Gen Con 2018 – Fantasy Flight Games

Another year and another Gen Con. Without a doubt it’s the largest tabletop game convention in North America. It’s been around in one form or another since the late 60s, and typically draws crowds well over 50,000. Odds are you already know all of this, however, so let’s skip ahead to the Fantasy Flight Games announcements made today.  While sadly we can’t afford to send any of our contributors to Gen Con just yet (keep that Patreon support coming!) a number of staff from Good Games were present and did some live tweeting from the show.

The biggest news that’s causing quite a stir is the announcement of FFG’s new card game KeyForge: Call of the Archons. FFG had a little help with this one, mainly from a name many of you might recognise – Richard Garfield. Yep, the same Richard Garfield who designed Magic: The Gathering and Netrunner, amongst other titles.

“New card game? Big deal!” I hear you say.

What’s causing the stir? Unique decks. Literally. The game features no deckbuliding at all, you simply pick up a unique pre-made deck (One of 104,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible decks) and start playing. To ensure you don’t simply shuffle cards from various decks into another each card is uniquely marked.

The back of every #KeyForge deck is completely unique- the symbols, the colours, the silhouettes, even the name of the deck is printed on them! #GenCon #FFGInFlight

— Good Games @ GenCon (@GoodGamesAus) August 2, 2018
We threw this up on our Facebook Page and it was understandably met with some confusion and trepidation. Many tabletop card players enjoy collecting, trading and deckbuilding – something that KeyForge is looking to do away with completely. FFG have already announced plans for a competitive scene that begs the question on how they intend to maintain an even meta. Ultimately, only time will tell.

“This is KeyForge, where deckbuilding and boosters are a thing of the past”

As such, the game doesn’t feature boosters at all, which might leave retailers reluctant to stock the product in any meaningful way. Star Wars: Destiny with its traditional booster format has enjoyed great success locally (arguably more so than the Living Card Game format) with retailers clearly happy with sales and profits. And while the idea of perfecting a deck is great, the inability to swap out cards and tailor your deck to suit is going to be a little worrying for some. I will have to play the game before we can attest to deck fatigue or the game becoming stale.

At this stage, I’m largely on the fence with KeyForge and I’ll be waiting for a lot more information before I make any judgement calls on this one.

I’ll leave you with a very brief video from the Good Game team at Gen Con showing a learn-to-play in progress.

Moving on to Star Wars, players of Star Wars: Armada can look forward to the Super Star Destroyer arriving Q1 2019. At $199USD, it’s going to be pushing close to the $300AUD mark on local shelves. It looks positively enormous though, so if you are a fan of the game, start saving now. I suspect a few people who don’t even play Armada will be picking one of these up.

Star Wars: Destiny is receiving a new expansion with characters from the Solo: A Star Wars Story, arriving November 2018. Unlike the older Star Wars Living Card Game it’s good to see Destiny embracing the wider Star Wars universe and keeping the game fresh.

Star Wars: Legion will be receiving new specialist packs including Chewbacca and his Wookie friends. These should be hitting shelves later this year as well.

Those of you who play X-Wing will already be aware that a 2nd Edition is on the way. The first few copies are being sold at Gen Con this weekend (no doubt some will slip onto eBay for ridiculous prices). For those of you already invested in the game, conversion kits will be available for $29.95USD.

Additionally, it appears that FFG will be introducing Clone Wars to both the X-Wing and Legion brands in the near future, with more details coming in November.

For those of you who prefer psychological horror over space battles you’ll be pleased to know that FFG also made some announcements regarding their range of Arkham Horror Files products.

The biggest news is the announcement of Arkham Horror 3rd Edition. Looking to be more than a simple cosmetic upgrade, the game features an entirely new modular board.

I imagine it’s unlikely that those who have a complete (or near complete) collection of Arkham Horror 2nd Edition are likely to jump on board, but for those who haven’t yet dived into the horror this is definitely a good time to do so.

At first I had thought the Mansions of Madness: Mother’s Embrace video shown at Gen Con was for an upcoming expansion to the board game. How wrong I was! Instead, it turns out this is a fully fledged, stand-alone video game. From the brief video and images shown it almost has a classic Alone in the Dark vibe. Very cool. I’ve already added this to my Steam Wishlist and will hopefully have more information on it for you on our sister website Pixel Pop Network. Meanwhile, you can check out the game on Steam here.

A Game of Thrones: The Board Game is getting an expansion to increase the total number of players to eight. No doubt this will allow for some truly lengthy games of politics and war.

Legend of the Five Rings is to receive a new expansion for the Living Card Game in November, while FFG is bringing back the much loved tabletop role-playing game with the announced Beginner Box, Core Rulebook and Game Master’s Kit.

If you can’t wait to take a look though, the good news is you can download the Open Beta rules for free right now on DriveThruRPG or RPGNOW. Head over to the official page on FFG here for more information and links.

For those of you who enjoy the Lord of the Rings Living Card Game you might be pleased to hear that FFG are bringing the game to the digital market. Early Access will begin August 28th and the game looks to be a 1:1 recreation of the physical game. Being that the game had such a strong focus on solo and co-operative play, I’m pretty confident that this will work well and I can easily picture myself sitting down for a game with friends online. Even more interesting, the game is set to be ‘free-to-play’. I imagine that means the first pack is free and the rest will be available as DLC. Take a look at the Steam page here for more information, and again expect further coverage on Pixel Pop Network later in the month.

All in all, a pretty impressive panel for Fantasy Flight Games at Gen Con this year, and one that surely has something to please just about any gamer.

A huge thank you to Good Games Australia for allowing us to use their Tweets in this article.

Liked it? Take a second to support ATGN on Patreon!