Gen Con 2016


Gen Con is one of the biggest events of the year, and being in the hobby you’ll hear about it as much as Essen because they’re both very important. Amidst the demos, checkout lines, photo opportunities, and cosplay, there’s a lot of buzz and hype being generated, money being exchanged, and a lot of…well, chaos and fun. It’s really easy to get swept up in it all, not knowing whether to buy, or play, or rush from point A to point B to catch an event or a signing, and this is coming from someone who’s been going to these things for 5 years now! So that’s why, this year, I’m writing about what this Gen Con was like in a nutshell, with the uninitiated in mind, on just the opening day.


The torches were lit, the masses swelled and rallied to the exhibit hall doors to prepare for the yearly traditions. Opening ceremonies occurs amidst an amazing crowd each year, itching to get within a breath of the hall doors so that, when they open, they can race to where they need to be. It’s the kind of thing that evokes imagery of Black Friday shopping, but forgive my humor and don’t let me lead you astray – the Gen Con crowd is reasonable, calm, briskly walking, and exceptionally forward thinking. Most attendees at 10 AM on opening day strategically plot which set of doors to huddle towards in the hopes of getting their place in line for what hot new titles await in limited supply.


This year’s hotness was undoubtedly SeaFall, and while it was predictably anticipated it was not without good reason. A big new 4X game with a familiar theme that dipped itself into the slowly-growing pool of legacy titles that have quickly climbed the board gaming ranks. It was no surprise that by the time I meandered toward Plaid Hat’s booth, a quaint cardboard sign let loose my expectations leaving me with a wry smile. I was not at all unlike the other con-goers, though, since my target was Grimslingers instead and I just as easily contributed to it’s forfeiture of copies. The art is stunning, the game-play is intriguing, the replay value enticing, and I got a copy just a month shy of it’s official street date. Huzzah!

There’s so much more to do at Gen Con and always so little time, especially for just one day. There are events, activity rooms, and tournaments to name a few, but I was determined to participate in demos. Demoing games is a great way to try titles you might not get the opportunity to try otherwise, and plenty of popular new titles are easily accessible on throughout the hall. Too many to even mention them all. It was an incredible offering this year with the many adventurous features and Intellectual Properties making it to board gaming scene – from the app controlled second edition of Mansions of Madness, to the surprisingly enthralling card game for Bloodborne. I was particularly impressed with how good looking the newest Cosmic Encounter looked with it’s Game of Thrones ensemble.


Yet I couldn’t leave the day without getting in on a game of Ticket to Ride: Rails and Sails – the biggest baddest game in the series yet. It was everything I could have dreamed it would be: A bigger, grittier, deeper version of the game I love. When first I read news about it, I feared the boats would not be a worthwhile gimmick, but I can happily admit I was wrong. For those familiar with standard Ticket to Ride, Rails and Sails features a separate deck of cards just for boats along with the familiar train cards. Three of each deck are offered face up and drafted just like normal, with boats needed for waterways just as trains for tracks. The catch is that when a card is picked up, the active player can choose from which deck the card is replaced, allowing manipulation of the offer. With a few other minor rules tweaks, the newest Ticket to Ride is one incredible “Gamer’s edition” of the popular family game.


The exhibit hall floor was rife with big names and big personalities, all caught up in the same maelstrom of games and gamers. A smorgasbord of game designers were available to show off their games, answer questions, and greet fans. I shook more than a few hands, and took more than a few bad pictures, but at no point was I ungrateful for the experience to meet those hard working people who bring us the games we love. Many prominent game reviewers were bombarded by incredible news and beloved fans alike, including our own Dice Tower team. It’s always a joy to see them, and one of the few opportunities I have to speak with them casually. This year, however, was a little more special, in that I got the chance to meet with our head editor here at Dice Tower News – Robert Searing. It was my privilege to personally thank him and Tom Vasel for the wonderful opportunities they’ve allowed me through working with them, and I’ll have a picture to remember it.



