Gen Con Post Impressions

Now that I’m back from Gen Con, I’m finding that it was a very hectic four days. Also, somewhere along the way my voice box decided to give up. But the important thing is that I had fun and got to check out some new games.


When I saw the description of the game play in Gravwell I was intrigued, but it wasn’t until Corey Young showed the game to me that I really saw the genius. The game play is simple: Choose a movement card and resolve them in order from A to Z. When you resolve your play, either you’ll either move forward, backward, or pull other ships towards you, based on the card played. It’s incredibly simple to learn, but the guessing of what other players are planning and relying on them to help you make it to the end makes the game very interesting. I’ve already ordered the game through my local game store and can’t wait to get it to the table.

La Fantome de l'Opera

Bruno Cathala has made quite a few games, including the two player Mr. Jack series I’ve always enjoyed. He debuted a new game that uses a similar rule set as that of the Mr. Jack games, but this game is based on the Phantom of the Opera. One player is the Phantom and knows which of the eight characters on the board are trying to scare away La Carlotta, the new star singer. The other player is trying to deduce who is the perpetrator. Players move pieces and use special abilities to help their causes, and the light and quick game play is still filled with strategic choices. My girlfriend Sam beat me with only one space left on the track, and I’ll certainly be putting this game on my wish list.


There was a lot of talk about Trains leading up to Gen Con 2013, and I was concerned at the beginning of the convention that it was more hype from the publisher than buzz from the fans. However, when I got to try the game, I really saw how well it played. The combination of deck building (like in Dominion) and track laying (like in Age of Steam) seems to not work on paper, but is very well executed when actually performed. Players build cards into their decks keeping the board in mind, and while there is not much in the way of direct player interaction, the choices that one player makes certainly affect the other players. I’m excited to get to play it more, and I can’t wait to see what AEG does for expansions. They can easily release maps, cards, or some combination of the two, meaning the game should have even more replayability than already comes in the base box, which seems to be quite a lot.

What did you get to check out at Gen Con that was a big hit? If you didn’t get to go, what games did you really want to check out?

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1 Response

  1. My voice was getting rough the last two days, but fortunately it stayed with me until Monday! We were exhibiting so I didn’t get to try out many games, but Gravwell was on the top of my list. I really respect Corey and my spouse said it was quite an ingenious design. I can’t wait to try it out!

    Le Fantome sounds interesting, though may not be my style of game. If we get the opportunity to play it though, I’ll definitely give it a shot. I get more than enough 2 player games through PNPs that I don’t feel the need to get more. When I buy games I prefer them to have the option of multiple players.

    I heard from a number of other designers that Trains was only okay, but they’re much more discerning than I am. I play games to have fun, and our booth assistant picked it up, so hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to try it soon!

    Thanks for the write up! 🙂

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