If you missed my part 1 post, you can see it here.
Gen Con 2016’s Thursday was coming to a close, or at least the dealer hall was as it was getting into the late afternoon. Fortunately for me, my day was finally getting into full gear. It was Blood Rage Tournament time! This was a series of two Blood Rage games and the top 4 total scores would play a final game for the tournament prize: a full Kickstarter Exclusives set. Pretty choice swag if I could get it.
Competitive board gaming is kind of funny in that it takes people who likely do very well at the game in their own private circles, gives them an incentive to really do well, and turn them into unfun rules-lawyery robo-gamers. I have to fight that tendency with a big stick as I can get ultra-competitive. Some gamers don’t fight it and our first Blood Rage game went almost 2.5 hours. The tourney was only supposed to run for 4 hours and I had an event following so unless I did well enough in my games to wait for the top cut to announce, I was going to have to bail.
My first game was pretty crappy and I was fourth but had a pretty decent score so I stayed with it to play in the next round. I ended up scoring very well in the second round but after watching the scores of some of the other tables, I quickly determined I was going to be in about 6th place so I bailed and headed to my next event.
I haven’t played X-wing in awhile and someone decided to run a free-for-all based on the Hunger Games concept so I was in. Unfortunately, I was a little late so all they had left for me was a loaded down Lambda Shuttle. More unfortunate was they loaded it down with random upgrades and so it was like a blinged out space cow. I realized I needed to make some friends fast so I worked with the two guys to my left and we created a loose alliance.
The triple alliance of Shuttle, YT-2400, and Firespray worked out well in the beginning but their maneuverability left me in the dust as I wandered the space corners alone trying to turn the cow back into the fight. I finally made it into a scrum and picked off a random TIE Fighter. I was holding my own but most people just got out of my way and blasted at each other, realizing they could always outmaneuver me later and finish me off. My YT-2400 friend was getting into trouble with a decked out Firespray chasing him so I told him to lead him into my killzone. It worked and our combined fire took him down.
I now had 2 kills on my Shuttle. Mama space cow will be so proud.
while not the actual model I used, this is what I envisioned during the match…
Some how I picked up some Autothrusters and Opportunist so I started to be a threat. I couldn’t turn or aim but that didn’t stop fools from accidentally landing within range 1 of me and watching helplessly as I rained 5 dice with a full compliment of dice mitigation options at my disposal. The results were rarely pretty. Finally, I got hung up on some asteroids as one of the big YT-1200s started harassing me. The game whittled down to 5 ships, two YT-1200s that were almost untouched, and then the Three Amigos: me, and my YT-2400 and Firespray buddies. We saw public enemy #1- Lando’s YT-1200, flying Lando crew, Palpatine, a Rebel Captive, and a whole host of other nonsense, attack the other YT-1200 so we pounced and helped finish him off. This left Lando in a bad arc of all three of us chasing her down. Even with all our firepower we had a hard time cracking her and she destroyed our Firespray pal. I kept harassing her and stressing her out (with a Rebel Captive of my own) and we got her down to 1 hull. I had 3 remaining and YT-2400 had 2 left. She Lando’d with two focus, shot and obliterated me but then barely missed evading YT-2400’s last shot. Victory was “ours.” It was a very fun event and I was proud to take my Space Cow all the way to top 3.
Reese and I hit the Yard House for some celebrations and then called it a night. Though we couldn’t help stopping at the new “arcade” on the way back to the hotel.
Friday was my most open day and my planned “dealer hall day” so I got in at 10am when the doors opened and started browsing.
I didn’t have time on Thursday to actually look at the Hawk booth so I corrected that error right away.
They had some great painted displays of their upcoming Dropfleet Commander game.
Next, I stopped by the CMON booth and saw the new Rising Sun game that will be coming soon. This is supposed to be the “spiritual successor” of Blood Rage so I’ll keep my eyes open for this one.
There were a few other games in the CMON case but Rising Sun was the big announcement they had at the Con. After hanging around the CMON booth and picking up some Blood Rage KS exclusive via their “coupon” tickets, I headed over to this weird robot battle game.
This is GKR – Giant Killer Robots: Heavy Hitters from Weta Workshops (the same Weta that did all the CG in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies). Cryptozoic is attached (likely as a distributor) but there are some big plans for this game. Giant robot stomp-a-thons seem to be the next big thing as I think I’ve seen at least three high profile games of this theme slated to come out soon.
The GKR booth was pretty slick and they ran a well-manage queue system to demo the game. It didn’t take long and soon I was on the field controlling my mega mech of doom. Two playable factions in the demo but the game plans for 4 factions total. Each faction consists of a big mech (the Heavy Hitter) and some smaller drones. These small drones act as support and give the game a little more depth beyond just smashing each other.
The game is card driven where the card deck is also your main mech’s life. If you run out of cards, you lose. Combat is initiated using the cards (I play card X to shoot my big gun) and then dice to determine hits and damage. The game is pretty quick and seemed swingy but I had fun. There is an alternate way to win by controlling enough buildings on the map so it doesn’t have to be all smash-n-smash.
The minis are pretty amazing. Highly detailed and really large, almost toy-sized, making them feel imposing on the puny city landscape. I asked if they will be pre-painted like the models I was playing with (heavy hitter prepainted, drones in solid color) and the demo guy said he wasn’t sure but he thought they had to be because one big feature of the game that we weren’t using was that it will have AR. AR as in Augmented Reality.
my weak and smoking mech plays keep away from the big blue baddy
Basically those markings on the mech will allow some App tech to put virtual visual enhancements to the game. Fire your big rocket barrage? The App will animate the scene overtop your real-time camera view, or at least that is how I was understanding it. Sounds really cool and very “toy” like. Kickstarter is supposedly coming soon and so I will definitely check it out.
Fantasy Flight did their big report on Friday so I jumped over to their display to see what all the fuss was about.
I imagine I look this cool when I play horn
They announced a new minis line set in their Terrinoth universe. I’m not a fan of Warhammer-style minis games so this is an easy pass for me. Minis look really nice though.
With only a few minutes left before my Friday events start up, I ran over to Firelock Games and checked out the Kickstarter I almost backed: Blood & Plunder.
This is a historical Age of Sail minis game in 28mm (or thereabouts). Great detail and a crazy low entry price (for minis games) that include resin ships. The combat can account for a lot of scenarios including ship to ship, ship to land, and land battles. I look forward to seeing more.
The main reason I didn’t back was because I didn’t want to be responsible for buying two factions and trying to convince my friends to play. One look at the board, the minis, and the pricing and Gen Con (and Firelock Games) did the convincing for me.
I’ll continue with the end of Friday and the thrills that were Saturday in my next post.