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My WBC 2011
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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Here's a list commemorating my WBC 2011 experience.


Me and Carl playing Poseidon

Ah, the WBC! This week is the highlight of the year for me. I enjoy it so much for all the great gaming with friends from home as well as convention friends I see there every year. This is the closest to feeling like a kid at Christmas that I know at this point in my life. I get so excited to go and lose myself in a week of gaming with fellow members of my tribe. I love feeling part of something when I'm there as I'm with others who share my crazy passion for this hobby and think nothing of spending 12-15 hours per day for a week playing games only to say "I didn't get in everything I wanted to!" This was my fourth straight WBC. In 2008 I went from Fri to Sun; in 2009 from Wed to Sun; in 2010 from Sun to Sun and this year from Sat (precon) to Sun. I believe I'll attend for 8 days every year from now. Heck, I may even start going out on Friday night.
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1. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1712]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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My Arrangements
I prefer to stay at the Host Resort even though the Continental across the street has a free brekkie. I like the simple convenience of having my room accessible for games, naps, and a bathroom if need be. Each year the Host puts out a box where you can sign up for the next year. I always do even though they charge my CC for a room b/c it's worth it to reserve a room, especially as the convention grows. I went to registration on the last day and they told me attendance was 1,642, the highest ever and they expect more next year. Wowza. You could feel the difference as the open gaming room was a lot more crowded this year. I looked around on Tuesday and remarked, "Geez, you'd think this was Thursday or Friday!" I guess it's good b/c it'd suck if the con were lightly attended but you can't help but wonder if it'll ever get too big.

A few notes on the Host. Normally, I think they do a good job but I was pretty disappointed with them this year. First of all, I don't think anyone had more than a few minutes of internet access all week. I had none in my room all week and intermittently on my iPhone on some days. Simply pathetic. Go back to a wired internet access if you can't do wireless but don't deprive me of internet access in my room for God's sake! The network would show as "connected" but then not actually have internet access. So annoying. Then my reading glasses needed a tweak with some pliers so I asked at the desk if they could have a maintenance man come by with a pair for me. Nope, they didn't have any. Huh? Your entire maintenance staff doesn't have one pair of pliers? How the hell do you fix things in this huge hotel? The staff didn't seem to care. I caught a maintenance man in the hallway and asked him but all he could say was they were "working on it." Unbelievable.

Then there was the bathroom stall door. You'll have to trust me on this one, but one of the bathroom stall doors made such a loud and awful squeaking noise as to be hurtful to the ear. I know, I know, how bad could it have been? But I heard more than one person groan in pain as they swung the door only to have the noise echo off the low ceiling and hit their ear in a painful way. I told the staff not once, not twice, but three times; the last time I took a guy into the bathroom to show him. They never could fix the damn thing so it shrieked all week. Maybe b/c they don't have a pair of pliers?

My Schedule
As we all know, maintaining one's energy during a convention is a challenge. I decided to try something different this year and I resolved to forbid caffeine after breakfast. I must say, the results were astounding, so much so that I'm carrying this discipline over into my regular life. Last year I was all hepped up on 5 Hour Energy and coffee/diet coke such that by Thursday I was on fumes. Limiting my caffeine this year actually gave me more energy by allowing me a better night's sleep as well as more effective naps. Yeah, I allowed myself a couple of naps when I just didn't have it. A one hour nap and I was right as rain. I'd rather have fewer sessions where I'm mentally present than trying to cram as much as possible while feeling like a zombie like I've done in the past. Sometimes less is more (a lesson I seem to learn over and over in my life).

One of my good friends is a big Werewolf fan, and in fact, he came primarily for that over boardgaming. I decided that I could do either Werewolf or boardgaming but I couldn't burn the candle at both ends so I didn't do any late night stuff. My friends did and had some great stories to report, but I was happy to feel energized, alert, and present during the day. It's not like I haven't played late night WW at the WBC. I did one year outside on the terrace under a full moon so I've had the experience. The kids there really take it to an art form. This year there was a special scenario in which my friends played where there were like 15 wolves and 4 villagers. Some of the wolves were on the villagers side but the wolves didn't know who was a selfish wolf and who was a good one, so allegiances were unclear. Sounded fascinating.

