Two months ago we had the pleasure of attending the Origins Game Fair and previewed dozens of brand new games just hitting the market. Long hours and tons of fun were the highlight of the extended weekend, and I’m sure we’ll be back next year to do it all again. But before that happens, something bigger must be attended to.
In just a couple weeks begins the nation’s largest game convention, Gen Con, and this year it’s a special one! It’s their 50th Anniversary! Once again SahmReviews will make the trek across the Midwest to preview the scores of new titles for sale and even get a sneak peek at some yet to be released! Last year we scooped all the major game-industry sites by getting inside information on Flick ’em Up – Dead of Winter, grabbed a copy of Seafall and played early versions of a couple Asmodee titles, Inis and Hit Z Road! There’s no telling what we’ll discover and report on this year!
Of course we’re excited to see what new games have finally made their way to the convention and are ready to be purchased for the first time at Gen Con. We polled all of the game companies we’ve presented in the past, and they provided an extensive list of brand new titles available at Gen Con for the first time! Although our list has well over 60 brand new games for this one event, we know there are quite a few more that are still under wraps because companies weren’t sure if they’d hit the shores in time for opening day.
If you’re headed to Gen Con, you’ll want to look through this list and start making plans on which booth(s) to visit early to get your copy before they run out. If you’re not one of the fortunate ones to be attending in person, don’t fret – this list simply means these games are as close to being on the shelves of your local game store (or Amazon) as possible! Here is the first half of an alphabetical listing of companies and the games they are debuting at the Gen Con!
Automobiles: Racing Season
The Automobiles: Racing Season expansion adds multiple elements to the Automobiles base game.
First, players can adopt the role of a driver who has a special power unique to that character. Players can also acquire sponsors during the game, and each sponsor has an array of actions available to them.
Automobiles: Racing Season includes three new tracks, two smaller ones on half of the game board and a larger one on the reverse side of the entire board. Cards are included for these boards and those in the base game, and now players can compete in a season of multiple tracks, keeping their driver for the entire season and (more importantly) keeping their bag intact as they move from one track to another, thereby supercharging the race right from the starting line for each race past the first.
Dark is the Night
A Hunter has set up camp in a dark and dangerous forest. In the middle of the night she is awakened by a sound in the darkness, just outside the light of her small fire. Again! A guttural growl informs the Hunter that she is not alone. To survive this night, the Hunter will need keen wits and sharp aim with her crossbow.
In Major General: Duel of Time, each player has a set of eight Order cards which they play beside the battlefield, overlaying existing orders. All orders for both players that are still showing are resolved after each card is played. Control the most territories at the end of the game to win!
Sheriff of Nottingham: Merry Men Expansion
The rumors about smugglers are all over Nottingham’s alleys. In the last year, the Sheriff has confiscated a lot of illegal goods, but surely he needs help! A Black Market has formed in the alleys, full of special demands from those inside. This has caused a rise in the number of smugglers, including many experienced thieves. Two Deputies were hired by the Sheriff in response. Prepare your illegal goods, follow the new laws, and fulfill the people’s demands! Merry Men join your group in order to profit even more! Sheriff of Nottingham: Merry Men is a collection of expansions for the hit game Sheriff of Nottingham! Included in this expansion pack are: • The 6th Player expansion, where the honorable Sheriff has hired two Deputies to assist in the confiscation of illegal goods. • The Black Market, where demand for contraband is high, and so are the rewards for those Merchants willing to take a risk! As well as Special Orders, that Merchants can fulfill for added profits. • Laws. Passed down from Prince John, this expansion brings about changes to the game, adding variance to the goods that can be brought into Nottingham. • The Merry Men, outlaws of notoriety that wreak havoc if smuggled into Nottingham, for great reward (and risk) to Merchants choosing to provide them assistance!
You have just infected a patient. Your objective is to mutate and take over the host’s organs. Choose your strategy carefully, though, because other players’ viruses are sure to get in your way! If too many viruses are present in an organ, a CRISIS occurs and the IMMUNE SYSTEM will surely wipe out your infection! VIRAL is a 2-5 player game where players strive to control organs in a human body, with deep strategy and fluid game-play, players will have difficult and rewarding choices to make each round!
