Snoozefest Does DragonCon '05
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Hillsborough
North Carolina
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Well, another long weekend, another Con. DragonCon (DC) was the first big convention my wife and I went to, 2 or 3 years ago. We went again, after a few years during which we'd been attending more game-oriented cons. D-con is fun, although the gaming is definitely better at Origins. But it's hard to beat the people-watching at DC! I was doing so much gaming, though, that I didn't get to see nearly as many half- (or much much more) naked women as my wife told me were there. Oh well ... maybe next time! I couldn’t Google any pix from this year’s DC, but here’s a site with past events: http://dragoncon.inanutshell.us/

There were a few geeklists and forum posts about BGGers being there; as far as I can tell, not many attended. I met a few, but unfortunately most were folks who don't post much, and who I didn't know in advance. As far as I know, I never met who said they’d be there on my DC list (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi... ). I did, however, get to meet Paul DeStefano; he was at the Adiken booth pushing product (see below).

Anyway, I did a fair bit of gaming and got to try a bunch of new games, which is always good. I also got to meet a bunch of nice folks, even though most of them were not from BGG !
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1. Board Game: China [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:628]
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Hillsborough
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9/2/05
I managed to leave work early, catch my 4pm flight and get to Atlanta. I took the MARTA into town, picked up my badge, and joined my wife (who’d arrived the day before) and some local friends who also went to the con this year (Rick and Marnie) for a 2-hour nice dinner ending with a very decadent Macademia Bananas Foster … yum . After dinner, M and I went to the Marriott for some gaming.

My wife and I, Rick, Jon-from-Troll-n-Toad, and 1 other person tried this game. Rick and I had played Web of Power quite some time ago, but everyone else was new to the game. I remember I really hadn't like KuK when I played it, and China wasn't much different. There was only 1 scoring round (KuK has 2, doesn't it?) but otherwise it seems to be the same game. I didn't really like the map, either - ugly colors, and not very interesting configuration that looks like a colored grid. I would never buy this. As it turns out, though, we now have a copy! Mike ____ was running most of the games in the gaming area. I helped teach a few Shadows games and M helped with some Pirates games, so Mike gave us (mostly M!) China in thanks! So I guess I'll probably try it a few more times, and see if I see the light!
thumbsdownthumbsup need to play more
 
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2. Board Game: Rheinländer [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1672]
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9/2/05
3 of us from the last game (me, Jon, Mary) and 1 other played this next. We were all new to the game. I'd heard of this before, and that it had just been reprinted, so was looking forward to trying it out. It's an interesting little abstract game! I don't normally like abstracts, and I did horribly: I got into a wasteful fight with M early on and ended up concentrating my plays in very few areas. Then, Jon made a great play later, negating a lot of the work I'd done by joining kingdoms by playing into the water (I'd forgotten you could do that!). I couldn't get into enough cities, couldn't pay enough Dukes in play, and ended up coming in dead last! Jon was 3rd, M was 2nd and the nameless dude won. Nevertheless, this was a pretty cool game that I think we'll likely get soon.
thumbsup we'll buy it
 
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3. Board Game: PitchCar [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:314]
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While we'd been playing Rheinländer, there was a different group playing Carabande on the next table over. I've been wanting to try this one for a LONG time, after hearing about how great it is. Mary and I joined in on the next game. It was a fun game, although pretty frustrating. Mary did great, though: she flubbed one flck early on, but then she made no more errors until the very end; she ended up lapping a 4 of the 8, and won despite having to take a few extra shots at the end. Our friend Rick was also in this game, and did very well - 2nd. I cam in 3rd. Everyone else had been lapped, and finished some time later. Despite most of us being complete strangers, we had a good time playing the game. However, I think I prefer Crokinole.

