Reasons Why Dice Tower Con 2012 is my Favorite Convention Ever!!!
Tom Vasel
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I have had the privilege of going to many different conventions, and I am looking forward to going to many more. I don't think I've ever been to a convention that I considered "bad", because there's always so much fun to be had! I went into Dice Tower Convention expecting to meet some of my friends and have a good time. I certainly did not expect to be as overwhelmed as I was!

I don't mean for this list to diminish other conventions in any way - I can't wait for GenCon and BGG.con this year, for instance! But these are reasons that this convention was so spectacular, and I hope that all of you have the opportunity to come next year to what was simply an amazing experience.

So let's get into the reasons why I enjoyed it so much - feel free to add your own if you were one of the folks who were there!

Here's a quick video of some of what we experienced.


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1. Board Game: The Wonderful World of Disney Trivia Game [Average Rating:4.96 Overall Rank:10266]
Tom Vasel
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Orlando/Kissimmee was a fantastic place to have the convention. The idea of being able to go to see all the neat sights on downtime made the convention an excellent opportunity to double as a family vacation. I brought my family with me, and we were able to go out and have fun before and after the convention. Some folks came in several days earlier just to check out Disney, Universal Studios, Legoland, and whatever.

Orlando is also basically the center of Florida, so it was a great location for what was the first board game convention in Florida in years.

The hotel was also wonderfully located - with literally hundreds of nearby restaurants and things to do, and only about five minutes from Disney. Several people were able to see the Fourth of July Disney fireworks right from windows of the hotel.
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2. Board Game: Hotel Checkout [Average Rating:3.68 Unranked]
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The Ramada wasn't perfect (is any hotel?) but it was extremely inexpensive, and it was clean and very convenient. My room was literally 60 seconds from the convention, and you could easily run back to your room to grab something if you forgot it.

The staff was very kind and considerate - it was nice to have a snack bar next to the convention center open to midnight and they even pushed a cart around with drinks and snacks to 1 in the morning.

The room itself was very roomy, with one quarter sectioned off for kids during the day, and party games/Werewolf at night.
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3. Board Game: Ulcers [Average Rating:5.42 Overall Rank:9317]
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Patrick Havert is the man. Seriously. People often came up to me and told me what a wonderful convention it was, but Patrick is the one who put it all together, and along with his lovely wife and volunteers - made everything happen.

I was astonished at just how much effort they put into the convention. With nice swag bags for the "gold" attendees, to raffles and door prizes with exceptional prizes, to the one of the best gaming libraries I've seen - they put in a ton of work. They had the library staffed 24 hours, they had water (and air fresheners) strategically placed all over the room, they honestly seemingly thought of everything.

They were exceedingly helpful and kind, and I don't think played many games as a result. But THEY made the convention happen, and I want to issue them a huge THANK YOU.
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4. Board Game: Florida [Average Rating:3.12 Unranked]
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Now this was originally intended as a Florida convention, since we are unorganized as all get out down here. Patrick had the idea to run a convention for Florida, and I was eager to get on board. We were happy to see folks from Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami, and more there.

But what really blew my mind was that just under 50% of the attendees were from out of state. We had people drive down from New England, and from Texas - it was amazing how there were people there from pretty much everywhere! It was a bit humbling to find out that many of them came because of the name of the Dice Tower, but I'm so glad they did. I honestly felt like everyone there was my friend - I've been to friendly conventions before, but this was the most friendly of them all.

People mixed it up, and the convention had both "players wanted" and "teacher wanted" signs. You NEVER had to stand around if you wanted to - there was always a game to be played. I tried to teach as many as I could - my apologies to those folks who I couldn't help, or couldn't play games in because I was teaching others.
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5. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:67]
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But this one game I played five times over the convention - because it's simply my favorite game, and people were willing to play. Oh, and I wanted to show off my painted ships! That was one of the neat things about the convention - I saw everything from obscure games like Source of the Nile being played to hard to find games like Wok Star to the hotness like Eclipse.

I didn't win a single game of Cosmic, but they were all terrific fun, and I was glad that my wife was able to jump into the last one - my final game of the convention.

The most played game was likely King of Tokyo, and there were probably more Ameritrash games than anything else - but there were also wargames, eurogames, party games, and more.

The library was AMAZING. I brought 40 of my favorites/con favorites, but I didn't need to - they had hundreds of games - good ones, too. If this was how amazing the library was first year - I can't wait to see it next year. It even had Vasco de Gama (although I didn't see anyone playing that)
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6. Board Game Designer: Richard Borg
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Since Mr. Borg lives in Orlando, he was an easy choice to have as a guest of honor at the convention.

