It’s been a few weeks now since Gencon ended, but the experience has stayed with me. I wanted to wrap things up with a gallery of pictures I took while I was there, and also some thoughts on things I didn’t cover in full. I’ll be talking about Mindflex by Mattel, Word of the Street by Out of the Box, and The World of Warcraft TCG by Upperdeck. So without further delay…
One of the cooler games I got to try was a game that Mattel is bringing out called Mindflex. The basic idea is that the player puts on a headband with three sensors. Those sensors are located on the front of the forehead, and both sides of the head. The “obstacle course” if you will, is set up with rings, and tubes that the player must move a small foam ball through in a game of patience and skill. What makes this game unique is the ball in controlled with your mind. Now I suppose you wonder how this is possible and I wish I had an answer for you. On the Obstacle course there is a small fan that keeps the ball floating. Your brain activity is what is making that fan spin faster, or slower. The more relaxed you are the lower the ball goes. The more focused or stressed you are the ball goes higher. The whole point is to use the dial or knob that moves the fan ar0und to get the ball through the rings and tubes as quickly as possible. This requires the player to relax and focus on a constant basis trying to get the ball around.
I played it and thought it was great fun. Sometimes when I would try to relax I couldn’t get the ball to lower and vice versa trying to get it higher by focusing. I am not entirely sure how accurate this game is but I must say I was impressed and had a lot of fun playing it. Check out the video for a demo of how it works.
Also at the show James, Laurel, Josh, and I got a chance to play Word of the Street by Out of the Box Games. We surprisingly had a lot of fun with this game not expecting much going into it. The basic concept has two teams of about 2-6 people. The playing board is in the form of a street and there are certain letters on the board already. The Street is 3 Wide on each side plus the middle street for a total of 7 lanes. The games starts out with one team flipping a sand timer over and picking up a card. The card might read “Types of Vegetables” The other teams goal is to come up with a word in the time they have that uses as many of the letters on the board as possible to get them to move to their side of the board. If a word has a double letter then that letter moves twice. Simple concept. When the other team goes their goal is to try to do the same but now they have to come up with an answer that might try to steal the letters that have moved back to their side. It plays like a tug-of-war. When one team gets 8 letters completely off the board they win. So its a quick wits type of game, much like many of Out of the Box’s games.
I was hesitant to play because of my loathing for Apples to Apples. I say this because the game is much more fun when you get to argue why your card was the best choice, or why that person shouldn’t get a point because of their answer. It plays more like a courtroom where you’re trying to persuade the jury. If everyone played like this I could see it being fun, but no one does. Word on the street is much better in this sense because of the time constraints, and it has a equal level of fairness to it.
Lastly, I was able to try out the World of Warcraft TCG by Upperdeck. I went into this not a fan of WoW, but a fan of TCG’s. I was very happy with my decision as the game was just as fun as I imagined it being. I do not play WoW, nor do I really want to. I played for a month and enjoyed myself, but in a world of MMO’s being as common as they are, WoW doesn’t appeal to me. This card game however, plays like a lot of similar card games (Magic the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, etc.) Though the play style is different in its own sense. Each player has a “Hero” card with a life counter on it. The goal is take out that Hero in order to win the game. The concept of creatures attacking and resources being played exist, but the differences were enough to intrigue me. Hero’s can’t attack off the bat. They have to have armor, weapons, or pets to allow them any usefulness in the game. Creatures or Ally’s are the main source of damage, but instants, abilities, and items help too. Resources are not played the same way they are in magic. Any card in the game can be a resource. It must be played face down and can never be used again, but it allows a resource to be played every turn in desired. Quests are considered resources, but they are played face up. When the conditions are met, that player completes the quest, gains the reward, and flips the card over as a face down resource for the rest of the game. I do like this idea, as it gives incentive to spend a turn completing a quest in order to say draw two cards or so, giving you a possible advantage .
Overall the game is solid, I can’t see much lacking in the effort department with it, and could see myself possibly getting into it. I might start a draft, or possibly some pre-cons (once I learn the rules a bit better) but overall the game is good and I highly recommend trying it out if you can. There is even the possibility of Raid decks that can be played if you get a group of players. One player hosts the raid, and uses the raid specific deck, and then the other players are fighting the raid master together. The idea seems fantastic, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to try it out.
Here are some pictures I took of the Convention Hall, some Cos-Players, and some other things we saw in Indianapolis. Hope you enjoy them.
Part of the PNG Gencon ’09 Wrap Up series of articles.