Gen Con 2016 has come and gone, hall emptied and the people having returned home with fond memories and stories to tell. Many groups on social media have already sprung up to prepare for next year, ready to experience the excitement all over again. There’s a spark there I see, in everyone, that lights that fervor, that passion for this convention, and it’s really subtle – you can blink and miss it. You can’t capture it photos or video. It’s not the race for the hottest games, or the tournaments for the competitive devotees, but instead it’s the community. The global presence of the gaming world all mashed together in one spot. Gamer, producer, designer, reviewer – all people equal under a single, unifying purpose: To be among our own, sharing in that excitement, talking about what we love, all willing to simply sit down together and play. That’s what makes Gen Con so special, and what keeps me, and many, ever anticipating the next one.

For more footage from Gen Con 2016, as well as more coverage of the hottest games, check out our new Instagram page joining our Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube coverage.

Just in time for Gen Con 2016, dV Giochi announced it’s new solution for game component storage called Geekbox.

Geekbox is a system of stackable plastic containers with snap closure lids made to perfectly fit your game boxes.  No longer will you have to use those often difficult to maneuver zip plastic bags or spend time figuring out a configuration that will work using other storage containers not meant for use with boardgames.

Now you can safely store all of your tokens, chits, dice, cubes, tiles, coins, etc. with the knowledge that they will be right where you left them the next time you open up your favorite game.  Geekbox is being sold in very affordable packs of 3 boxes each, making this one gaming supply you don’t want to miss out on!

To see the system in action, click <here> and view a short introductory video.

Windrider Games, an affiliate of Asmodee North America will publish a new edition of Citadels featuring expanded content. In Citadels, each player will draft a role from the kingdom, then reveal that role based on the characters rank. Players then build districts with cards from their hands, collect gold, and use their drafted character’s ability often affecting other players. The winner is the player with the highest scoring city.

The new edition adds characters nine new characters to the original eight and includes the Dark City expansion characters bringing the total to 27. It also increases the district cards to 30 unique districts. Bruno Faidutti, the games original designer, collaborated with Windrider Studios for this definitive edition.

Citadels will available for demo in the Asmodee booth at Gen Con, and is expected to be available for retail the last quarter of the year. For full details read Asmodee North America’s announcement.

my little pony unicorn

As Enterplay is getting ready for My Little Pony: CCG Continental Championships, which will be held at Gen Con, Stores around the US and Canada are getting ready to hold the Store Championships. Held July 15th-24th, each participant in the Store Championships will receive one new Sweetie Belle Unicorn token card. This is the second of the inseparable Cutie Mark Crusaders to be released, with the final one, Apple Bloom, coming later this year.

Each store gets to choose either Constructed Harmony format, or draft format. Participants are eligible for additional prizes, and the top two players are invited to compete at Gen Con. To find a local store holding an event, head to the MLP: CCG Store Champs Map

For the full announcement, check out Enterplay’s Facebook page.

tides of madness

Portal Games, Polish publisher of such games as 51st State, Imperial Settlers, Stronghold, Neuroshima Hex, and Tides of Time, announced a new two-player drafting game based on the award-winning card game Tides of Time.  This new game builds on Tides of Time‘s drafting and set collection strengths by introducing Madness to the equation.

Not only will players be working to draft the highest scoring set possible, they will need to be constantly watching their Madness level each round.  When drafting powerful scoring cards, you will also be gaining higher levels of Madness.  If you draft too much Madness, you will go insane and lose the game immediately.

The following is an excerpt from Portal’s press release:

“Tides of Time was a huge, worldwide hit of 2015,” says Portal Games CEO Ignacy Trzewiczek. “Having a chance to work on this title again and play with tweaking rules to come up with new mechanisms was a pure pleasure. I cannot wait to surprise our fans again with this epic and yet small game!”

