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What I Played and Bought at Gen Con 2010
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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I know there will be dozens of these types of lists of the next week, and other than my experience I do not have much to add. I am mostly making a list because I am also posting this lists on a personal blog and I will post a link there so my family and friends can look into the games in more detail if they want.

This was my third year to attend Gen Con and it was my first time to be present for the entire time. Of course, it was good stuff!

I tried to be as detailed as possible while staying concise so I hope it is an enjoyable read
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1. Board Game: El Grande [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:26]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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For me, Gen Con began on Wednesday. I took advantage of the open gaming at the Skyline Club. On Wednesday evening I got there just in time to get in on a game of El Grande. I had only played this game once before and it was over a year ago. I ended up behind the eight ball, and by the end of the 2nd turn the top 2 players had 20 points and I had zero. I finally got some traction, but by that point it was to late.
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2. Board Game: Homesteaders [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:281]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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I won this game in a geekgold auction, but had not had the chance to play it. Luckily a couple that I had played El Grande with knew how to play this game and taught it to me. I really liked the combination of auction, resource management, and building this game provides. I won a narrow victory by getting a lot of goods and earning victory points by trading them.
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3. Board Game: Nuns on the Run [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:885]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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I really liked this chase game. The game had an intersting dynamic with four of the players playing nuns who were trying to sneak out after "curfew", while the other player played the head nuns trying to catch those who were up to mischief. It was a very fun game of cat and mouse. In the end the person playing the head nuns won. However, I can claim that I was the only player that made it to their secret wish and I was the only player not to get caught.
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4. Board Game: The Uncharted Seas [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:2771]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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On Thursday, I got things going with this fantasy, naval miniatures game. I was a little disappointed with the game session though. It was labeled an introduction to Uncharted Seas. Since it was ticketed event, I had thought meant it would have a rules explanation and play a quick and simple scenario. It turned out to be little more than a demo. The rules explanation took a better part of 20 minutes and then going over the rules again while playing slowed it down, making the game only go two turns in an hour. At the hour mark, the guy running it said "thanks for playing, buy the game" (not really but that was the gist) and moved us along so that he could do it again with a new group.
Overall, the game system seems fine. It is easy, quick, and captures the feel of the different fantasy races. However, I have no real interest in buying and painting miniatures like those boats.
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5. Board Game: Zombie Dice [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:1292]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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After playing uncharted seas I went into the massive exhibit/dealer's hall which is really one of the major highlights of Gen Con. I played Zombie dice, which is a simple yet fun "push your luck game" the goal is to eat 13 brains first and avoid getting blasted by shotguns.

This also was my first purchase of the Con. I do not really have a game of this type, and it will be a good game to have for playing games with the youth group.
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6. Board Game: Cthulhu Dice [Average Rating:5.31 Overall Rank:10765]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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Since it was right there, after playing Zombie dice I played Cthulhu dice. Zombie dice was fun, this one was mostly stupid. There is only die to roll, so the game mostly plays itself. Very boring and mostly pointless.
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7. Board Game: En Garde! [Average Rating:5.83 Overall Rank:4498]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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Because it was open and interesting looking, I played this quick card game. En Garde! is a game that looks to simulate Princess Bride style sword duels. Over all, it was a fun game that reminded me a lot of Lunch Money.
It was a fun, thematic game. We went back and forth, until one turn I got hit big putting me in dire straights. I made multiple attacks, but they were all blocked. I managed to hold on for one more turn, and then I pulled out a gun, shot him, and won. Having the gun basically be an "I win" card is funny, but troublesome.
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8. Board Game: Deadlands: The Battle for Slaughter Gulch [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:4555]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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I have a love/hate relationship with Twilight games. A lot of times I really like the concepts of their games, I like some of the ideas, but they tend to not always quite deliver for some reason.
I did not get a chance to play this game last year, but it was a little less crowded this year. The game was not bad. The game did present some interesting choices, as each turn the players had to assign each character they control an action. The theme mostly game through and there was nothing really wrong with the game, but something fell short. I was a little bored while playing it.
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9. Board Game: Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:900]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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Perry Rhodan was one of the games that I really wanted to check out this year, and I got to sit down for a full game. This was an excellent two player game. Both players travel across the same planets, as they pick up goods from one world and deliver them to the other. Both players utilize their cards and movement to maximize the amount of points they can get from delivering goods. It was a simple and streamlined concept that was executed nicely.
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10. Board Game: Heroes of Graxia [Average Rating:5.66 Overall Rank:6979]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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This was another game that I really wanted to check out this year. Dominion is a favorite of mine, but I like the idea of a deck building game with theme. This is a deck building game, where players buy cards to strengthen their heroes to fight monsters (and each other) for points. One of the neat things is that all the cards are also the money to buy cards, so players have to decide if they want to play a card for its abilities or spend it for money.

