A good six hour day was had from demoing eight games to a brief chat with Mercedes Lackey to watching the kid flail his way through the boffer arena.
Deadly Doodles (SJGames)
Steve Jackson Games’ newest offering, technically it’s not being released until GenCon but they are demoing it and have some copies available for sale at Origins. Over all, it’s a fun game. In some ways, it has a Tsuro feel in that it is a path building game. However, all four players are building their own paths on their own (dry erase) map, though all the maps are identical. Players get points for getting weapons, monsters, and treasures. They lose points for getting monsters without the associated weapons or for running through traps placed by other players. Fun dungeon delving path builder.
Ship Shape (Calliope)
Essentially a board covering, resource gathering game with penalties for being too greedy. The “story” is that players are smugglers trying to build cannons to protect their ship, gold, and contraband. But, the player with the fewest cannons loses points (can’t protect their ship) and the player with the most contraband loses points (gets raided by the Crown). We only got the short version demo, versus a full play, so my understanding of the game is probably incomplete at the moment.
Bunny Kingdom (Iello)
Fun, slightly complex, game technically intended for ages 14+ due to the math involved (but my 8 year old loved it). Each player draws 10 or 12 cards depending on how many players (2, 3, 4). Rounds proceed by each player plays two cards, places their pieces or does card actions, then passes their remaining cards clockwise. Then they play two cards, place pieces, and pass the remaining cards. This continues until all the cards are played. Then scoring commences by counting up the number of town/castle towers multiplied by the variety of connected resources (ex. carrots, fish). Some cards give full game goals for bonus points as well (ex. control 9 cities).
King of New York (Iello)
Expansion and variation on King of Tokyo, monsters destroy NYC. Dice rolls determine energy, health, damage, etc. But, the city fights back by mobilizing troops as you destroy buildings. Not one of my favorites, but it does seem to be popular with a significant number of people.
Catan: Legend of the Sea Robbers (Catan Studios)
Very fun, if rather complex, variant on basic Catan. Typical Catan set up, except with three starting settlements, two roads, and a ship. Ships are needed to cross the waters and get ore (which cannot be rolled). Good news, though, the robber cannot rob anyone who has less than 4 victory points. The goal is to reach 11 points by building the usual things (settlements, cities, roads, development cards), with the addition of ships. Ships get castaways who can be sent out each turn for ore (for a price), but there are also some bonus gifts along the way and some helpers who have special abilities.
Cute farm building game, kid wasn’t too impressed but it was kinda fun for a once or twice off. Basically, every player is trying to build a fenced area to protect their farm animals. And drawing farm animals occasionally to score points (which also come from fencing in corn fields). What are they protecting the animals from? The wolf cards. Each wolf card targets a specific animal (pig, chicken, goat) and any of said animal that is not fenced in is lost if the wolf comes up. Players score points for every animal they have and enclosed corn fields.
Zombie Kids (Iello)
Nice, simple, fast area denial survival game. Up to four players are kids trying to protect their cul-de-sac from a zombie apocalypse. Each player’s turn starts by rolling a spawn point for a zombie (five areas plus a “no spawn”), then they move. When they enter a space, they can remove two zombies. If there are 3+ zombies in a space, the players can no longer enter it (area denial). The goal is to lock all four gates (requires two players at the gate space) before all the zombies are placed on the board (if you run out of zombies to play, they win). Initially, it seems rather easy, but quickly becomes quite difficult.
Rivals for Catan (Catan Studios)
Good, fairly fast, two-player version of Catan. In some ways it’s simplified, in that players aren’t competing for space or resources. In other ways, it’s more complex, in that there are other factors (strength, skill, trade power) that come into play and both players begin with six resource points that expand by the end of the game (I ended the game with 8 or 10 resource points to watch, as well as maybe 8 buildings that each gave different abilities). It can be a little tough to keep track of all your resource sources and building abilities as the game progresses.