Gen Con 2022: Polygon’s best board games are also their messiest

Gen Con 2022 felt like coming home to me. After attending the Super Bowl for board games for almost two decades, I’ve made some very close friends that I look forward to seeing every year. To go two years without renewing these relationships was far too long. This year, after the store closed, we weren’t interested in playing the latest Euro-style game, or a campaign in a box, or a big sprawling Ameritrash strategy game. We just wanted to have fun and the range of new games on offer suited our needs perfectly.

In fact, I think the best games at Gen Con this year were the lightest and most frivolous things imaginable. But most of all, this year’s best games have been messy – including the title, which may just be my personal game of the show.

The Ghost Mayor (GM) screen, which hides the layout for that particular area of ​​Ghost Town.

Photo Credit: Charlie Hall/Polygon

A player's card scribbled on a blank grid.

Photo Credit: Charlie Hall/Polygon

Psychic pizza delivery men go to ghost town

Psychic pizza delivery men go to ghost town is a hidden environment game for 3-5 players. Note that I didn’t say hidden movement – like say nuns on the run, Last Friday, Letters to Whitechapelor Specter Ops. In this game, each player is given a large laminated grid and a dry-erase marker. The goal is to uncover a pizza and deliver it to the residents of the ghost town. What kind of pizza does each house want? You won’t know until you find a pizza and then use your psychic powers to guess where it belongs. The concept sucks as much as the name – especially when you accidentally stumble onto a teleport room and have to start making yours Zork-like card creation again.

You can buy Psychic pizza delivery men go to ghost town direct from Board Game Tables Dot Com for $39.00 direct from the publisher.

Here’s a little bit about the rest of the messiest new titles, presented in alphabetical order.

Ghost meeples from Psychic Pizza Deliveryrs all have different faces.

After his successful crowdfunding campaign Psychic pizza delivery men put their money where it counts – in adorable Ghost Meeples.
Photo Credit: Charlie Hall/Polygon


The latest from Smirk & Laughter Games, boop is a small box game designed by Scott Brady that is absolutely charming. Inside you’ll find a collection of wooden cat meeples and a plush blanket. Turn the inside of the box over, place the duvet on top, and continue beating your opponents in a match-three-meets-area-control fiasco.

boop will be available soon.

A double layered sideboard for storing your most important quantum card suits.

Photo Credit: Charlie Hall/Polygon

cat in the box

cat in the box is a trick card game – like hearts, spade, Euchreand binoculars. Players compete to collect decks based on playing the highest card in a given suit. The problem is that all cards are black. Players name the suit they play and then record the card they played on a two-layer board with a unique token. If for some reason you break the logic of the board you’re creating — for example, by not being able to play a suit or number from a missing card — you create a paradox and all the points you’ve scored so far become negative. It’s a sophisticated fix-your-neighbor game, but it’s also surprisingly fast and easy.

cat in the box is available now direct from the publisher for $29.95.

Players sit down for a kites game with 5 hourglasses in between and a hand of cards each.

Photo: Floodgate Games


The first thing I throw away when I open a board game is the pegboard. The second thing I throw away is the hourglass, if there is one. The stress of this thing hasn’t made any game I’ve ever played any fun at all – except dragon. Each of the different timers is different, some are 30 seconds, others are a minute and a half. Players take turns playing cards that match the timers and together try to keep all of these “kites” in the air before they run out of sand. Absolute mayhem again – but also a great way to warm people up at the start of a long board game night.

You can pre-order dragon now for $20.

Ready Set Bet

I was lucky enough to get a demo from AEG Ready Set Bet by none other than Ruel Gaviola, who told the assembled influencers that he both consulted on the design and provided voiceover work for the companion app. He described it as “a board game party game,” which makes perfect sense. Basically, it takes horse racing and roulette, mixes them up in a real-time game, and then adds some alternative winning conditions in the form of a deck of cards. That way, your family members who love to go to the casino and understand things like trifecta betting and… well, math… can compete on a relatively even playing field with those of us who love to gamble Ticket.

Ready Set Bet costs $39.99 and is expected to be available later this year.

Red and blue players stride around on a cube in Reality Shift

Photo Credit: Charlie Hall/Polygon

reality shift

Academy Games is known for its exhilarating historical simulation and strategy games. I am happy to announce that it is Gunter Eickert Stellaris: Infinite Legacy is progressing well. But the real eye catcher for me was reality shiftwhich is obviously inspired by the legendary light bike races in Tron. It’s just that this time the track moves, with cubes rotating and pivoting on their axes. You didn’t live until you took turn four and immediately threw it onto your back, derezzzing your opponent and sending him back to the start line. There is a deluxe edition as well as optional rules to complete Mario Kart with clams, bananas and more.

reality shift was only available at Gen Con this year, with the deluxe set costing $65. Expect to have the opportunity to purchase it soon. Gen Con 2022: Polygon’s best board games are also their messiest

Charles Jones

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