Gen Con LLC released attendance numbers for Gen Con 2014, revealing that this year’s gaming convention is not only the largest of any convention held in Indianapolis, but it has also grown to be the largest (non-electronic) gaming event in the world.

In 2014, Gen Con’s turnstile attendance grew to 184,699 with 56,614 unique attendees. Internationale Speiltage SPIEL (often referred to as “The Essen Game Fair” or “Essen”) had 156,000 turnstile attendance in 2013, which was the trade show’s highest-attended year. Gen Con surpassed this mark that year with a turnstile attendance of 159,364.

Gen Con 2014’s unique attendance numbers are slightly higher than the Future Farmers of America’s last convention in Indianapolis. With FFA’s 2012 convention’s 56,176 attendees, Gen Con had just over 400 more unique attendees. FFA’s 2013 convention, held in Louisville, KY, had 62,998 unique attendees. In 2012, the Future Farmers of America’s last appearance in Indianapolis, they added $38 million into the local economy, compared to Gen Con 2013’s $47 million. The next largest convention in terms of economic impact to the city in 2013 was the FDIC (Fire Department Instructors Conference), with $35 million.

While the actual economic impact of Gen Con 2014 will not be known until later this year, the increase of 14% in growth may reach past the $50 million mark.


This article was edited to clarify that Gen Con has grown to be the largest non-electronic gaming convention. 

Samurai Spirit


Another game by Antoine Bauza, the mastermind behind the 7 Wonders series, Samurai Spirit is a cooperative challenge for 1 to 7 players in 20 to 45 minutes. Everyone takes the role of a samurai, who needs to protect a village from a horde of blood-thirsty bandits.

To survive all 3 assault phases, the samurais have to make quick decisions and plan their defense accordingly. Not much have to be worried though, as each of them is equipped with a unique talent, and can attempt to trigger the superpower “Kiai”. In dire needs, their skills can even be transcended by animal spirits to fight injustice.

English, German and French versions of Samurai Spirit are now available for Essen 2014 pickup pre-order. Each costs 18 Euros and includes a bonus Essen promo card “The 8th Boss”.

Epic Resort

epicresortHeroes have a hard time exploring dungeons and fighting monsters. That’s why you’re here to make sure they have the best damn vacation possible. It’s your job to build and epic resort to draw heroes and tourists in. Be careful, though. The more awesome your resort is, the more likely it is to draw pirates and other nasties. Worse yet, sometimes the heroes you draw in won’t even protect you!

Epic Resort will be out next month for an MSRP of $44.95. It plays 2-4 players, ages 12+ in 1-2 hours.

Second Look—Knee Jerk

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.“I get nervous at the prison because some was…”

That’s pretty much Knee Jerk in a nut shell. Launching on Kickstarter on September 16th, Knapsack Games has created a simple and chaotic party game that fits in a small deck box.

The moderator for the turn puts two cards down, lining up the arrows appropriately. They then draw 3 cards, and fit the last piece of the sequence with the card of their choice. First person to blurt out something that completes the statement gets the first card as their point, then play continues. It’s simple, and causes a ton of ruckus as the players try to come up with something on the spot before the others do.

SituationExample_largeThis game has done a bit of travelling with me lately.

The deck has 55 cards, and the game suits 4-8 players ages 9+ with a playtime of 10 minutes. If this ends up getting priced right, I can see it becoming a pretty big hit.

A preview copy of Knee Jerk was provided free for review by Knapsack Games.


File this is the “really cool” department. Joshua Tulberg has created this awesome looking turn timer using an Arduino board. The little thing is pretty customization, and he’s looking for interest to whether or not he should Kickstart them or now.

Here’s a little video of the device, and what it can do.

I can see this being super helpful to those who play with those who are afflicted with Analysis Paralysis.

Munchkin Steampunk

womsteamHey, it’s a year away, but Steve Jackson Games just announced Munchkin Steampunk, a new Munchkin core set. The game will be stand-alone, but will be compatible with all other Munchkin sets.

