Gen Con: The Games I Saw

fate smallFate

Leonard Balera, Brian Engard, Jeremy Keller, Ryan Macklin, Mike Olson

Evil Hat Productions

Purchasable online

My introduction to Fate was a two hour gonzo affair, where three people present had worked on Fate, and two of us had never played before. I think I fell in love  with Fate during the session, and I’m looking forward to playing it more in the future. The Aspects really helped me keep my character in mind, the Fate points didn’t feel like a resources management mini-game, and it had a strong sense of everyone sharing narrative authority. I could definetly see wanting to learn Fate well enough to run a Fate game in the future; if I was this thrilled with it as a player, I’ll probably be just as psyched as a GM.




ToCTrail of Cthulhu

Kenneth Hite

Pelgrane Press

Purchasable online

I had a great time playing a con game of ToC, but I’m unsure if I like the system. The system is modified GUMSHOE, and this was the first time I’d ever been exposed to the system via actual play. I wasn’t a big fan of the slow bleed of stats over the course of play, and I think even outside a con game, it would keep feeling like a resources-management situation. I did like the concept behind the Sanity system for ToC, but we also weren’t able to use it in the tight confines of a speedy con game. The game definetly sets the tone well, and I was lucky enough to have both a Keeper and a fellow player who had absolute buy-in to the scenario and setting. At the end of the game we threw a bomb into a dimensional doorway that dumped into Nyarlathotep’s mouth. Nothing says “Good game!” like giving an Elder God indigestion.



sentinelsSentinels of the Multiverse

Christopher Badell, Paul Bender, Adam Rebottaro

Greater Than Games

Purchasable online

I only witnessed most of a Sentinels game near the very end of Gen Con, which means I’m remembering details through the thick haze of sleep deprivation. In the game, players are pitted against a supervillain that endangers the world, and have to cooperatively defeat their terrible opponent. It’s got a heavy comic book theme, and about half way through the game the players started to get the rules, which meant the game suddenly became much, much harder. Everyone came away pleased, so if you’re a fan of cooperative card games and comic books, Sentinels will be a great fit for your table.




Koi PondKoi Pond

Daniel Solis

Smart Play Games

Purchasable online

Koi Pond is a new Solis card game, where players are each jostling for koi fish. It has secret hand elements, and a fair amount of strategy required to keep up with your fellow players. I observed a game of three or four players, and watched the game get remarkably more strategic as each player began to click with the rules. It’s the fastest I’ve seen a group of people come to a game cold (no previous exposure) and end shrewd and savvy players. The game looks gorgeous, it goes fast, and it’s appropriate for ages 10+.




What games did you play or buy at Gen Con? Which ones were games you hadn’t tried before?

About l

L is a freelancer currently working as a writer, editor, journalist and game designer. She hauls a suitcase decorated in stickers as she blogs, travels, and tours. She makes her home in Washington, California, and wherever the tour stopped last night. You can follow L on twitter (@lilyorit )

Speak Your Mind