As to gaming, I'm not a big tournament person. I played in one -- TtA -- otherwise, I was content to hang out in the open gaming room all day. I don't need to compete in a tournament and wouldn't want to have my schedule dictated by the tournament times should I happen to win something and advance. The open gaming library is really excellent. While it can't touch BGG Con's (which I saw last year), it's come a long way from what it used to be and offers a generous selection of good games. I will give the Host credit for doing a better job of maintaining the trash bins (a little too good as you'll see below!) and the water jugs in the room. Water was plentiful this year.


Me in the Open Gaming room

OK, so that's the background. Now for the games I played. Here's the complete list. Commentary on the plays I felt were notable is under the GL item for each game.

Age of Industry 3
Age of Industry Expansion #1 3
A Few Acres of Snow 2
Chaos in the Old World 1
Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel! Kursk 1943 1
De Vulgari Eloquentia 1
Die Burgen von Burgund 1
Dixit 1
Egizia 1
A Game of Thrones 1
Le Havre 1
Imperial 2030 1
In the Shadow of the Emperor 1
Julius Caesar 2
Peloponnes 1
Pergamon 1
Poseidon 1
Shadow Hunters 1
Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game 1
Struggle of Empires 1
Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization 2
Tichu 1
Unpublished Prototype 2

If there's something I didn't comment on that you'd like me to, just ask!

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2. Board Game: Age of Industry Expansion #1: Japan and Minnesota [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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I wasn't sure what I thought of the AoI system and wanted to try it again and make a keep/trade away decision. I bought the expansion maps to see if they really added any interesting wrinkles or not. We had a hard time getting off the ground as I didn't remember the AoI rules well enough (and the Brass rules in my brain were only making things worse). We abandoned our play of the Japan map as we couldn't figure out the damn sea lanes/when you could use ships rule. The next morning, in the quiet of my room, I reread the AoI base rules and then read the Japan map rules. Suddenly it all seemed so clear.

AoI was a revelation to me and I'm happy to have and plan to continue to invest in the system. If Brass didn't exist, I think AoI would be better received, but Brass does exist and AoI can't help but be compared to it. I like Brass a lot, and I like the two phases in it and that you have to take an action to take loans and all the quirkiness that makes Brass Brass. At the same time, AoI is still an interesting game and the different maps make for variety, something that Brass lacks. The maps add a lot of special rules that make each map a different play, not just a different board. And whereas you had to take an action to take loans in Brass, here you have to take an action to take cards. This adds a competitive element to the game b/c you might take cards your opponent wants.

The MIN map turns the brown cities into the "iron ridge" such that iron mines get +1 iron cube and +2 $ per sale. Coal can only be built in Chicago, and here you actually ship coal and iron just like you do with cotton and crates. Yeah that's right, so for a sell action, you could sell cotton, crates, coal, and iron. You sell coal and iron to the Demand displays or to iron markets printed on the board. And in a bit of reverse flow, you need to ship 2 iron cubes TO your ships at which time they'll flip. So instead of iron going on the board next to a ship, you ship iron TO those spaces. This is the opposite of how ships normally work in AoI and I really like the flexibility this system offers.

