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My WBC 2011 Experience (Thursday through Saturday)
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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I really enjoyed my time at WBC this year (my second time). Played alot of new or new to me games and met alot of great people! Thanks alot to
G. Gambill
United States
Shawnee on Delaware
Pennsylvania
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for teaching Fire Rescue (and I'm sorry we never got to play a game of Moongha...perhaps another time!

Also alot of thanks to
I will not rest until Biblios is in the Top 100. - Steve Oksienik
United States
Howell
Michigan
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Well I been watchin' while you been coughin, I've been drinking life while you've been nauseous, and so I drink to health while you kill yourself and I got just one thing that I can offer... Go on and save yourself and take it out on me
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for running a game of Core Worlds! I really enjoyed my play of it and getting a chance to try it out. (and despite what you might think of his avatar, he's a great guy!
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1. Board Game: The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:830]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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For my first gaming of WBC 2011 I played 2 games of Adventurers in the first qualifying heat, placing 2nd in the first one as two adventurers were crushed by the boulder and winning the second game as the winner of the first game wound up meeting a fiery end in the lava pit! I did win the second game on a tiebreaker as 2 of us had 28 treasures...but I had more treasure cards and got out after the other player had already exited. Captain Larry did an awesome job of GMing this event as he always does...we all got "Indiana Jones" hats to wear for the event!

Have no idea of my 1st and 2nd was enough to qualify for the final, but I wasn't planning to play in the final for this anyways, as I spend much of my time playing open gaming.
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2. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:19]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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My next event was the 7 Wonders tournament in the afternoon. This was the first time the 7 Wonders tournament was run at WBC, and not surprisingly, it got a huge turnout (around 150 if I recall), causing about a half hour delay as everyone was assigned a table. Due to the number of players, all games wound up being 6 to 7 player games (mostly 7), although I believe the initial plan was for 5 player games...

Predictably, I did my usual average, finishing in the middle of the pack...We played 2 games, one on the A side, then randomized the wonders again and played the B side. Scores from both games were added together and that determined the winner of each table. I wound up finishing with 89 points (Scored 40 in the first game, winner had 55, second game I scored 49 while winner had 59).
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3. Board Game: Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 - ? [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:211]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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Watched a 1 hour demo for this one out of curiosity. Not really one that I plan on purchasing, but I was curious how it played. I think it may rely on dice a little too much for the type of game it is (I like dice, but I'm not sure it isn't too much dependent on dice for the terrorist player).
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4. Board Game: Here I Stand [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:83]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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Watched a 1 hour demo of how this game is played. One of these years I'll have to give it a try. Mr. Beach did a great job giving an overview of the game, and evidently its normal for first timers to give it a go after this one hour demo/explanation at WBC, and the other experienced players generally help newbies out. If I recall correctly, in the actual tournament, the game is a 4 turn game (it starts somewhere in the middle of where the traditional game would start). It's a game set in a period I enjoy, and I do like card driven games...the whole negotiation with other players I'm a bit weaker on, but I'd like to give it a try sometime.
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5. Board Game: Combat Commander: Mediterranean [Average Rating:8.55 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.55 Unranked]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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I purchased CCE a few months ago as it looked interesting (although I'm not much of a wargamer - I generally prefer Euros). An individual was seeking opponents and was kind enough to teach it to me...and then annihilated me in a matter of a few turns as I couldn't draw a move card to save my life, and my few units were annihilated in melee combat a few turns later...a bit frustrating of a play, but I do want to give it more tries and I did appreciate the patience my "teacher" had as I kept trying to do things that weren't allowed .
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6. Board Game: Stock Car Championship Racing Card Game [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:2658]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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This is a regular staple at the WBC that has a dedicated following...I enjoyed learning it last year, but missed the finals (although I qualified) due to other obligations. This year I made sure to keep the time slot open! I attended the demo just to get a refresher on the rules and then played in the qualifying heat immediately following (around 9 to 12 players). I managed to pull out a 3rd place in the race which qualified me for the final Saturday night. I really enjoy this card based version of NASCAR racing, and while the way your cards come up can definitely affect your race, hand management and timing is also critical in this game.

