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Everything We Played at the UndeadViking/ZackStack Board Game Extravaganza at Con of the North
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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I love almost all games, play Boardgames with my wife, have three kids, generally enjoy cats and understand and like those bumper stickers with the little fishies sprouting legs.
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Lance
United States
Moorhead
Minnesota
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The coolest best thing I have ever done in my life is being a father
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The Dread Pirate Caleb!! (age 2)
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Lance Myxter (UndeadViking of Song and Story) and myself (fairly typical BGG user) have been meeting at Con of the North in St. Paul Minnesota for the past couple of years. We noticed that we tended to just hand in our event tickets and teach each other games at any open table we could beg, borrow or steal for much of the Con... so this year instead of doing all that work we decided to offer to run some open game tables at the Con... and the organizers gave us a whole room! (it's one of the smaller rooms and only had 5 tables... but a room none the less!)

We mentioned this was happening on this very website and had a huge response from local gamers and last weekend it was game on! Quite a few brought in games to help make sure there was a great variety of things to play. Many thanks to everyone who did this for us... and special thanks to:

Andrew Schensted
United States
Lakefield
Minnesota
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who may have actually brought more games than Lance!

A good time was had by all (many? most? some?) and many games were played. Lance as usual posted a nice recap of his con experience here:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/8190/con-of-the-north-...
but I thought it would be fun to make a list of all the games I saw played in the room. And as just a simple list of games would be as boring for me to write as it would be for you to read I'll write up some quick impressions of how each game worked out and my impressions of certain games in general if I actually played them.

I did leave the room briefly to run and play in a couple standard events (and to answer the call of nature... I'll just use intraveinous fluid and a catheter next year...) so I might have missed something. If you played a game in the room that isn't listed please add it and let us know how it went!

See you next year!
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1. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:19]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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Unsurprisingly we had quite a few people standing around a couple times when tables cleared. It was easy to reach for 7 Wonders when that happened and it was played several times.

I played twice myself. They were pretty much your average, enjoyable games of 7 Wonders... though Joe managed to pull off 38 points of science against a table full of vets (and one noob) in the second game... without the Leaders expansion! (I manged to tie for last then lose all by myself in the second game if you were wondering...)
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2. Board Game: Alien Frontiers [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:92]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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I saw this played 3 or 4 times and even taught it once. Euro... Science Fiction... rolling a bunch of dice... I'm not surprised so many people like this one... but as a worker placement purist, relying on the dice to dictate my moves sometimes drives me nuts. Still, its an enjoyable game and I'm glad to see its keeping up its popularity even now that the hype has passed.
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3. Board Game: Ascension: Deckbuilding Game [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:352] [Average Rating:7.10 Unranked]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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Most deck building in our room was either Eminent Domain or Core Worlds, but Ascension was played at least one time for certain. One of the Con directors ushered in a group of three attractive females who wanted a place to play their copy. We fortunately had a free table at the time... whistle
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4. Board Game: Ave Caesar [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:823]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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Chariots raced on Sunday. Ave Caesar is game I'm not familiar with and the guys playing were pretty focused on their game... though it might have mostly been the "Sunday Con Stare" (and there is apparently no need to shout "WHIP THE BEAST" which I thought was the best part of chariot racing games...)
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5. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:29]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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The only session of BSG was truncated when the cylons had to leave for a scheduled event. It sounds like their hearts weren't in it as the humans were doing "the best I've ever seen" according to a veteran BSGer afterward.
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6. Board Game: Belfort [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:216]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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I love almost all games, play Boardgames with my wife, have three kids, generally enjoy cats and understand and like those bumper stickers with the little fishies sprouting legs.
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Belfort was played one and a half times at the Con and overall was a dissappointment. Both games had 5 players and everyone who played felt it took too long with that number to still be enjoying it by the end.

