Origins Preview


So I’ll be attending my second Origins convention, June 1-7.  And while I won’t have my partner in crime this year, I will still be working with the good folks at Asmodee giving game demos and no doubt climbing mountains of cardboard once again.  Besides having to brush up on my Canadian, that means a lot of work, of course, but mostly during the late shift, which leaves the majority of the day to play games and cruise the exhibit floors.  Last year I was able to reasonably curb my buying impulses because 1) I’m there for a different reason, and 2) my shelves are overflowing with games already as it is.  It’s not like I need tons more.  Still, I look forward to seeing and playing lots of new games.

And I’ll be there in some “official” capacity for iSlaytheDragon.  I was not assigned this duty, mind you, but heartily assume I must represent anyway since, when Wolfie’s away, the pups will play!  Hopefully I won’t confuse my personal and company Twitter feeds the whole week – or at least too much.  No promises, though.  So, yeah, shoot me a message on Twitter if you’d like to say, “Hi,” or come on by the Asmodee booth any time between 5:00 to midnight and tell my why I’m wrong that Marvel Dice Masters is totally way better than Roll for the Galaxy!  But it is…because, *coughCaptainAmericacough*

Origins isn’t necessarily known as THE fair where publishers release the new hotness or unveil upcoming titles.  That generally happens at GenCon a couple of months later.  But there’s enough to tickle the fancy of anyone infected with the Cult of the New.  Here’s a small selection of some (non-Asmodee) titles I’m keen to search out and make time for, if able.  This is based on the only good resource out there for such information – BGG’s Eric Martin.  Mind you, I’ve no idea which of these you have to sign up for in advance or pay to play.  Whatever.  They’re either Origins releases, have just hit the market within the past couple of months, or are previews of games to come in 2015.  Obviously I’ll seek some of these out because of personal interest.  But as my gaming group is primarily my kids, I approach it all with that in mind…


Publisher: Blue Orange Games   Designer: Bruno Faidutti

Starting off really light (and alphabetically); this is a quick, inexpensive kids game from my favor designer of all time?  You bet! Interest: Want to see.


City of Gears

Publisher: Arcane Wonders   Designer: Chris Leder

I’ve known of this game for quite a while on the Game Crafter.  It combines a few interesting mechanics like area control and worker placement with dice.  Most of all, it’s Steampunk, which I’m a sucker for.  I know, don’t judge.  This appears to be a preview of Arcane Wonder’s version as part of the Dice Tower Essentials line.  It’ll be a harder sell to my boys because, Steampunk.  Oh, well, at least it has dice… Interest: Want to see.


Clockwork Kingdom

Publisher: Mr. B Games   Designer: Brandon Allen

Another Steampunk title, Clockwork Kingdom is a fairly straight up worker placement game with some “fighting” and the opportunity to earn unique workers who are employed for specific actions.  Those two aspects should prove successful in our house as my boys’ second favorite mechanic is worker placement. Interest: Have to see.


Clockwork Wars

Publisher: Eagle-Gryphon Games   Designer: Hassan Lopez

Okay, Steampunk broken record.  My apologies!  This time it’s set in a fantastical world with conquest, exploration, and espionage!  Due to its epic nature, I’m not sure how they’ll be running demos on this one, but it is due for wide release in mid-June.  As a conquest game, my boys would get behind this despite dad’s awkward fascination with Steampunk! Interest: Have to see.


Dark Seas

Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group   Designer: Anthony Rubbo

A piratical theme and dice rolling means this will go over well in the house. And the kids are keen on tile-laying, to boot!  The artwork looks fabulous and game play looks accessible and quick.  The style and rules sort of remind me of what’s been coming out of the French school of design for some years with Faidutti, Cathala, Maublanc, et al.  I really like the French cabal.  Interest: Have to see.


Fistful of Dinero

Publisher: Magic House Games   Designer: Charlie Theel

This one sounds chaotic and crazy.  Through card drafting and pre-programming, you’ll be in an all-out Western-style brawl, literally throwing cards at each other.  Should I be teaching the kids that?  Interest: Want to see.


