2013 Gen Con Preview: What to Watch For

Once again, Gen Con is upon us. You can check out my schedule if you’re so inclined. More importantly, there are games to check out and buy. This is not a comprehensive list: if you want a bigger look at what board games are available there, I recommend checking out the Board Game News list. This is just what I am grabbing and why.

Kickstarter has changed the way games are released, in a very notable way. A lot of the releases below were either pre-funded with Kickstarter (and may involve a Gen Con pickup for the finished product), or are building buzz for an upcoming Kickstarter. It also means there’s less surprise around a lot of new products, but still lots to enjoy.

Star Trek: Attack Wing (WizKids)

Using the popular and award-winning system that FFG’s X-Wing games use (by special license), this skirmish minis starship battle game is going to have multiple factions at launch, a variety of captains, missions (tribbles!) and more. I’m planning on picking up the base game, plus a sprinkling of the other ships (like ALL the Romulan ships, plus KKKKHHHHAAAANNNN.)

I haven’t played X-Wing, but I like everything I’ve heard about Attack Wing, I love the Star Trek universe, and no matter what, I’ll have a use for the minis.

13th Age (Pelgrane Press)

I’ve talked a fair amount about 13th Age already (and will probably cover more, since it’s rife for hacking), but the book will be available at Pelgrane Press’s booth at Gen Con. Though many of us who preordered already have ours, if you missed the window or wanted to wait, now it’s time.

Hillfolk (Pelgrane Press)

Another Kickstarter success, Robin D. Laws’s new drama-powered RPG and panopoly of series pitches will be available first at Gen Con, though I decided to have mine shipped to me afterward.

Double Tap for Night’s Black Agents (Pelgrane Press)

Night’s Black Agents, reviewed by me previously, is receiving its first rules expansion with Double Tap, which I will eagerly pickup prior to my Night’s Black Agents mini-campaign (using The Zalozhiny Quartet).

Last year, given the strength of products and Ennie-nominations, I noted that Pelgrane was going to become even more of a force among RPGs, especially as they expanded their line beyond GUMSHOE. I think this year they’ve really shown that to be the case.

Multiple Firefly Games (RPG: Margaret Weis Productions, Board game: Gale Force 9, Card game: Toy Vault)

Fox seems to have finally realized they can make more licensed products (especially timed with the 10th anniversary of the show), leading to three companies with three different games. A preview of the Firefly RPG (disclaimer: Chatty DM and I both worked on the book) will be available in limited quantities at the Margaret Weis Productions booth. A board game will be available for sale from Gale Force Nine, featuring sculpted minis of various ships. A cooperative card game from Toy Vault was scheduled to be demoed at the Gen Con, though some controversy around a recent canceled Kickstarter campaign for the game may complicate that.

Sentinels of the Multiverse (Greater Than Games)

I’ve recently become hooked on this cooperative superhero card game, featuring a wide variety of possible combinations for replayability and an RPG-ish build where everyone embodies their own hero each with their own feel. The folks who make the game will be offering all the existing products, and likely, a lot of promotional items for it as well. There is also likely to be a few announcements, including a recently leaked Sentinels of the Multiverse board game.

Dungeon Roll (Tasty Minstrel Games)

Another mega-Kickstarter success, copies of this push-your-luck + dungeon crawl dice game have been steadily sent out over the past few weeks- I’m hoping to receive mine before I leave. I do expect that a lot of people will have copies with them, since it plays pretty quick, and has a portable container. I had King of Tokyo on me last year for easy pickup games, I expect Dungeon Roll to serve a similar role (roll?) for many this year.

Augustus (Hurrican/Asmodee)

Augustus, a nominee for this year’s 2013 Spiel Des Jahres, has been described as “Roman Bingo” which has some truth to it, but is a mid-weight game that’s easy to play but features all kinds of interesting decisions, and is one of my favorite new games of the year. Augustus should be available from its US distributor Asmodee. While you’re there, see if you can demo Rampage (trust me.)

And if you want the SDJ winner, Hanabi should be available from R&R Games.

Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Beta RPG (Fantasy Flight Games)

The new Star Wars RPG from Fantasy Flight was announced and then surprise previewed in a beta book at last year’s Gen Con. The books were announced as a trilogy: Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion, and Force and Destiny. This year, instead of springing the surprise, FFG has announced that a similar beta book for Age of Rebellion will be available there. That also bodes well for the final book coming next year. And the line from there: who knows?

Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle for D&D Next (Wizards of the Coast/Gale Force Nine)

Since the announcement of D&D Next, actual products for sale from Wizards of the Coast has been limited. This year, Wizards of the Coast made the controversial decision not to have a booth in the exhibit hall, but instead focus their efforts on their play space (which will have some elements of a booth.) The major release is a prepackaged adventure/rules combo called the Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle that will lead into the major Forgotten Realms “Sundering” event, will be available at the Gale Force Nine booth in the exhibit hall.

Get Bit! Deluxe (Mayday Games)

YES IT’S ONE MORE PLUG AND NO I’M NOT SORRY.

What are you looking forward to at Gen Con?

About Dave

Dave "The Game" Chalker is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Critical Hits. Since 2005, he has been bringing readers game news and advice, as well as editing nearly everything published here. He is the designer of the Origins Award-winning Get Bit!, a freelance designer and developer, son of a science fiction author, and a Master of Arts. He lives in MD with e, the Geek's Dream Girl.