The Japan map is the tightest one and is all about shipping. Each ship is connected to two ports and each port needs to be constructed before you can use the ship to transport coal/iron and/or ship goods. Lots of timing issues with your opponents as to who's gonna build ports such that a ship can be built and provide coal/iron to the board. Also, you can buy cards to modify an action (as opposed to "take" cards as an action) which can really help you out in a pinch but it also results in more loans. Really fun. Can't say which map I prefer as I enjoyed them both.
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3. Board Game: A Few Acres of Snow [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:140]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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I ordered my (non-deluxe) copy before I left but did not have to bring with me. Not to worry, the library would have a copy. Well, turns out it didn't show up so there was no copy. We ended up meeting

Joe Brumfield
United States
Newark
Delaware
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and I asked him if my friend and I could borrow his copy. Joe was so nice and generous, he lent us his copy three (!) times to play amongst ourselves. You're the best, Joe!

As to the game, this is a game I'm really excited about and want to play right now. I was never bitten by the Dominion bug but I think with A Few Acres, I'm getting a sense of what the Dominion crowd has been feeling.

I played the French in all 3 of my games so far as I want to get good at them before switching sides. The pressure is on the British to siege while the French play to end the game via city placements and go for the VP win. I like playing that defensive style. The games are getting quicker. Think our second game of the day took less than 1.5 hours.

Right now I'm really interested in how to use the Reserve box. It seemed like a no brainer, especially for the British, until we realized you could ambush cards out of there, so the French player knows when it's worth at least trying to ambush. In the early part of the game, I put my settlers in there so I could grab them when I needed them and that worked out really well, but then my opponent started sieging and I had to load up on military cards for defense. I think the optimal play for the British is to buy both settler cards on turn 1 and 2. This makes it a lot more difficult for the French to win the game that way. In any case, I think the Reserve box is a great idea for any deck-building game. I only know Dominion so maybe others already use it.

Side note: I didn't get the deluxe version so I decided I'd pick up some Catan cities and houses to pimp up my copy a bit. I got to the vendor hall about 20 minutes after it opened and -- to my horror -- there was a guy pulling red and blue Catan pieces out of the jar. He was beating me to my idea! Turned out there were plenty of pieces, LOL, so I managed to get mine as well with some kind assistance from people behind me as to how many blue/red pieces I needed.


That works, but now I want the cool fortifications
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4. Board Game: Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel! – Kursk 1943 [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:294]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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As a recovering ASL player, I'm happy to make CoH my tactical WWII game system of choice. I find this system hits the sweet spot for me as far as rules/realism vs playability. I'm a big fan of action points (probably my favorite game mechanic) and here with unit APs and Command APs, I feel very much at home.

We played scenario #7 where there's an immobilized Tiger tank which the German player (my opponent) was to tow off the board edge. Every time we play, I feel like I have the forces who have the upper hand and here again, I felt like I had the easier go of it. I had a group of 4 T34s that I used to take out the Tiger while only losing one. The German forces reached the middle of the board at this point but were outnumbered so it seemed pretty academic. But that's why you play them to the end! My opponent did a great job group firing on my units and I had some really bad rolls. Next thing I knew I was praying for initiative! I ended up taking out his last non-immobilized tank with only 2 active ones of my own. Whew! What looked like a route turned out to be a squeaker.

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5. Board Game: De Vulgari Eloquentia [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:495]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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Why, oh why, was this game made? This game drags on and on with only incremental progress made between long periods of downtime between turns. I can't understand what the designers thought they were bringing to the table (pun intended). This is one of those "go here to get this so you can go there to do that" with some interesting wrinkles (the game is not devoid of interest), but overall the game is a failure of design IMO.

The part I liked is that you start off as a Merchant and when you go to a city and take the "interact" action, you get paid the number of coins that city gives you. Later in the game you (if you choose) go to a monastery and become a friar. You no longer get coins when you interact with a city. Moreover, you can upgrade one more time to a cardinal. However, friars and cardinals give you bonus actions and end game points. You can be voted the Pope at the end of the game if you're a cardinal. Or you can stay a Merchant the whole game though nobody saw any value in doing this (though there very well may be). The friars and cardinals are available on a first-come-first-served basis so there's a bit of a race.

