Connecticut Festival of Independent Games: The Games We Played

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The Connecticut Festival of Independent Games took place on September 17th and we were lucky enough to have boots on the ground there to get a look at some of the great games they had to offer.

It was a day-long event at the Friendly Neighborhood Tabletop Shop in Newington, CT.  We couldn’t even come close to playing everything that was there as there were dozens of games on display and several of them  (like Dragoon by Lay Waste Games) had long lines waiting to play them.

We didn’t leave without getting our hands on some great games though. Take a look below for a taste of what we played.

Awesomebots

Awesomebots is a card game that was on display with Geek Fever Games. It is one they had been trying to get in our hands for a review for a long time and it only took a few turns to see why. It’s a great experience.

The goal of the game is to earn victory points by converting resources drawn from your deck of cards into robots. In a two player game the deck of cards is divided out evenly between the two players and then play will take place simultaneously. On each turn a player will:

  1. Draw up to 4 cards in their hand
  2. Play a card from their hand ; paying for it using the resources they already have in their workshop
  3. Choose a card to “pass” to their opponent and place it in a pile in front of their opponent.
  4. Choose a card to keep for themselves and place it in a pile in front of themselves.
  5. Repeat

Players will repeat those steps until they run out of cards, at which point they will pick up the pile their opponent has “passed” to them and they will continue. Play continues until all of the cards have been either “upgraded” or “scrapped” per the instructions on each card.

The game was great fun and we can’t wait to get more time in with this one now that we know how to play.

Juxtabo

Juxtabo is an abstract strategy game by Funnybone Toys that is all about color and pattern matching. All of the game pieces are double sided, multicolored chips. The goal is to find (or create) certain patterns in an array of those chips. You do this by placing your own pieces on top of existing ones. The trick to the game is that you can only place a disk if the bottom side matches the color of the piece you are placing it on. This means you almost have to look at your pieces sideways as you think about your next move.

We played a few games and really enjoyed the time we spent with the game. A review is incoming as they were gracious enough to give us a sample copy for review.

Shadow Strike – Ninja Combat Game

Shadow Strike – Ninja Combat Game plays just like it sounds. It is a hex based ninja miniatures game that allows up to 6 players at a time to battle it out with a pair of crafty ninjas. The game is fast and all of the rules are simplified to allow players to get through their turns quickly.

Our favorite part of the game had to be the art style though. It was bright and colorful and featured chibi ninjas that were as adorable as they were fierce.

Cauldron: Bubble and Boil

Cauldron was probably the best game that we played all day. Each player takes on the role of a witch or warlock who is trying to be the leader of their guild. They decide their leader through a potion brewing contest!

Each turn players will have a chance to place hexes on their opponents, harvest materials from their gardens, and put new recipes in their spellbooks. The trick is that each card they draw is a spell, a piece that can be laid down as a garden, and a recipe and they can only be used for one thing!

Even  better? There is a memory aspect that adds a bit of randomness to the game. Once a player places their materials in their cauldron (or a recipe in their recipe book) they can’t look at them again until the game ends!

Unstable

Unstable is a game that will be coming to Kickstarter in February of next year. It is a unique take on the role and move genre that we all played to death when we were kids. The difference here is that while players are rolling to move around the colorful board and collecting blocks to help them get to the center of the board there are also a series of cards that can be used to change the game entirely.

We enjoyed our limited time with their prototype. We especially liked the wooden blocks used in the game. They gave the game a very solid feel in the same way that the chips in Splendor do.

Super  Weapon

Super Weapon was a lot of fun. It played similarly to Roll for it by Calliope Games, but it had a very different (and hilarious) twist. Players play the role of different countries trying to use their super weapons to destroy each other.

They do this by rolling dice to complete launch code cards. Once they complete both of their launch code cards (using 6 dice) they can they can target an opponent and deal damage to them. The goal is to be the last man country standing.

Two things make this game different from other dice rolling games. First each country is in control of an AI that has a specific power. They might allow you to reroll one die for free, or deal bonus damage. There are also Agent cards that players draw each turn. They also effect the game by allowing players to manipulate, reroll, or steal dice.

Mr. Game

Mr. Game is another interesting take on the traditional roll and move genre. This time the key is that the rules of the game are constantly changing thanks to a deck of cards that let you move the goal, add/remove spaces, etc. That by itself isn’t terribly different. What makes the game VERY different is that for each game one person is put in charge of the rulebook and is designated “Mr. Game.” Their job is, throughout the course of the game, to make any and all rules decisions that may come up as a result of vague wording or interesting situations. For example, they would decide what it means to “place a tile anywhere on the board” and so on. This can lead to some very interesting experiences. This is especially true if you get a group of very savvy gamers at the table.

We were also fortunate enough to get a sample game from the developer so we will have a review as soon as we can!

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