Robert Searing


Game Toppers launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal to enhance your gaming nights with a quality yet affordable table top. After a year of development, Game Toppers table tops are ready for everyone who does not have a space for a dedicated gaming table but would still like to enjoy playing games on a professional and comfortable surface.

Game Toppers can effectively transform an existing table into a fully-fledged gaming solution with very little work in a matter of minutes. This is possible because they come fully assembled, so the only preparation necessary is to place one of the available variants on top of a table and, in case of the two larger ones, fix the two halves of a Game Topper together – without any tools required. When it is ready, you can spread one of the 3mm stitched edge gaming mats that are also available in the campaign on top of it for additional thematic feel.

Each Game Topper comes either in a standard or luxuriant variant, the main difference between them being that the luxuriant extrusion mold allows for a highly finished hard wood to be placed in the inset, thus, providing a crafted hardwood experience. Among the key features of every Game Topper are a powder coat finish, premium stains & wood finishes, and soft rubberized protection strips that keep the table top securely in place while also protecting the table underneath. Last but not least, even the standard variant features military grade aluminum with an integrated card slot that ensures both of your are hands are always free to support your head when racking your brain to come up with the best move during a heavier game.

There are four different sizes you can choose from, ranging from 30″ x 38″ to 36″ x 72″ play area. The accessory rail addon allows you to convert a one of the two larger Toppers into a mini Topper that is half the size. Other addons include all the possible accessories a proper gaming table could be equipped with, such as cup holders & component trays, dice towers, and adventure cases. A storage bag that makes carrying Toppers from one place to another more comfortable is available as well. In case you would like to get a Game Topper as early as in February 2018, visit the Game Toppers Kickstarter campaign.


Grail Games, an Australian publisher devoted to family friendly games, launched a Kickstarter campaign aiming to fuel up a fresh take on Stephenson’s Rocket designed by Dr. Reiner Knizia. While other Knizia’s games, such as Tigris and Euprhates or Ra, were already reprinted, this campaign provides the first possibility to lay your hands on Stephenson’s Rocket since it’s 1999 release, yet this time with illustrations by Ian O’Toole, whose artworks can be found on components of The Gallerist or Lisboa.

In Stephenson’s Rocket, players take on the role of rail barons in 1830s England. By investing in the various new rail lines, transporting passengers, and building up the local industries, players will vie for the honor of becoming the most prestigious rail baron in the early days of the steam locomotive.

It will take the 2-4 competing rail investors between 60 and 90 minutes to acquire stocks and see who earns the most Prestige in this tile-laying, route-building, set-collection, and bidding game.

Apart from new artwork and upgraded components, changes include shares, Prestige (no more paper money), and city tokens being tracked directly on the board itself, which is in the Kickstarter version double-sided and features a new Eastern USA map. Stephenson’s Rocket arrives in April 2018; if you would like to take a ride, check out the ticket prices on its Kickstarter campaign here.


Last year at Gen Con, CMON released Bloodborne: The Card Gamedesigned by Eric M. Lang, and sold out before the show ended. This year at Gen Con, CMON announced an expansion to the game, titled The Hunter’s Nightmare, collaboratively designed by Eric M. Lang and Christopher Chung (designer of Lanterns: The Harvest Festival). Bloodborne: The Card Game can be played with 3 to 5 players in about 30 – 45 minutes and involves players exploring a Chalice Dungeon deck of monsters before facing a final boss. It’s a competitive game that contains hand management, dice rolling, and push your luck elements.

Return to the Chalice Dungeons in the upcoming Bloodborne: The Card Game – The Hunter’s Nightmare. In this expansion, players must survive against new, deadly bosses and monsters; however, new weapons will help Hunters along the way. The Hunter’s Nightmare also introduces two new gameplay features: Death Tokens and Runes, both of which will have lasting effects throughout your games. Bloodborne: The Card Game – The Hunter’s Nightmare arrives at your FLGS in Q1 2018. We’ll take a closer look at it before then, so keep your weapons ready.

Visit the CMON website for more information as the expansion gets closer to release.

The publishers of BrilliAnts, Sphere Games, are at GenCon this year demo’ing their upcoming release, DiverCity. DiverCity, also published by Maxime Tardif, is a cooperative game in which you are battling against industrial fishermen, oil companies and resorts trying to exploit the resources from a newly discovered coral reef located in an archipelago of 7 islands. You will have to work together and help each other with your unique abilities to be able to save the coral reef from destruction!

One thing that was especially interesting were the way that tiles were double-sided and there would be a Hanabi-like mechanism in which you had to have team members guess the tile.

Although components were all prototype, the molds looked fantastic. Some of the ‘baddies” that you would need to face-off against were the oil companies.