A humbler designer you will likely never meet - he was friendly and wonderful as he taught Abaddon, ran a Memoir '44 tournament, and showcased his mega Overlord version of Battlecry. He was friendly and engaging, and has promised to show up again next year. It was great to talk to him, if you could avoid the scores of people asking him to sign boxes of his games.
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7. Board Game Designer: Richard Launius
 
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Richard Launius was also there, showing off his games, including a deluxe version of Arkham Horror and Defenders of the Realms. He also had a deluxe version of pretty much every game he owns - like Mansions of Madness, Dragon Rampage, even Formula Motor Racing!

Also a gentleman and a nice guy, I was impressed with how both he and Mr. Borg acted as normal, excited gamers at the con, and they mingled and played with everyone. No booths you had to queue up at here to see famous people! Just sit down and play!
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8. Board Game: Cartoona [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:5150]
Tom Vasel
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Robert Burke was also there, showing off his upcoming game Cartoona, and future prototypes of games. He did a great job, but one thing really stood out. In the charity auction for the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund, he auctioned off one of his few prototypes for Cartoona, and won the auction himself!

He then turned around, paid for the auction, and immediately had them put it up for auction again! What a class act.
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9. Board Game: Mage Wars Arena [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:35] [Average Rating:8.07 Unranked]
 
Tom Vasel
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The demo team and designers, Mr. Pope, showed up and demoed Mage Wars like mad at the convention. I'll do a review soon, but suffice it so say that the game is GREAT! I tried out a demo, and then went back later and played the full game against the incredibly strategist Jesse Dean who demolished me, and then sat up at night thinking how I could win the next game.

I'm very excited about this game being published soon, but I was just happy how many times they were able to demo it - and anyone who wanted to try it had the opportunity.
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10. Board Game: Free Parking [Average Rating:5.13 Overall Rank:10357]
Tom Vasel
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One thing I hate at conventions is "pay-to-play". None of that here! You could join any of the tournaments, demos, play-with-a-designer, and more - all you had to do was simply sign up and play.

Honestly, the amount folks paid was a steal for the value they got, and I'm so happy it was possible!
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11. Board Game Publisher: R&R Games
Tom Vasel
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What do the "R"s stand for? I don't know, but I wish I did, because I'd win a big prize.

But it was fun to see them show up with a host of new party games and demo and play them the whole convention. My wife said she enjoyed these the most - and after playing one of them - Pluckin' Pairs, is the best party game I've played in a LONG time - I almost fell out of my chair laughing at it during a game.

Speaking of which, if you don't play party games at a convention, you're missing out. I didn't participate in the literally all-night Werewolf games, but there's just something that snaps in my brain around 11 PM and I can't play any more games that make me think - and I want to play party games.

I brought my custom Faces game, but was glad to try out the new R&R games - so glad they were there!
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12. Board Game: Magical Athlete [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1638]
Tom Vasel
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People brought in custom games, like my Faces. One gentleman brought in an incredible homemade, custom painted version of Super Dungeon Explore. It was awe-inspiring.

But what got me was a custom version of Magical Athlete, with 175 new characters!

Amazing! And fun.
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Tom Vasel
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Coolstuff.inc is located in Orlando, so it simply made sense to have them show up - and they did so in spades!

Besides donating games to the library and to the prizes, they had a store set up in a hotel room right next to the con. They brought in a ton of popular board games, and had a computer set up where you could order from Coolstuff and they would deliver it to the con the next day. All for superbly low prices.

A big thanks for the support they gave the convention!
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14. Board Game: Wits & Wagers [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:360]
Tom Vasel
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At every convention I go to, I try to run a Wits and Wagers party game. This year I got my own room, and 50!!! people signed up. Not everyone showed up, but the spots were quickly filled, and off we went.

I had the help of Jim and Anthony, and it was a blast to play (we even gave attendees a sneak peek at the Dice Tower award winners). With fun prizes and (hopefully) fun questions, it was a highlight of the convention for me.
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15. RPG Item: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:29]
Tom Vasel
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It wasn't all board games, we had a separate room for RPGS, which was mostly Pathfinder this year. It was pretty neat, as it added more folks to the con, and a few of them wandered over and I was able to teach them a board game.

I think I'll return the favor next year and try out a session over there - always fun to try new games!
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16. Board Game: The Flea Market Game [Average Rating:6.80 Unranked]
Tom Vasel
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We had an incredible flea market this year - I could not believe the awesome games people were getting rid of for extremely low prices! There were probably 1000 games there for sale, and most of them went quickly. It was so popular we'll need a larger space next year!
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17. Board Game: Nothing Personal [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:569]
Tom Vasel
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I was able to demo our upcoming game about 20 times over the convention, and my thanks to everyone who gave it a try. I got a lot of good feedback, and while the game isn't 100% to where I want it, it's about 97%, which is close.

