Five new tabletop games that are both fun and have a broad appeal to players of all ages and interests.
Last century I made my living writing for and designing tabletop games, and Gen Con was the center of my professional life. As I moved into developing video games, I stopped going, so I haven’t been to the self-proclaimed “Best Four Days in Gaming” in over 20 years. Since then it’s moved from Milwaukee to Indianapolis and more than tripled in size. This year saw 70,000 gamers come together and play thousands upon thousands of games. It was a joyous sight to behold.
Gen Con has become a prime stage for publishers to show off new and forthcoming games, and for players to demo them before they buy. I spent a lot of time in the First Exposure hall, where developers were playtesting games still in development, and I saw some exciting new designs that will (hopefully) be coming to tables in the next year or two.
But there were plenty of great new games at the convention that are available now or coming soon. Here are just five that I think are both fun and have a pretty broad appeal to players of all ages and interests.
‒ Funkoverse Strategy Game: You might have seen the ubiquitous giant-headed collectible toys from Funko; there’s one for every pop culture character imaginable. The forthcoming Funkoverse Strategy Game has new, slightly different versions of those toys, packaged in groups of three that you can mix and match for some easy, clever squad-based fighting. Popular licenses announced so far include Harry Potter, Rick and Morty and — yes, this is real — The Golden Girls.
‒ Medium: This immensely clever party game does an excellent job of making you believe you’re psychic, if only for a moment. Themed to crystal balls and psychic mediums, the simple but surprising game play involves each person playing a card with a word on it and then both players saying a new word at the same time. If you say the same word, points! It really does feel like you’ve got some special mental connection, and is a ton of fun. Available now.
‒ Paris: Cité de Lumière: My personal favorite casual game of the convention, this compact, delightful two-player game has you and your opponent piecing together gaslit neighborhoods in belle epoque Paris. The components are like lovely Impressionist paintings and the game play is quick and challenging. A perfect couple’s night accompaniment to a nice glass of wine and some fine cheese. No release date set.
‒ Parks: One of the most beautiful games of the convention, Parks is made using spectacular imagery from the Fifty-Nine Parks Print Series, a celebration of the U.S. National Parks. You play as visitors hiking through the parks in each of the four seasons. It’s a striking, simple game that would make a great gift for any wilderness lover in your life. Available in September; preorder now.
‒ Watergate: Another two-player game, this tense head-to-head contest pits Richard Nixon versus The Washington Post in a card-driven strategy game of truth and lies. Not the lovely and serene experience of the previous two games on this list, but rather a quick and evocative duel that brings history to life and rewards multiple plays. Available now.