Belfort was in my top 5 games from last year and I taught both games and played in the half. It is starting to lose its luster for me as my last couple of games have been marred by the much complained about AP generation. The half game could have been a full game given the time we had with people who knew the rules and planned their moves in advance, but one glacially slow player had us scrambling to get through the first scoring before we had to clean up so he could go to a scheduled event. I'm hoping to play next with 3 or 4 to see if I can recapture the magic and keep this off my trade pile.
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7. Board Game: Camelot Legends [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:2291]
Jeff Ward
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
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Played once two player.
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8. Board Game: Castle Panic [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:612]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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I love almost all games, play Boardgames with my wife, have three kids, generally enjoy cats and understand and like those bumper stickers with the little fishies sprouting legs.
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Chad Egbert
United States
Woodbury
Minnesota
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ran quite a few family friendly games at the Con with some younger gamers (most of whom I think came with him... but as we were never free to start a game at the same moment we never gamed together... so I can't be sure...). I was deep into a negotiation game as this was being played so I don't know how it went... but on a side note... I have never seen so many kids at a Con! As someone who hopes to be bringing his own kids to Cons in a few years I found this very encouraging and I'll be sure to bring along more games appropriate for younger gamers next year!
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9. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:10]
Andrew Schensted
United States
Lakefield
Minnesota
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A late Sunday afternoon final game after most people had taken off. I'm glad I stuck around to play. A clever little game for sure.
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10. Board Game: Clue: The Great Museum Caper [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:1291]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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I love almost all games, play Boardgames with my wife, have three kids, generally enjoy cats and understand and like those bumper stickers with the little fishies sprouting legs.
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I saw this being set up before I went to bed on Friday night... and I think it was played a bit while I was running a standard event out of the room... so I don't know much about it other than having it described as "Nuns on the Run light." It was good enough that Andrew was very pleased to actually find a copy at the used games vendor in the exhibitor hall... so maybe keep a look out for this forgotten gem if you like this sort of thing.
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11. Board Game: Coney Island [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1802]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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I love almost all games, play Boardgames with my wife, have three kids, generally enjoy cats and understand and like those bumper stickers with the little fishies sprouting legs.
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This was played once when Lance pulled it out of his review copy box, peeled the shrink and read out the rules while the players punched the bits. Its not anybody's favorite way to learn or teach a game... but the game ended up being simple enough for us to iron out any misunderstandings by turn two and we all enjoyed the game.

Coney Island was better than I expected. It straddles the line between Euro and Abstract and there seem to be some interesting decisions between board positioning and when to use the roles to boost your abilities. I'd like to play again... but my gut feeling is this is too heavy for families yet too light for hardcore gamers. Keep an eye out for it if you have a casual group though!
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12. Board Game: Container [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:416]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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I love almost all games, play Boardgames with my wife, have three kids, generally enjoy cats and understand and like those bumper stickers with the little fishies sprouting legs.
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Container is the most group dependant games I know of short of partial role players like BSG. You need to work within the economy to make it work for you, and if everyone grasps that you will have an amazing time.

We had an amazing group and an amazing time in Container's one play at the Con. I was the only one who had played before but the others all caught on before we'd gone around the table 3 times and there was undercutting, close (and ridiculous) bidding and smart plays made all around. A big thank you to Brenden, Erin, Andrew and Chad for making this the best session I had at CotN 2012! (It didn't hurt that I edged Erin for the win 139 to 137 either "Make it Rain!!!")
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13. Board Game: Core Worlds [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:314]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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I love almost all games, play Boardgames with my wife, have three kids, generally enjoy cats and understand and like those bumper stickers with the little fishies sprouting legs.
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The new hot deck building game in space was right on the heels of Eminent Domain in popularity in the room. I think people generally enjoyed it but I don't know if anyone was really wowed. I did hear a couple "not enough cards" comments... good thing there is already an expansion planned :eyeroll:

I always support at least one vendor every year and this was my support purchase for the year unplayed. To me it feels like Ascension all grown up and launched into space (central area to draft cards... two "resources" to use cards to gain other cards...) but the separate action and energy management along with two tableaus to manage (planets and warzone) give it a more Euro feel than deckbuilder. It has a bit longer playtime than I was expecting but that might go down once we start learning the cards. So far I am pleased with my purchase.
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14. Board Game: Cutthroat Caverns [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:796]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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A largish game of this was played. During that game a question came up... and I could not answer it as I have not played Cutthroat Caverns. Luckily this was the only time this happened at the Con... If anyone played in that session let me know how it went!
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15. Board Game: Cyclades [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:107]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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I hadn't played Cyclades in quite a while so was pleased when Chad picked it to learn from my collection (it plays fast and looks great... a good Con combination!). We recruited up a table of 5 and had a very good time.