Flick ‘Em Up

Publisher: Pretzel Games   Designer: Gaëtan Beaujannot, Jean Yves Monpertuis

A fun looking dexterity game, again set in the Old West, with some variable powers.  Nice components.  Should be eye-catching and I can see my kids having a blast – even the younger ones.  Interest: Will try to see.


Heavy Steam

Publisher: Greenbriar Games   Designer: Scott Kimball

Maybe a bit pricey?  But here I go with the Steampunk, again.  This combat game has you personalize your own steam mechanized warrior and duke it out with others or go through some sort of campaign.  Cool minis, too, should catch the eyes of the kids.  Interest: Have to see.


Jolly Roger: The Game of Piracy and Mutiny

Publisher: Ares Games   Designer: Fréderic Moyersoen

Looks like it’s all pirates, western and Steampunk for me this year! This makes the list because it involves cooperation and mutiny and is geared toward larger groups, which can always come in handy – even though it might limit the times it hits the table.  Interest: Will try to see.


Ninja Camp

Publisher: Action Phase Games   Designer: Adam Daulton

This is only a prototype preview for an anticipated Kickstarter.  But it caught my eye.  From the description, it sounds like it might be a micro deck-building game, in a sense.  Anyway, animal ninjas practicing skills in a quick and accessible game should appeal to the kids.  Interest: Will try to see.


Odyssey: Wrath of Poseidon

Publisher: Ares Games   Designer: Leo Colovini

Another preview for release at GenCon, this one sounds neat – mixture of a dungeon crawl and Scotland Yard type design on the high mythological seas!  One player is Poseidon throwing all manner of trials at the other players who are trying to navigate to victory – somewhat blindly.  Likely difficult to get to the table in my situation, but looks very unique!  Interest: Want to see.



Publisher: Mayday Games   Designer: Yuri Zhuravlev

Hoping to release at GenCon, Mayday brings this one via Russian publisher Hobby World.  It uses blind bidding, which I prefer in auction games, and has a unique pyramid tableau-building element.  Theme may not grab my boys, but it has cards which constantly mix up play, which they do enjoy.  Interest: Will try to see.


The Voyages of Marco Polo

Publisher: Z-Man Games   Designer: Simone Luciani, Daniele Tascini

The American debut through Z-Man, this seems right up my alley for Euro-style games.  It has pick-up and deliver, which one of my sons enjoys.  It uses dice for variable action selection on your turn.  And plays in around an hour?  I can get on board with this.  Interest: Want to see.



Publisher: Mr. B Games   Designer: Glenn Drover

While everyone else is drooling over the miniatures, my interest is peaked more by the Glenn Drover name.  Don’t get me wrong, those minis are super cool.  But if the game is like Drover’s other big box, sprawling map, dudes and dice epic adventures, I’m listening…  Interest: Want to see.

I have lots of kids. Board games help me connect with them, while still retaining my sanity...relatively speaking.

Discussion3 Comments

  1. Great preview, Jason. It both makes me excited and sad. Excited, because board games! Sad, because I won’t be making out to Origins this year. Looks like a heavy percentage of Steampunk games. Is there a recent re-emergence of that sub-genre, or is this the norm? Also, and this is going to sound terrible, but as I scrolled down, I definitely thought that the cover of “Flick ’em Up!” read “F*** ’em Up!” and I got reeeeally concerned for a minute there. I think the font plus the cover design just blurred the “li” together…

    • Jason Meyers

      Sorry I won’t get to meet up with this year, Derek. My list is certainly *geared* toward the steampunk, because I like it. There looks to be a surge in the theme, but couldn’t say for sure how it compares to past years. It may just look heavy on my list because it isn’t comprehensive. One thing that does seems to me is this batch of steampunk themed games look to be more thematic, whereas some recent ones like Spyrium, Mars Needs Mechanics, Sky Traders, and Kings of Air and Steam had the steampunk, but really didn’t feel as much like it, but more pasted on?

      There also seems to be a number of pirate and western themed games coming out this year, though I think pirates have always been around.

      • Well punned there, Jason. =) I’m not really into Steampunk, but I’m certainly not against it by any means. It is neat to hear though that the latest batch of Steampunk games are more thematic. Regardless of theme, I always appreciate a game that is not only good, but meshes well with its chosen theme. That always elevates a game to the next level for me.

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