I wavered on purchasing two copies of this game last year and decided not to, but didn't hold back this year...I purchased 2 copies and also got a third track deck, so I can run an 8 car race. I have several nephews who really enjoy NASCAR and/or cars, so I'm looking forward to teaching this game and seeing how they like it!
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7. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:30] [Average Rating:7.78 Unranked]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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Finished out my light gaming Thursday by playing 2 games of the base game with a couple of other gamers after giving them a quick rules refresher. Gardens wound up being in both games and were important in both games. I wound up winning both of the them...with the first game finishing 37-36-36 and the second finishing 58-46-42.
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8. Board Game: Founding Fathers [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:696]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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Friday was full of open gaming, and I moved on to much more involved games than the previous day...I started off the morning teaching Kelly and Eric this game, as Kelly had previously mentioned that he would like to give this game a try sometime, so I brought it along to WBC. It was a tight game with Eric ending the final round with Mr. Washington as he had to rush off to a heat in another game. While I had a substantial lead, Kelly had managed to acquire the lead in 3 of the 4 debate tokens (and tied with the 4th, and surpassed me in the end game scoring with the final score 27-25-23. Eric and I had both invested the maximum in the Federalist debate in one round and neither of us were able to get the token that round, allowing Kelly to come in the final round and get that token. It was a good game, and we'd like to try it with 5 sometime to see how that feels...
 
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9. Board Game: Rails of New England [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:3108]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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After Eric left, Kelly suggested giving this a try 2 player. He had played it with a larger group and was curious to see how it played with just 2 players. We set it up and he taught me the game (think Power Grid without auctions and adding in some small amount of drafting) and it was an enjoyable game. We had gotten about half way through when Bob and Eric showed up after Eric's heat, so we called it off at that point. Doing a quick count of the score at that point showed Kelly ahead by one or two points, although I suspect Kelly was in the better position (he had gone the expansion route and was over much of the map, while I had concentrated in just my starting state of Connecticut (although I had all my businesses connected!).
 
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10. Board Game: A Castle for All Seasons [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:740]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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Bob, Kelly, Eric and I then set up this game to give this a try. Kelly had purchased this off the discount rack at one of the vendors at WBC for $15 or so, and wanted to give it a try. I had played the predecessor and wasn't looking forward to it all that much, but I'm willing to give almost any game one try. After fumbling through the rules (and consulting the rule book multiple times during the game, which was a bit frustrating at times), we did manage to finish a game, and while I was pretty miserable at first, I actually came within a turn of winning (the player before me managed to build a building I was going to build in the final turn...had he not done so, I would have won)...but as such I wound up in fourth. It has its interesting points, but having to pay with at least 3 different resources at exact cost was a bit annoying (and not exactly thematic...I mean really-who wouldn't take some overpayment!). We also played the workers incorrectly, and I got hosed incorrectly a number of times as we played that anytime someone played the role that allows someone to buy a resource off of someone's worker for $1 to do so every time off of every worker, no matter when the worker was played. Reading the rules towards the end of the game, it became evident that only any workers played the same round as that occupation is susceptible to having their resources bought off of them.

I'd probably be willing to give this one another go, but I definitely have other games I'd rather play...
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11. Board Game: Core Worlds [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:320]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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This was one game I was really looking forward to playing at WBC. Stormseeker75 ran a preview game of this both Friday and Saturday, and I got in on the Friday game. It's a mix of Race for the Galaxy without the complicated icons meets Dominion plus its own thing...I enjoyed my play, although like many games, you never feel that you have enough to do what you really want to do. Timing is also important in this game - do you get what you want now, or do you wait until some potentially better stuff comes out next round? Do you concentrate on spaceship power or ground combat? Try to do a little of both?

