Gen Con 2014 Buy or Try List (Part 2)

August 12, 2014

We’re back with Part 2 of our Gen Con 2014 Buy or Try List and this time I’m on the spot. And if you missed Part 1 of our Gen Con Buy or Try, be sure to check out Tiffany’s list here. You’ll see a few similarities but with the number of games on offer this year, gamers are spoiled for choice. I’m going to switch things up and start my list with #1 because, well, that seems nonsensical and that’s what we’re all about. I will be happy to Buy and/or Try any and all of these games.


Dan’s Top 10 Buy Or Try

1. Panamax

Publisher: Stronghold Games | Players: 2-4 | Playing time: 100 mins | MSRP: $60

pic1786212_mdTiffany said it all. This game looks great!  A unique dice mechanic thrown into an economic game with ships, contracts, and water. This will be my first purchase on Thursday morning.




2. Shadowrun: Crossfire

Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs | Players: 2-4 | Playing time: 25 mins | MSRP: $60

pic2060466_mdWill 2014 be the true year of Shadowrun (2013 is over for those keeping score at home)? While I am nearing my limit with the whole deck-building genre, building a character deck that players can carry forward and utilize for multiple gaming sessions (similar to Pathfinder The Adventure Card Game) is nearly as awesome as the Shadowrun universe itself. I pray that together they make for an amazing game.  The previews until now have been great, and I hope this one delivers.  Please, please, please don’t suck.


3. Doomtown: Reloaded

Publisher: AEG | Players: 2-4 | Playing time: 30 mins | MSRP: $40

DT_Boxtop_PressI really like the Old West and I really like card games. Enter Doomtown. The old CCG makes its return under AEG’s header, with a polished rule set and the new “expandable” (read: LCG) format. This one has a lot of buzz going into the convention and is sure to be a hot pick-up for many folks, myself included. From reading the rules (I have yet to actually play the new version), the learning curve appears to be quite steep and may not be for the faint of heart or for those just looking for a quick card game to get out on the table. From what I have heard/read, Doomtown will reward those that commit to it much like Android: Netrunner. I am not sure that I am ready for that level of commitment, but I look forward to demoing this at the AEG Big Game Night and possibly even purchasing it.

4. Samurai Spirit

Publisher: Funforge | Players: 1-7 | Playing time: 30 mins | MSRP: ?

pic2012135_mdAntoine Bauza. Samurai. ‘Nuff said. Billed as a 1-7 player co-op of equal difficulty to Ghost Stories (my favorite co-op), Samurai Spirit is said to be slightly more accessible in terms of teaching and playtime. As if you still needed a bit more prodding on this title, Mr. Bauza himself has been quoted as saying that the price point for this game will be “LOW.”


5. Black Fleet

Publisher: Asmodee | Players: 3-4 | Playing time: 60 mins | MSRP: $70

pic1987366_mdSpace Cowboys, the makers of Splendor (yawn), have slowly been building a reputation for publishing games with top notch production quality. Black Fleet is their latest endeavor and from the pictures and videos I have seen it looks amazing! I always wanted to be a pirate, so my urge to play any and all pirate games is a well known fact. I mean come on, the cubes fit IN the ships! How cool is that?

6. Abyss

Publisher: Asmodee | Players: 2-4 | Playing time: 45 mins | MSRP: $60

pic1965255_mdAnother game that Tiffany and I share similar views on. The art in this game is magnificent and the theme is just as attractive to me. I have not yet had a chance to read the rules, but as a fan of Cathala and a believer in Tiffany’s opinion, I will definitely be adding this piece of art to my shelf.



7. Sheriff of Nottingham

Publisher: Arcane Wonders | Players: 3-5 | Playing time: 60 mins | MSRP: $35

pic2075830_mdArcane Wonders has done something marvelous for us all; they’ve included on their site a pre-order with Gen Con pick-up similar to what Portal has done with Imperial Settlers. This, my friends, is brilliant. While I can imagine this being a logistical nightmare for most companies, I really hope the pre-order trend continues as it allows players to breathe a bit easier on Thursday morning knowing that their reserved copy can be leisurely picked up once the stampede dies down. Oh, and the game looks cool, too! Players take turns lying blatantly to each others faces in order to smuggle goods into Nottingham without getting caught by the Sheriff. You had me at lying and bluffing! (Quotes from Robin Hood or Men In Tights will be mandatory during plays of this game. – Ed)


8. XCOM The Board Game

Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games | Players: 1-4 | Playing time: 90 mins | MSRP: ?

pic2173781Eric Lang’s recent tweet leads me to believe that this will debut for demo at Gen Con. With an estimated wait time of probably 4 days, I will probably not get a chance to demo this, but I’ll be damned if I don’t at least try. I love the XCOM video games and I am really intrigued to see how FFG plans to incorporate the mandatory digital app into the analog experience.



9. Hyperborea

Publisher: Asmodee | Players: 2-6 | Playing time: 90 mins | MSRP: $100

pic2004236_mdUsing what Asmodee describes as a “bag-building” mechanic, Hyperborea looks to add a new twist on the civilization building genre. I am a sucker for a good Civ game, so it’s no surprise that this is on my list. At the $100 price point I am a bit concerned with the size of the box fitting the size of my suitcase, but that will be a determination for later this week. Regardless of whether or not I lug this bad boy home with me, I would love to get a demo of it to see what this bag-building is all about.


10. Shinobi Clans

Publisher: Post Human Studios | Players: 3-5 | Playing time: 60 mins | MSRP: $25

pic1743544_mdThis was released in very limited quantities at last year’s Gen Con (~50 copies), but will have a wider release this year. Players are tactically trying to assemble cards via draft to complete missions and foil their foes. I know very little about the gameplay of this one, but to be honest, I am buying it for the art. It’s ridiculous. This could be a game about picking up the poo from the ninja’s dog, for all I care.




If you’re going to be at Gen Con, please hit us up on Twitter. I’d love to say hello to everyone! If you’re staying local, be sure to stay tuned to the site and our social media outlets, as we’ll have live coverage as I get trampled in the Exhibit Hall!

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF/PODCAST CO-HOST : Allow myself, to introduce myself. Boardgaming since the womb, I have an unsound infatuation with buying, playing, discussing, photographing, and writing about boardgames. As a boardgame aesthetics enthusiast (say that 5 times fast) you'll typically find that I spend a large majority of the game examining the design, art, and components. I prefer strategic eurogames but will play just about anything these days (except Arkham Horror). And I love Pearl Jam.