Post by: Grant Rodiek
Board Game Geek Con is this week and I’m rounding up any loose ends to be prepared for it. Cons are a really big part of our niche hobby for many, but for me they’ve always been a mixed bag. I tend to have a good time, but, what can I say, I’m weird.
This year’s con planning was strange. At one point I was going to attend Gen Con, then Essen Spiele, then BGG, and it’s been a while now since I’ve had direct exposure to publishers to pitch and network. Really, that’s my primary interest in Cons.
I’m hopefully going to be busy at BGG Con and I wanted to write about some of the things going on. Take a look. Hit me up on Twitter if you want to meet up. I’ll be rooming in the convention hotel. I’ll be there from Wednesday afternoon until Sunday afternoon. I’m volunteering at the Portal Games booth, so you can probably find me there most mornings and such.
Why will I be at the Portal Games booth? Well, you should watch Ignacy’s latest video blog for details.
Sol Rising: I have quite a few games that need homes that’ll be in attendance at BGG Con. Most important, to me, is finding a home for Sol Rising. Sol Rising is my 2-4 player space opera tactics game. I’m proud of its narrative setting, 12 unique scenarios, and the persistence between scenarios. I’m also pleased that I’ve created an intuitive, thematic, light to medium tactics game with a lot of fun randomness in combat and Events.
I started working on Sol in the early spring of 2013 on my way to the Protospiel Milwaukee event. I’ve put in a great deal of work designing, writing, testing, and developing it. But, it’s a bit of a niche game. I knew that going in and didn’t really care. If I don’t find a home for it at BGG, I’ll need to find a more humble destination for it. The game is too big for me to self-publish with a big print run. Just too risky for me at this time. However, I think I can, and would, make a limited print run using assorted POD services to create copies for any takers.
Hocus Poker: Ah yes, our little problem child. Hocus Poker is a design with seemingly a million ups and downs, but it’s finally coming together. We (me and Joshua Buergel) have been tweaking, testing, and re-designing this sucker all year. We finally think we have the framework we need.
The current iteration of the game is quite interesting. 2-4 players are dealt 10 cards, shown in the image above. Cards have a suit (their illustration), a strength (1-13), and a gem value. Play takes place in sequential turns, on which, the active player will play 1 card from their hand to one of the two communities (up to 4 cards), as a gem to one of the 2 communities to build a Pot, or as a Pocket card to USE on one of those 2 communities. When the communities fill up, players assign each of their 2 hands to one of the Communities. Best Poker hand takes all the Gems played to it.
The twist, beyond that, is that every player has 3 unique Spells that let them do the 3 basic actions above in weird and unique ways. We’re excited in that we think we have a unique, original game that borrows some elements from poker, but doesn’t feel like a lazy modification to the game.
John Ariosa created some awesome art for our prototype and we ordered some slick DriveThruCards for fancy prototype copies. We’d love to find a publishing partner at BGG. If we don’t, we might self-publish it, or bring it with us to Gen Con 2015 to pitch some more.
Landfall: This is the mysterious (or not so mysterious if you haven’t cared) title I refer to as LF on Twitter. It’s another collaborative project between me and Josh that we’re keeping close to the chest. The key word there is project.
I’ll be testing this game at BGG and sharing some of the details on it with folks. This one is for self-publication. We’re hoping to have it ready by late 2015. We’ll see!
I typically saunter into a convention rather lazily with no preparation. I play what I happen to get to and keep it at that. This year, I tried to be more proactive about what I’m playing. I found a forum on BGG for war gamers and signed up for 3 games that should be VERY fun, including:
- Fief: I Kickstarted this earlier in the year and am very excited about it. The rules make it look fantastic, like a rich, complex, medieval Rex.
- Command and Colors: Napoleonics: This is a great Richard Borg design from a favorite time period. What makes this even better? It’s an 8 player game.
- Space Empires 4x: I like this game, but have only played it once. It’s a pretty great candidate for a convention game. I’m also excited that I’m going to be bringing the copy and teaching it to folks. We’ll see how that goes.
I’m also very eager to play a great deal of Netrunner. A few months ago my friend and I stopped simply buying the game and actively began playing it. It can be difficult, in a large game group, to carve out 2 player game time. But, we made it a priority and we just love the game. I’m bringing 4 decks and all of my cards to BGG. I don’t think I’m any good, and I’m sure I’ll be made a fool with every encounter, but I’m nonetheless eager to play.
Imperial Settlers is a game that I very much want to play. I was one of the people Ignacy asked to double check the rules, yet it sold out at Gen Con and I haven’t bought it yet. I am already in for 3 copies of the expansion for a Twitter follower, so I might as well play it, right?
I very much want to play Specter Ops from Plaid Hat Games. They just announced a preview will be at the convention. I really love the work these guys do, so this is an insta-demo.
Finally, Geoff Engelstein of Ludology noted he’s bringing his prototype Fog of War. I read the rules for this a month or so ago and it looks like a really, really clever war game. I want to play it oh so badly.
I’m an eager consumer and I don’t expect to come home empty handed. For one, my copies of Fleet Commander: 1 Ignition and Mysterium from Essen will be handed over. As listed above, I’m eager to try (and let’s face it, buy) Imperial Settlers. The Bots expansion for Theseus might be there.
I’d also love to see if Rattlebones or Temporum are at BGG. Both of these titles seem neat and I’d love to check them out.
Finally, I love when cons have weird, out of print game to try and purchase. I plan to find some gems.
If you’re at BGG, be sure to hit me up. I’d love to try your prototypes and show you mine as well. If you want to meet for a beer, we can do that too! Hope you guys have a fun convention.