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GAMA Expo - Last Day

Bruxelles 1893 new edition cover shows a gold foil version of the game where a woman stands on a balcony with a gramophone record player in the foreground

My last full of GAMA Expo 2024 was quieter one. I still spent some time checking out some new games, but I finished recording an episode of the podcast too. I did notice a couple new games I hadn't caught before including a beautiful new edition of Bruxelles 1893.

Evenfall board game back cover shows different people of different backgrounds who look to rule

In addition, I got to see a copy of Evenfall in the Flat River Booth. Flat River continues to have a strong showing of all types of games from cooperative to heavy strategy games, to lighter games.

Captain Flip by Paolo Mori and Remo Canzodori is a pirate themed game with bag pulling elements with tiles getting placed onto players' ships

Paoli Mori and Remo Conzadori's light game Captain Flip was also on display at the booth. Don't get three canons in this game though or you will sink your ship.

cards from Star Wars Bounty Hunters drafting game for 2-6 players

Star Wars Bounty Hunters is a light drafting game for 2-6 players with an all new art style. It draws from from Solo and The Mandalorian as well as other Star Wars properties. I am curious to see its reception and how it plays. It does beg the question - how many Star Wars games can the market simultaneously support?

5 games for Review - Tolerance, Golem Run, White Hat, Space Lion, and Paper Trails

I also received a number of games to review at the show. 3 of them are Finnish trick taking games. I hope they show some new things as they highly intrigued me.

Overall, it was a great week. There will be two podcast episodes coming which recorded at the show (Dave Paverson & Brian Kaufmann). Lots of new friends and connections made. There are places for improvement for the GAMA staff and the relationship with the convention center, but overall the show seemed to go well.

It was good to see a lot of role playing games which showed fantasy, sci-fi, kids, indie titles, and many others presented a slew of different options and possibilities. This is especially true when the 1,000 lb. dragon in the room showed its problems in 2023.

Publishers did seem to be a little more cautious, but still still optimistic with their titles this year. No one has a crystal ball for the future, and until we see another year of GenCon (and this time without the release of a major card game like Lorcana) we really don't know how prepare for how people will react in the market overall.

The diversity of games, creators, and voices in the industry continues to grow and that is, without a doubt, a good thing.

The meal options, shuttle situation, and probably presentation of certain topics could always improve (I only heard second hand and did not witness a snafu with the Women in Gaming networking breakfast). Attempts at including designers, people who have been historically underrepresented and new and forward thinking businesses are all being actively sought with what the organization is doing.

Am I still as excited about games as I was when I started turning a hobby into something more? Yes. Am I more careful about how I spend my time. That's true too. I personally need to mature with my attitudes at every stage of life. GAMA does too. As I wrote earlier in the week, it's natural for an institution and an event to grow and change with time and circumstance. I think that's the biggest takeaway with my experience at Expo this year, no person (and no organization) is an island.

ICV2 presenter Jeffrey spent some time presenting his annual white paper on the state of games. There were no major surprises from his assessment, but it did confirm that I was not alone in thinking consumers were more cautious about where and when to spend their money this last year.

We need to make better games. Do I think there are too many games? No. Games should be like books. Or movies. Or albums. They should be created when they are created. Is every game financially viable in the traditional sense? No, but if we want more and better games in the gaming industry we must create space for creativity, failure, and expression.

Thanks to the Game Manufacturer's Association for sponsoring for my coverage of the event.

Jeffrey Dohm-Sanchez of ICV2 presents his white paper on the state of board games

*This post is part of my continuing coverage of GAMA Expo 2024 were I am part of the Hosted Media program. The Game Manufacturer's Association promotes tabletop games of all types and brought media in, expenses paid, to cover the event as a service to industry members.


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