The Chameleon is a family-friendly, social bluffing game, devised by legendary board game inventor Rikki Tahta, creator of Coup. If you are the hidden Chameleon, your mission is to stay undetected and work out the secret code word. If you aren’t the Chameleon then you must track down that elusive Chameleon without giving away the secret word. If the wrong person is accused, the real Chameleon escapes. If the Chameleon is caught, they have one last chance to escape by guessing the secret word.
Ninja-like reflexes, sharp recognition skills, and mental fortitude steals the game in our new tile-snatching challenge known as Cobra Paw! Players take turns rolling the dice (featuring 6 unique symbols), spotting the tile with the matching pattern, then grabbing it before their opponents. The first player to snatch up 6 tiles wins the game and bestows great honor to the Grand Shidoshi, Master Meow!
In Whistle Stop, you’ll make your way west across the country, using your fledgling railroad company to build routes, pick up valuable cargo and deliver needed goods to growing towns, creating a network of Whistle Stops that you and your competitors can leverage as you continue to expand your networks. Along the way, you’ll gain shares in other railroads and watch your reputation soar with each successful delivery before making a final push to complete long hauls to the boom towns of the West.
King Frog is a fast-paced game about frogs moving around the pond. Players try to stay in the game for as long as possible and land on the right spot, because today, the new king of the frogs will be chosen. Your goal is to remain afloat for as long as possible, outlasting your opponents as you hop around the pond. But hop ahead wisely. If you land on a water lily that is not your color, you will have to pay penalty! Spatial thinking, clever planning and a bit of luck make King Frog an engaging game for two to four players aged seven years and up. King Frog takes about 15 minutes to play. The game is artful, fun and develops strategic thinking, so it is a must-try for all young players.
Reef Route is a fun and tactical game about life in the ocean in which players help small tropical fish outmaneuver opponents while staying clear of predators! The first fish to safely reach the reef or the last fish still alive and swimming wins the game. The game is for two to four players aged five years and up and takes about 15 minutes to play. The movements of the little fish teach kids spatial thinking, basic strategies and sportsmanship.
Woo-Hoo! is an adorable roll & move game for little children with a 3D elephant slide game board that players will climb up and slide down during the course of the game. The aim is to go down an elephant slide and land in the sandbox to collect toys left by children. The game is for two to four players aged three years and up and takes about 20 minutes to play. Woo-Hoo stands out with a trunk slide that little players can assemble themselves. This incredibly fun game helps kids learn counting skills, basic strategies and sportsmanship.
Asking for Trobils
Wacky sci-fi worker placement game for 2-7 bounty hunters, catch the Gen Con deal and promo ships!
Long ago, your ancestors built great cities across the world. Now your tribe of Delvers must explore forests, deserts, islands, caverns, and mountains to find these lost cities. Claim the ruins, build places of power, and restore the glory of a bygone age. Unearth is a dice placement game for 2-4 players. In this compelling strategy game, players must balance two paths to victory.
Your goal is to climb to the highest level of the structure. To help with your climb, you may move and rotate blocks. Ladders can be used to climb large distances. Your blocking disk will prevent other players from using a specific block. Use your tools wisely and at the right time to make the best possible moves in your adventure to the top!
Players transport and sell coal to cities and factories along the Ruhr river. By selling coal, players acquire unique abilities. In the beginning, players have access only to low value coal. By selling coal to certain locations, players gain access to high value coal. Additionally, players will build warehouses, build locks, and export coal to neighboring countries, all in the pursuit of the most victory points.
You are about to enter a shared dream with your friends. It may take you on a wild adventure under the sea, or to a faraway land, or even soaring through the stars. In Dream On, you will tell the story of your dream together, one card at a time. When you wake up, you’ll work together as a team to remember everything that happened, before the story slips away from you. The better you’re able to recall the story of the dream, the more points you’ll earn. But don’t worry if your memory is a little foggy, you can rely on your teammates to help you out! Dream On is a fast, simple, cooperative game with stories you’ll want to relive again and again.