I was impressed enough with this game to buy it, and I am excited about playing it again soon.
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11. Board Game: Warhammer: Invasion [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:262]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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One of the major events I participated in was the Warhammer: Invasion league. The way the league worked is that everyone participating got a ribbon to mark them as a player and six tokens. Each time a game was played, the winning player got a token from the losing player. Whenever I did not have something else to do, I went to the CCG area and looked for players. Throughout Gen Con I played Warhammer: Invasion 10 times, and ended with 7 tokens.

Overall, I was a little disappointed with the league. It was kind of hard to find games. Only 12-15 people turned results in so there were not a lot of players. Also, they had achievements that could be earned in the games, which was cool. What was annoying is that some of the achievements could only be earned by playing in events for the other card games published by Fantasy Flight.
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12. Board Game: Summoner Wars [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:219] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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I was glad that I finally got to play this game. I really did like Summoner Wars. I liked how it had both the feel of a CCG-style card game and a miniatures game.

However, I think I only have enough room in my life (and budget) for one "expandable" card game, and I have already gone all in on Warhammer: Invasion.
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13. Board Game: Bible Battles Trading Card Game [Average Rating:6.10 Unranked]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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This independent released game is another one that I was interested in playing at Gen Con. My interest stemmed mostly from the fact that I am a youth pastor and the game is called Bible battles.

This is a CCG that puts civilizations that existed in the time of Old Testament against each other (Israelite, Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Canaanite, and oddly enough Romans).

The connection with the Bible was kind of weak. It could have been called Ancient Mesopotamian battles and mostly been the same game.

The game did have some neat ideas. Unlike most CCGs the main goal was not to kill an opponent, but to gain the most wisdom, the first to 40 won. However, wisdom is also the resource needed to play cards. So players had a choice of earning points or spending the points to play cards. Another resource was food, which was needed to support army cards, and army cards were used to attack the other player to kill their followers, and decrease the wisdom they can collect.

For me the CCG aspect was a deal breaker. I am done spending $3.50 for 15 random cards. As a boxed game with five preset balanced decks, I might have gotten on board, but a CCG. . .no.
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14. Board Game: Zombie Hospital [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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I didn't actually play this game, but it is a stand in for what I played in the evening.
I played a RPG that used the new Director's Cut system, which is not in the RPG geek database yet, and the adventure was called Zombie Hospital.

The basic idea of this RPG is to recreate horror movies, and the expectation is most characters will not live.

I had fun with the people I was playing with, but the adventure itself was blah. The GM was not the greatest, and she made several mistakes in the story telling and stuff did not just flow right at all. However, the people I played with took it all in stride and Zombie Hosptial was not a horror movie but a comedy of errors.
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15. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:24]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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This gets us to Friday. The best part about Friday is that my wife came with me to Gen Con for the first time. Our plan was to begin with a Race for the Galaxy tournament. We got there early and went to the Rio Grande room to get some practice in. For the tournament, I won the qualifying game by a healthy margin and my wife finished second in her match to the person who won the whole thing. In the championship game, I got second which won me a 2nd place ribbon (seriously!)
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sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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In the morning, we also participated in the no-ship math trade. We got rid of games we are not going to play, for some stuff that hopefully will.