On their turn, players will have 4 actions to help discover new species. They can either dive and explore, exchange information, go on an island to close a hotel, switch their coral tiles for new ones or get the help from friends and animals in the reef. The game is mostly played by moving your character, placing new tiles, discovering new species and giving the right information to your partners at the right moment.

With a good plan and a lot of cooperation, players have the possibility of saving enough species from extinction, thus showing the government that the area is worth saving! If too many species fall and disappear, your team of scientists will have failed their mission and the coral reef will be destroyed forever.

Look for this release to be Kickstarting later this year with an expected release sometime next year.


Fantasy Flight Games, in their annual tradition of releasing HUGE news at GenCon, has done it again with their announcement of a land miniatures battle game, namely Star Wars Legion.

Star Wars™: Legion features organic, fast-paced movement, streamlined combat, and innovative mechanics, inviting players to become commanders of clashing armies on a war-torn battlefield of the Galactic Civil War. Thirty-three unpainted plastic miniatures, including iconic characters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, form a blank canvas for any player create a unique army, fight for the Rebel Alliance or the Galactic Empire, and experience the epic battles of Star Wars on their tabletop.

“Star Wars: Legion is the culmination of a lot of effort and aspirations,” said Andrew Navaro, the Fantasy Flight Games Head of Studio. “We’ve wanted to do a ground-based miniatures game set in the Star Wars universe for a long time—to allow players to command multiple squads of Stormtroopers or Rebel Commandos and fight the many unheralded battles of the Galactic Civil War. This game gives players the chance to do that, and it opens the door for them to engage with the hobby aspect of a miniatures game by encouraging them to paint and customize their miniatures.”

Star Wars: Legion invites you to join the unsung battles of the Galactic Civil War as the commander of a unique army filled with troopers, powerful ground or repulsor vehicles, and iconic characters like Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker. While innovative mechanics simulate the fog of war and the chaos of battle, the unpainted, easily assembled miniatures give you a canvas to create the Star Wars army you’ve always wanted to lead into battle—whether you fight for the monolithic, oppressive Galactic Empire or the ragtag Rebel Alliance.

The Star Wars: Legion Core Set is planned for release in the fourth quarter of 2017, and an aggressive release schedule is planned to supplement the Core Set with an increasingly broad arra

USAopoly is continuing their magic streak this year at GenCon. First off is an entry into the magical world of Disney with this version of Codenames, specifically Codnames: Disney Family Version which was being demo’d in their booth. Codenames was a *huge* 2015 hit from designer Vlaada Chvátil. Codenames: Disney Family Edition keeps the Codenames gameplay, while featuring characters and locations from a variety of Disney and Pixar films, with words on one side of the cards and images on the other. As mentioned the game is only being demo’d at the booth and will be available for purchase soon.

Continuing with their magical flare, USAopoly extended their winning streak with the release of the expansion to Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle  namely the Monster Box of Monsters Expansion. Before mentioning a single thing about the booth, however, it’s important to note that their demo area was, again, doused in theme with music playing and smoke brewing.

The Monster Box of Monsters expansion is just that, an expansion, and requires the base game to play.

Venture into the Forbidden Forest with The Monster Box of Monsters, the highly anticipated expansion to Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle Play as Harry, Hermione, Ron, Neville or Luna Lovegood as you face frightening creatures and challenging encounters. Beware of any wrongdoing that might earn you detention! Only working together to defeat the evil forces and protecting iconic locations will make the Wizarding World safe once and for all!

Luna Lovegood is now a playable character and can be used in the base game as well

Much like the base game, there is much to be discovered on your own in this game and I don’t want to spoil a thing. Pictured above is a small representation of some of the cards that will be featured. You’ll have to deal with adding “junk” to your deck which will require spells to remove.

Moving right along is Super Mario Bros the Power Up Card Game. In Power Up, players receive, every round, a secret level card at random, with these cards being numbered 1-12. After looking at their card, each player in order can swap their card with the one held by their right-hand neighbor. Will you get something better? Maybe! If someone has a castle card, they’re immune from trade or disasters this round. After everyone has traded or passed, players can play “? Block” power-ups to affect their strength or others. Whoever has the lowest score in a round loses one of their life tokens, and if you lose all four life, you’re out of the game! Both Power Up and Harry Potter are available for purchase at the USAopoly booth.

And if that wasn’t magical enough for you, there’s always Golden Girls…..

USAopoly is can be found in booth 149.



Blue Orange Games is no newcomer to high-quality games. With hits such as New York 1901 and this year’s Spiel des Jahres winner, Kingdomino, Blue Orange has been diving deeper into the arena of family board games. Well, this year they hit a new plateau with Photoshynthesis. Photosynthesis is a strategy game in where you plant trees and harvest them at the right time to earn points. The sun will traverse the board providing sun points to those trees that have line of site to it (without being in the shadow of another tree).

