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"Game On! with Cody and John" visits Origins 2010!
John Richard
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The original plan for "Game On! with Cody and John", the podcast that I produce and co-host, was birthed at the Origins Game Fair back in 2008. So, the convention will always have a special place in our hearts. Unfortunately, Cody couldn't make it this year, but I was able to "take one for the team" and attend for 2 days of gaming fun.


Here's a list of some of the cool things I did (and played!).

Oh, and if you want to check out our podcast, go to our website at http://www.gameonpodcast.com or check us out on iTunes! :-)
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1. Board Game: Dice Towers [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
John Richard
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Over the past 2 years, we've forged a friendship with several other podcasters, including the great folks at the Dice Tower. So, I started my abbreviated time at Origins by attending the Dice Tower listeners dinner on Thursday night at Max and Erma's. I had a great time talking with Dice Tower listeners (may of whom listen to our show as well!), as well as host/contribuotrs Eric Summerer and Mark Zielinski. I also got to meet and chat with Mary and Ravindra Prasad, which was great fun. Oh, and Max and Erma's tortilla soup = YUM. :-)
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2. Board Game: Wits & Wagers [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:364]
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After the Dice Tower dinner, I walked down to the Board Room to help co-host the Wits and Wagers game show with Eric Summerer. It was so much fun, and we even had the opportunity to ask some game related questions that we had come up with, such as:

What year was Dr. Reiner Knizia born?

and

As of June 22, 2010, how many board game reviews has Tom Vasel submitted to BoardGameGeek?

Thanks to the guys at North Star Games, and to everyone who participated, especially the guy who kept adding fruit and candy to his bets. Yummy. :-)
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3. Board Game: Merchant of Venus [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:440]
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After the Wits and Wagers game, I sat down with Eric and 3 other guys (including Colby Dauch, designer of Summoner Wars) to play Merchant of Venus. Eric used the files uploaded by BGG user DathKadan to make a beautiful version of this long out-of-print game. It's a very well-designed pick-up and deliver game, although it takes a little bit to getyour mind around all that's going on. Thanks for teaching me this one, Eric!
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4. Board Game: Founding Fathers [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:693]
John Richard
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It was getting pretty late at that point, but I still wanted to try one more game before calling it a night. Luckily, I found some guys that were just getting started on a game of Founding Fathers, so I jumped right in! For me, this was the most highly anticipated game of the convention. And, for me, it did not disappoint! I didn't find the theme to be quite as well linked to the mechanics as 1960: the Making of the President, there was still a lot of historical flavor in the game. And, it plays in ~1 hour, which was great.

I liked it so much that I was the first person in line to pick one up the next day in the dealer hall! And they were only selling 20 per day, so I was happy to get it. We'll definitely be doing a full review of this one on a future episode of "Game On!".
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5. Board Game: Railways of the World: The Card Game [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:1292]
John Richard
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After a stroll through the dealer hall on Friday morning, I headed into the Board Room for some more gaming. As has been mentioned in numerous other threads and geeklists, the CABS Board Room at Origins is just one of the best-run convention experiences of all time. In addition to free games, a huge library to borrow from, and a giant pool of potential players, this year's Board Room also featured free concession food at two different times per day!!

Just before partaking of the aforementioned free lunch on Friday, I sat down with some new friends to play Railways of the World: the Card Game. This is a FANTASTIC adaptation of the Railways of the World mechanics, plays in less than an hour! It's heavy enough to provide some interesting decisions, but light enough to be able to pull new gamers into the world of train games. I ended up buying one of the last available copies of this on Saturday, and interviewed the designers as well. Look for this interview on a future episode. And, in the meantime, be sure to check out this game!!
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6. Board Game: Wok Star [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:1151]
John Richard
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As usual, there were plenty of first-time game designers and publishers in the dealer hall at Origins. This always warms my heart, because I love to see people pursuing their passions and putting in the hard work that it requires. I just love to see folks like this succeed.