Magic was outlawed in the city of Gateway when the evil Chancellor Gideon took over control many years ago. However, he couldn’t snuff out its use entirely, and now you’re going to have to rely on the old traditions if you hope to save the city. Monstrous beings, the Drueggar Horde, threaten to destroy Gateway. You’ll have to acquire the knowledge of new spells and recruit a ragtag team of rebels to fight at your side. Gateway Uprising is a unique combination of deckbuilding and area control. You’ll have to balance working together with your opponents to fight off the Drueggar Hordes, with taking control of districts by yourself. You share common goals, but in the end, there will be only one winner, or if the city falls… none.
Running an up and coming criminal organization is no easy task. You have to surround yourself with people you can trust, complete jobs to bring in money, and spend it wisely on bribing city officials. It doesn’t help that you’re competing with other aspiring crime families, each looking to grab a piece of the pie in 1940s New York City. In The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire, you’re trying to earn enough money so that your organization is in a position to take over control of the city if Don Corleone were ever to meet with an unfortunate accident. Plan your actions carefully, fight for control of your turf, and above all, trust no one, not even family. If you’re able to be the richest mobster at the end of the fourth act, you’ll become the new Don. Enjoy it while you can. It’s never long before a new young mobster will come gunning for you and you might end up facedown in the Hudson.
In Massive Darkness, you’ll join forces with the other players to enter the underground lair of the Darkness. You’ll work together, jumping from shadow to light, engaging the enemy when the moment is right. The minions of the Darkness can be anything from orcs, to goblin warriors, to giant spiders. You’ll never know what creatures await you around every corner. Play the quests in order to follow the storyline, or create your own legends using the tokens and modular board tiles. The Lightbringers won this war once before. Now it’s your turn to add your names to the history books!
(Room 231, 232)
You and your partner are on a secret mission to a crowded city. Your objective: to contact 15 agents while avoiding a band of enemy assassins.
You know the agents that your partner can contact safely. Your partner knows the agents you can contact safely. By giving each other one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board, you try to find all the agents before your turns run out.
Codenames: Duet includes 400 new words so you do not need any other Codenames game to play. On the other hand, if you own the original Codenames, you can use the word cards from the two games interchangeably.
That’s a Question!
Each player has a hand of hexagonal cards, with words or phrases in three color blocks on the card. On a turn, you choose a player that has a token in front of them, take that token, then present them with a question by choosing one of the three question prompts (which are all color-coded), then choosing two cards from your hand and adding the properly-colored section of those cards to the question. A sample question: “What would you miss more if it ceases to exist: Facebook or doors?” That player secretly votes on A or B, while everyone else but the questioner secretly votes A or B depending on how they think the person will answer; a voter can optionally add their 3x scoring token to their vote.
Once everyone votes, you reveal the tiles. Everyone who voted correctly moves ahead one or three spaces on the scoring track, and the questioner moves ahead one space for each person who voted incorrectly. If you pass a certain space on the scoring track, you retrieve your 3x token (if you’ve used it). Since you can ask a question only of those with a token in front of them, everyone is asked roughly the same number of questions, and whoever has the most points after a certain number of rounds wins.
Bemused is a strategic “ruin your rivals” game with asymmetric player powers, hidden information, and private agendas. Each player is a muse, a timeless being that has inspired artists since the dawn of human creativity. Each muse has chosen a human virtuoso as their protégé and seeks to elevate that virtuoso to the pinnacle of artistic glory by removing that virtuoso’s rivals from contention. To accomplish this, the players take turns placing doubt and dread cards on each other’s virtuosos, thereby lowering their scores and driving them closer to insanity and death, while using their own virtuoso’s unique ability to manipulate doubt and dread cards already in play. When a virtuoso’s card accumulates sufficient doubt and dread, that virtuoso goes insane or dies. But fear not! Insane virtuosos may regain their sanity and dead virtuosos have their own path to victory. The game ends when only one sane virtuoso remains or all the virtuosos have been driven insane or killed. At Gen Con, each copy of Bemused will come with two quick reference cards and the designer will be present at the booth to sign copies.