That all sounds reasonably interesting but the fatal flaw is that on each turn you get 5 action discs to take actions with. Turn order is relative (and there's a space to use your discs to improve your turn order position) such that you often would go first and then immediately last. This meant that you'd often have to wait for the other 4 players (5P game) to take their actions twice before you went again. That's 4 players x 5 actions x 2 = 40 actions before it would be your turn again! Agh! Then you'd have to re-evaluate the board and make damn sure you spend your actions well and/or "waste" actions on turn order so you don't have to wait so damn long till your next turn. It was painful. We started at midnight and finished at 4am. Half-way through I just wanted it to end but I didn't want to abandon the other players at that point.

Oh, and the kicker is that on your turn you would make incremental changes in your position. If you're going to make me wait 40 actions before my next move, at least let me make a monster move when it's my turn not something piddly that I then have to wait for my next turn to actually turn into something. Some turns were just spent using your discs to move and take turn order with nothing else to show. Ugh! The guy who taught me loved it and played it several times during the week, so some people don't mind it. My friend who tried it with me also found it painful.


I'd rather be doing something else. Like sleeping.
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6. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:10]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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I'm not much of a Feld fan (I really disliked Macao) but I liked this one. This is a dice rolling game with some interesting uses for the dice. There's some potential for AP as players get more tiles that provide bonuses and they want to maximize all their options, but the guy who taught it to us said he's played it 30 times now and finds once you know the tiles, it goes quickly.

You roll two dice per turn (never more or less) and can take an action with each. You use them to grab tiles from the board which then go in your "holding" bin and/or use them to then place tiles from your "holding" bin onto your board. You can hold up to 3 tiles max per turn. There are 6 spaces on the board where you can grab tiles from (numbered 1-6) and you can use workers to modify your dice +1/-1. The dice wrap around so you can use a worker to turn a 6 into a 1, for example, so the dice are simply ordinal and don't imply anything qualitative, i.e., a 1 may be better than a 6 depending on what you need.

The board onto which you're placing your tiles have colored areas. As you complete a colored area you get bonus points. It's not unusual to have a 20+ point turn and catch up in a hurry. There are some more bells and whistles that add complexity to make it more interesting.

I found the dice mechanic to be very interesting but I'm not sure how this will feel after a few plays. Unlike Troyes where you take dice from each other, turns are pretty much non-interactive here. That the game is not available any time soon in the US is frustrating b/c it's hard to know whether or not one should shell out the big bucks to purchase from a European store. A stroll through the ratings and comments shows a lot of high ratings. I may purchase with the thought that if I don't ultimately like it, I should be able to sell/trade fairly easily.
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7. Board Game: A Game of Thrones: A Clash of Kings Expansion [Average Rating:7.86 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.86 Unranked]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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This was our second annual play of aGoT at the WBC. Last year's play took us 9 hours to complete. We were on the same schedule here but stopped at turn 7 b/c one player had to get on the road. I was more than content to stop things when we did. I find the game fun but simply too much. Put this experience in a three hour timeframe and I'd rate it a 10.

I was green (don't ask me to name the houses) and I had an alliance with orange which the other players did not like. We were doing the Russia-Turkey thing from Diplomacy. I knew I'd have to stab him at some point but I wasn't going to do that till it could win me the game. This caused a lot of tension in the game (Green should be attacking orange!) and I basically had to tell one guy to STFU and let me play my game, and oh by the way you're a toadie for white, so why don't you attack them? Of course Lannister got boned. I don't see the point of that country. I kept them around as a buffer as long as I needed them and then made my move on them. It came down to me, orange, and white and I finished third in our truncated game.

We started at 11:35am and ended at 6pm with a half hour for lunch. Orange won with 6 cities as he had to drive back to VA and I didn't want to go past 6 hours anyway so we stopped at turn 7 I think.

