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No, this isn’t about me turning into the Hulk. This is my quick wrap up of this year’s trip to GAMA, the GAme Manufacturer’s Association. For 2018 and the near future, the board game trade show moved to Reno, Nevada, away from Las Vegas. For those of you that aren’t aware, GAMA is an industry trade show focusing on the board game industry. It’s a chance for publishers to interact with retailers, to show off their latest products and to let them know about future plans. There are seminars, demo nights, parties and an exhibit hall.

This is my third trip to GAMA and each year, it becomes more enlightening and more rewarding. The breadth of creativity and passion in the board game world is truly astounding. The switch to Reno seemed to be mostly for the better. We stayed at a pretty modern resort and it seemed to keep most of the publishers and retailers all in the same area.

Rather than bore you all with a play by play of who I had meetings with or throwing out a bunch of names that wouldn’t mean anything to you, I thought I’d give you some highlights of games that I think will be making a big splash soon. In fact, you can probably bet a little money that you’ll see reviews for some of these games soon.

Restoration Games: These folks are one of my favorite publishers out there right now. They’ve got expansion tracks for Downforce coming as well as Dinosaur Tea Party, an adorable light game with incredible art.

Smirk and Dagger (and Smirk and Laughter): It’s hard for me to convey how excited I am for Before There Were Stars, a creative myth making game using dice to create constellations. It’s one of my most anticipated of the year so far. They’ve also got the incredibly fun looking Tower of Madness, a Cthulhu style game that borrows from the old Kerplunk model of sticks in a tower with dropping marbles.

Renegade Games: I might be a bit biased on this entry. Renegade is branching further into role playing games and their latest, Overlight, is co-written by a friend of mine. But the art is incredible, the game play sounds amazing and Renegade always brings its A game.

Sadly, I didn’t get to play much at the show. It was a whirlwind couple of days and I had to leave early for a couple of vacation days to New Orleans. With another busy work week ahead, this is a short wrap up and sadly, I don’t have a deeper dive into how amazing GAMA can be. I’ll be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, here are a few pics from GAMA featuring some lovely peeps and some awesome ghost pirate ships from Deadman’s Doubloons by Passport. (Also, I can’t say “Ghost Pirate” without saying it like the ghost pirate character from the Venture Bros.)



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