As The Table Turns: Digital Board Game Conventions to Look Out For in 2020
Board game conventions around the world have been forced to close down. However, there are still plenty of online opportunities to check out the latest.
With the socially distanced world we’re currently living in, the board game world has gone a little topsy-turvy. Most conventions have either had to postpone, move online, or simply cancel. Without a thriving convention scene, it’s going to be a bit tougher to get games in players’ hands. After all, picking up all the new titles at Gen Con is a time-honored tradition that has suddenly become an impossibility in 2020.
It’s not all bad news though! There are quite a few conventions moving online that will give gamers a chance to check out all of the latest tabletop games. Heck, solutions like Tabletopia even give publishers an opportunity to demo games to hundreds of virtual attendees. While plans are still being finalized for some of the bigger conventions this year (Essen, to be specific), several events are already filling out the calendar virtually. Below, I’ll highlight a few of those before moving into some tantalizing board game news.
Put These Conventions on Your Radar
Dates: June 24-28
Two of the biggest names in board gaming are partnering together to put the Virtual Gaming Con on. The Dice Tower and Board Game Geek both usually host their own conventions each year, but, like the Avengers, they’re joining forces to give the people the board games they need.
As with Origins, VGC 2020 will feature tons of different events. Depending on which events you sign up for, you’ll log onto Zoom, Skype, or Discord and join in on the fun. The convention is also partnering with Tabletopia to provide players the opportunity to check out all the latest games for free. It’s a great way to inject some of that camaraderie that is often present at conventions.
I should note that you will have to pay $10 to join in on the fun, though just to get into Dice Tower East this year would’ve run you $125, so this is a bit easier on the wallet.
Dates: July 30-August 2
Dates: August 21-23
Thus far, details for Gen Con Online and the UK Games Expo’s plans are still pretty light on details. We know they’re happening, but that’s about it. That said, one cool thing UK Games Expo is doing is what they’re calling “Speed Dating.” Basically, it’s a chance for would-be designers to virtually pitch their prototypes to publishers. That kind of business is something that happens a lot at conventions, so it’s neat to see the UK Games Expo implementing it into their plans.
Board Games For Your Radar
As we’ve kicked up our board game coverage here on DualShockers, the news section of this column has started to feel outdated. That said, there are a few games we either have missed in our news coverage or simply can’t fit into a full post of its own. So, below are a few of those games you might consider tossing onto your watch list.
Mashing together Days of Wonder’s Small World with World of Warcraft seems like almost too perfect of an idea to have not happened already. But now that mistake is being rectified, as the races of Azeroth are coming together for some good old area control gameplay.
For those who haven’t played Small World, basically you’ll select randomly mixed races and powers to control. From there, you’ll use them to aggressively take over territory in a race for coins. Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of Small World, but lots of people love it. And with my love for World of Warcraft, I just might pick this up.
Full disclosure; I haven’t actually played any of this game yet. However, that’s because I’m dying to play this free print-and-play game that mixes social deduction with Zoom calls. The premise sounds like the perfect way to shake up an office bored by working from home. So, if you know five co-workers who could use some extra spice in their lives, give this a look.
I’ll be honest, I’m mostly here for the art and laid-back premise. Santa Monica is a card-drafting game that sees you trying to build the “most appealing” neighborhood in southern California. There aren’t enough games not based on dark fantasy or zombies, so I’m more than excited to check this out.
Funko Games is really stepping up their game as of late. The well-received Funkoverse game was a major surprise when it launched last year, and now the team is back with a fully cooperative game set in the Back to the Future universe.
Up to four players control famous characters from the franchise as they move around the board, trying to acquire the right items to fix the flux capacitor and get out of 1955. There’s also a dice tower that’s shaped like the famous clock tower, so I’m sold.
Spiel des Jahres Board Game Nominees Announced
I’ll end this post with a quick write-up on the Spiel des Jahres nominees. For those who don’t know, these are some of the longest-running awards given out in the board gaming community. Usually, the main Spiel des Jahres nominees are made up of games I’ve never heard of, and this year is no different. My City, Nova Luna, and Pictures are the three nominees, and I’m sure they’re solid. That said, the award that most of the hobby cares about is the Kennerspiel 2020.
This year, the nominees are The Cartographer, The Crew, and The King’s Dilemma. If I were betting man, I’d assume The Crew will take this one. Kosmos’ trick-taking game was a massive hit in 2019, and it’s hard to see either of the other games overtaking it. Personally, I probably like The King’s Dilemma a bit more, but I doubt it has the backing to win the award.
That’s all for this round-up. Be sure to check back as these conventions happen. We’ll be sure to have as much from them as possible for you.