Hello again and welcome to Gen Con Day 3 in Review. Of course, by the time this posts, the convention will be over–there was just so much cool stuff and I’ve already begun chronicling my experience there. So, now that life is back to normal, let’s finish this out. If you’ve missed either of the prior entries in this series, you can find them here: Day 1 Recap and here: Day 2 in Review
First Stop – Ice Cool by Brain Games
First thing Saturday morning, I met with Līga, from Brain Games, who led me through a brief walkthrough of their new game, Ice Cool. Thankfully, I’d already picked up a copy on the first morning, because the giant wall of boxes they brought with them had sold out completely in only 2 days!!
Ice Cool is a game of Penguin shenanigans, and its theme is perfectly reflected in its gameplay. Basically, you have a school for penguins in which 3 of them decide to cut class and get a bite to eat. Meanwhile, the fourth penguin–a hall monitor, sees these penguins out of class and is trying to catch them as fast as possible. The delinquents each get flicked or pushed around the school by their respective player, hoping to pass through doorways with their color fish overhead. The hall monitor’s goal is to catch (collide with) the other penguins to take their ID cards. Once any penguin has achieved their goal, the round ends and score cards are passed out.
There’s actually more strategy to flicking the penguins around the board than you might think, too hard and they bounce off in the wrong direction, too soft and they don’t move far, to the side and they curve around, and a flick to the head and they may jump over walls entirely.
Storage Solutions by Pirate Lab
During the convention, I’d hoped to find a good place to buy foam for some of my miniatures, and over in the high 2000’s I came across a company called Pirate Lab. I was very impressed by the amount of storage their bags have, both for cards or miniatures and also for the books, playmats, and nearly anything else you want to bring with you. So nice!
Also, they introduced me to what they call “Snip Foam” which is similar to other foam trays, except that it comes in a grid pattern, and you can easily cut out the shape you need for your minis. This ensures that there is a nice snug fit as well as having extra padding below, unlike “Pluck Foam”, which tends to leave open areas around miniatures and an open compartment down to the base of the tray.
All in all, I was very impressed with the quality of the foam trays. And they will be launching a few new cases soon, which are also looking mighty nice! From what I could tell, everything seems compatible with trays available from other companies like Games plus. Not to mention, they were handing out free deck boxes, which were also both handy and sturdy for the style of box they are.
Indie Preview – Sabotile by Grizzly Forged
Not far from Pirate Lab was the Grizzly Forged booth, where they were showcasing a hex-based board game, Sabotile: Isles of Hexoté. In Sabotile, a trickster god has taken your tribe’s totem and has mixed them all up. So, it is your job to go to the temple, recover a totem, and make it back to have it identified (hoping of course, that you’ve claimed the one belonging to your tribe.)
These totems are, obviously, central to gameplay, but their implementation is what makes them so unique. Each Totem is hidden inside a cannister-like artifact which can slide open to reveal the totem inside. Now, along with having to move around the board, it seems common practice to leave traps on tiles or ambush your opponent to steal their totem. I did not demo the game, but I can say that Sabotile is definitely something I’ll be watching over the coming months.
Looking back at an upcoming release – Codex by Sirlin Games
My next stop through the convention hall may sound familiar if you’ve been with us a while… Sirlin Games, creator of Flash Duel, Puzzle Strike, and Yomi, was showcasing their latest game, Codex. Now, Codex comes in one of 3 configurations, the Starter, Core, and Deluxe sets. The packaging is great for all 3 versions of the game, however, the Core and the Deluxe set especially, look fantastic.
Obviously, a lot of thought and planning went into the Deluxe set… and this thing is Huge! While the Core set is certainly the traditional way to start off in the game, with its 2 factions, 2 binders, 6 heroes and everything else you need to play, if you’re able to, the Deluxe edition of Codex is amazing!!
I’m sure my photos don’t do it justice, but every aspect of the box seems to have been meticulously planned. This set comes with all 7 factions, 2 play mats, 6 Codex binders, the extra locations expansion deck and all the regular pieces you need to play the game. (That’s over 700 cards in total plus non-card components!) The only problem is that, with such a huge box, it may not play so nicely on your shelves, haha.
A Visit with Brian Colin – Creature Curator
Meanwhile, over in Artist Booth 76, Brian Colin was hanging out with a variety of his creatures and artwork. These are all hand-made unique pieces of art from his fantasy continent, Revilo. Here you’ll find the mounted heads of his monsters, smaller dragon busts, tentacle hooks, pocket monsters, and artwork. I’m very much looking forward to seeing some of his future projects. Make sure to check out his site for more pictures and Twitter/Facebook to keep up with his events and the most up-to-date goings on w/ his creations.
Storytelling of the Not-So-Distant Future – MetaArcade and Tunnels & Trolls
After my brief chat with Brian, it was time for my meeting with David Reid, the founder and CEO of MetaArcade about the history of the Tunnels & Trolls adventures and how they are bringing those solo adventure campaigns to tablets, smartphones, PC and Mac. In short, MetaArcade has created a storytelling platform which, at launch, will utilize Flying Buffalo’s catalog of over 30 solo adventures (which essentially play like a Choose Your Own Adventure, but with dice rolls and skill modifiers as additional factors in driving the story forward.)
As David mentioned during our interview, “Every gamer has worlds and characters they’ve created…” and with MetaArcade’s Authoring tools, they’ll soon be able to bring their worlds, characters, monsters, and adventures to the public in a business model which allows the author to profit from the sale of their creations. Additionally, authors will be able to utilize a catalogue of art, sound effects, and music to accent their adventures and draw the reader further into the experience.
I’ll tell you, I may have died a few times in as many minutes while playing their demo, but the experience was fun and made me keep wanting to reset and try the adventure again. The demo version pictured above is a very early in production, so these photos are certainly not representative of the final version. However, it was more than enough to show how amazing the software can be and paints a very bright future for MetaArcade and all the storytellers out there.
Learning to play the King’s Armory by Gatekeeper Games
Finishing out my day 3 was a game session of The King’s Armory, hosted by Gatekeeper Games. While I’m one of the Kickstarter backers of the game, I’d never played it until the convention.
The King’s Armory is a Tower Defense game that stays true to its digital origins. Monster come in wave after wave down lanes toward your castle gate. All players (TKA supports 1-7 players) act as unique heroes that move around the board, fighting monsters, providing cover for each other, slowing down the enemies, and commanding their own hirelings (if they’ve hired them.)
Something definitely worth noting is that this game is 100% coop and supports drop-in/drop-out play. This makes the King’s Armory a fantastic game to start or end the night with since you can play while players arrive or need to go and they come join/drop without stopping or breaking the game.
Ok, obviously, Day 3 was a very eventful day at the con. Of course, there was much more to see, and I’ll cover some of that in the final entry… next time.