Archive etx

Published on June 22nd, 2015 | by Nicole Jekich


Our Day at Evergreen Tabletop Expo

Our First Convention Demo Ever!!

This was our first official appearance as designers at a convention and needless to say we were very excited! Luke and I brought Traffic Jam’s Foodtruck Frenzy, a competitive card game between 2-4 foodtruck entrepreneurs, to the Unpub Mini event at the first ever Evergreen Tabletop Expo (ETX) by Uncle’s Games. Unpub Minis feature unpublished games by local, indie designers.


We were there with a bunch of other designers and shared a large. For a first year event, ETX did really well and I am looking forward to being part of this convention as it grows:

We are extremely grateful for all of you who stopped stopped by and played our Foodtruck Frenzy prototype and offered feedback to make our game even better.

What We Played:

Now I also made sure to playtest as many games at the Unpub as I could (unfortunately there’s just never enough time to play ALL the games I want). I tested two very different games and different stages of the design process.
big top

Big Top Inc.

This carnival-building game is ambitious and has a lot of moving parts. Players are owners of a circus and are looking to expand their buildings, hire new acts, and manage their public image and marketing. In addition, players use a set of polyhedral dice which represent a different worker with an innate ability.


If you’re looking for a multi-faceted tile building and worker placement game, Big Top Inc is something you should keep an eye on. This game is still early in production and there are still a lot of kinks to work out in Big Top Inc.’s complexity to streamline the gameplay and develop more interactions between players.

dirty cops

Dirty Cops

Dirty Cops is a take-that card game that is further along in production and is working towards a Kickstarter debut in October. I loved how engaging this game was! Players are cops survive three waves of notorious criminals and henchmen. After successfully defeating each wave, the cops grab the loot and drugs the criminals are carrying and divide the spoils (remember that you’re not good cops here).


Luke’s face after he stole a lot of my money…

Since the winner of Dirty Cops is the richest player at the end of the game, players are constantly trying to steal their partners’ money and drugs and use action cards to put their fellow cops in situations that make them lose their spoils (like ratting them out or stealing from their piles outright). The lead detective (lead player) resolves turn and rules disputes and chooses how to divide the loot–but is often the more prominent target for the criminals. Money is always changing hands and this is a great semi-cooperative game experience. I can’t wait to back Dirty Cops!

Who We Saw:

Across The Board Games is 27 months old and in that time we’ve met a lot of designers by playing and reviewing their games on our site. We also are active in supporting our local gaming community by going to these conventions, attending game demos or putting on events to meet local designers. Here are some familiar faces and games we saw at ETX:

OMG There's an Axe in my Head

Oh My God, There’s an Axe in My Head

Dave of Game Company No 3 was demoing his deadly diplomacy game at ETX and brought a couple of his upcoming creations, like Yukon Salon, to show attendees. Dave frequents many of the conventions in the area and demos many of his games at Raygun Lounge where we have monthly unpub mini events.


We had to stop by Gamesicle’s booth and congratulate them on a successful Kickstarter for their tension-filled card game, BANE. Luke and I put together a video preview of the gameplay and specialized components which were available on the Kickstarter campaign. We’re so happy to have helped spread the word on this great game and passionate company. We’re looking forward to working more with Gamesicle as they grow and begin to produce more games.


Frog the What Games

These life-sized cutouts of science fiction sports gladiators around ETX represent the different teams you can play in the miniature-driven sports arena game and death trap that is Slaughterball! Frog the What Games came to Raygun Lounge last year and demoed an epic 4 player version of the game to promote their Kickstarter (which later successfully funded). It was a brutal free-for-all game and includes two levels of difficulty depending on your preference. If everything goes according to schedule, Slaughterball should be on store shelves next month.


Titans Tactis

We originally ran into Titans Tatics at PAX a while back and then we reviewed their self-published tactics game in October 2014. This 1v1 style tactics games allows players to control three formidable titans as they fight for domination in a condensed board. Fans of Titans Tactics can enjoy the game’s first expansion coming out later this summer. If you’re planning to attend Gen Con this year, Titans Tactics will have a booth and you will be able to preview the expansion content even sooner.

Join us for future events!

You can play many soon-to-be Kickstarter games at these unpublished game events and meet a lot of people passionate about games and creating a supportive design community. If you’re a designer in the area conventions and the local community is one of the best ways to network with other designers and get constructive feedback on your game.

Special thanks to Isaias of Game Designers Clubhouse and Thomas (Unpub Mini Organizer), Alice (Unpub Mini Organizer), Uncle’s Games, the convention volunteers, staff and all the playtesters and designers that stopped by and played unpublished games. We appreciate your support of this local community.


About the Author

Nicole Jekich

came from humble beginnings as a Boise suburbanite with a love of Cranium and Trivial Pursuit. She attended an open board game day three years ago and is now an avid gamer and fantasy artist. Her interests are primarily in Dungeons & Dragons, dice placement and Roman-themed tabletop games. Nicole is also a fan of playing games that let her release her inner barbarian. Her favorite game currently is Far Space Foundry.

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