At GAMMA.CON 2019 I was fortunate enough to get to spend time with some incredible Australian talent, and see what home grown heroes we have taking the stage in the tabletop scene. I put a challenge to each of the games and their developers; five lines for each game in my notebook. They had that much room to sell me on their game and give me the tools to pass on my thoughts to you. To set expectations high, not one of them let me down, and I have great hope for the future of the local game design industry thanks to those who spent their time down here in Canberra with us.
WYRDO (Would You Rather DO) is an adult card game in the vein of Cards Against Humanity. Based off the tried and tested party game of would you rather, cards in WYRDO pose questions to the players ranging from benign ones like “Would you rather live in a world without poverty or crime” to questions I am not entirely certain we can publish here. The majority who answer the question with the same response get off no issue, the wyrdos who voted in the minority lose a life, and yeah when you run out of life you’re the weirdest in the group but the heart of the game is that no one wins or loses, everyone is just varying degrees of weird. There is also an expansion they have made called ‘Dark and Twisted’. The name accurately describes the content. I don’t shock easy but oh my, there were certainly some interesting questions within. The game has coloured markers to denote child and adult friendly cards, so it looks a versatile and entertaining way to smash out an evening and never look at anyone the same ever again. I was told the game plans to hit Kickstarter in November, and I’ve got a few parties each year WYRDO will definitely be spicing up.
Yeah, I know this isn’t a tabletop game, but it was in the local designers section and damn if Bounce Knight didn’t look like a blast. I’d be doing you all a disservice if I didn’t share it with you. It’s a retro style platformer with well crafted pixel art, and honestly I could probably sell this game to you on the strength of its art alone. But mechanically? The developer wanted to take a mechanic we can remember fondly from the games of yesteryear, the double jump, and re-imagine it for today’s audiences. The name kind of gives it away; the mighty hero has a sword he can bounce off if he throws it into the ground or a wall. This creates an arena of mutable problem solving and out of the box level design that people couldn’t pull themselves away from. Moreover, for all quality of the game and the enjoyment people had with it, the above pictured CJ is the one man team behind Bounce Knight, and I am in awe of the work he has put together on this project. The game is planned to hit Steam and the Epic Games Store when it’s good and ready, and you’ll then be able to quest off to defeat an evil Pecomancer after he stole the princess and, in the greatest travesty of all, your pet dog. I know, he needs to be stopped. It’s in your hands reader.
In a post-apocalyptic world devastated by dramatic shifts in the Earth’s climate, Tremor has you take on the role of a spiritual ancestor of an animal species desperately searching for home in a dying world. The board is a constantly shifting sea of disasters and strategic board manipulation which was described as a ‘chaotic strategy race’ to me. That’s a combination of descriptors I don’t often come across in the board game scene, but Tremor goes a long way to be rewarding in its madness. Players invest power in the spirit world to manipulate events in the real world and explore the dark corners of the earth to uncover the power they need to save their species from extinction. With twelve animals (all with unique abilities) there’s a lot to be found in this game, which should be hitting Kickstarter around October this year. A little aside the developers wanted me to mention, ten percent of all profits will go to Tree Sisters to help reforestation efforts in the world so that our world might never need to end up like the one portrayed in Tremor.
This game had my greatest moment in all my quick interviews, whereupon when I explained the premise of a five line pitch, I was told that Teleporting Castles is a game about teleporting castles. So the developers are fun, and it just so happens their game is no less so. There are two primary ways to win in this resource management game; defeating all your opponents or collecting scattered artefacts to amass supreme power. Chaos and Prospect cards move the game forward, with the former being high risk and reward and the latter being the typically safer option. The core philosophy of the game is to make sure there’s no ‘snowballing’. We all know that feeling, when your smug mate is so far ahead in the game that no choice left to you is meaningful, there’s another two hours of monopoly but he demands you play it out. That’s not an issue with Teleporting Castles, where the game mechanics strive to maintain balance between players and calamitous events can throw the leader out of their throne when you least expect it. The game is intended to hit Kickstarter when it’s ready. It is currently in its fourth iteration but based off their commentary the developers will be redesigning a few elements based off player feedback from the convention. They too wish to donate a portion of their profits to a charity, and are on the lookout for a worthy cause to work that out with.
I had a fantastic time at GAMMA.CON, it’s definitely an event for gamers of all pursuits, whether it be the physical tabletop kind or the digital. Make sure you get yourself there next year.
GAMMA.CON Website – https://gammacon.org.au/
Check out Jacqui’s coverage of GAMMA.CON from the Cosplay / Pop Culture side of things – http://pixelpopnetwork.com.au/2019/08/gamma-con-2019/
Liked it? Take a second to support ATGN on Patreon!
I was the lead writer for the online game War of Ninja for the duration of its life, but went on to have boring, normal people jobs when the website closed. Normal people jobs are no fun though, so I've contented myself with countless miniature wargames, card games of varying ilks, board games and a borderline terrifying range of Roleplaying Games. These days I judge for the Dragon Ball Super Card Game, play whatever flavour of RPG my mates are down for, and sneak in some 40k when I can. Some might think I have too many hobbies, and they're probably right, but it means I write the best stuff I can for you, dear reader, so who really loses here?