So Tabletop has had a sincere rise in popularity over the past few years – probably in part to Wil Wheaton’s fabulous YouTube series inspiring folks to get back into analog gaming, but also due to the resurgence of developers who were interested in challenging the market. PAX East this year had a seriously packed tabletop gaming space, even bigger than the one I saw last year. Less booths, but way way more Magic: The Gathering. I got together a list of games from PAX that I played and would like to play after seeing them on the show floor.
Remember how I got that Superfight sample deck game in a recent Lootcrate? Well they were all the rage this year at PAX. They had an enormous booth with some serious category upgrades. The aim of the game is for you and another player to pick a main character and a superpower and argue over who would win in a fight. The rest of the people involved in the game would be judging based on the arguments who would actually win that fight. For added value, there are different scenarios and locations for the epic battles to take place, in order to add some drama to the winning fight pitches. I can’t wait to pick up a full game – I know some of us at Techstify talked about hosting a stream of us playing this, so here’s hoping we can pull that together!
Divorce: The Game!
You know how Divorce is mostly awful? Well the lovely people who developed this game decided to make it a little more interesting. You play as the party getting divorced, fighting over how to divide your assets. Sounds a little morbid, but a lot of fun to play with a friend – maybe not your actual significant other.
What? Oh from Hungry Brain Design
This is a quick playing game where you are given a category, a location and a starting phrase and you have cards that keep the fake conversation going. Every turn you play a card that has an action, phrase or question on it that you have to theme to the categories at the beginning of the round. The goal is to be able to play a question card, and have your other players answer with a card instead of just answering it. If you answer the question with a card, you lose! This is a really great ice breaker game, because the game is a conversation that doesn’t technically exist, and there’s no real turn-base so long as you can play a card that keeps the conversation going.
Just Desserts from Looney Labs
From the people who brought us Fluxx, we have a new game based around food! In this game, all of the players are servers and have to please the guests that come into their bakery. You get some cards with specific traits (like a peanut butter cup has both chocolate and nuts) and you have to match them to the guests favorites, likes and dislikes. It’s a great game, highly recommend buying – I’ve already played a few rounds of the normal game, but adding in the variations could seriously change the gameplay, so I’ll get back to you on how that goes.
Flame War from Fun to 11
In this game, you and all your players are forum mods, who are contributing to threads by posting, trolling, flaming and eventually shutting down those threads. The goal is to shut down as many of the threads as possible, and win by being the meanest mod ever. 😉 I saw this and thought the game is probably a mix of being a jerk, pushing everyone’s buttons and being annoying to win, and who doesn’t love pissing off your friends to win? As they say on the banner, “Good luck with that.”
Magic: The Gathering from Wizards of the Coast
This year PAX Swag bags had beginners Magic card decks in them, and between myself and my husband we got 4 packs to play with. I have never played Magic, but I’ve always liked the art on the cards, I just never learned how to play. Most of our friends play or have friends that do, so I decided what better time to learn to play than with these beginner decks. It’s not bad! I can see how it is similar and different strategically from Hearthstone, which I have played, and after a couple of games I got the hang of tapping and untapping cards to show how they’re played. I’m no pro, but I’m happy I can say as a nerd that I know how to play one of the biggest card games on the market.
Billionaire Banshee from Game Yay Fun
What I loved about this game was that their one-sheet takeaway is a mini sample of the game that you can cut out and play with! So the game starts with 2 cards – date or deny. One player per round is given two choices, a date and a quirk that that date has. All the other players, based on their knowledge of the person or the reaction they get from reading the cards, has to decide whether the person would date or deny the choice at hand and give their reasoning behind why. I see this being a great party game, because the quirks are pretty out there. I mean, dating someone who shits your favorite flavor ice cream? That’s something to talk about.
Unknown from Rob and Dave Games
This game is unique based around what the game devs wanted to get out of it. They were tired of playing games that seemed like it was the same game after two or three play throughs, so they wanted a game that was highly customizable and could change after every play – both the board and the characters play a major role in that aspect. The board changes each playthrough because it’s something you build out and shuffle each time. Rooms are in different places, which means there’s no way to expect big bad’s or rely on resources too heavily. Character traits also change depending on how you play, so overall this post-apocalyptic exploration game seems to be a great investment for those of you who like to be surprised.
Pixel Glory from Zafty Games (kickstart the expansion!)
I walked by this table, picked up the game box to take a look at it, and promptly fumbled the box while the rep was giving his speech to other customers, so I looked like an idiot and got embarrassed and walked away. I had intended to go back, but missed my opportunity. Pixel Glory is a 2-4 player game that is reminiscent of old school 8-bit theater where you are pixel characters about to go fight some beasties for fame and glory. There are wizards and mages of all sorts to play as, so I kind of get a old school FF vibe from it too (which makes sense). I certainly intend to try it out soon!
Student Bodies from Smirk and Dagger
Zombie games in post-apocalyptic environments come a dime a dozen nowadays, but Student Bodies puts a different spin on things. You play as a student who has been bitten, and furthermore have to get to the other side of your school to get the antidote and get out before the rest of your playmates do OR accept your fate and join in with the other zombies to create issues for everyone else, and win by being the last one standing. This game had a steady crowd around it every time I passed by the booth, and I’m kicking myself for not sticking around to play a round.
Were there games we missed? Leave us a note in the comments on what games you checked out, or if you have any of these games and would like to recommend us picking them up!