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On Gamer's Games

Wherein I Discuss Those Games Described As Gamer's Games
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The Obligatory BGG.Con 2012 Planning Post

Jesse Dean
United States
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Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious predator on Earth!
BGG.Con is pretty much my favorite gaming convention ever. I have been to Gen Con and the WBC, and various smaller conventions, but BGG.Con easily exceeds all of them for me. BGG.Con’s effective combination of hot new games, the ability to easily focus on gaming rather than secondary distractions, and the fact that I get to meet up with so many friends I have made from BoardGameGeek combine to just bring it to a level that other conventions cannot match.

My enthusiasm for the convention has spread to the locals a bit, so there are usually at least a few who end up coming to the convention. This year we have six people beyond me who are visiting from Orlando including my BGG.Con roommate, and a couple who are among my most regular gaming partners (I am even attending their Halloween party tonight!) So between the desire to play the hot new games with some of my friends from Orlando, the desire to play games with my regular BGG.Con crew (namely Aliza and Jerry), and the desire to play with other people I know I have found that it is worthwhile to do a little bit of scheduling.

Part of my scheduling is, of course, in my planned games. I have been transitioning over the last few years from trying a random smattering of games to trying a focused set of games and deciding at the show which of these are worth delving into further. I had a lot of fun last year with Aliza, Jerry, and some other people exploring Ora et Labora Mage Knight the Board Game in depth and I am hoping that this year I will be able to repeat that experience with whatever game we find to be worth that sort of exploration from Essen 2012. The other part of that scheduling is making sure to plan games with people whom I will not get to game with regularly. Even if this scheduling is no more than a “Let’s try to play this game at the convention,” it is helpful to have these sorts of rendezvous in mind, so that free time can be calibrated towards achieving those goals. Two weeks out seems to be about as good a time as any to do this, so since BGG.Con officially starts two weeks from today, that is what is going to happen.

Games To Play: BGG.Con 2012
This is essentially a mirror of my general Essen 2012 list. It has gone through a number of changes, as initial comments and critiques have emerged and a number of games I was unaware of have come to my attention. This is partially informed by the games I am getting review copies of too. I only requested games I was very interested in, and am using whether or not I am getting a review copy as a prioritization system, I still intend to review games that I am not getting review copies of, I just plan to focus on the review copy games first.

As of right now, the following games are Essen releases that I have confirmation I will be getting review copies of:

Al Rashid (may receive before BGG.Con)
CO2 (will not receive until after BGG.Con)
Terra Mystica (may receive before BGG.Con)
Tzolk’in (will not receive until after BGG.Con)

Even if I do not get copies of them before BGG.Con, I will still try to play each of these games at least a few times at the convention itself, and if any of them capture my compatriots fancy then we will probably end up being played much more extensively.

The next tier of games is ones that I am highly interested in in order to make a personal purchasing decision or because I probably will be writing a review of them. These are:

Grand Zimbabwe (purchasing for pick up at BGG.Con)
Keyflower (purchased and waiting for arrival)
Pax Porfiriana

The final tier is games that I am at least marginally interested, but do not expect that much from. I will give these ones a chance if I have an opportunity to play them, but if I do not I am not going to be particularly upset if it does not happen:

Clash of Cultures
Polis: Fight For The Hegemony

General BGG.Con 2012 Schedule
On Tuesday I arrive by noon and tend to focus mostly on opportunistic gaming, either roping people into the games I have brought or inserting my people into other people’s games. If none of my incoming Essen games arrive in time, I will have the Glory to Rome Black Box Edition and some other heavier game that I will probably decide on the night before. Maybe Mage Knight. I am really hoping some of them arrive in time.

Wednesday is focused on playing as many different games from the above lists as possible in order to identify which ones are strong candidates for more extensive play later in the week.

Thursday usually ends up being a hybrid day, where I finish off any games on my lists that are high priority, and start replaying the ones that I particularly liked from day 1.

Friday and Saturday end up being pretty similar. I focus a lot on the games that I decided are the ones I want to explore deeply, with a few random games of other stuff thrown in for good measure. I also try to hit the remaining low priority items on the list to make sure I have not actually missed anything. Saturday night inevitably results in very late night gaming and really bad, yet hilarious, jokes as sleep deprivation really starts to hit. I have had both my best and worst experiences at the convention late on Saturday night.
Sunday is another day of scrambling, as people are pushing to leave town, and I try to get as much gaming in as I can. I tend to leave a bit later in the day which removes some of the pressure for me, but the pressure on everyone else is still relevant.

Current Planned Gaming
As I noted above, I usually end up playing the large majority of my games with Aliza and Jerry at the convention. This is always fun and I would not have it any other way. Beyond that, I have these specific games planned:

Tzolk’in with Ben, Aliza, and Jerry. I need to confirm with Aliza and Jerry they are actually in for this though, as I sort of volunteered them.

Ginkgopolis with Rich (and others, I assume).

Some sort of game with David Short.

Anyone else interested in planning any gaming with me at the convention? Any games that should be on my list but are not? Any games on my list that should not be there?
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