I think the game is a brilliant design, I really do, and its excellent in what it is, but it's not in my wheelhouse for fun. I simply lose energy from the constant negotiations and figuring out who's lying to me and if/when I need to screw someone over. I have a friend who gets so energized from negotiations and meta-gaming. He's in his element here whereas I get enervated. And even though we had 5 and 3 minute limits on negotiations/orders, this game takes us a long time to play b/c we can't help but end up negotiating while resolving orders. It's just too much. I'd rather play BSG for my intrigue type game. I think I'll bow out of our annual play next year.
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8. Board Game: Imperial 2030 [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:101]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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I played my first game of Imperial/Imperial 2030 without the Investor card and I think that is my preferred way to play. It gives you a lot more control by allowing you to invest after each company takes a turn. I like the tweaks they made here with the tax chart too. Overall, it was a satisfying play. I like this game, but don't love it for some reason. I think I prefer the old Diplomacy map with fewer neutral areas so countries have to mix it up sooner and more vigorously... A perusal of my geekbud ratings has many 10s and 9s, but I'd put it more at a 7. Just doesn't light my fire, however, I look forward to another play to see if it springs to life for me.

Oh, and we had to restart b/c we got confused on the price vs interest numbers on the tiles. Odd that they made the interest numbers bigger than the price, and they made the white typeface of the interest the same as the purchase price typeface on the back of the flags. Ugh.
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9. Board Game: In the Shadow of the Emperor [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:531]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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I'm a big fan of this game but it never caught on with my friends for some reason. I was happy to introduce it to two of my newer friends and very satisfied to seem them take to it as much as I have. I simply think it's brilliant and it's my favorite area control game.

The game's merits are well known -- you only score points for taking things over, not continuing to control something so there's this rolling wave of takeovers each turn. The action cards you choose have to be taken with consideration to their color. And the aging of you pieces means nothing lasts forever. Just brilliant. Detractors point out that it's a very dry and thinky game (yep, sure is) and that the point spreads are too close as to be meaningful. I won't argue those because for me the rest of the game's pros outweigh the cons. As far as area control games, you can have El Grande, I'll take iTSotE every time.

In any case, my friends liked it very much which means it should get played more often, and I'm quite happy about that.
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10. Board Game: Julius Caesar [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:441]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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I'm so glad I finally got this game. I sensed I would love it and I like it more than I even expected. If you want to get a sense of how it plays, check out Castelli's great video review or my geekbud's great written one: [Roger's Reviews] Alea Iacta Est!

I love JC b/c it's tactical wargaming, pure and simple. Dudes on a map, as I like to say. The rules are quite simple but the decisions are delicious. My opponent landed forces on the African coast which was very scary for the Pompey player, however, that meant Spain was easily mine and I could even threaten Rome. You can hardly do anything in the game without exposing yourself somewhere else (I mean that as a pro, not a con).

I played Pompey both times and must say, it's tough for both sides b/c Caesar gets more powerful as the game goes on and Pompey has to play defense and protect Alexandria (it's worth 2 big points that can decide the game). I lost Alexandria in my first game so I did a better job of protecting it in my second. You feel the pressure trying to play defense and slow Caesar down but at the same time, the pressure is on the Romans b/c they start off so far down in VPs. It seems wonderfully balanced.

I played this twice and was going to take pics but was so engrossed it didn't happen.
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11. Board Game: Lords of Baseball [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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This game prototype is an economic CDG with a baseball theme. The theme comes through almost surprisingly b/c it's really an economic game, but the flavor of the cards and the way you rack up "wins" during the season allow the baseball theme to come through.

You start with $15K to buy your franchise elements -- roster (superstars, all stars, regulars, journeymen), front office, farm system, and manager. It's easy to want to have the best of everything but then you're low on money and people can play nasty money events on you. I know b/c that's what happened to me, LOL.

