Sunday, June 4, 2023

GenCon Report: Goliath Games Finds Fun In Misery, Medicine, and Magic

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Goliath Games , a Dutch company with its American headquarters in Plano, TX, is a sort of umbrella for a couple different companies, each focusing on a different kind of game or target audience. At GenCon, they were showing off the newest products from the venerable Pressman Toys, Goliath’s 18+ line Games Adults Play, and some new stuff from Goliath themselves. I was lucky enough to get a run through of their upcoming products on display and available for demo, all coming to retailers this fall.


Release: Fall 2019

Behind the Glowbots are “Speed Stacks”, a new partnership between Goliath and Sport Stacking

One of the big releases at GenCon were GlowBots, a brand new collectible toy that are kind of like if a Funko Pop! and a Lite-Brite had a baby. Each one starts as a black, faceless void covered in holes. You then plug in a series of colored, translucent pegs that form the character that you have the pegs for (see the picture above for examples of Batman, Robin, and the Joker). The characters then light up and can have different effects including a strobe mode. But you don’t have to keep buying new base figures when you want to make a new character, instead buying peg packs for each new one. You also don’t HAVE to make the character from the suggested pack, meaning you could make another character or even turn yourself into a GlowBot. The Robin GlowBot was a GenCon exclusive, and we’ll have a video showing how it works and what it looks as its constructed.

The first run of GlowBots will feature Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and The Joker, but there’s lots of characters in the works as things move along.

Harry Potter Spellcasters Game

Release: Fall 2019

The big announcement from Pressman Toys was the Harry Potter Spellcasters Game, the latest addition to Pressman and Goliath’s range of licensed Wizard World games. This game is essentially a magical form of charades. One player draws a spell and must make the motion of the spell with the provided wand (a facsimile of Harry’s). The other players then have to guess the spell being cast by picking it out from the cards laid out in front of them. The first wizard to guess correctly gets the card and the point, and then they become the Spellcaster! It’s an easy to learn game, but the wand is a neat little accessory and it’s definitely something that Potterheads will want to look at when it comes out.

And, yes, you can swish and flick

(May Cause) Side Effects

Release: Fall 2019 (Meijer and go! Calendars & Games exclusive)

Probably not the best game to play with your hypochondriac friend

One of the two big releases from Games Adults Play, and probably the most attention grabbing, is Side Effects, a party game that mixes charades with Taboo and adds in just a dash of medical malpractice. The conceit of the game is that the players are all participants in a clinical trial for a new drug. Unfortunately, the new drugs can cause some really strange side effects for those who take it. It’s played in teams, with one player on each team as the Test Subject and one as the Lab Assistant. The Test Subject will get a word or phrase they have to get their partner to guess without saying it out loud…but they will also get two symptoms they need to act out while dropping clues. Examples seen include growling like a wolf while showing off muscles like a bodybuilder, and shadowboxing while talking in a whisper. It’s an incredibly silly game and pretty damn creative (which can be hard to find in the world of adult party games.

The Misery Index

Release: Late 2019

The problem ranking game Shit Happens was a big success for Games Adults Play, spawning four expansions since its launch last year. It was so successful that TBS has optioned it for a brand new game show hosted by none other than Jameela Jamil and featuring the Impractical Jokers. Since, for some reason, the original name doesn’t really play well with network TV execs, Shit Happens got a name change and became The Misery Index.

Look at that sexy giraffe

Games Adults Play decided to re-do Shit Happens in line with the new show, giving it a complete makeover and changing the rules to fit the game show format. Rather than playing to ten cards a la that other famous adult party game, the game is instead played in rounds, with each round divided into two parts. In the first part, one person will select a card and read the situation out(which are largely identical to the ones in Shit Happens), each having a numerical value on the titular Misery Index. The other players, once they see them, will have to guess where they’d put it on their “Misery Lane” of already ordered cards. The person with the correct answer wins and adds that card to their lane.

In the second part, which begins after someone gets 8 cards in their lane, the player is read three Misery cards drawn from the deck without being told their values. The player must then put them in order. If they’re right, they go to round 3.

In Round 3, the player must guess a drawn card’s rating on the Misery Index within a range of ten. If they gets close enough, they add the card to their Misery Lane and win the game! If not, a new card is drawn and you try again.

Misery Index has a lot in common with Shit Happens (and the family-friendly spinoff Stuff Happens), but it’s a bit slower and more methodical than the rapid-fire comedy of its inspiration game. They’ve also given the game a total makeover with a pleasing gradient yellow and new art on several of the cards.

Misery Index will release alongside the new show later this year.


That’s it for Goliath, Pressman Toys, and Games Adults Play! Keep an eye out here for in depth reviews of many of these and more news on the world of party games!


All images via Goliath Games


  • Dan Arndt

    Fiction writer, board game fanatic, DM. Has an MFA and isn't quite sure what to do now. If you have a dog, I'd very much like to pet it. Operating out of Indianapolis.

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