Releasing mid-2015, the game features art by 3-time Hugo Award winning Phil Foglio, author and illustrator of Girl Genius

There’s not much more to really tell at the moment, but I figured Munchkin fans could start drooling now, then save that drool for…whatever. They’ve got a whole year to figure it out.

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.A trio of games from Looney Labs!

Well…kind of a trio. There’s 3 games, but two of them are Fluxx, which is basically just one game.

So let’s start there, shall we? Cartoon Network Fluxx and Regular Show Fluxx are the latest editions in the line of themed Fluxx. Most of you already know what Fluxx is, and for those who don’t, it’s a card game where the rules and goals of the game game change as cards are played. It’s a game everyone should at least play once, and most people either love it or hate it.

These two editions of the game are full of their respective theme, and fans of The Regular Show, or older Cartoon Network cartoons, will eat them up. The only real disappointment here for me was that Regular Show characters show up in Cartoon Network Fluxx, even though the show has it’s own Fluxx. They could have removed those cards to fit in a different Cartoon Network show, say, Kids Next Door. It’s a minor complaint, and really doesn’t detract much from the experience.

Keepers are characters or items from the shows you know and love. Goals go from the obvious sets, to hilarious combinations like “Hey, Foxy Mama” that requires Johnny Bravo and Princess Bubblegum to be in your possession. New rules have been added, such as getting to draw extra cards if you speak in the voice of a cartoon character, or possible losing a Keeper you just put down if you forget to say “Yeahuh!”

These editions are fun, and kid friendly, even if the shows push the boundary of the latter a bit.

Loonacy.Box-SNext let’s move on to Loonancy, a super simple, fast-paced game that reminds me of a card game I can’t remember the name of, but used to play a ton at camp with a 52 card Bicycle deck. The goal in Loonacy is to get rid of all your cards. You do this by placing them on top of one of several piles that has a card on top with a symbol that matches one of the two on your card. Play is simultaneous, and only pauses when no one can make a move. If this happens, all players draw a card and keep on playing until someone wins. It’s a pretty good time, especially with kids. It’s already hit our table more than the previous versions of Fluxx I was just writing about, and that’s saying a lot.

These three games have become staple games during my kids’ summer vacation. They now live in my oldest son’s room, and are whipped out on a whim, played who knows how many times, and put back until mood strikes them again, which usually isn’t too long.

Looney Labs is known for these types of games, and the player’s who play them know what to expect. Nothing deep here, just quick, clean fun.

Copies of all three games were provided free for review by Looney Labs.


Tiny Stellar Empires

4B3F2204-1F8B-11E4-8FFE-5A938E83D583A new, tiny, space game has just been released on The Game Crafter by designer Cilibiu Dragos. Tiny Steller Empire has each player taking turns playing cards that have bonuses, abilities, and victory points on them. It’s another game that boasts that it’s quick, simple, and portable. Containing just 54 cards, at least we know it’s portable. The game play video looks fairly interesting, and at $11.99, it may be worth a gander.


Conquest of Speros

Conquest of Speros

After a successful Kickstarter run, Grey Fox games will be releasing Conquest of Speros next month! Billed as an easy-to-learn, quick-playing game. Conquest of Speros has you take the role of one of four competing races. The game has you managing resources while trying to maintain control of as much land as possible.

The game releases in September along with its first expansion, Lost Treasures, that adds 4 new generals, 24 new locations, and 2 ancient artifacts.

The base game will be available for $24.99, while the expansion will be $9.99.

I’ll be keeping my eye on this one.

La Isla


Attention Stefan Feld fans: a new Feldian game is on its way. La Isla, to be published in September 2014, is an 1-hour adventure for 2 to 4 players on a decagonal game board, i.e. the uncharted island. It also marks a cornerstone for Feld to publish a game in the Alea medium box series.

Leading a group of explorers, players in La Isla will encircle long-thought-extinct creatures like Dodo and Golden Toad with 3D figures, play cards to gain special powers and deploy resources, and compete to be the quickest to capture the most for scoring VP. For more details, check out La Isla’s rulebook.

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