While there's no way I'll get all the interesting games that will show up this year, I'm going through the preview list on BGG and picking out what I think are the standouts. I'm not sure the list is done yet, but it's a good start.
Custom Heroes from AEG- Takes the card modifying mechanic from Mystic Vale and ads it to a trick taking "climbing" game. I think I might need to do some posts on mechanics, in part because of this game.
Lovecraft Letter from AEG- Yeah, it's two of the biggest bandwagons together. It has an interesting idea for madness, though.
Whistle Stop from Bezier Games- Looks like a lighter take on some of the ideas from Age of Steam. With modular tiles and the ability to delay goods delivery, it could have some interesting play.
Catacombs and Castles from Elzra Corp.- Catacombs is an interesting coop(vs. overlord) Dungeon diver dexterity game. This is a standalone game that has team play and coop (vs overlord), serving as a faster playing introduction to the game world and system.
Legend of the Five Rings the Card Game from Fantasy Flight Games- Because most FFG Living Card Games are worth a look, and this one has a really cool past.
Hotshots from Fireside Games- A firefighting coop with a press your luck mechanic. Sounds like a Forbidden Island/Pandemic meets Can't Stop. Intriguing.
Mint Works from Five24 Labs- I like worker placement games. I'm intrigued by one that fits in a mint tin. And costs only $12.
Lazer Ryderz from Greater Than Game- A game that has template movement, variable player powers, has part Tron, and comes in VHS cases? Looks like a winner.
The Terrifying Girl Disorder from Japanime Games- It's a set collection game, but you have scoring and variable player powers based on the set you played. A lot of their games have heavy fan service art, but this appears to be an exception.
Cowboy Bebop: the Boardgame from Jasco Games- Demos only, but it looks like it's a coop that focuses on characters, not a plot external to them. 3,2, 1 Let's jam!
Sail Away from Mattel- They've long been putting out real games in Europe, and are finally doing so here. Sure, it's lighter, but pick and deliver and set collection mechanics are solid. Plus, we've got pirates to get the theme/art focused folks more into it.
Mini Rails from Moaideaes Design- This little game is an attempt to get the regular train game experience to fit inside an hour. I've heard a lot of good things about this, and one of my biggest complaints with train games is how long they can take for what they do.
Tulip Bubble from Moaideaes Design- A market speculation and set collection game with auctions based on the Dutch Tulip Bubble? I'm interested; I've read Dumas' The Black Tulip.
The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 from Project Raygun- Another demo only game, but large chunks of the boardgame world want to see if this was done right.
Zoo Ball from Osprey Games- It's a multiplayer sports dexterity game. Playable with families, apparently. I'd expect kids to start winning consistently once they figure it out.
Dinosaur Island from Pandasaurus Games- Yes, I mentioned this on a Kickstarter post. It's demos only from the looks of it, so you can see if the 80's tinted Jurassic Park riff is for you.
Red Scare from Pandasaurus Games- Hidden roles, decoder glasses, and commie hunting? Might be good times in a larger group game(4-10 players).
Perplext Games has another run of tiny Pack o Games. They're the size of gum packs, and some have been really cool, and the worse ones are at least interesting attempts.
Flick 'Em Up!: Dead of Winter- Two interesting game properties, this is an all plastic game. It is coop with a traitor(like Dead of Winter) and is supposed to be a bit more of the strategy game than the dexterity game.
Flip Ships from Renegade Game Studios- Yes, it's another Dex game. I'm a bit surprised by the number, and a lot of them look good. This is a sci fi coop to take down an alien mothership.
Pinball Showdown from Shoot Again Games- Auctions, set collection, and as players are pinballs, maximum speeds to score. I bizarrely want to try this.
The Climbers from Capstone Games- A game of climbing wooden blocks(as opposed to a trick taking game), with one use ladders for each player.
Between Two Cities: Capitals from Stonemaier Games- The base game plays like an inverse of 7 Wonders, and this adds a bunch of flavor and options.
Wartime: the Battle of Valyance Vale from Wizkids- First, I'm really surprised they're going back to GenCon. Second, a two player wargame with a sandtimer basis sounds really cool. Realtime wargaming comes to the tabletop. Huh.
Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 from Zman Games- Supposedly it's only for demos this GenCon, but it's also the kind of surprise they might like to spring on folks.
All in all, a promising list.
When you play Social Justice, the world loses.