Along those lines, I played a GREAT new cooperative game in the dealer hall called "Wok Star". It's a fun cooperative game about running a Chinese restaurant. The artwork and components were great, and had that "Mulan meets Kung Fu Panda" look to it. The game also addresses one of the aspects of cooperative games that I don't like - the tendency for one player to take over the game and dictate the optimal strategy to all the other players. In Wok Star, each player is in charge of preparing one or more recipes, and is also in charge of stocking one or more ingredients. The goal is to serve customers without running out of ingredients or time, and the ingredients are obtained by a clever dice mechanic. But, the coolest thing is that the game uses sand timers to create a real-time feel that is evocative of games like Space Alert. You have one timer's worth of time to serve a particular customer by selecting ingredients from a board, and (if necessary) obtaining new ones by placing dice. The time element requires you to sometimes make sub-optimal decisions in the game, and the fact that you're personally in charge of certain ingredients and recipes tends to eliminate the "alpha dog" syndrome.

I REALLY liked this game, and would encourage anyone to try it out if you get a chance.
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7. Board Game: Endeavor [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:126]
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After lunch, I joined up with 3 other guys to play Endeavor. I hadn't had a chance to play this one before, and I must say that I was very impressed. The exploration theme is pretty abstracted, in my opinion, but the decisions were very interesting, and the artwork and components were quite good. I don't think Cody would like this game at all, but I'm glad that Chuck, Scott, and Steve taught me this one. (oh, by the way, I lost miserably!)
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8. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:88] [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked]
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After getting thoroughly trounced in Endeavor, I went back to my room for a few minutes, then returned to the board room for the annual Dice Tower Memoir '44 Overlord game. Last year, I was a part of the victorious "fans" team. This year, I joined Eric Summerer, Mark Zielinski, and Ravindra Prasad on the Dice Tower team. We played the "Omaha Beach" Overlord scenario, and let me just say....it did not go well. We got thoroughly spanked! But, it was a lot of fun - Memoir is just a great game.
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9. Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:167]
John Richard
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After our painful defeat in Memoir '44, I set up for my game of Descent. It was me vs. 4 valiant adventurers Todd, Eric, Chris, and Adam. Since we had 3 player who had never played Descent before, we went with the "Into the Dark" quest. It was a total blast, and made even better by the fact that I was using Cody's fully painted set of miniatures! (thanks, dude!)

As usual, Narthak the giant didn't stand a chance against these hearty adventurers, and I was defeated soundly. But, hey, that's the life of an Overlord!
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10. Board Game: Small World [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:106] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
John Richard
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I pulled in a couple of new friends into a 3-player game of Small World. It's a great game, and I pulled off a narrow victory, but the most notable thing was that the CABS copy of the game was not missing a single cardboard token!!! Impressive, CABS, impressive. :-)

I finished up my Friday evening with one more game of Railways of the World: the Card Game (which I won!), and then headed back to my room to collapse from wonderful gaming exhaustion. :-)
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11. Board Game: Alea Iacta Est [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:880]
John Richard
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Saturday consisted of more time in the dealer hall. I had been interested in trying out Alea Iacta Est, and a very nice girl named Beth from Rio Grande taught 4 of us how to play this dice rolling game. You roll dice and place them on several different boards on the table. Once a player has played their last die, the round is completed and resources/points are handed out based upon how the dice were placed. It's a light game, but there are several good decisions, and a push-your-luck element as well. Overall, a very solid and fun game!!
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12. Board Game: Fresco [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:172]
John Richard
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The last game that I played before hopping in the car and heading back to Indianapolis was Fresco. Given its nomination for the Spiel des Jahres this year, I was eager to give it a try. It was REALLY fun! It's a great example of a Euro-style game that manages to still be very rich in theme. The paint-mixing mechanic is unique, and the selection of turn order (aka when you get up in the morning) is inventive, although a bit maddening! This one might be a bit too complex for younger kids, but I think it's a great family game for older kids. My pick for SdJ is Roll Through the Ages, but this one is a close second!
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13. Board Game: Origins [Average Rating:4.81 Overall Rank:10252]
John Richard
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I had a great time at Origins this year. Thanks to all the folks who played games with me, and thanks to everyone who came up to me and said "I really like your podcast". It means the world to me.

I'll be giving my Origins wrap up on the next episode of "Game On! with Cody and John", hopefully releasing on July 4th. Please go to http://www.gameonpodcast.com and have a listen!

And, don't forget, Gen Con's only a little more than a month away! Game On!
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