Tuesday, August 28, 2007

GenCon 2007 Post No. 2: What I Demoed

What I Demoed this year:

Going in, we knew The Plan - My wife was going to focus on Wicked Witches Way, and I was going to focus on Dungeon Twister.

As they say, however, no plan survives intact first contact with the enemy customers.

Games I ran demos for:
Dungeon Twister - Big surprise, there. I know. I love this game, but didn't get to play it as much this year - the other games in the booth were more popular, and our booth was CONSTANTLY packed.

Wicked Witches Way - My wife was theoretically in charge of demoing this one. It ended up working a bit differently, but we sold a fair number. A lot of people saw this as being "a kid's game." Stephanie set them straight pretty quickly on that front - while kids can play it, it's got enough depth to keep grownups occupied.

Wooly Bully - It's a simple tile-laying game with a few twists. I only got to demo this once this year, but it led to a sale. I like this game best with three, I think.

Mall of Horror - My wife spent a lot more time playing this than I did. It wasn't new for this year, but it'd been sold out at distributors for a while. It drew a constant audience and sold like crazy. I love this game.

Mission: Red Planet - This game was supposed to be at GenCon last year, but hadn't arrived from the publisher, yet. I enjoy this game, but after playing it at GenCon this year, I like it a bit less than I did before GenCon. It's not a bad game, I just looked forward to the other games more than I did this one.

Jungle Speed - The most dangerous game in the booth. Also a game that doesn't sell unless it gets demoed (and then it's difficult NOT to sell). We didn't have our usual demo table this year due to a mixup at the warehouse. Which is both good and bad - we really didn't have room for the demo table, due to the crowds who showed up for Mall of Horror and Ca$h 'n Gun$.

Mr. Jack - Asmodee is distributing but not publishing this. There has been a lot of demand for this game in the US, and it's easy to see why. My wife and I have had this game for six months, now, so we had a natural edge. I played more games of this than any other game at GenCon. And my enjoyment of it just grew as I played.

Age of Gods - There hasn't been much buzz on this one - we had the printer's proof at the booth. I played it two years ago with some friends, and very much enjoyed it. The game itself is very simple, but setup can be slow, and it's not the easiest game to explain. It's a bit too long to be able to demo effectively, but if you have the time, it's a lot of fun. I'll write more on this one once it's out and I have my copy.

Frontiers - I love miniatures games, but I don't always have the time to paint, and finding an opponent can be a real pain sometimes. Battleground: Fantasy Warfare has become one of my favorites, as I can carry six or seven armies in my pockets. And there's no painting necessary. Frontiers is a good intermediary step between Battleground and actual metal. The rules are simpler than Battleground, and the play feels more like a board game than a miniatures game.

Ave Caesar - I only played this a couple of times, but I'm starting to realize that there is a fair amount of depth hidden in this extremely simple package. Every time I demoed it, it led to a sale. I freely admit it: I disliked this game when I first played it. It was too simple and not competitive enough for me. But this GenCon, there were several instances where I was blocked out of the Caesar Lane, and so lost for not paying homage! Another time, I managed to have a hand of all sixes at the end, and so had to pass my turn until someone else passed me. I was two spaces from the finish line. I'll be writing an entire entry on Ave Caesar soon, I suspect.

Iliad - Our focus game from last year. I only played it two or three times this year, but each time was different. My wife has a better grasp of this than I do, so she regularly defeats me when we play. With two, it's ... okay. With three or more, it's a much better game. It has similarites to Condottiere, but there are some rather considerable differences as well.

Werewolves of Miller's Hollow - The late-night large group Convention Game. Seriously. The game holds (out of one box) 8-18 players, and is all about reading people effectively (and bluffing effectively). I'd love to play this game with a world-class Poker player sometime. We had one game of 28 people. It took two boxes and nearly two hours to complete. And everyone stuck around until the end. Even the dead. It came down to the final three, too.

Ca$h 'n Gun$ - This is one of my favorite filler games. It's fast and fun. The rules are simple enough that the basic game can be taught in about three minutes. The ease of demoing this game led to LOTS of sales. And four to six people in the middle of the booth pointing orange foam guns at one another drew constant crowds TO the booth. My only problem with this game is the minimum of four players.

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