You play an early season, mid, and late season phase. Each phase is one card person around the table until all players pass. The cards have Ops as well as Off-season and In-season events, so you have interesting decisions as to hold cards for the Off-season or play a nasty event on someone. Each person can be hit by an event card once per season phase so you can't be abused. The point of the phases is to get as many wins as possible, up to the max. They start you in each phase at 15-15 and then you can get up to about 20 more wins max. You "tap" your superstar/all-stars/manager for wins as well as play cards like "Go on 8-1 win streak".

Since each phase has about 20 games, if you have 10 losses (due to cards from other players), the most wins you could get is 10 (so you'd end at 10-10 for the phase). Once you've accounted for a total of about 20 wins/losses, you can't play any more cards to affect your record. That's when you usually pass.

After each phase, you have your 15-15 record plus whatever you did with the approx. 20 games. So, say, I go 16-4 in the phase, I add 16 to 15 and get 31 win and 4 to 15 and get 19 losses. My record is 31-19 after the Early Season phase. Then we do the Mid Season and then Late Season. If your team gets to the post season, you get some die rolls for postseason success which will get you more money. It's all about the money. You want to win games and make the postseason so you have more money heading into the Off-season so you can do more stuff than your opponents.

I found it quite clever the way you can do things but are limited and the way you can't be ganged up on. The decisions on the cards with 3 different things was fun, and when you run out of cards, you have to buy more (again, costing you precious money!). Turn order is to the left of whoever passes last, and that's an important consideration since you want to play wins on yourself before other players can play losses, so it made for some brinkmanship as to who was going to stay in and keep playing cards for the benefits vs bow out of the phase. Very impressive considering the game design is not even a year old.

I look forward to this game, though I thought the Off-season business started to get overly mathy and complicated. I hope they get a strong developer to make some tweaks. I only played 1 year and didn't get to see how things come together, but I saw enough to like that I fully expect to buy it in its final form, whenever that may be.
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12. Board Game: Peloponnes [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:458]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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I recently got Peloponnes and liked it well enough to bring to the WBC to try it out. I threw in the sea tiles and the 6p expansion (Peloponnes: Hellas Expansion). We got messed up at the end due to some errata I wasn't aware of. The rules seem to indicate that you do NOT get income once the end of game is signaled, but in fact you do. On top of that, the Hellas expansion adds yet another supply round so we were all wiped out.

People enjoyed the game -- the auction is deliciously unforgiving -- but we were all concerned about the scoring. Since you score the lower of population/prestige points, and we were all so wiped out on pop by the end, we felt that the game will come down to pop every time for everyone. I hope that's not the case.
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13. Board Game: Pergamon [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:649]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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My newfound friend, brummy, was kind enough to teach another game (along with DBVB). I found this to be an OK filler game with some interesting aspects to it. When it's your turn to place your marker, you select a space that has a number of coins and the rows from which you are allowed to purchase (e.g. 2 coins/purchase from rows I and II only). The order in which everyone places is the order in which everyone gets paid after two income cards are flipped over. So if you're last in line and the money runs out before it comes to you, you get bupkus this turn. This resulted in a lot of fun decisions as to take a space where you're sure to 2 coins or a spot where you may get as many as 5 or 6/nothing at all.

Once you do get paid, you can buy puzzle pieces from the rows for which you have permission. If you can put these puzzle pieces together, you may choose to exhibit your treasures in the museum and get points. If not, you better hope to get some connecting pieces next turn.

I like how you gamble on which spot to take though I'm not big on puzzles. Somehow I won the game even though I got shut out on the last turn. My takeaway from the game was it was one of those games that's too light to be a "main course" game but too long to be a filler. I'd gladly play again, but don't feel the need to add to my collection.
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14. Board Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:89]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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So this play ended up creating a WBC story that I'm sure I'll tell for years. I was two coins away from winning. All I had to do was switch to Feudalism and hopefully pull a Great Person with a coin from the cup and I could win this turn. Woo hoo! Except I then realized I had read "Fundamentalism" as "Feudalism". I didn't have the Feudalism tech! OMG. Well, at least I could pull a GP from the cup of GP for a coin. Where's the cup? Why can't I find it?