We met Tim H playing Carabande, and talked a bit about train games before heading back to our hotel about 12:45am. He said he’d be playing all weekend, but I never saw him again. Tim, did we scare you off?!?
thumbsup but prefer Crokinole after my 1 play
 
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4. Board Game: Let's Go Shopping [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Waking up late, we finally got to the convention area about 9:50am. We wandered through the dealer area. Actually, there were 2 areas: upstairs, the Exhibit Hall with the bigger stores and dealers. Downstairs, the Dealer Hall: more like a market with a bunch of little booths. We went through the upstairs rooms. Origins was much better - bigger booths, more booths, more games, better deals - but this wasn't too bad. Still, we ended up buying a BUNCH of stuff:
-nicely made renaissance costumes for us, about $400 all together: for Halloween costumes for several years
- On the Edge booster boxes, at $5/box x 4
-Wild Side, at 50% off
-Times Up! Expansions 1 and 2, also at 50% off; fun party game which I’ve played only once (and did horribly)
-Tahuantinsuyu and Ars Mysteriorum at the Atlanta Game Factory booth. Had heard of these and knew they were relatively difficult to find and that Tahuan… is very good, so we bought these at a mere 30% off (no taxes, though ). We talked for a long time with one of the guys in the booth, Mike _______, who writes reviews for Games International (eg, the War of the Ring review). Hi Mike!
thumbsup for good deals
 
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5. Board Game: Nin-Gonost [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:10241]
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Hillsborough
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9/3/05
We met Paul DeStefano (Geosphere), who was working at the Adiken booth pushing this game. I’m not into miniatures, but this system is REALLY COOL! The secret is … (Sh! Don’t tell!) … MAGNETS! The walls and floors are incredibly easy to reconfigure – check out his demo video: http://www.adiken.com/Nin/Adiken-Web-Demo-wmv.zip . And the professionally painted miniatures they used for the booth were just gorgeous! Now, if only Adiken could get together with Hasbro to make some kind of Heroscape/Nin-gonost terrain hybrid
thumbsup for the system
thumbsdown for me; I say 'no' to miniatures
 
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6. Board Game: Tai Chi [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
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9/3/05
We also tried Paul's soon-to-be published game at the Adiken booth. It's a very fast 2er abstract strategy game where each player has 2 pieces on opposite ends of a litle board, that they're trying to join in the center. You move pieces (yours or opponents) by playing cards face down, 3 at a time, that are revealed simultaneously. M ended up winning. It's a neat little game if you like abstracts; not for me (sorry, Paul!).
thumbsdown I say 'no' to abstracts, too
 
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7. Board Game: Kung Fu Fighting [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:3403]
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Hillsborough
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9/3/05
I'd heard about Slugfest Games from some of the recent Origins reports, so wanted to try it out. The demo guy played a quick game with the 2 of us. It's an interesting little game, although I think it's the theme that's more important. I think you need to play this with fans of the genre, who are willing to talk with funny accents and make sound effects when they get into Crane Stance and deliver their jumping spinning flying off-the-wall split kick to both opponents (your kung fu is goooood!). Sort of like Lunch Money. We went over the rules for En Garde, too. That's the fencing-themed version, which has more options and is a bit more tactical. An OK game, but not one we'll be getting. One good thing … I actually won!
thumbsup IF playing with the right group/mindset
 
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8. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:48]
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Hillsborough
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9/3/05
Done with shopping, I headed back to the game area (Mary was running around taking photos, so didn’t play as much today). I've played TI2 twice before. I thought it was a pretty cool game, although I really didn't like all the politicking that went on; I'm not into that kind of tough negotiating, I guess: I'm not very good, and I don't really enjoy it. But I'd heard that TI3 changed the rules significantly, incorporating some euro elements. So I'd been wanting to try this for a while. Well, it's still a war game and I still don't like it! Glad I tried it, but it's not my thing: I ended up coming in dead last, and I spent several hours hoping someone would come wipe me out. I had to put up a defense, though - couldn't just give it to them - so the game ended up dragging on for about 5 hours or so (5er). thumbsdown too long, too much of a wargame
 
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9. Board Game: I'm the Boss! [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:934]
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Hillsborough
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9/3/05
I'd heard of this before, too, although I'd never tried it. There were 4 of us working our way through the rules when a fifth guy walked by. He'd played the game many times before, and he joined in and taught (not entirely correctly, but we supplemented by reading the rules and correcting his memory). This is all negotiation, and was very annoying. That 5th guy was way into the game, and a tough negotiator. It was clear he was getting way ahead, but there seemed little anyone could (or would?) do to stop him. The entire game, I NEVER drew a "I'm the Boss" card! So my guys kept getting sent away, and my turn kept getting stolen. Another game I ended up coming in DEAD LAST (do you see a pattern for the weekend?). This is definitely not a game for either of us!
thumbsdown too nasty
 
