PAX starts this week! You know, that yearly Penny Arcade convention dedicated exclusively to gaming? If you’re in Seattle, we and looking to prioritize your trip, we’ve already sampled a selection of excellent IndieMegaBooth video games you might enjoy. And if you’re a Tabletop fan, the time to pack your dice and pull up a comfy chair for some clever indie board games is now, because the IndieMegaBooth is showing off a great selection of them this year, so here’s some of the ones we hope to try out during the show:
Gruff is an indie card game from Studio Woe where you take the role of an evil sorcerer and his/her diabolical goat army. If you ever looked at a video of ornery goats and said “yes, this will be my vessel for world domination,” then this is the card game for you. Gruff is a card/deckbuilding game where you begin with a sorcerer and 3 goats, each with a different set of associated ability cards and mutation possibilities. You can mutate their meanness, weirdness, or fatness each turn, creating a complex set of counterplays where abilities interact and bounce off each other with each successive turn.
Gruff’s Kickstarter was massively successful, meaning the game ships with additional sorcerers, goats, and health sliders from what was initially planned, making it a good pick if you’re looking for a robust game to entertain your board gaming party.
Cinelinx should be a popular one for the movie geeks ’round these parts. If you’ve spent hours upon hours watching great movies, Cinelinx Media has a card game that’ll be perfect for you. The rules are fairly simple, and somewhat Cards Against Humanity-ish—play a card directly connected to the movie, genre, or actor on the table, draw cards if you can’t make any connections, play until a player runs out their hand. The obvious moves here will be linking Goodfellas to Drama, but do you remember that Tom Hanks was in A League of Their Own? If that’s the winning move you’re ready to make, Cinelinx may be worth your Seattle time.
Bad news: The Giant Robots here aren’t punching Kaiju in the face. Good news? They’re punching EACH OTHER in the face. Mech Deck is a mech-building (get it?) tabletop game where you select a bevy of weapons and armor, latch them together onto your Mech, and enter battle on a randomly generated battlefield. It’s got a bit of Settlers of Catan‘s randomized field generation mixed with a pared-down version of the old Battletech aesthetics, plus a simple-to-grasp 6D combat system that’ll let you get to battling without too much hassle. Part of the limitation (and fantasy) to this kind of “practical” mech game is that you have to manage your energy carefully against the costs of your various parts, and then deal with the consequences of when you take enough damage to lose some of those parts. When your torso goes—it takes your pilot with it. Better take them out first, commander.
Pleasant Dreams: A Card Game of Nightmares
Dark things wait in the dreaming—but the question is, should we face our nightmares head on, or pull our head under the covers until the sun rises? Well in Pleasant Dreams: A Card Game of Nightmares, you definitely want to keep the sheets over your head. Pleasant Dreams lets you take on the role of a young boy or girl falling asleep in the midst of a haunted bedroom—but as the sun goes down their toys turn into horrible abominations, and you and another player must duke it out in short 5-10 minute sessions to see who will last the night. Pleasant Dreams aims to use these short sessions to to quickly imbue the tension of glancing at the strange shadows in your room, with cards you draw whose stats may represent friendly helpful toys that ordinarily lay alongside you as you sleep, or nightmarish horrors that will trap you in your dream forever. (Or just until the next round.)
Bryant Francis will be sailing the convention seas at PAX Prime 2015—tweet him at @RBryant2012 if you want to say hi at the show!
Image Credit: PAX East 2013 Tabletop Room/Flickr via Creative Commons