Gumbo’s 2017 GEN CON Preview — Hot & Spicy Games at Gen Con 50 – PART DEUX

We are only days away from the biggest four days in gaming, and the Gumbo is back with even more games we think are hot. That’s right, ca fait chaud! These are more of the  games we will be checking out, playing and maybe even picking up to bring back to Gumbo Game Night.  Let us know what you think about these lists by hitting us on Twitter or on Facebook.

For the first part of our series, go here for our first list of games. For the final part of our series, here is the link. 

Now, on to some more games:


Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time

Published by Funforge (2017), booth # 2549, designed by Matthew Dunstan andBrett J. Gilbert

BJ – If you can even pass a table containing a game with that wonderfully delicious name, surely the designers’ pedigrees at least give you a reason to check this one out. Elysium was one of my favorite releases in 2015, and Professor Evil is also from Matthew Dunstan and Brett Gilbert. You’re battling against an evil time-machine-inventing menace, who plans to steal the best historical artifacts from today, yesterday and tomorrow. It’s your job to stop him in this highly thematic co-op. Temperature gauge on this one? Heat wave — this is a must play, maybe even a must buy for me.



Published by Renegade Game Studios (2017) #2211, designed by J. Alex Kevern, with art by Chris Ostrowski.

BJ – I get excited when I find a good new-to-me designer, and want to explore all his or her efforts.  I was hoping to try some of Kevern’s designs like this game and Worlds’ Fair 1893, and at Dice Tower Con, was lucky enough to have Jake and Danielle from Draft Mechanic Podcast teach this game to me. We only got in one play, but I really enjoyed the puzzle aspects of the game.  It plays quick, has a great area control plus dice control mechanic, and is on my radar for purchase.

Matthew Ward (WAM! Boys, Dukes of Dice) – The artist Chris Ostrowski has created a visually stunning game, and J. Alex Kevern’s game is simple and challenging. The is a lot of random here in the card draws and dice rolls, but how he uses them give the Sentient new challenges every play. The dice are rolled and then the players manipulate them through faction card play to get them points. The faction card effects are mitigatable through the use of workers. The workers are used to grab cards and give you majority control for faction multiplier bonuses earned by the cards. It’s a fun dance, and there are few publishers who do it better than Renegade.


Word Slam

Published by KOSMOS (2016), booth #2735, designed by Inka Brand and Markus Brand.

BJ – Finally debuting in the US, this word association game from the Inka and Markus Brand (so many good games, including the Kennerspiel winner this year) has got it all: tension, unique way of building out concepts, good team play, and can play tons of people. Players split up into teams, and then each “captain” has to give clues to their team members about a word — the trick is, the captain cannot talk and can only use decks of cards with nouns, verbs, adjectives, on them. Captains have to slam through the deck and then slam together various words that when looked at in sequence, tips the team off as to what the secret word is….without helping the other team, of course.

One of the best experiences at Dice Tower Con. Temp rating? Warm, sunny day — color me very interested.


Spirit Island

Published by Greater Than Games (Fabled Nexus), (2017), booth #1343, designed by R. Eric Reuss, with art from a host of talented artists including Nolan Nasser (New Bedford, Exoplanets).

Bradly – I know someone who got this game from Kickstarter, and Board Game Gumbo has already done a writeup for it, so there’s not a ton I can add to the discussion here. Spirit Island is a game in the vein of Pandemic. You play as the elemental spirits of an inhabited island, except there are these invaders coming to your island to colonize it. As the spirits of the land, it’s your responsibility to drive these intruders away with your various abilities. Each spirit has a theme and a focus, one might be very defensive while another is offensive.

There is also a clever mechanism of fast and slow actions. Essentially, fast actions happen immediately and slow actions occur after the Invaders’ turn. So there is a lot of planning that goes into each round of this game. But again, if you have ever played Pandemic you are going to be very comfortable with this game. It is definitely a heavier game than Pandemic but you are still essentially dealing with non-stop threats that are added to the board. I’m not thrilled by this game, but that’s mostly because I don’t love cooperative games in general. It takes a very special one to really get my attention. But if you enjoy Pandemic, or any other cooperative game, and you’re looking for something a little heavier to try out, this is definitely one to look for.


Cities of Splendor

Published by Space Cowboys (2017), booth # 1719, designed by Marc André.

BJ – Ah, Splendor! Consistently one of my scout dad game group’s most played, it has gotten very little playing time recently. The game needs an expansion, and it looks like Space Cowboys has the answer with modular expansions that change up the rules. The App is fantastic, so if they have successfully integrated some of the scenarios from the app into the board game, I’ll be happy. Temperature rating — hot August day in the Atchafakaya bayou, because this one is definitely on my must play list.



Published by Restoration Games (2017), booth # 3058, designed by Rob DaviauJustin D. Jacobson, and Wolfgang Kramer

BJ – I love racing games, and I love games that combine betting and racing in friendly formats. Camel Up has been a huge hit ever since I introduced it to the scout dad group a few years ago, and Downforce frankly speaking looks like a better version of that mechanic. It’s a refreshed release of an older well received title, with Restoration Games now signature production upgrades and the Daviau developer touch. I’ve heard that they are bringing plenty, but this is one with a lot of buzz. Temp rating — asphalt-hot on a July day, must buy for me.

Matthew Ward (WAM! Boys, Dukes of Dice) – I was lucky enough to play a demo copy of Downforce, and I think Restoration Games will have a hit on it’s hands. Hobby board games have become so widespread that it’s nice to see games that can appeal to the novitiate and more experienced gamer. Since each card affects multiple cars including your competitors, the hand management is fun and challenging. With betting as an added layer, it keeps everyone in the game up until the cars cross the finish line.

Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium

Publisshed by Stronghold Games (2017), booth # 2023, designed by Jacob Fryxelius.

B.J. – Okay, so this one is not the giant expansion we expected to come out at Dice Tower Con. There’s no new cards or dice or components. But it is new content, with a double sided board that supposedly changes a lot of the strategy in how you play the corporations and handle the resources. I love good expansions, especially with new boards (c.f. Clank!), and I’d like to see this one on the table.

And then there are the games that we cannot buy, but are available for demoing:


The Grimm Forest

Published by Druid City Games, booth # 2667, designed by Tim Eisner, and expected later this year.

Bradly – Another game that I kickstarted and have high hopes for. Druid City games is not a company I was familiar with at the time Grimm Forest was kickstarted but it’s one I’ve come to expect good things from. Grimm Forest is essentially The Three Little Pigs, the board game. Build up your home big and strong enough to survive the Big Bad Wolf. It’s essentially a resource management game.


The Reckoners

Kickstarting in 2017 with Nauvoo Games, designed by Brett Sobol and Seth Van Orden, with art from Miguel Coimbra and Ian O’Toole.

Matthew Ward – What I know about this game is that it’s based on a series of books by Brandon Sanderson about superpowered villains known as “Epics” controlling the world. You play the main characters from the book and work together to rid the world of evil. Nauvoo Games has a great track record with Stockpile and Crosstalk, and I look forward to seeing what the game brings to the table.

BJ –  It is not on the officially unofficial GEN CON 50 preview from Board Game Geek as available for demo — but — with a Kickstarter coming on October 24, you have to think the Nauvoo guys will have a demo copy somewhere around, right? I am really becoming a fan of the art of Ian O’Toole, so I am hoping to at least see a pre-production copy and talk with Brett and Seth about the game.

Check here on the blog for our final post with even more hot games, plus a few more games that are only available for demo at GEN CON 50. Tell us what you think by hitting us on Twitter or on Facebook.

Until next time, Laissez les bon temps rouler!

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