One thing that took getting used to is that you have to pay an energy cost for a unit, and once the unit was used to take a world, that unit is then sent to the discard pile. When you next draw that card, you once again have to pay the energy cost to deploy that unit. There are cards that allow you to retain a unit and not send it to the discard pile and such as well. There appear to be a number of cards that can interact with each other and players who manage to maximize this will certainly be at an advantage.

Each player also represents a different race, and there are just a card or two in each deck that is different from every one else's...I thought mine was pretty powerful at first...but as we got later into the game, I thought mine was pretty wimpy in comparison...so some appear to be stronger in the early game and others stronger later in the game when you have more energy to spend on them.

Energy is also use it or lose it - there is no saving energy from round to round - this seems a bit odd or a tad gamey, but in all honesty, you probably do want to be spending your energy to obtain cards/attack/etc as much as possible or you may find yourself falling behind, so I can live with this.

Currently there is a minimum of interaction - we came across one card that allowed a player to steal an energy or two from another player, but otherwise the interaction is limited to getting a card someone else really wanted...perhaps in the future an expansion will allow for direct interaction between players...

You also never know what to expect from game to game. There are 5 decks of cards, and you play 2 rounds from each deck. You will only go through a certain number of the cards each round, so you may see a card one game and never see it the next 3 games (i.e. you better not go into the game planning your game around a specific card, since it may never come up!). I like this variability and uncertainty in a game

A big thanks to Stormseeker75 for running this - I really enjoyed my play and it was definitely in my top 3 games for the weekend.
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12. Board Game: Tsuro [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:643]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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Kelly, Eric, and I then sat down and played a couple of quick games of Tsuro. Eric quite nicely set himself up to be knocked out in the first game, so I obliged him and did so, but Kelly managed to knock me out.

The second game Eric played a bit more carefully and I wound up locking myself in a corner and knocked myself out of the game. Eric followed shortly thereafter, giving Kelly his second win at this game...

Never played this before, and its okay for what it is. It's quick and easy to teach, but falls in the abstract department, which is not really my cup of tea...
 
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13. Board Game: Cargo Noir [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1143]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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Kelly suggested playing a game of this following Tsuro, so we set up a game of this and quickly discovered that the way Kelly and Eric had played this the day before was incorrect. Playing by the rules proved to be a completely different beast (to them...this was my first time!), and Eric pretty much ran away with this one: 160-105(me)-100(Kelly). Neither of them liked playing it the "right" way as well as the way they played it before...and I can't say I particularly cared for the game all that much...too many other games that are so much more fun or better!
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14. Board Game: Fresco [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:174]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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I taught Kelly and Eric this game. We let Kelly have first choice at the paint market too many times and he parlayed that into an early lead that we never could quite catch up to. By the end of the game, Kelly had won with 79 to my 71 and Eric's 64. We enjoyed the game, and I would still like to pick this one up in a trade sometime if possible. I'd also like to try it with the included mini-expansions as well...I've only played the base game my two times so far.
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15. Board Game: Maori [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1200]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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We played two quick games of this, and Kelly and Eric both demonstrated their experience with this game to my limited experience (1 or 2 times on Yucata?). The first game was the base game where Kelly won 36-34(Eric)-29(me). The second game we tried the opposite side of the board and Eric won 62-56(Kelly)-55. Kelly had the most boats and shells in both games...and I really hurt myself in the second game as I never had more than 3 boats, even though I got a ton of points from the center islands (close to 50).
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16. Board Game: Carson City [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:232]
 
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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Eric had to leave us at this point, so I set this up while Kelly gave him a ride back to their hotel and put up a sign looking for more players. I have owned this game for some time but had never gotten a chance to play it, and was looking forward to giving it a try. Michael was kind enough to learn the game with us and when Kelly came back I went through the rules and explained the game to them - I will say that the game is very straightforward and easy to explain, although the buildings a little more involved...but there are some nice player aids included that help alot! Being the first time for all of us, I wound up with more guns than anyone else and this proved pivotal and I pulled away in the 3rd and 4th rounds to coast to a 48-31(Michael)-22(Kelly) victory.

