Monday, September 15

Post Gaming Convention wrap up

Every year, for the past 4 years, I've attended a local gaming con here in North Carolina.   The first cons I went to were all scheduled/sign up with some open gaming, and I just got used to those (I like that I don't have to know anyone or talk to utter strangers trying to get into a game).   Down here, this con is all about the open gaming, so I'm happy I know people now and don't have to try to find a game.  I'm so bad about talking to strangers, even super awesome friendly strangers, which is pretty much this entire con.  I'm an introvert, I can't help myself.

A rundown of the gaming (with pics, because I can):

First, we kicked things off with Tyranno Ex, which is an old Avalon Hill game.   It was fun, managing the environment was the key to the game (the key I sucked at).  There's a lot of dice rolling and it perhaps took a bit too long for my liking.  But I really like trying new-to-me games even if they're not new.

Suburbia, Inc:
I had played Suburbia a year or two ago and felt Meh, on it.   We played again, with the "Inc" expansion, which added some buildings and those borders, and I found it to be a lot more fun when I figured out what the heck I was doing.    I played twice, didn't win either time, but I did like it (even though I suck at urban planning...

The second game, I learned that going heavy civil was not so great, really.  It was ridiculously bad...

Rialto is a new game we wanted to try (and, well, did).  It's a Stefan Feld game, and while I adore his games (I own a good chunk of them), I really did not like this game at all.   I figured out what I needed to do to optimize points most of the way through the game (best part:  When I went for a particular action, everyone was very much of the vocal "what the hell are you doing?!" persuasion, but that particular action won me the game.   Hah)
This is the final game (Oh look, I'm red, and in the lead!!!!)
Others liked the game better.   I wouldn't say no to playing again, but I wouldn't buy the game or suggest it to play.

Another new game we played (and my group in general played the hell out of, I only played twice) was Dead of Winter.  It's a mostly co-op game, with the chance of a traitor, which ups the ante.   I feel like you have to play the game as if there is no traitor regardless, unless someone does something particularly traitor-ish.
It's winter, you and your fellow survivors are trying to reach some collective end game objective (the scenario provides the objective, whether it's to survive a certain number of rounds or reach a particular goal) to win, and you are also trying to reach a secret objective.  And not die.   Died the first time (traitor got us), won the second time.    It is a really good new game.  I like it and hope that someone I know gets it so I can play it (I don't know if I particularly need this game).

Interestingly, this game actually comes with a trigger warning, so you can tailor the game narrative to avoid some of the explicit language and topics if you need to.  I found that pretty interesting.

Zombies everywhere!
Suave black guy must be Billy Dee, right?   I mean, he's got the Cap't Morgan pose and everything?  (for the record, he was my bad ass player from the second game that totally (literally) toasted 8 zombies in 2 turns).

We played the other zombie co-op game, Zombicide (which was also new to me, though not new-new).  This one was a lot of fun, too.  You don't control multiple people like you do in Dead of Winter, but you do get a varied map and different end game goals, and was also a lot of fun (I died, everyone else lived... though as much shit as I got about dying, it definitely helped them win the game).

Yeah, we had to kill the "fatty" (no really, that's what the game calls them):

Splendor is a kind of set collection/point game that is new and was incredibly popular.   There were a lot of copies present and a lot of them were being played at any given time.  I played three or four times, and liked it enough to order it so we can have it for our game nights.   It's fast and easy.  Who doesn't love a good filler game?   And those chips are the good ceramic weighted poker chips, not cheap plastic.   The box insert keeps things gloriously organized as well.

Another newish game (I think it was out at the February con because it was released in 2013) was Concordia.  It's a well-rated strategy game and I loved it like kittens.   Kittens that I immediately purchased from my favorite online store.

There's worker placement and card drafting, resource management... all of the things I like.   If I hadn't played another game, this would have been my favorite game of the con.

But, I played Glass Roads, which was my favorite game of the con.  A friend had it for sale, so I contacted him to get it, which was convenient since it seems to be largely sold out at my favorite stores and sites.

It's  a Uwe Rosenberg game, and I seem to be a slave for his shit (exception:  Le Havre.  I just hate that game).    One of the games I couldn't seem to get to was Caverna, which is another one of his games.  As someone told me, it's this "times 1000"...  And to be fair, everything I've heard regarding Caverna leads me to believe (with 100% assurance) that I'd love it.   I don't know what's holding me back from ordering it.

Anyway - Glass Road - Groovy card drafting/role choosing mechanic with an awesome resource management aspect (my favorite!).  Surprise!  I won!

One night out of every con, the group goes back to our place.  We invariably end up playing a big co-op(ish) game because there are so many of us and we're drinking.   Last year, Battlestar Galactica
This year - a 6 player game of Sleuth (not pictured) that everyone lost (haha!) that took forever.

