Things that Dangle…

Video, Gaming at 30: The Best Games Discovered at GenCon

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of discovering some truly great games at GenCon. While I’m good at spotting upcoming great games, my wife is truly a master at it. Here’s a few games that we’ve picked up over the years:

Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot

Do not let the name of this fool you. This is a fantastic game that runs like a pop culture version of Nuclear War. The wife stopped and picked this one up at her very first GenCon, and since then we’ve collected all the sets and almost all of the promos for it (apparently I don’t have Horton Hates a Who). Later sets can make the game a little confusing, but they really do a good job with keeping everything together. Pick this one up from Playroom if you have a good sized group (5+).

Mage Knight

I discovered this table top collectible miniatures game the first GenCon that I attended all four days of. At the time I was looking for a replacement to the card games and wanted to get into miniatures, but didn’t want to deal with all the rule books and painting and assembly. This was the perfect find for me. Sadly, Wizkids pulled the plug on it after they determined that it wasn’t going to be fiscally viable for a couple years and instead focused on HeroClix. Maybe now that they’re out from the thumb of Topps, they’ll bring back their flagship product.

Betrayal at the House on Haunted Hill

A new twist on terror? Hardly. An awesome tile based game in which objectives are revealed through random occurrences? Heck yes. The basic premise is that a group of people are exploring a haunted house and a series of events take place revealing one of the players to be a betrayer. At that point, depending on the trigger and what room the trigger happened in, the betrayer has to win the game through one of a possible of 40 different means, while his ex-friends try to find a way to stop him. Very high on replayability, just don’t let the number of tokens scare you, you’ll use a fraction of them at any one time.


My friends discovered this game way way before I did, but after Wizkids pulled the plug on my beloved game, Privateer Press welcomed me with open arms. If you have any interest at all in miniature war gaming, steam punk, or giant mechs, stop by their booth and try out a demo. It’s a lot of fun.



This used to be quite literally one of our favorite Go-To board games. From the first time I read about the upcoming game, I wanted to try out it’s semi-modular dungeon exploring design. The premise is you recruit a party and go into the dungeon to battle monsters and take their treasure. Person with the most at the end wins. Now, I say used to because after we included the expansion to the game, Cryptmasters, no game in my entire library causes us to hate each other as much as this. Give it a whirl, but stay away from the expansion unless you need reason to hate your friends.


Gloom is a very interesting card game in which you try to off the entire family through depression. Ok, that sounds morbid, but the interesting part is the clear cards that you play with. You start with a base figure card, and then add cards on top of them, changing their moods and stats. Early runs of the set were a bit hard to read, and that kind burned me on the game a bit. Keep an eye out on their new game, Ren Fair at GenCon.


Want a non-collectible table top hexed based war game with plastic pre-painted figures that anybody can play? You’ll find none better than HeroScape. HeroScape debuted at GenCon several years ago and has developed a loyal following. It uses the simple skulls = hits, shield = blocks method of combat that we grew used to from old games like HeroQuest and Battlemasters. At the very least, take in a demo of this game, it’s a lot of fun.
Alright, well, I think that’s enough for now. Do you have a game you discovered at GenCon that didn’t make this list? Comment below or send me a tweet @videogamingat30. Keep following along as we build up to our coverage of GenCon 2010 on site next week. We’ll see you there!

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