Fast Food Fear
Monsters at the Legoblah! swamp prefer fast food nowadays: it’s quick, convenient and you can eat some of the most disgusting junk in the world. Fast Food Fear is a cooperative game in real time for a close-knit team of 3-6 cooks: keep an eye on the hourglass and coordinate your teamwork to serve all the customers correctly and in time!
Fireside Games will have Hotshots available for sale at Gen Con and will be handing out the River promo tile for the game. Hotshots is Fireside’s new cooperative, press-your-luck firefighting game, releasing on September 20, 2017. It’s designed by Justin De Witt, who is also the creator of the hit cooperative game Castle Panic. In Hotshots, the forest is on fire, and only you and your elite crew of Hotshots can put it out and save resources from the thirsty flames. Use special abilities to work together as you fight the blaze. Lay Firebreaks, reduce Flames, generate Reward Tokens, and maneuver Vehicles before 8 tiles are Scorched and the land is lost.
Head of Mousehold
Wise clan leaders know the old saying: “The second mouse gets the cheese!” Now it’s time to claim your cheese supremacy!
In Head of Mousehold, you are the leader of a mouse clan battling for cheese morsels in a house full of traps! Carefully choose the best mice to send on perilous missions in order to outwit the opposing mouse families. Place your mouse cards under the right mousetraps and claim the most cheese points by the end of the week.
Have the most cheese points at the end of five game turns, and you win!
Don’t get fooled by our innocent looking bandits. In their sights are the most precious pieces of art and jewelry the museum has on display. The security
systems are no match for their wits; their only obstacle is each other’s treachery.
Museum Heist™ is a subtle game of bluff and deceit where players assume a hidden identity in an effort to conceal their malicious moves and be the
first to grab the museum’s prized possessions.
Museum Heist™ is the brainchild of the venerated Alex Randolph. It is easy to learn and will delight families and seasoned players alike.
Go Nuts For Donuts
Time to take the donuts! A tray of tempting treats awaits your bid in this freshly baked card game. Will you go for a stellar cruller or grab a glorious glazed? A double chocolate is sure to score, but in the long run Boston cream may be worth more! Choose carefully – if two or more players go for the same donut, nobody gets it! End with the highest score and victory will taste sweet! A special “Bacon” promo card will be available with purchase at Gen Con.
One finger touching chin! Two hands touching! Hand on a knee! You must keep obeying all the instructions simultaneously and still manage to draw a card. It gets very silly very quickly. There will be a few sample decks available for free.
Lazer Ryderz™ is a trackless racing game for up to 4 players with light push-your-luck, area denial, and strategy elements. Players construct their lazer paths with various pre-formed punchboard pieces that are placed according to speed and desired direction.
Champions of Midgard: The Dark Mountains
This expansion for Champions of Midgard extends your adventures to distant lands, allowing you to trek into the dark mountains, where the Bergrisar live and wage constant battle with the Archer Clans of the North. Fight fearsome mountain giants and liberate archers who join your cause. Once freed, you will find the archers to be worthy allies, rarely missing and being exceptional hunters. The Dark Mountains expansion adds a ton of new content to the base game, including the ability to play with up to 5 players, new land journeys, a new Enemy type (Bergrisar), more powerful Trolls and Draugr, as well as additional Rune Cards, Market Tiles, and more.
Champions of Midgard: Valhalla
Valhalla is the second expansion for Champions of Midgard. In Valhalla, you will find yourself rewarded when your warriors die in battle. Your warriors’ eternal glory becomes your earthly reward as the Valkyries bestow powerful effects, relics, and warriors upon you for use in your battles in Midgard. Some of your fallen soldier may do more, rising to face the greatest enemies even in the afterlife, defeating epic monsters and bringing you glory from beyond the grave! Couple these new rewards with fierce new warriors in the form of Berzerkers and Shieldwarriors, and new custom dice and powers for your leaders, and your adventures in Midgard will never be the same!
Outpost: Siberia is a fully cooperative, survival game that plays with a single deck of cards. Using an inventive dual-facing system, a single card in Outpost can be anything from life-saving supplies to cataclysmic catastrophes. By enduring relentless weather and defeating untamable beasts, players are rewarded with the much-needed tools and food to continually resupply their resources.