And then Eldritch Horror!  (I love this game... not as much as Arkham, but at least there's a lot less set up):

A Study In Emerald.   This game is like the twisty stabby of my soul.    It's based off of the short story Neil Gaiman wrote, which is a mashup of the Cthulhu mythos and Sherlock Holmes.
Gaiman + Sherlock + Cthulhu = everything I could possibly want.

So when this game came out on kickstarter, my knee-jerk reaction was to back it.  However, I had just been burnt on a couple of other kickstarter games (one with a Cthulhu theme that was pricey and not great), and I just wasn't sure if I would really like it.  The designer was Martin Wallace, who is a major (and prolific) name for a designer, but a designer I don't particularly like.  And with the exchange rate, it was not a cheap game.  So I didn't back it.

And regretted it every time someone brought it up.

And we finally got to play the game the first day at the con.   And the theme is amazing.  The artwork is amazing, and most of the mechanics are interesting.  And it's a decent game, but I'm glad I didn't spend the money.   In the end?   Amazing art, yes.  Amazing theme, yes.  But only an OK game.

The people are divvied up into two teams.   And only one team can win.  But here's the kicker:  the game ends with only one player winning.  So while you try to make sure your teammates don't cause a loss, there are so many point swings and thumping the leader going on that it drags out the game.

Oh and technically, the roles/teams are hidden, but it doesn't take long to figure it out.

Chateau Roquefort.  It's mice/rats, yo, therefore I am in love.
This game was freakin' adorable.   I'd love to get it for some (not too young) kids.   You are mice, scrambling around in the attic looking for cheese.  But you can't walk on the roofs, so you remove roofs to peek inside and see what is there.  So there's a bit of memory (you are collecting different cheeses, but to do that, two of your guys have to be on the same kind).  And the bottom layer of the board can shift around, so you can trap mice.  It's fun.  It's memory.   I was terrible at it (haha!)

I thought it was a very clever use of the box as part of the game, too.

Istanbul was another game that was new and popular.   I only played once (and won!), but I really liked it.   If it was not sold out, I would have purchased it to hit my minimum-$$ for free shipping.
Move around, do different roles and actions to collect 5 gems.   I did like it a lot, and I hear that the game was very different with different numbers of people, which is always awesome.

Robinson Crusoe:  Probably one of the best co-op games out there.  We won.  Barely.   And we did get to eat a bear :)  I had played it once a year ago and should probably ask nicely to play more often as one of our game night people own it.

Other games I played:

Black Vienna - a deduction game that I've played before.   It's print and play from the web, and I'm excited that not only did I win, but the other two players when they were guessing did not guess correctly (after I'd won... huzzah!)

Race for the Galaxy - I always like this game.  I never really know what I'm doing and feel like I am not good at strategizing based on the cards I am dealt, instead I have some actions I really like and try to adjust, but really, my success is based on the draw (this game:  I drew super badly)

Dungeon Roll (twice!) - is a fun little filler game by TMG.  I saw that it was apparently a super successful kickstarter?  Not something I'd bother owning, but it is a fun little game)

Subdivision - very similar to Suburbia, and I think I would like to solo play it, but I was largely annoyed and unimpressed by it.  I would never buy it for more than, say, 10$ (even battered) for the solo play option.    Others seemed to like it a lot more.

Love Letter - a small deductive-esque card game.  We played it while eating lunch.  Everyone else is very tired of it as one or two of our gaming group wanted to play it constantly for a while, and I'm not a huge fan, so, meh.

Cosmic Wimpout - another little filler game we played over lunch, just dice rolling

7 Wonders - which I still really like even though many of the gamers I know are tired of it.


Games played:

Black Vienna
Race for the Galaxy
Dungeon Roll (x2)
Chateau Roquefort
Suburbia (x2)
Robinson Crusoe
Eldritch Horror
Glass Road
Dead of Winter (x2)
Zombicide (x2...ish)
A Study in Emerald
Tyranno Ex
Splendor (x4)
Love Letter
Cosmic Wimpout
7 Wonders

Games I missed:

Caverna - which I might just buy anyway

Russian Railroads - I really, really wanted to try this, but didn't get a chance until the end of the con and my compatriots were over gaming (or trapped in a game of Through The Ages)

Castles of Mad King Ludwig - Ted Alspach (the designer) brought this, it's like Suburbia with a better theme (from what I was told).   It's cool that the designer was there to share his new game, and I like Suburbia enough that I would have liked to have been able to get to this one - Oh well :)

New games acquired:
Glass Roads
Arkham Horror Kingsport Horror expansion (I was waiting for the reprint, hah!)

Games I want, and will probably purchase soon:
Istanbul, maybe
Oh, and Eldritch Horror Mountains of Madness expansion, huzzah!

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