Tides of Madness is for 2 players, ages 12 or older, and takes approximately 20 minutes to play. It is a stand-alone game and does not require a working knowledge of Tides of Time to play. It includes 18 large-format cards (80mm x 120mm), 20 Madness tokens, score pad, pencil, and a rules sheet. Tides of Madness will be released in August at Gen Con 2016 and will be available worldwide at the same time.

For more information, you can visit the Tides of Madness page on the Portal Games website.

dicetower stronghold

The event, being called Havok in Homestead, will feature the Dice Tower crew hosting both Rodney Smith (Watch it Played), and Stephen Buonocore (Stronghold Games) for an all day game fest.  Some of the games that they will be playing are Dark Moon, Sheriff of Nottingham, Catacombs, and many more to fill the entire day.  The event will be live cast on the Dice Tower YouTube channel and will start on Saturday, May 21st at 10am eastern time, the stream itself will be split in two with one starting at 10am and the other starting at 4pm.  How long will the goodwill last in the Havok in Homestead?  You will have to watch to find out!

It is also worth mentioning that this year once again Stronghold Games has generously sponsored the live show for the Dice Tower and the party with the Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast at Origins as well as the Dice Tower live show at Gen Con.  The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast party will be the Friday of the fair (June 17th) at 8pm, while the Dice Tower live show will be at 9pm on Saturday (June 18th) with Stephen Buonocore attending (or crashing depending on how you view it) both events.  At Gen Con the Dice Tower live show will also be on a Friday, August 5th, at 1pm and it will be a ticketed event, so purchase your tickets in advance so you can get a seat as they could run out.  You can go to the Gen Con website now to get your tickets, and until then, have fun gaming!

UPDATE: Article originally gave the incorrect dates of the Origins events and have been corrected

coolstuff gencon

Gen Con is THE American game convention to go to if you want to see the latest and greatest in board gaming and experience how big the hobby can be, and CoolStuffInc knows this.  For years CoolStuffInc has been an exhibitor at the convention and it has been a resounding success every year they go.

This time they are upping their commitment to the convention and becoming a Contributing Sponsor of the convention.  This puts them in the company of other big names sponsoring the event such as Rio Grande Games and Mayfair Games.  You can read the full press release on the CoolStuffInc site and then look forward to Gen Con 2016 coming in August.

cthulhu reign vid

F2Z Entertainment released a teaser video for the upcoming release of Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu.  Chuck D. Yager and Matt Leacock have joined forces to create a new game that pits players against the ancient Old Ones of Lovecraft mythology.  In the game, players will be working together to seal the cosmic portals before the Old Ones break out into the world.

Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu is scheduled for release at Gen Con 2016.  You can view a teaser video for the upcoming game here.

kung fu panda

Modiphius Entertainment, in cooperation with Dreamworks Animation, has announced their work on Kung Fu Panda: The Board Game, slated for a Gen Con 2016 launch and retail availability in September of 2016.

Here is the official press release:

Modiphius Entertainment to launch Kung Fu Panda The Boardgame – A Game Of Furious Co-operative Action!

MODIPHIUS ENTERTAINMENT, a UK based publisher of tabletop games has announced a licensing deal with Dreamworks Animation to produce an official boardgame based on Kung Fu Panda.

Letting you step in to the action as either Po or one of the Furious Five, the boardgame will feature intense dice rolling action, as the players co-operate to defeat Tai Lung and other villains from the Kung Fu Panda films and animated series.
Each of the heroes; Po, Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Crane and Viper will be represented by awesome miniatures and have a growing arsenal of martial arts as they progress through a series of exotic adventures. By defeating villains, completing quests and helping others, players will gain Kharma to upgrade their characters abilities and secure the use of legendary artifacts from Master Shifu with which to face yet deadlier perils.

Kung Fu Panda The Board Game will be launching at GenCon 2016 and available to retail from September 2016. Further information on the game will be announced soon and you can sign up at or reply to this email.