Others brought prototypes, too. There was a lot of opportunity to play games that might be the next great thing!
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18. Board Game: Auction [Average Rating:4.83 Unranked]
Tom Vasel
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Joah Privette set up an auction for the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund, something that raised almost $2000. Added to the amount raised by raffle tickets, $2500 was raised for the fund.

I was floored by the stuff auctioned, and the amount raised.

Josh didn't stop there! He got us a custom Dice Tower cake on Sunday. Not only did it look cool, but it tasted good, also!



This alone makes the convention the best ever. I'm going to make the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund auction an annual event.
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19. Board Game: Happy New Year [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
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So let's talk about next year, shall we!

We sold out at 300 - could have had 400. And I know others want to come, and other designers and publishers have expressed interest. I am so excited about the future of this convention! It was friendly, accessible, and so much fun! If you are reading this, I am personally inviting you to come next year. We'll know more details in a month, and we'll have even more room next year. Don't miss out!

Again, a thanks to everyone involved. Those were some of the best gaming days I've ever had.
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20. Board Game Designer: Tom Vasel
Jason Mercer
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Tallahassee
Florida
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I have to say that having Tom Vasel at the con was awesome. He was great at teaching games and open to talking about anything board game related. It was great getting a game demo of Nothing Personal and Playing Looping Louie with him at the Con. Maybe next year we can have more Dice Tower people there. Eric has to come out next year and we can play some Merchant of Venus.
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21. Board Game: Run, Fight, or Die! [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:1185]
V Dickson
United States
Florida
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There was a lot that was great about this Con, but one of the best things was trying out a brand new game--with the designer!

My favorite of those was Richard Launius's Run, Fight, or Die--such a great game. Fast-playing, loaded with theme, lots going on, lots of laughs (and groans)--and a great gamer to play with. Had a blast with this one!
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22. Board Game: Mage Wars Arena [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:35] [Average Rating:8.07 Unranked]
 
Jesse Dean
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Orlando
Florida
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Dice Tower Con is effectively a local convention for me, and I had a ton of fun playing games with friends, both local and long distance who attended.

I also liked being able to try out Mage Wars. I quite enjoyed it, and wrote about my experiences with both the convention and the new games I played here: Dice Tower Con 2012 , Mage Wars, and Sky Traders.
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23. Board Game: For the People [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:497]
Patrick Havert
United States
Brandon
Florida
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The people at the con were great. Always willing to step up and help, with a great attitude and disposition. This was one of the most relaxed and fun conventions ever, and I did want to thank everyone for coming and making it so great.

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24. Board Game: A Gamut of Games [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked]
Tony Kotler
United States
Miami
Florida
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I Love Heavy Dry Soulless Euros!!!
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Currently looking for players in South Florida to play any games in my collection...or any games in their collection. Geekmail me if interested.
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Besides many of the reasons listed here, I enjoyed this Con because I got to play more games than I thought I would. If you finished a game there was another one available to try within minutes. There were also a lot of people willing to teach games and just an overall friendly environment. Here are some of the games I played in the four days at the Con.

1. Vinhos (Thanks Kurt for teaching)
2. Trajan
3. Key Market (Thanks James for Teaching)
4. El Grande (Thanks Graham for teaching)
5. Pret a Porter (Thanks Scott for teaching)
6. Speicherstadt
7. Kaispeicher
8. Castles of Burgundy (twice)
9. Airlines Europe (Thanks Chris for teaching)
10. Discworld: Ankh Morpork
11. Glenn Drover's Empire: The Age of Discovery
12. The Great Fire of London
13. Nothing Personal (Thanks Tom for teaching)
14. Lords of Waterdeep (Thanks Bob for teaching)
15. Cosmic Encounter (Nice painted ships Tom!)
16. Quarriors (twice)
17. The Resistance (twice)
18. King of Tokyo (twice)
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25. Board Game: 300: The Board Game [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:4914]
Juan Medina
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Property of LunaClara
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Board games rule my life, and my wife's. That is a good thing, believe it or not ;)
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Being a part of this convention and its first attendants has been one of the best things our family has done for a vacation. Most definitely recommend anyone to plan to attend. More than anything this felt like a great weekend with friends and family, the kind that likes to enjoy time together.

All the team behind the organization, the hotel, the guests and Tom made this a very unique and enjoyable experience.

I made my own list about some highlights and games I played at the con, which can be found here: The Medinas go to Dice Tower Con - Image Heavy.

To put the overall feeling in perspective, this was as much about players interacting and having fun as it was about gaming itself.

Get a spot for yourselves as soon as the new convention info comes up!
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