I was particularly impressed how quickly everyone grasped using the creatures to make interesting things happen. In most games I've played new players rarely figure the creatures into their strategies. So with everyone playing like pros we had a very close game with three of us in position to win on the final turn (and everyone likely to be in position to win the next if it had gone one more). But I won the auction for Ares and he allowed me to act first. I managed to build my first Metropolis and sack my second in a close fight before either Rachelle or Erin could purchase or steal the last philosopher they needed for victory.
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16. Board Game: Dragon Rampage [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:2213]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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This actually looked pretty nice on the table and was described to me afterward as "Yatzee Dungeon Crawl." That was the nicest thing anyone said about the game. Apparently the publishers would do well to ship a clone of
Brenden Johnson
United States
Lakeville
Minnesota
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with every copy... but I will leave those who actually played to tell that tale...
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17. Board Game: Dragon Valley [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:2691]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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Joe Huber

Minnesota
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almost kickstarted this one, but passed, and wanted to see if he regretted his decision by playing Lance's copy. I know the verdict was "enjoyable... but it goes too long... glad I passed" but I know very little about the actual session.
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18. Board Game: Dragon's Gold [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1164]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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6 players? An hour before half of them have an event? Feeling a bit backstabby and social? Dragon's Gold fit the bill from my bag!

It was a really good session too! I've never seen so many failed negotiations or dragons killed by one color of adventurer (there was a close fight over the diamond set after a few went back in the box and we were all perhaps a little too worried about wizard enhanced theivery...) While we were scrapping over those one wily player made or tied three majorities in the other gem colors for the win!
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19. Board Game: Drum Roll [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:707]
Andrew Schensted
United States
Lakefield
Minnesota
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I think Zack might have been running an event when we played this one. The more I think about it the more I liked this one. (i'm such a cube pusher at heart I suppose)
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20. Board Game: Dungeon Petz [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:88]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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The most requested "long game" at the Con and I saw at least 4 games being played. It seemed to be hit and miss with most new players as there is a lot of detail to absorb to feel like you're playing well (or at least not kill off your Petz...) making it a better game to play twice to see if it clicks or not.

I had already played this before the Con and really like it. I taught the game twice and got to play once. My one play was fairly fun... but we had one player who never really grokked how the entire caring for your petz portion worked and there wasn't all that much we could do to ease his frustration (we helped him play his cards but I think he was annoyed at not seeing how to do it effectively without us). The other two grasped the game well by the end and I only squeaked out victory by one point as Jesse had too much leftover poop in his cages at the end and lost a point in the final exhibition!
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21. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:9]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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Lance brought along Eclipse and taught it to five other players (I did not get to play but did peek in between teaching games from time to time). Kind of a shame a game this hot only saw the table once... but it is a bit of a time commitment as a pick up game at a Con. I think the game took between 4 and 5 hours including explination and as far as I could tell a good time was had by all. It also turned out to be a tie with the tiebreaker going to Lance who earned his win slapping around a peaceful, undeveloped scientific civilization on the last turn of the game...
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22. Board Game: Eminent Domain [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:298]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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I love almost all games, play Boardgames with my wife, have three kids, generally enjoy cats and understand and like those bumper stickers with the little fishies sprouting legs.
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EmDo got a ton of plays all Con long. This year RftG and Dominion seem to have been eclipsed by this title when people were looking for a half hour card game.
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23. Board Game: Epigo [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:2690]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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I love almost all games, play Boardgames with my wife, have three kids, generally enjoy cats and understand and like those bumper stickers with the little fishies sprouting legs.
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It was fairly rare that we needed a two player game... but the couple of times we did I brought out the "Roborally abstract" to teach. It seems so simple when you explain it... but then you start second guessing your actions in the second turn and watch things go wrong and you start having more fun than really should be possible with what amounts to a bunch of numbers on a grid...

The one time I played instead of just teaching was when
Kristi Lawless
United States
Rosemount
Minnesota
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Ask not for whom the dog barks. It barks for thee.
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was kind enough to give it a shot... and it ended in the lopsided victory you expect when an experienced person teaches a new player an abstract. She still claimed to enjoy the game and someday I'm sure she'll get her revenge!
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24. Board Game: Fealty [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:1567]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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I love almost all games, play Boardgames with my wife, have three kids, generally enjoy cats and understand and like those bumper stickers with the little fishies sprouting legs.
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I think Fealty was only played once all Con. This is too bad as it is a neat game... but it also generally manages to be too long for a filler, too short for a full game, and causes so much concentration you can't really be social while playing. So generally a good game... just not a great Con game.
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25. Board Game: Get Bit! [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:1407]
Zack Stackurski
United States
Mankato
Minnesota
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I love almost all games, play Boardgames with my wife, have three kids, generally enjoy cats and understand and like those bumper stickers with the little fishies sprouting legs.
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Cute little robots eaten by Sharks! I saw this being played and goofed around with one of the little figures that wasn't being used... but really don't know enough about the game to know how it was going.
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