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Geek, Cars, and Gadgets

Playing All The Games At GenCon 2012

This year marked the 45th anniversary of The Best Four Days In Gaming, better known as GenCon, in Indianapolis, Indiana. I spent nearly every minute of those four days playing games, or at least drooling over the ones I wanted to cram into my suitcase. Here are some of the highlights of the convention.

Fantasy Flight Games previewed their X-Wing Miniatures Game last year with prototype models on plain black boards. This year they had production models and an amazing Death Star play surface. It was 3D complete with trenches. Oh, and they had copies of the game you could pick up before they hit store shelves.
The game itself is a fantastic combat game that replicates dogfights in the Star Wars universe. It comes with X-Wings and TIE Fighters, but there are already expansions that include Y-Wings and TIE Advanced fighters. And they unveiled a Millennium Falcon, Slave I, TIE Interceptors and A-Wings that are coming this winter.
The models come pre-painted and are absolutely beautiful. Most pre-painted models are just okay, but these are so good you don’t feel the need to touch them up on your own. They’ve got an incredible level of detail, are all to scale, and want them all, you will. You can read more about the game over at Nerd Approved where I spoke with the guy who designed the Falcon.
Another find was Spartacus, which is based on the television series. I know, a lot of games based on successful television franchises are terrible and just take advantage of the show’s name, slapping it on any old game. This is not the case with Spartacus.
It’s the first board game effort from Gale Force Nine, and it is an auspicious start. The game replicates the gritty, screw your neighbor and take all the gold feel of the show. You bid on your gladiators and slaves, trick them out with weapons and send them off to battle.
Once they’re in the arena you place bets on who will win, who will be injured, and who will be decapitated. You can also buy each other off and even go back on your word, just like on the show. We upped the ante a bit by purchasing metal coin tokens from another vendor in the hall, which made it even more fun. Although it is a very not PG game with language and images not for the kiddies, it was still one of my favorite games at the convention.
There were plenty of games that were for the kids, though, and one that looked a lot of fun was a new HeroClix TabApp game. It combines the figures with an iPad game that includes cut scenes that look like pages from a comic.

You can also use the figures in the standard game, so it’s a bit of a two for one. They come in packs of three with Wolverine and the X-Men or Superheroes and are due out in just a few weeks.

Lastly, a game that isn’t new but was the most fun I’ve had screaming at my friends in years. I played Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator with a group of five of my friends and it was fantastic! They had the play area set up with touchscreens and lights that blinked for Red Alerts.
You’ve each got a different area of control like helm, weapons and communications and you have to work together to defeat your enemies. I was communications so I got to press the Red Alert and taunt my enemies. Okay, I may have taunted ships, creating enemies that required me to press Red Alert. Whatever.
We have a friend with this game and had so much fun that now we’re planning on getting together and playing it like a murder-mystery. It will involve a retiring commander and a bunch of newbs who don’t know what they’re doing and I can not wait.
If you couldn’t make GenCon, this was just a little taste of what you missed. I’ll be writing up in-depth reviews of both X-Wing and Spartacus as well as a few other tidbits over the coming weeks so you can see why I fell in love with these games.
I’ve got all my GenCon pictures up on my facebook page so you can head over there and see all the cosplay, games and vendors that caught my eye as I roamed the convention floor. 
Now, I’m off for a nap because although I played ALL the games, I got NONE of the sleep.

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