Posted on May 7, 2016

I went to PAX East yesterday. It was a decent time, though I probably won’t be going back. Some neat stuff, but kind of gigantic with lines longer than I was willing to stand in for most things. Plus I am not quite in their target demographic, not having played a triple A videogame within a few years of its launch since high school. So yeah, interesting cultural experience, but not something I will probably be in a hurry to spend 50 bucks on in the future.

In any event, I did see some new interesting new games

Board/Card Games


A very pretty game that was quite fun in the demo game I played. You play as daughters of a queen competing to assemble the most impressive court so that you will be chosen as your mother’s successor. Resource harvesting is relatively straightforward, you either harvest food from the farms, or feed the villages so you can tax them to earn gold. The random element in the game is what cards are available to buy, these can be either people or items to add to your court, or upgrades to the farms and villages. In an interesting twist though, you all share the same production board, so upgrades you do help the other players.

I had fun in the game I played, though looking back I see some things that could be weaknesses of the games. It looks like there might be too much advantage for getting the last turn, and if one is actully being strategic the production upgrades may never be worth buying.


A (mostly) two player battle card game with deckbuilding. They have some interesting mechanics, but the flavor really didn’t work for me. It also felt like it was really intended to be an online game, with a bit more tracking of state on cards than I would think optimum for a paper game. You play as a Sheppard leading a team of mutated goats attempting to defeat the enemy Shepard. The main action you take each turn is activate one of your goats which will increase your “crazy” pool, which is what you use to play cards, then that goat either attacks your enemy, grows (increasing one of it stats) or swaps positions with another of your goats. The attacks are resolved at the end of the opponent’s turn, giving them a chance to play cards to help them fight off your attack.

Depths of Durangrar

A dungeon crawler that you play in the dark, your characters have lights on them, allowing you to see some distance in front of you, but otherwise you can’t see anything in the maze. There is also a monster whose player is given a night vision monocle so that they can see whole board.

I didn’t get a chance to actually play it so I can’t comment on how fun actual play was, but the atmospheric effect was very cool, and I could see it getting extremely tense as you try to figure out whether the monster is hiding around the corner. The lights in the bases flicker a little bit, giving the impression of a torch or a candle, and you get shadows off of the walls or the monster.

I really like the idea of using actual light and darkness to model the vision of the characters, I though I suppose there is some chance it could get annoying in actual play.

True Messiah

Set in a future where a “belief engine” turns subjective belief into objective reality, an Apocalypse happened because too many people believed it would. You play as a messiah trying to rebuild power in the aftermath recruiting followers to battle and eventually destroy your rival messiahs. I didn’t get to play it so I don’t know any more than that. It is pretty and like it has some tactical but without playing it I can’t tell if it actually plays well.

Boomtown Bandits

A shootout/looting game. Each round you send your three bandits to rob different locations, then get in shootouts with any other player’s bandits who are there. Last person standing gets a treasure card which often has some kind of action you can play on it. The shootouts are resolved by repeatedly rolling a die for each bandit you have until you roll a bullet symbol, up which you call “hit” stopping the action and getting to kill one opposing bandit.

I didn’t really like the game, judging who had hit first was not always easy, and it didn’t feel like it had much strategic/tactical depth.

Computer Games

Master of Orion

A triple A remake of master of Orion. They are putting a lot of effort into it, and at least made all the right noises about striking the right balance between keeping what made the old games great while updating things to take advantage of modern hardware and advances in thinking. Some celebrity voice actors (Q from star trek and Wash from Firefly), I guess it is cool, I am not sure what I think of spending lots of money on big names for voice actors, but I guess a AAA game is going to spend a lot of money anyway, so having some cool people doing voicing is neat I guess.