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GenCon 50 Recap

GenCon 50 just came to a close and I wanted to touch base with everyone to talk about some of the BIG HITS according to publishers, attendees and some reviewers. Mostly from my perspective.

So let me set the stage a bit. Every year I help out at Arcane Wonders booth as a member of the team as Retail Liaison, I run the front end of the booth. Thus seeing what is important or relevant from our booth as well as others….based on the many bags coming around our booth.

Now this year was completely foreign to me in the fact that a very large number of people came to our booth for Viral and Sheriff of Nottingham’s expansion, Merry Men.

This amazing combination of desired games made our booth the epicenter of must see and must have games at a booth this year.

We had a line circling the booth almost 2.5 times. It was a constant stream of eager GenCon attendees for 3 hours until we sold out of the entire allotment of Viral. 2 hours later all 500 Merry Men were gone. This definitely tells me these games are going to do very well for us this season. Especially since we brought in twice as much as we sold out of and sold out again.

*** VIRAL IS IN STOCK ON WEDNESDAY!~ at The Game Annex….Reserve your copy today.

Next without a shadow of a doubt is Photosynthesis which was hilarious to me as it has been in our store since early last week. But MOBS of GenCon attendees swarmed the Blue Orange Games booth. (which we can all agree is not something we are used to saying) But between Photosynthesis and Kingdomino, Blue Orange Games is having a great year.

Next we would be amiss if we didn’t talk about Code Names Duet – Which will be in our store on friday. If you missed Czech Game Edition, it is because they are in a side room versus the main hall.

The game itself is labeled this years best 2 player game already. So we will soon see. I have not played this version yet, but am really excited to try it this friday.

The biggest LCG (living card game) was without a doubt, Legend of the Five Rings. This will be something like the third reincarnation of this game. Formally a collectible card game, the new format combined with a fan base like no other, has caused quite the media buzz. And The Game Annex will be hosting all sorts of events to support our many fans that already love the IP and now are excited to have Fantasy Flight in control of the game.

You would think that The L5R release would have been enough for Fantasy Flight Games at GenCon, but alas……nope.

So beyond the parades, starting party and tournaments……..Fantasy Flight couldn’t be satisfied. They had a major announcement. Star Wars Legion. Yes another Star Wars game. However in this version it appears they will be competing with another miniature hobby giant and bring all those miniatures players a way to relive their childhood on a miniature board. Who could say no?

Next we move on to Iello Games. Iello brought back designer Richard Garfield (King of Tokyo) for this years anticipated game: Bunny Kingdom.

Bunny Kingdom is a 2-4 player area control/area influence game with card drafting, where you will lead your clan of rabbits to glory by gathering resources and building new cities to have the largest bunny kingdom.

Some famous bunny impersonators show up in this really adorably designed game. But don’t let the cute bunnies fool you. This game is very solid.

Next I would be amiss if I didn’t mention Designer Rob Daviau’s newest game, Mountains of Madness. Iello brought him on board to tell the story of an expedition to Antarctica in 1931 which unveils what scientists believe to be and ancient city in impassable mountains…..but as the title suggests, there is so much more here than meets the eye. Ripped from the theme of H.P. Lovecraft, this game has more to it than just a Cthulhu theme. Unique game play you would expect from Rob Daviau (creator of Pandemic Legacy, Betrayal at House on Haunted Hill, Seafall, Downforce and more…) is the focal point for this game.

Also available in store this week.

So these were some of the big hits…..but with it being GenCon’s 50th anniversary, we are aware that so many others are sure to be talked about. We also have our predictions of what will gain momentum after the show and will dive into those in a later post.

But until then, don’t forget about our GenCon Show and Tell this saturday night. It is where you can bring games you found and love. Show them off and learn to play or simply come see what everyone else has. We understand not everyone was able to make it. So come on out and see what all the excitement was about.

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Game Review – Onitama

Game Title: Onitama
Game Company: Arcane Wonders
Players: 2
Recommended Age: 14+
Play Time: 10-15 Minutes
MSRP: $29.99

Onitama is a two-player abstract strategy game, played on a 5 square by 5 square play mat. Game components are high quality and the theme and artwork are very well done.

Each player controls 5 pieces; a Master and 4 Students. Players take turns using their available moves to maneuver their pieces to either capture the opposing Master OR to get their Master to the other Master’s starting square.

The game play is unique in the fact that the game comes with 16 movement cards, each with a fitting Kung-Fu style name and artwork. Only 5 cards are randomly drawn each game. These 5 cards make up the available moves for both players during the game. Each player starts with 2 cards. The fifth card is placed off to the center of the board. When a player executes one of his card maneuvers, he places that card onto the center spot and takes the card that was there. This unique play mechanic not only ensures that no two games are ever the same, but allows for each player to know what moves their opponent has or will have in their following turn.

If you’re looking for a simple yet strategically challenging game for 2 players, we highly recommend Onitama. Come in today for a demo of this or many other awesome 2 player games.

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How does Magic fit into The Game Annex?

Yes it is true, The Game Annex is known as Fort Wayne’s premier board game store.  I have embraced this and have always been dedicated to that.   For almost 2 years we did not have Magic, mostly due to the thought that board gamers and magic players couldn’t coexist.

The fact is, they really don’t anywhere else in our metro area.  Considering our meta was so amazing, the thought of adding something that had a bad rap was scary.  However I am pleased to say, we have managed to co-mingle board gamers and Magic players!

So fast forward to this summer when we opened and shortly after closed our North Store.   We were mostly magic up there.  It was growing a nice crowd.  But we still didn’t see a a ton of cross over.  Then when we chose to close the second location, we didn’t want to say “sorry about your luck” and go back to no Magic at our Illinois road location.

So we prepped a semi private area to our large gaming area for trading card games.  This started our blend of friday night game night (our biggest night at the store) with Friday Night Magic.

What can you expect?

If you are one of our many loyal customers, you will know that the FNM will be run exactly the same as our board game nights.  We offer a clean, friendly and bully free atmosphere that people can come and play in.

Do you want to know what is really cool?  We offer a great place with lots of experienced Magic players.  Some of the top players call The Game Annex home.  We have one of the best tournament organizers running events and amazing judges lending their hand to building up our FNM.  On top of all of this, we still have a fun and friendly atmosphere.

It is safe to say, we intend to treat Magic with the same passion we do our board game area and we can not wait for you to experience The Game Annex difference.