I should note here that after playing this again on Saturday, I realized that I had forgotten one major part of setup...we didn't place our 2 initial lots on the board! 4 rounds did seem a little short as we didn't really have all that many buildings by game end and I was wondering what we did wrong...
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17. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:169]
 
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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This probably wound up being my favorite game of the con, and I would wind up playing this one two more times on Saturday. It's a coop game where each player is a fire fighting specialist (each one has a special ability) and you're trying to save 7 victims from the fire before the fire consumes 4 of them OR the building explodes and falls down on top of you!

Everything in the game works together well, and unlike Pandemic (one of my favorite coops thus far), almost everyone can identify more with fire and fire fighting, so it feels more realistic. The tension may not always be there, but its incredible how quickly the tension can ramp up just when you think you have the game wrapped up! The board is also nicely done with illustrated house plan (insert the requisite jokes about smoke or fire in the toilet here), and everytime smoke pops back up in a place that the deck gun on the fire truck just put out, its fun to give that player a hard time about how they must have done a poor job!

We played with a prototype, but even that was very nice and the pieces look very nice. It's currently on Kickstarter, and if they get enough funding, it'll include fireman meeples.

Geof Gambill was kind enough to teach Kelly and I this game (its also very easy and straightforward to teach, and has a number of different variables that can be used to ramp up the excitement...or um difficulty ).

There were a number of tense moments in the game, but Kelly proved a very capable deck gunner and anytime we got into trouble, he managed to put out much of the fire in that critical area with his deck gun on the firetruck. In the end, we saved our 7 victims while only losing one or so. The other interesting aspect to the is game is that the victims you are trying to rescue may actually only be shadows (and not actual victims). Only when you get to that location do you know whether your actions to get there were well spent or a waste of time (unless you have an imaging specialist to help out!).

I've promptly supported this one on Kickstarter since I've come home from WBC. It's fun, it's challenging, it's pretty, and it plays in under an hour. What's not to like?
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18. Board Game: Carson City [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:232]
 
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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Kelly and I decided to teach Eric Carson City, so this game opened our Saturday gaming. Kelly took the lesson he learned in his first play and quickly snapped up the advantage in firepower and we pretty much rolled over and let him have them...while he didn't roll to a victory, we never really seriously threatened him. Kelly and I had a first round duel over a saloon which would prove critical, and he wound up winning it...and in a later turn he placed a church next to it to evict a cowboy I had placed on it to take half his income in an attempt to limit his VP purchase. Kelly wound up winning this one 31-28(Eric)-19(me). Kelly also got a boatload of points from the 3 gun tile and choosing the gunfighter the final round and converting them to VP's along with his many guns he had acquired otherwise. Eric and I would have switched places if I had won the last round duel for the building VPs, but he rolled higher and won the spot.

Players obviously have to keep an eye on firepower in this game, or things will go south very quickly
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19. Board Game: Rails of New England [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:3108]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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Kelly, Eric, and I played a 3 player game of this following Carson City. I enjoy the game, but I think it may go a bit long for what it is. The last 3 or 4 rounds we were pretty much just cycling cards and trying to figure out any way that we could get a couple of dollars here or a couple of dollars there. Both Eric and Kelly went very expansionist, while I once again pretty much kept to my state (NH) and just built out enough to get to all 3 major cities. My conservative strategy worked as I wound up winning by around $100...

We did find after the game that we had played a major rule wrong...we were playing that only one player was allowed on a non-capital or major city, but we later discovered that 2 players may place a station in a city.

