Bradly’s back with more of his pictorial journey through Gen Con 2022! If you missed the previous installments, start with his Top Five Lists (To Buy and To Try).
There were three games at Gencon 2022 that weren’t there for sale, but that I’m excited to see more of in the near future. Two of them I was able to demo: Bigfoot: Roll & Smash and 3000 Suspects. The last was there only as a pre-order, but if you did so you got a pair of FREE SOCKS!! I don’t know who you are to pass up free socks, but like Lt. Dan says, they can be the difference between life and death.
Bigfoot: Roll & Smash by XYZ Game Labs is a fairly lightweight, 20 minute experience of dice rolling and action programming. Each player gets two runs through the arena to accumulate the most points by flattening everything from junk cars to airplane fuselages. You do that by rolling the meaty tire dice, easily the best time I’ve had rolling dice in a while, and gaining points to spend on maneuvers or the ability to draw cards from a personal deck. Each vehicle is also slightly different through their deck of cards, which is a nice amount of distinction for each of the monster trucks.
There’s a little bit of take that because players can put obstacles in the way of their opponents, but it never gets to Munchkin levels of craziness. Right now the game plays 1-4 players, but there are expansions already in the works that will bump that up to 6 players. Bigfoot: Roll & Smash is going direct to retail and should be available by November. You can pre-order it now at bigfootrollandsmash.com and this is probably the most amazing part of the game: it’s only $30.
I don’t know how XYZ are putting all of that content into a box and selling it for that cheap, but in a hobby where prices keep going up every year and $80 games seem to be becoming the norm, it’s nice to see a game at such great value.
XYZ Game Labs was also there teasing their new expansion to Archravels, called Magic Socks. This expansion, plus some extras I’ll talk about as well, are coming to Backerkit in September. I hadn’t heard much about Archravels until I went to Gencon last year, but XYZ really pulled out all the stops to promote it and I ended up leaving with a copy. It’s a very entry level pattern building game with some variability between players. I think it’s biggest appeal is the unique theme; you just don’t see a lot of board games about knitting. It’s also very colorful, as you’d expect of a game with that theme. Since I got Archravels it’s really become my go to pattern building game to bring to weekly game nights at my FLGS. You can teach it in 10 to 15 minutes and pretty much play it with anyone.
Included in the Magic Socks campaign is the Magic Pack. It replaces some of the basic items in the game so instead of making snow hats you can now make Owlbear plushies. It doesn’t change the game otherwise, just spices up the items you’re making while playing. Three new theme packs will also be available in Backerkit. Like the Magic Pack they provide different options for the items you craft in-game. You can get the Cryptid pack and knit little Mothmen, or the Dinosaur pack and make squishy T-Rexes.
Magic Socks will go live on Backerkit September 2022. It will allow you to increase the player count of Archravels to six players and includes two new character types: Experts and Makers. There will be a total of four new characters in the expansion. Magic Socks are a new mechanic to the game that players can gain by donating some of their crafted items to the magic gnomes. For that you get to draw a random sock which will augment one of the actions in the game, like increasing your shopping amount or letting you keep some items when completing a work order. There are also pairs of each sock, but each player can only have one. If another player draws the same type of sock you have, you both get an extra ability for the rest of the game.
Keep your eye on Backerkit when the Magic Socks expansion launches in September!
The last game I want to talk about today is 3000 Scoundrels from Unexpected Games. I think the 3000 comes from the number of combinations in the cards, which use a Mystic Vale style system of clear cards sleeves with artwork that layer over another card.
All I knew going into it was that it was designed by Corey Konieczka, who has designed some of my favorite board games, including both Star Wars: Rebellion and Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game.
3000 Scoundrels is actually a fairly easy game to wrap your head around. With a hand of four poker cards each turn, you are going to take one action at a time by placing those cards down in front of you.
The trick to this is you can lie. Drew a three but really want to take the action associated with the five? Just say it’s a five and put it in that spot. Your cards are played face down in front of you so no one else will be the wiser.
Of course, other players can call you out on a lie if they chose to. Each player has a selection of posse tokens that they can play down onto a card they think you’re bluffing about. At the end of the round you have to reveal your cards, and if they find out you lied, you lose reputation and they gain it.
Reputation is a pretty big deal in the game, so calling out liars and being right is an important part of the game.
If you’re wrong on your call, your posse goes to jail, but that’s okay. You can break them out later, or just let them wallow in their failure for a bit.
After each time you play a card, you can also hire a Scoundrel from the market. This is where the 3000 part comes in, because each Scoundrel is comprised of a base card and a sleeve, and each one makes up one-half of what that card does. It adds a truly astounding amount of variability to the game, but it’s also a concern for me.
Ultimately I didn’t like Mystic Vale, but the mechanics of the game aren’t what bothered me, it was just the extra time added to the game because of all that sleeving you had to do. When an otherwise 40-minute game takes over an hour to play because you have to sleeve cards while playing, and then unsleeve them at the end, it can be the difference between a game I want on my shelf or just something I’ll play once and a while.
Reputation is important during the game, but really you’re trying to score the most victory points. That’s done by acquiring safes during gameplay. Playing particular cards in front of you let you peek at safes to see what’s inside, and another card lets you acquire those safes. You want to be sure what’s inside is worth your time, and also you can place a token on the safe when you peek at it denoting the value of the item inside, or lying.
This leads to some fun interaction. Let’s say that the safe contains an item worth seven points, but you put a two marker to keep other players from grabbing it. However, each safe is also worth extra points if the token on top of it matches the item inside. Do you put down that seven hoping others won’t believe you’re telling the truth and leaving it there for you to get eight points, or do you claim it’s a three and hope no one checks you on it?
There’s a lot to like about 3000 Scoundrels. With a release date of Fall 2022 it’s definitely one I’m going to keep a close eye on. The bluffing mechanics are really well done, and I certainly trust the designer to put out a good game. I’m just worried that the sleeving mechanic is going to give me the same concerns as it did in Mystic Vale.