The game has outstanding components with high-durable trees and beautiful artwork.

The sun shines brightly on the canopy of the forest, and the trees use this wonderful energy to grow and develop their beautiful foliage. Sow your crops wisely and the shadows of your growing trees could slow your opponents down, but don’t forget that the sun revolves around the forest. Welcome to the world of Photosynthesis, the green strategy board game!

Come see this beauty over at booth 1811 at GenCon!

Not only did Fantasy Flight Games announce they will be releasing TI4 at GenCon this year, but the Dice Tower crew was able to get in some play time this evening. The game is expected to retail for $150.


Greater than Games has quite a presence at GenCon this year. Specifically, they are launching three new titles this year. First up, to discuss is Spirit Island (also with Branch & Claw expansion). Spirit Island is a cooperative game with a little bit of a twist. In typical coops players join forces to beat some sort of catastrophic calamity. Well, in this game, players are spirits who are trying to ward off invaders from your island.

The Invaders expand across the island map in a semi-predictable fashion. Each turn they explore into some lands (portions of the island); the next turn, they build in those lands, forming settlements and cities. The turn after that, they ravage there, bringing blight to the land and attacking any native islanders present.

The islanders fight back against the Invaders when attacked, and lend the spirits some other aid, but may not always do so exactly as you’d hoped. Some Powers work through the islanders, helping them (eg) drive out the Invaders or clean the land of blight.

The game escalates as it progresses: spirits spread their presence to new parts of the island and seek out new and more potent powers, while the Invaders step up their colonization efforts. Each turn represents 1-3 years of alternate-history.

Not only does Spirit island, from a mechanics perspective, have a lot going for it, but it sports gorgeous and high quality components. From durable plastic cities (that can be used, itself, to represent damage taken by laying the city token on it’s side in various positions) to wooden pawn characters, Spirit Island is chuck full of fun with beautiful artwork. It is designed by R. Eric Reuss and is published by GTG “Fabled Nexus” division. It’s available at GenCon and is a must-have.

Also available from GTG is a Cthulhu themed game from designers Christopher Kirkman, Richard Launius (no stranger to Cthulhu), and Darrell Louder. This game also features detailed and durable miniatures and sports wonderful artwork. This game, unlike Spirit Island, is a head-to-head game where players are cultists trying to summon an ancient evil.

During the game, players use a variable hand of spell cards to do one of two things to aid their cult in their mission: Use the spell’s Astral Symbol to navigate the areas around Arkham on the unique Fate Clock board, or use the symbols in a location’s Astral Column to ready a spell. Readied spells can be cast at any time, but while in a cult’s Spell Reserve their primary Astral Symbol can aid in readying future spells, creating an engine for pumping out more potential power.

Also releasing with the base game will be the Beasts from Beyond expansion which, among other things, will allow the summoning of new Elder Gods: Shub-Niggurath, Ghatanothoa, Dagon, and Yig.

And if this wasn’t enough, Greater than Games is also releasing Lazer Ryderz. What is Lazer Rydersz? Think Tron light-cycle meets X-Wing.

Featured in these four retro-style VHS-like boxes, Lazer Ryderz comes with four different racers (each in their own box with their own race templates).

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.

Greater than Games has really hit it out of the ball park this year with some great releases. You can visit them this year at booth 1343.



Fantasy Flight Games has announced a new age: a new age of Twilight.  Twilight Imperium, that is, in the form of a fourth edition of the epic 4x space strategy game that has been loved and celebrated in the gaming industry for many years.  This new edition celebrates 20 years of this epic space opera board game of expansion, diplomacy, and war to control the galaxy, best explained in this excerpt from the official release:

For twenty years, the custom space operas created by Twilight Imperium have thrilled gamers like nothing else. Now, Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition builds on the grand space opera found in previous editions while streamlining rules and putting player interaction center stage…Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition aims to be the most complete version of the game ever printed. Seventeen playable races are included in the game, offering a wide variety of starting faction options. Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition brings a galactic space opera to your table, and no two games will ever be the same.

This new version of the game will include 350 plastic units, 51 system tiles, 561 command and control tokens, 80 action cards, 50 agenda cards, 40 objective cards, 59 planet cards, 184 technology and technology upgrade cards, 41 promissory note cards, and much more.

TI veterans will likely be asking (as I did!) what the main differences are between TI3 and TI4.  Some of the main changes include a stunning new graphic design and layout, but with the same great and familiar artwork flavor.  Additionally, changes will be seen in game mechanisms such as Trade, Technology, PDS Units, Space Docks, Politics, and the Imperial Strategy Card, to name a few.  FFG has anticipated the question of specific changes to the game in their product description, which can be read here.

The game is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2017.  To read the entire article that announces the new version of the game, click here.