S02E09 – Spoils of GenCon

Today on Save Vs. Rant, we’re talking about  some of the gems Jeremy plumbed from the rich mines of the exhibit hall. Join us, won’t you? My cat did for about the first 5 minutes of the podcast. Everything is better with cats!

Jeremy went to GenCon this year, and I went to the hospital. I mean, I didn’t plan to go to GenCon in the first place, but I also didn’t plan to go to the hospital. When I got back from the hospital, I was still a little goofy from the concussion I suffered. Here’s a picture of my cat in the cardboard house I made for her while Jeremy was at GenCon and I was concussed:

I thought she would appreciate the satisfaction of home ownership

I’m not bitter. I’m excited – for new games! Today, we’re discussing a few games that Jeremy pulled down from the convention.

We remain very excited for Ultimate Werewolf: Legacy by Bezier Games (with a credit to the esteemed Rob Daviau), but our groups just tend to go on the very large end (>20) or too low end (<8) which makes it difficult to get that sweet spot number of people involved in the game. Still, a party will doubtless come up where we have a chance to give it a go.

The Mind and The Game, both by Pandasaurus Games, are both fairly simple games about counting. The Mind is a uniquely enjoyable experience in interpersonal synchronicity. There’s something enlightening and enjoyable about the experience of, without exchanging a word, successfully counting three numbers consecutively. Jeremy, my brother Justin and I were able to get 36, 37 and 38 consecutively, much to our great amusement and delight. The Game is a slightly more cerebral and less intuitive experience, but still an interesting light game with a lot of hidden depth.

Nyctophobia (also by Pandasaurus Games) is a fascinating concept, but the execution leaves a bit to be desired. Personally, I would have much preferred the game come with actual blindfolds instead of blackout glasses (which give me a bit of a headache). It might have also helped to have slightly higher quality components, but I understand the desire to keep costs down, and what was presented worked adequately. My biggest complaint about the game was, perhaps, how limited its scope was. There have been several games I have player where I found myself asking after playing, “Ok, so now that we’ve played the beginner version, what’s the full game like?” Some examples of this, apart from Nyctophobia, are Cheaty Mages, Sheriff of Nottingham and Kodama, all of which I consider very good games, but which, to me, definitely felt like they could have a lot more without being in any way overwhelming.

Too Many Bones by Chip Theory Games is one of the more interesting RPG lite games we’ve played. It brings to mind Gloomhaven,  albeit with considerably less persistence and less of a sense of exploration and discovery. Not to say there are no surprises in Too Many Bones – it’s a remarkably deep game, after all – although I can imagine after a sufficient number of runs, it could become as predictable as any other game with random story elements. Even so, I can see it being very enjoyable for many playthroughs, especially with adjustable difficulty and the abundance of character and build options.

Naturally, GenCon always has far, far too many new and exciting games to play than we could possibly review. Whatever you personal flavors of fun, we hope you see something that interests you. We’ll be back soon with out DMing 102 episode, wherein we will give more of our favorite tips for improving your game. Until next time!

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