I attended CMON Expo for the first time this year and can't speak highly enough about it. I had a blast, played a ton of games, and met some amazing people. I just wanted to take a second to highlight a few games in particular.

1. Dragon Castle: on the first day I played in the beginners Dragon Castle tournament, spoiler I didn't come close to winning. I had only barely heard rumblings about the game before joining the tournament, boy was it fun. Even when getting crushed I was having a blast. This was my first purchase of the con!

2. Council of 4: I played the demo of Council of 4, which was a game I was hoping to check out while there. I love the route-building, hand-management, engine building mash-up found in this game. It is simple in mechanics but has interesting depths to explore. I would classify this as a gateway-plus game. This is a category I've been trying to build out in my collection for those friends I have already played a number of gateway games with, to migrate them to the next level, or to start friends out with if I feel they have the right personality to skip the gateway game. This game was a con hit and it was actually sold out before I could pick up a copy; I preordered it on Amazon while at the con.

3. Song of Ice & Fire: this was the surprise hit for me. I have never played a tactical miniature game before, and honestly had no intention of trying this one. However, a group of people I met at the con was really interested to try it so I sat down for a game. WOW! This game was fun. Just simple enough to be approachable as a player who has never played a miniature wargame, but with a lot of both tactical and strategic depth. I feel the game balances tactics and strategy well. We played it team vs. team with each player controlling a set of units. It was so much fun to discuss tactics and strategy with a group. I'm waiting to see if I could convince enough of my friends back home to play a game like this, but would love to add it to my collection.

Where you at the 2018 CMON Expo? What games were your instant-buys? Were any games surprise hits for you? Let me know in the comments!