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10. Board Game: Wildside [Average Rating:4.74 Overall Rank:13899]
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Hillsborough
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9/3/05
We decided to try something lighter, and pulled this from our shopping bag. I like Out-of-the-Box's games, generally, but this turned out to be not-so-great. Mary, Jon and I tried it. Fortunately, it’s fast. It’s a visual-pattern-recognition/speed game, where you have to figure out if dice from different player match, and hit the pad (like in It’s Mine!). Will try it again, but it’s not going to be one of my favorites – even as a quick quick filler. Again, I lost
thumbsdown
 
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11. Board Game: Tutankhamen [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:2994]
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Hillsborough
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9/3/05
This was next. Jon had played before, but it was new to Mary and me. It's a way-over-produced abstract. The pyramid is cool, but kind of annoying to use and seems like a waste of money. But it does look nice! Anyway, it's a fast, light abstract that's decent but not one that we'll end up buying. The best thing about it ... I actually won! Of course, Mary claims it was because of a scoring timing rule she'd misunderstood: she ended the game by getting to the pyramid. In the process, she scored the tile she took, which gave me the game. But she also removed the last of another tile by moving past it. If that had been scored first, or at the same time as the other, she'd have discarded all her coins, too. But clearly that's just an excuse!
thumbsupthumbsdown not very interesting
 
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12. Board Game: A Game of Thrones (first edition) [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:312]
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Hillsborough
North Carolina
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9/3/05
It was getting late in the day, and M went off to bed. I hardly ever get to pay this game, and there was a group interested in playing it so I jumped on the chance. Troll-n-Toad Jon was there again (Baratheon), as well as 3 others: 1 who'd played befoer (Stark) and 2 newbies. I was Tyrell, and the guy last to join, newest to the game and not at all familiar with the rules, ended up as Greyjoy. After some initial posturing, Baratheon and I allied together. He had quickly captured 7 mustering points worth, to my pathetic 3. Mustering came up, and he was quite a bit ahead in building up an army. I had been accumulating a lot of power, and soon after managed to take the lead in all 3 tracks. Shortly after, the wildlings attacked and we lost; I had to choose who should lose 4 units - Stark (already pretty weak) or Baratheon. It made more sense to me to hit my "ally", just to even out the armies a bit. But he made it clear that he would view that as an act of aggression, and spend the rest of the game making sure I lost. Stark offered to help me against Baratheon, B was ahead in the arms race, and I _hate_ that kind of threatening: so I picked B. Meanwhile, Greyjoy had been playing completely cluelessly, and was getting himself destroyed. Lannister and I had left each other alone. While Stark and I crushed B, L destroyed G. All of a sudden, L was everywhere and G was reduced to 2 tokens and no power. L had also gathered power, and he took the lead in all 3 tracks when the voting came up. The wildlings attacked again soon after. G, with no power, had to kill his last 2 tokens. This left L with access to 2 open, undefended forts; he was also first player, and won right away.

AGoT is a really good game - as close to a wargame as I'd like, and without the annoyance of having dice rolls resolve combat. But you need people of relatively equal skill playing it; you ESPECIALLY need a competent player playing Greyjoy. I also ideally wouldn't play with metagamers, although I think that's inevitable with wargames. I still have to try the expansion .. hopefully soon.

After the game ended (~1:30am), I strolled back to the hotel, taking some time to stare at the boobies I mean costumes.

thumbsup for AGoT and creative costuming (REALLY amazing stuff)
 
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13. Board Game: Oceania [Average Rating:5.82 Overall Rank:5119]
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9/4/05
After sleeping in the next day, M and I grabbed this from the library. We both like Entdecker and I'd recently heard Mark Johnson's positive review on his podcast, so was looking forward to trying it out. This greatly simplifies the other game so that it's fast, but for us not as interesting. It seemed to be too lucky, depending on what tile you drew. We ended up having a large area with no access so that we had to draw many tiles we couldn't play. We were both negative points, M winning by being 1 or 2 pts less negative. Glad I tried it, won't be buying it!
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14. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:237] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
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9/4/05
This is apparently the year of the cooperative game. We have Lord of the Ring (an OK game), Vanished Planet (an OK game; need to try it with my cool Excel spreadsheet), and Shadows Over Camelot (GREAT game!). I'm not into Lovecraft, but have heard so much about this that I wanted to give it a try.

