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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

BGG Con 2010

From November 17th to 21st, BGG Con happened. 5 days of gaming goodness. My brother in law, Dennis, decided that for my birthday, he'd buy me a ticket to BGG Con. So, we made plans to go. With points (so it was free-ish) I got us a room (3 of us, Dennis, Martin and myself), Martin got the rental car.

Oh, for those of you NOT in the know, BGG stands for BoardGameGeek - a website dedicated to better our board game experience.

Loch Ness
Children's game, simple - good for filler. I liked how Nessie moved and the 3 part piece.

This was my first play of this, even though I've been wanting to play it for a while. The game is different than what I originally thought it would be like, and I like it well enough. Wouldn't buy it, but would play it occasionally.

This is a newer game that has heavy card management. You balance money, re-building portions of London and running those boroughs, and poverty. I liked it but didn't get another play, and I need more plays.

Dennis' freebie from the Con registration. It played ok, pretty light. Fair 2 player game. We played it while awaiting the car to show up with Martin. Or the other way around.

My first game of the con with both Dennis & Martin. Time and travel weariness forced a lighter game. This seemed to fit the bill perfectly. I love this game, its quick, easy and has a bit of an element of tension in the mid / end game. I managed the mid-game massive land grab, and won the game with exactly the needed number of points.

Age of Industry
I was walking by one of the rooms and a guy was sitting there reading the rules for what looked like Brass. I inspected closer and saw it was a new game, called Age of Industry, but had a lot of the same Brass elements. We got 2 more newbies and played it. Right before we started, we got a coach for a quick rules review and confirmation. It was a good game, and what probably made it better was that I won. I can't say I like it better than Brass, but it is more streamlined, and has a few less fiddly rules.

Ubongo 3D
After a heady game with new rules, I found a lighter game. It was still a thinker since we had to put together a block from 3D tetris-like blocks. Really fun, and frustrating at the same time. Get some blocks, build the shape, get points. Oh, and there is a timer.

Classic, and since I made all 3 of us t-shirts with the Titan counters from the Avalon Hill release, we had to play it. Plus, this is a game I introduced to the Burke brothers. We had a fourth, Tony, who ended up whomping us all.

Rock Band 3
same as Rock Band, new songs, new features, yadda, yadda, yadda..

this was kind of an abstract collection game. You place your 'shiny object' and the crows flock to it in a straight path. Various things give you better scores, you can thwart your opponents with trash piles', and there are bonus points. Good short game, great for filler. the bits were good, too.

Age of Industry
New opponents, two had played before, one hadn't. We played the same map, and I managed 2nd place, which I was fairly happy with.

Played a 4 person game in the demo area. We played the the 'basic' game, and after one play (and 2nd place again), the game seems dry. Maybe the expansions make it a bit better, but I don't think I'd be interested enough to try them.

Dennis was looking for a game to take home. I recommended this over Dominion, simply because Dominion was a little vague for me, but Thunderstone has a more obvious goal, and that is to beat up monsters in a dungeon. Dennis bought this (and the expansion) and we played the basic game.

Free Texas Hold 'em tournament for a bunch of games for prizes. Out of 175ish folks, I was out fairly early, with 100 people still playing.

This game, two players are assaulting the castle, two are defending. I was talked into this because this was the game that Martin and Dennis talked so much about from last year. Sadly, it didn't do it for me. I think the game is a great representation of what it is - defending / storming a castle. I am just a rotten tactician and I quickly grow bored of being stomped. Also, if you play thins, make sure you find the best rules translation. There were a lot of questions about this game and its rules.

Saturday was the flea market, with lines as long as the eye could see. I guess this is a huge deal at BGG Con - people selling used games for low prices. I managed to sneak in a few minutes before it closed, and saw some cool stuff, but nothing I really couldn't pass on.

While waiting for the flea market to finish up, I jumped in on this quick card game. You play a card and take cards of the same color, and those that are lower in value. Your card that you play 'freezes' that number of cards so you don't have to take them. Lowest score wins, so taking cards is against your goal.

7 Wonders
One of my new game buddies, Tony, said to try this game, it's fast, fun and short. So, I went to where a game was just being started, and played. It's got a lot of game for so short, too bad the group I was playing with was neither fast nor fun. But, with the right people, it would be a great short game as filler.

This game has a war game element - you get armies and navies and invade / hold your islands. The war aspect is pretty low, so it wasn't too bad for me. The interesting part of the game is the monsters that you can use to do various things, the Kraken will obliterate a navy, the Pegasus flies a unit anywhere on the board, etc. Turn order is set in reverse of who went first last time, and that is determined by the god you activated. You bid for the god you want to utilize, which are in random order each turn, and do that action. I crippled myself on the first turn, and the game wasn't fun for me, but I think it would be fun, should I play it again.

More dungeon delving carnage! Dennis branched out and used some other cards.

This was taught to me by the designer, Gil. He places it on the table, and it is obviously a word game. He says "I hate word games, so I made one that I like". The game has no vowel tiles, and you basically just call out a word you see in the 8 visible letters and score it. 2 letters shift off the board each time a word is made, keeping it fresh for each player. You can 'steal' or 'interrupt' the current player to score, but it is scored slightly less. I like this one.

Age of Industry
3rd play, and we finally got to use the other side, or map #2. It is more difficult, only 2 coal spaces for players to build, but a lot of off-shore coal. Very odd, but fun. I tied for last.

Played this with a couple of guys I found playing another card game. I got my first Grand Tichu.

Betrayal at House on the Hill
Last day of the con, and Dennis and Martin were flying out soon, I had a late flight, so I looked for a few games. I played this with 3 other folks, and I turned out to be the Traitor. another player was one room away with the revolver and made short work of my character, so I focused on the creeping vines. I managed to 'mulch' one other player before the plants died a nasty death.

Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer
This was getting a lot of buzz, and there was a guy demoing it. I played it and I liked it. It's easier to set up and reset than Dominion and Thunderstone, which may be the reason I buy it over the other two. I think I need at least one deck building game..

I played this with the owner (and his wife) of Fun Again Games, a fact I didn't know until almost the second game. We played once, and messed up the rules enough, that a second play was in order. The game is fun, but I need more plays. It's pretty light, but has a good bidding part to make you think a little more. The game finished right when I needed to leave for the airport.

That's it! For the most part, one highlight was hard 8 BBQ, and the fact that I got to spend time with Dennis & Martin playing Titan and other games. The travel was wearing, so I don't think I'll do BGG Con yearly.. maybe every 3-5 years.

Game on!