I am also unsure about some of the action cards / event cards in this game. Depending how events come out, they can pretty much lose the game for a player if they stay concentrated in one area (I was fortunate in this game that I was only hit with one major event as Eric got hammered down in Connecticut). The action cards can also severely hurt a player - causing them to lose a business or depots. Kelly was particularly lucky - he drew all 4 cards that allow a person to stop an action card from occurring, and every time Eric or I tried to hurt him, he just played the card. We didn't manage to hurt him once. Our game was also played in a constant age of prosperity, so all of us were awash in cash by the 5th or 6th round.

I enjoy this game with the reservations noted above, but there is alot of math in the game (similar to power grid), and you're constantly having to recalculate your income every round as the economic status changes. The economic mechanic is also a tad goofy, as you always know what's coming 3 turns down the road (that doesn't seem very realistic!). It'd be interesting to try it where you only determine the economic status the turn you play

Final scores were 724 (me) - 621 (Kelly) - 544 (Eric).
 
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20. Board Game: Piece o' Cake [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1120]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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Kelly had set it up with Geof to play Fire Rescue again and show the game to Eric, but we had to wait as they finished the game they were playing, so Kelly pulled this quick filler out and we quickly polished off a game of this. My first time, but it's a piece of cake, and I managed to pull off a narrow victory, with 45 points to Eric's 44 and Kelly's 41.
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21. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:169]
 
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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We wound up playing this game 2 times we were having such a "blast" with it Our first game (Kelly, Eric, Geof, and myself) went south quickly as we neglected the initial explosion in the center of the house, and about the entire house was on fire before we knew it. Perhaps the most notable achievement in this game was Eric's inability to hit the fire with his deck gun even though all but a few of the tiles in the sector was on fire...we were trying to figure out what kind of music he was listening to as he was firing his deck gun. It was only a matter of time until the fire consumed 4 victims, and I think we were down to about 3 fire tiles at game end.

The second game was a poster child of why this game is never over until it's over. We were coasting along (and thankfully this time Eric was more effective with his deck gun!) and had rescued 6 of 7 victims and had lost only 1, with only a few flames in the house. We had our seventh victim just about to be carried out when the fire exploded right next to the victim and he succumbed...We checked out another point of interest and it wound up being a shadow. We finally had Eric get off his deck gun and chop through the outside wall into a bathroom to rescue the 7th victim we needed. He managed to get him and drag him outside the house, but one turn before he could get him to the ambulance, explosions finally hit the hazmat materials that we had ignored all game. The ensuing explosions caused multiple hot spots and multiple damage to walls and ultimately blew up the building just before we would have won...Great game and one where we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory!
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22. Board Game: Stock Car Championship Racing Card Game [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:2658]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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This was the only final I entered and the final is a much more involved affair than the qualifying heats. It includes advanced rules and a couple of pit stops, as well as potential for elimination from different types of problems.

I really enjoyed the game...I managed to move up to the top three half way through the race, but fell back the last half of the race to finish 13th out of 24 cars. It was a slower race than typical, and the race lasted about 3 hours...Mike did a great job keeping the race going with 24 participants!
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23. Board Game: Geeks: The Convention [Average Rating:4.76 Overall Rank:9909]
Garry Rice
United States
Perkasie
Pennsylvania
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Some thoughts about the convention this year...

(1) If you're coming for open gaming, don't bother showing up until 10am or so unless you have something set up beforehand...it seemed that games were being played late into the night and few people were getting up very early to play games. Conversely, the open gaming fills up QUICKLY later into the day, so it can be hard to find a table if you're with a group looking to setup a game. It's a large room...but it's also a large convention

(2) They added signs this year that you could put up at tables noting that you were looking for players - these were a great help when looking for additional players or when looking to play.

(3) My one disappointment this year was that I was unable to get a play of Quarriors in...there had been a post on BGG that it was going to be available to try all week, but I never saw it until Saturday (and I believe it was someone's personal copy), but that's no reflection on the WBC!

(4) Make use of the demos and don't hesitate to follow up by playing in the initial heats of those demos to get a feel of the game. It's common for people to play in the heats just to play a game they want to play, but in which they don't plan on advancing.

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