Gen Con isn’t just a convention you attend to buy games, it’s a forum where game developers bring their new ideas to the table and show the public what there is to look forward too. Game development is what keeps the engine turning, so to speak. So, while I’m excited about the games I mentioned in my Top 10 Games for Sale article from yesterday, I’m also really looking forward to sitting down with a lot of games that won’t be available until 2019. This list was just as hard to narrow down as the other one! There are so many great ideas floating around. Here are the top 5 prototypes I can’t wait to play. (Note: Some points made in this article are subject to change, as the games are still being tested and refined.)
5) Jetpack Joyride, Michał Gołębiowski / Lucky Duck Games
This game will have only a couple hours left on Kickstarter when this article releases, so if you’re intrigued I’d hop over there quickly to read more about it. Otherwise, I’m sure they will have late pledge and preorder options up soon. Lucky Duck Games’ business model is centered around building board game adaptations to video game content. Their game catalog includes Fruit Ninja, Vikings Gone Wild, and Chronicles of Crime. Jetpack Joyride is a real time competitive game but without a timer. You’re not racing against the clock, and you can end the game as quickly as you like. But doing so may not guarantee you the most points. Collecting tools and coins and completing mission challenges is the key to a high score here. I’ll be looking to see how the set up and mission cards help keep the game fresh every time you play.
4) Life Siphon, Jake Given and Zach Given / Lay Waste Games
I had the opportunity to play Life Siphon at PAX East with Jake and Zach in an early iteration of the game; I cannot wait to see what it’s become. In Life Siphon, players compete as warlocks for control of a magical ley line in the center of the board. Each player has their own quadrant of the board where they start and twenty health points. Players spend health points to summon armies of various minions. Summoning powerful creatures can give combat or strength advantages but it will leave you vulnerable. Players compete to knockout the opponent to their left. I’m excited to see how this game has progressed because I love the Lay Waste Brand. Their first game, Dragoon proved they design games from the ground up with component and player experience in mind. In Life Siphon, it is clear they are focusing on player interaction and the need to balance negotiating temporary friendships at the table while managing your way to come out on top.
3) Sabotage, Tim Fowers and Jeff Krause / Fowers Games
Sabotage is another game I saw early on. Tim describes this game as a concept that immediately clicked. While that doesn’t mean his and Jeff’s first idea was the best one, there is certainly a feeling you get as a game designer when things just start going right. In Sabotage, you play in teams of two. One team will act as spies, infiltrating the villain’s secret base, attempting to save the world. The other team, the villains, will defend their base, hunt down the spies and stop them from getting too far. The trick? Teams will play secretly behind a wall, much like the gameplay we experience in Captain Sonar. Their Kickstarter page shows an interesting concept for how the game’s box will function as this screen, very much in line with Fowers’ core value of being compact and user focused. I am very eager to see how the game has adapted and blended roll and write and programming mechanics.
2) Treasure Island, Marc Paquien / Matagot
One versus many games play very well in my gaming company, especially at larger players counts. Lies and intrigue fly around the table and I am always surprised how motivated and invested we get in the story. I have a feeling Treasure Island will be similar. In Treasure Island, one player will take on the role of Captain Long John Silver recently mutinied against. If you are Silver, you have hidden your treasure somewhere on an island but you must outwit all the other players to escape with the treasure… and your life. Unlike other social deduction games, The other players are not exactly in it to win cooperatively. There is only one winner at the end of the game. So other players will have to balance sharing the information they gather on their turn with other players, not revealing so much that someone else gets there first. I’m reminded of Specter Ops, from Plaid Hat Games, and what intrigues me here is that the game board or map feels less rigid than the grid system used in Specter Ops. I am very excited to see how the cartography tools, components in the game, work to bring our pirating spirits to life. Arr!
1) Bosk, Daryl Andrews and Erica Bouyouris / Floodgate Games
There seem to be a lot of cool things coming from Toronto, and Bosk is one of them. From Floodgate Games, Bosk is described as an area control and hand management game where you plant trees, grow them, and then earn points for spreading leaves around the board as the season changes. I’ve already fallen in love with this theme before, as the owner of a copy of Photosynthesis. But Photosynthesis hasn’t held up as well as I’d hoped. Gameplay has become a little predictable. With Bosk, I’m hoping secret cards and a faster pace, as described by play testers already, will create a lot of interesting choices in the game and keep me coming back for more. With the recent reveal of illustrations by Kwanchai Moriya, Floodgate has their eye on the prize with this one.
BONUS) Tiny Epic Mechs, Scott Almes / Gamelyn Games
Since it was officially announced yesterday, I couldn’t resist adding a bonus game to this list. I have been beyond excited to start talking about Gamelyn Games’ newest Tiny Epic since I saw a sneak peak of their mechs not too long ago. Scott Almes is taking the idea of the ITEMeeple for a ride to see how far he can stretch the component. They started with simple weapons, like bows and arrows in Tiny Epic Quest. Then they upgraded to slightly more advanced close combat with guns and chain saws in Tiny Epic Zombies. Now, ITEMeeples will hop in and out of mechs in this arena fighting game. They couldn’t look cooler! We haven’t seen a whole lot of gameplay other than knowing it will include action programming. I’ll be looking to see how this gameplay holds up to a mech fan favorite like Mechs vs. Minions.