Time freeze. Memory flash. A sick feeling in my stomach. What's happening? Why am I remembering how I cleaned the table of debris including some cups... cups... Cups! CUPS! Oh crap, I threw out the cup that had the Great Person chits! Oh crap! Run to the bin. It's a new bag; they cleaned it out! Find maintenance; go to the trash bin. I'm outside with Doug (the owner of the game) and we're standing in the rain tearing open trash bags and digging through trash trying to find the cup. It smells. I'm getting wet. Uuuuugh.

I finally convinced him that we should finish the game and I would contact FFG for replacement pieces. He agreed. Then he assassinated one of my GP's with a coin and I was even further away from victory. Had I known about the market/banking coin flip strategy, I would've pursued it and won handily a few turns sooner. I was Germany, and it seems to me that a German coin strategy is a good way to go.

Just don't throw out the Great Person chits as you may need them!
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15. Board Game: Struggle of Empires [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:183]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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Oh man, what a great game! I had only played once before at last year's WBC. My friends and I were taught very quickly with little explanation for what the tiles did (it's a lot to absorb for god's sake) so we didn't know what we were doing. Afterwards, we weren't really impressed with it. This time, knowing which tiles did what, the game sprang to life. I finished 4th out of 5 a distant 5th but still enjoyed every minute of it. Such a good game and one that needs to get played more.

The tiles are a game in themselves in figuring out which ones to take (some are more limited than others) and, of course, the whole alliance mechanic is the highlight of the game. I went loan crazy (called "unrest" here) but still was too timid in my alliance bidding. I made the mistake of hunkering down instead of spreading out so I didn't have the board presence that's needed in the 3 scoring rounds. Lesson learned for next time.

So my man-crush on Martin Wallace grows. Between this, A Few Acres, and Age of Industry, I experienced three games of his I really like in the span of a week.
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16. Board Game: Warparty [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:3510]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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This was my second play of Warparty, having played it back in 2009. I'm glad to see the game is on LnL's preorder list and to see how busy it was all week. I saw multiple games of this constantly being played.

It's quite a simple design -- you move your units, take territory and collect their revenue, and then buy cool sh*t. Players play as teams -- Humans/Dwarves and Goblins/Undead -- at opposite corners of the board. Each race has unique units and Heroes they can purchase and you can send your Heroes on quests in dungeons while the battle rages on above ground. Your hope is that they kick some dungeon butt and level up, making them more powerful units to rejoin the battle. The battle strategies are fun b/c you can't help but play defense on one front and offense on the other.

Per the designers' own description, the game is A&A meets D&D. For me, it's a little too A&A (in terms of simplicity), so it's not a game I plan to purchase but I would happily play a friend's copy. Based on all the buzz I saw at the con, I think they'll do well with it.
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17. Board Game: Getaway [Average Rating:4.75 Unranked]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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These are the ones that got away. Despite being there for 8 days, I still didn't get in all the games I wanted to play:

Indonesia
Die Macher
Dominant Species
Vinhos
Steel Driver
Nuns on the Run
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18. Board Game: Funny Friends [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1184]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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Just want to say I enjoyed seeing my convention friends, new and "old". I met some new people and made some new connections. And even if I didn't get a chance to sit and play with you, it was fun to meet you or simply catch up. I look forward to seeing you next year!
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19. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1712]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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The Vendor Hall
Despite all the vendors with shiny new games, I was able to resist for the most part. I only purchased one new game: Boots on the Ground. I've been exploring coops with one particular friend lately so I thought I'd buy this for us to try together.



And here's the saddest site of the week:


The storage cabinets for the games in the Open Gaming library. Their presence signals the end of the con.

And here's me getting ready to leave the Open Gaming room for the last time on Saturday night.


Sad to go but it was a great week for which I'm very grateful

See you all at EuroQuest 2011 in November!
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