Twilight Inscription by James Kniffen and Fantasy Flight Games. That game was in short supply one year ago, and in 2023 I heard no one mention it and just ran across this event by chance.
• Along that line of thought, how many Gen Con 2023 releases will sit at a table like this in 2027?
• Canadian publisher Inside Up Games is flying high with Earth, and on a side table in its booth, it had a tiny display for Douglas Hettrick‘s Perch, which is on Kickstarter through September 5, 2023. This description gives a vague sense of what’s happening in this game:
Each round, players add their birds into a shared bag. Players then draw birds of their own, and other players take turns stacking birds on location tiles. Each location tile will award variable points for majorities and sometimes grant players a unique ability. The game ends after five rounds, and the player who has earned the most points wins.
With a modular tile configuration and a variety of woodland creatures to control, each game will present a new tactical challenge.
• As suggested in this late July 2023 post, publisher Ghost Galaxy did have copies of Richard Garfield’s KeyForge: Winds of Exchange for sale at Gen Con 2023, but it also had KeyForge: Unchained, which I had thought was a non-retail, promotional-only item, but I suppose it makes sense for the publisher to sell copies directly at a convention.
But Ghost Galaxy also showed up with a surprise shipment of Mindbug: First Contact, a design by Garfield, Skaff Elias, Marvin Hegen, and Christian Kudahl that German publisher Nerdlab Games debuted in a tiny edition at SPIEL ’21. Mindbug: First Contact will be released on the U.S. retail market in Q4 2023.
In Mytikas, you play as builders who must construct cities and temples on Mount Olympus. The higher up you construct them, the more prestige you gain. You need to produce resources, then move them up the levels of Mount Olympus. When you make offerings to the gods, you gain their favor and benefit from their special abilities. At the end of the game, you calculate your points based on where your buildings are constructed, as well as from any deity cards you control.
• Mattel featured, among other things, an array of UNO titles, such as the new for 2023 UNO Quatro, which plays something like Connect Four with a player winning by getting four tiles of the same color or number in a row.
The game includes action tiles that let you push a tile out of the bottom of a column, hose an opponent’s turn, or swap two columns, which in the case of the giant-sized version depicted below would let you win on this turn.
Mattel also had this item for sale:
I shot this image on Wednesday before the exhibit hall had opened, then forgot to check back at the booth to see what kind of dares this 18+ version of UNO Dare included. The cards in UNO Dare Adults Only are waterproof, so it’s probably things like “Give your dog a bath after it got sprayed by a skunk” and “Adjust the chlorine levels in the pool that you installed three years ago and now barely use once a summer”.
In this 2-4 player game, each player starts with a bunch of pentagonal tiles that are one of five colors with one of five symbols on top. In real time, players race to stack their pieces on a central column by matching color or symbol, and when a column is five pieces tall, it splits, giving players more spaces upon which to build. Whoever empties their stakz supply first wins, with all other players scoring 1 point per leftover tile. When a player has 12+ points, the game ends and the player with the lowest score wins.
Most importantly, the BGG game page lacked a representative image and now it has one, even though it’s less ideal than I might like. My work here is done.