We traded: Jambo, Ghost Stories, Anima: Shadow of Omega, and CIA vs. KGB.

We got: Amyitis, Lightning: D-Day, Wrasslin', and Clan War.
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17. Board Game: Pack & Stack [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:1250]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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After Race for the Galaxy and some lunch, we went into the exhibit hall and my wife was wowed by the enormity of it all. We first went to earn a couple of Mayfair Ribbons by playing this game of stacking wooden pieces on truck cards.

We both did not care for the game.
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18. Board Game: Rattus [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:537]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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Next, we played this game that was also really high on my want to play list. I thought Rattus combined area control and role selection really well and I found the game a lot of fun. My wife thought it was ok, but it did not really wow her or anything.
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19. Board Game: duck! duck! Go! [Average Rating:6.07 Overall Rank:2805]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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We have already decided that for our son's first birthday party (in December) that we would do a rubber duck theme. This of course meant having a rubber duck themed game to play was a great idea! We started by playing this one, but we only played a couple of turns because my wife had a hard time with the mental visualization this game took to figure out how the ducks would move, but we still wanted a duck game..
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20. Board Game: duck! duck! SAFARI! [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:7143]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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Since Duck! Duck Go! was a no go, we got this game which given the collection of grand parents and other relatives who will be around for the first birth day this is probably a good choice with the five different and simple games it provides.

As a bonus, we ended up with a signed copy.
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21. Board Game: Run for your Life, Candyman! [Average Rating:5.55 Overall Rank:8988]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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This was one of the games that my wife really wanted to try. We both thought the game was a lot of fun and laugh out loud funny. However, for both of us it was a game we both wanted to play but do not ever want to buy.
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22. Board Game: Catan Histories: Settlers of America – Trails to Rails [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:763]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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Originally, we were suppose to play in a Giant Catan game, but we messed up the times. It worked out in our favor though, as we instead got to play the newest Settlers of Catan game. The Mayfair People left us to figure the game out on our own with another couple. With rules reading, the game took about 3 hours.

We both really liked the game, but I think that I liked it a bit more. I really liked how this game added a whole other element to the Catan formula. It took most of the people playing a while to get out of their head, that rails do not work like roads in regular Catan. I was able to get a fairly good rail network in the mid west and west, and I was able to deliver my goods as people expanded west.

I also really liked the sense of expansion this game gives. The only reason we did not buy the game, is that it does not play 2 players.
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23. Board Game: Candamir: The First Settlers [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:2014]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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We were given a wood and traded a clay for ore, which got us the Free Delmarva Catan map and a 50% off coupon. We used the coupon to get Candamir, which is a game that we have almost bought on multiple occasions. We both are looking forward to playing it.
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24. Board Game: Memoir '44: Disaster at Dieppe [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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Our last game for Friday was a Memoir '44 overlord game. We both like Memoir '44, and I was excited about getting to play on the same team. As a bonus, we got to play one of the maps from the new Overlord map pack that is not even out yet.

I was the commander in chief, and the game began with Richard Borg (the designer) telling us not to feel to bad if we lost because the allies had a hard time in this scenario. My wife's flank got pretty much routed, but we held strong on the other flank, and kept attacking tanks at bay. For most of the match, we matched the axis kill for kill. Towards the end we started to pull ahead. However, our center was just about broken, and the axis still had reserves. We prevailed though and had a good string of attacks, which gave us the win by four points.
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25. Board Game: Magestorm [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:2579]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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On Saturday, after getting several games of Warhammer Invasion in I went back to the exhibit/dealer hall when it opened. I had decided that Saturday would be my main shopping day, and my last day to try games out.
A few weeks ago, I ran across this game on this website and was intrigue by it because it looks similar to Battlelore.

The game has the same type of board and modular terrain, but that is it in similarities. Magestorm has a completed different combat system. The combat is card driven, and is heavily influenced by spells (hence the name Magestorm). The key to this game, I think, is really spell management and having the right spell ready and usable at the right time.
I liked the game a good deal, and it is now on my radar.
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