In Seikatsu, players take turns placing tiles into a shared garden area, with each tile showing a colored flower and colored bird. Players score for groups of birds as they place them, but they score for rows of flowers only at the end of the game and only for the rows of flowers that exist from their perspective, i.e., that are viewable as lines from where they sit at the game board.
Torres is an abstract game of resource management and tactical pawn movement. Players are attempting to build up castles and position their knights to score the most points each turn. Players have a limited supply of knights and action cards that allow special actions to be taken. Efficient use of pieces and cards, along with a thoughtful awareness of future possibilities, is the heart of this game.
Bunny Kingdom is a game for 2 to 4 players, in which you are Rabbit Lords who are conquering a new world on behalf of the Bunny King. You will need to get the best of what these lands have to offer. Explore the furthest corners, construct Cities, farm Resources to make your Fiefs prosper, and accumulate precious Golden Carrots. Don’t forget to satisfy the King by accomplishing Missions of the utmost discretion on behalf of His Majesty! Every choice can bring you laurels of victory, but in the end, only the most valiant among you will be named “Big Ears” by the Bunny King. Will you be worthy?
Aeon’s End: The Outer Dark
The Outer Dark is an expansion for the cooperative deckbuilding game Aeon’s End. This expansion features two new nemeses and two new breach mages, as well as player cards and nemesis cards.
Aeon’s End: The Void
The Void is an expansion for the cooperative deckbuilding game Aeon’s End. This expansion features two new nemeses and two new breach mages.
Aeon’s End: War Eternal
Gravehold remains the last bastion of The World That Was. As the otherworldly incursions from the creatures known only as The Nameless intensify, a cadre of strange survivors emerge from the void itself. Will they be Gravehold’s salvation or its undoing?
War Eternal is a standalone game compatible with the hit cooperative deck building game Aeon’s End. Players will struggle to defend Gravehold from The Nameless and their hordes using unique abilities, powerful spells, and an all new cast of dynamic characters. Featuring a number of innovative mechanisms, including a variable turn order system that simulates the chaos of an attack and deck management rules that require careful planning, War Eternal can be played alone or combined with other Aeon’s End content for a game experience like no other.
Kickstarter promos will be available.
The buzz around the meadow is the High Queen seeks an heir. A grand test of skill and dexterity will be held to determine which fledgling queen will inherit the throne! So assemble your hive and make a beeline for the meadow!
BEEEEES! is a buzzing real-time dice rolling game for 2-5 players where brains matter as much as speed. Players frantically roll dice to claim hive tiles in front of them and their neighbors. The player with the most dice on the tile strategically places it into their burgeoning hive. At the end of the game, the player that has built the best hive wins!
Avast ye, mateys! Lookit thar! It be a chest of gold! But how to divvy up th’ loot? Aye! Draw yer cards and watch out for yer hornswagglin’ mateys! Gamblin’ be th’ pirate way!
Pirate 21 is competitive card game for 2-6 players. Each player tries to get 21 without going over. Sound familiar? It is, but in this version of 21 you have Pirates that can knock an opponent out of the round, Mates & Captains that can swap cards and Princesses to defend you. Draw your cards, and bring your best trash-talking pirate voice to the table.
Troubles a-brewin!’ It’s exam time at School of Sorcery, the mischievous witches have crafted their strongest potions and hexes to win the coveted Witches Cup. A little eye of newt, toe of frog and wool of bat have strewn together magical objects with the ability to foil their fellow witches. Mix your potions, practice your spells, and prepare for a battle of magical proportions!
Witching Hour is a card game where players compete over three rounds to control the Witches Cup. Armed with enchanted objects, they will attack, defend, and use specialty abilities to hex their rivals. The player with the fewest points at the end wins the Cup.
This game of competitive sorcery will leave you spellbound.
You might wish to bookmark this page as we’ll be adding more games to the list once we confirm their availability at Gen Con. Make sure you bring lots of extra spending money, you won’t want to miss out and have to wait for another print run! And if you see one of us running around at Gen Con, feel free to stop and say “Hello!”.
Here’s part 2 of Games Debuting at Gen Con!