GenCon 2019 Board Game Convention

02/09/2019

During last month Indianapolis played host to the annual board game convention GenCon, at the Indiana Convention Center. It is America's largest tabletop gaming convention and also its longest-running, 2019 being the 52nd year. And when we say large we mean over 530 different companies bringing and showcasing their latest board games as well as 19,500 events being hosted during the convention.

With such a plethora of gaming publishers and promoters on the floor, there are of course an almost obscene number of board games and tabletop gaming experiences to be had. We have cherry-picked a few of those board games from the tree and brought you our top 5 board games from GenCon 2019.

Top 5 Board Games at GenCon 2019

Reavers of Midgard by Grey Fox Games

Revears of Midgard board game
Illustration of the Revears of Midgard board

2 - 4

players

75 - 90

minutes

12+

ages

Champions of Midgard was a 2015 board game from Grey Fox Games that was a resource management Euro-style affair based in the charming harbour town of Midgard. Reavers of Midgard, as its title might suggest, is a sequel to Champions but with less gameplay centred on the roll of dice and more in strategy and how a player actually plays; what choices they make. The basic ideas are the same though, with players getting resources by occupying space on the board and then you must raid other villages for their riches, sack castles and fight both man and monster on the open seas. You won't be able to do this alone, so will need a big, strong, well-fed crew of fellow Vikings to help with the pillaging, these are the Reavers. The game boasts many pieces, engraved dice, a lovely looking board, cards galore and so much more.

Pandemic: Rapid Response by Z-Man Games

Pandemic: Rapid Response by Z-Man Games
A new, quicker version of the classic game Pandemic

2 - 4

players

20

minutes

8+

ages

Everyone loves Pandemic, right? Well, we do. It's the gateway drug to tabletop games and whenever there's another edition or expansion for the original we can't wait to play it. This latest release is a quickfire, 20-minute play version of the original with dice rolls being used to cure disease and save the world. Still a co-operative game, players take on roles of scientists, doctors etc globetrotting from city to city using their own particular skills to find cures and eradicate the virus. The introduction of a two-minute timer adds urgency to proceedings and ensures everything is over within 20 minutes. Players roll and re-roll for resources which are added to the cargo plane which in turn then must travel to each infected city.

Era: Medieval Age by Eggertspiele

Era: Medieval Age from Eggertspiele
3D plastic buildings and a peg board in Era: Medieval Age

1 - 4

players

45 - 60

minutes

8+

ages

Another offering from Pandemic creator is Era: Medieval Age. A game about building and maintaining your own little mediaeval city using both dice and small, plastic 3-dimensional buildings that you peg into your board, like some modern-day cribbage board. You must build your city by gaining resources such as wood and stone, as well as defend it whilst keeping your workers happy and alive by feeding them, all these using rolls of your dice.

Black Angel by Pearl Games

Black Angel board game
A big playing board and many components in Black Angel

1 - 4

players

60 - 120

minutes

12+

ages

We couldn't review GenCon 2019 without mentioning Black Angel; one of the hottest tickets and most talked about board games this year. Black Angel takes the Euro-style tabletop game engine and moves it up a few notches with more complex and layered gameplay. The basic premise is that the Earth is essentially uninhabitable and humanity has built a huge spaceship, the Black Angel, to transport our genetic heritage to somewhere that is habitable. The Black Angel is maintained by many AIs and each player plays as one of these and must keep the immense spaceship running, learn new technologies, battle off alien attacks and generally become the most accomplished AI on the ship to win the game.

Parks by Keymaster Games

1 - 5

players

40 - 60

minutes

9+

ages

A resource management game that has players taking a delightful hike through some of the US's national parks, collecting things like water, mountains and trees which they can then exchange at the end of their route for a park in the form of a wonderfully designed park card. The artwork here is from the 59parks.net which is an artistic celebration of the US National Parks from a variety of artists. The game is beautiful and great for both new board gamers or long-time players alike.