There were 3 games going at the 1pm slot; I joined the group of 4 newbies being taught the game. It ended up taking about 4 or 5 hours, and was really pretty boring! M had played some time earlier during the con, and thought it was really very good - mostly because the teacher was very good at describing what was going on, creating a good atmosphere. For me, it was a bit tedious: everyone was running around collecting chits, rolling dice, closing gates etc, with almost zero interaction. A definite miss!
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15. Board Game: Shadows over Camelot [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:319]
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9/4/05
So after that last game, I convinced the group to try SoC. I explained the rules, & we got started. The traitor gave himself away by acting too obviously, & also by misunderstanding the Fate card – someone else played it, but the traitor went ahead and revealed his loyalty card. But he played as he had planned for the next few turns, and we accused as we would have; so I think it turned out OK. We actually ended up winning! That was the first time I’ve ever seen a group of newbies (with some coaching from yours truly) win at this game! It was partly because the traitor was inexperienced. Nevertheless, everyone had a great time! In fact, several of that group played the game 2 or 3 times that day, and then at least 2 times the next day after buying their own copies! You’re welcome, Days of Wonder!

I also played this twice more later in the evening/early morning: After dinner, I came back for the 10pm scheduled Shadows Over Camelot game. I got in a a 7er with the same group as earlier (with some others), but Mike ____ the guy running a TON of games, asked me to go join another group of total newbies. One guy didn't pay much attention and was kind of clueless. That game ended badly - I managed to get myself killed! They died shortly after, and we all decided to play yet again! By the time I finished and got back to the hotel room, it was already ~1:30am and I was pretty tired!
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16. Board Game: Carcassonne: The City [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:504]
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9/4/05
Mary had spent several hours painting a little orc figure for the Adiken painting contest. After she came back, we and 2 others played Carcassone: the City. Everyone else was new to the game; it was NOT a hit. One guy looked very lost and very bored, and the other got frustrated and quit the game just before the end. I'm not sure why he was so upset – maybe because he didn’t really get the game, and was doing very poorly. Anyway, not cool (although he'd been fine to play with earlier).

Sometime late in the day, M went to the auction and came back with a cool $450 leather coat - a browncoat from Firefly fame. She’d bought it at the charity auction for only $275! It's too big for either of us, but the auctioners thought she'd be able to exchange it for a smaller, women's coat. As it would turn out, they wouldn’t exchange it (the company changed designs), so we’ll have to eBay it, hopefully for enough to buy her a new one. At least it went to good causes (DC raised money this year for a leukemia group; Kevin Sorbo, the guest auctioneer, matched the donations 1:1 to go towards Katrina victims).

Anyway, after the Carc game, I ended up playing SoC twice more, as I said above. Another late day!
thumbsdown prefer Ark of the Covenant
 
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17. Board Game: ChiZo RISING [Average Rating:5.73 Overall Rank:11537]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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9/5/05
Last day! We wandered through the Dealer and Exhibitor rooms, buying a DDR for Sony PS (the original game) and some spooky music (for our Halloween party). Then we headed back to the game room. It was pretty quiet now, although there were still a bunch of people (including a few I’d taught SoC, playing again). We got a quick run-through of this game from one of the company reps, who happened to be there. It's a collectible TILE game. The tiles are very well made, and the artwork looks good, too. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to play a game. When we got back to the game room later on, he was gone. Is there really still a market for another collectible? First a collectable stackable tossable game, and now tiles? I doubt it. I'm not so sure about game play either - will hopefully get to try it some time.

We then rushed off to attend the last session with what was left of the Firefly/Serenity cast (great show, GO SEE THE MOVIE SEPT 30!). The only ones there now were Jewel/Kaylee, Morena/the Companion, and Ron Glass/Shepard Book (Adam Baldwin had left already; Joss Whedon and Nathan Whosit were unable to attend DC at all). That was fun - they really seem to be pretty normal, down-to-earth people. It's wierd being amongst so many fanz, though!
thumbsup Serenity
 
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18. Board Game: Armada [Average Rating:5.24 Overall Rank:14860]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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We went back to the game hall afterwards and grabbed this from the library – had never heard of it before. We invited a couple wandering by to join us, and we all learned the game together. It's a pirate-themed conflict game. M ended up winning, partly b/c of me: she captured the req'd 3 areas. The husband tried to take one away, and failed. But then his wife, who'd been fighting with me (and getting beat up) did NOTHING to help; she just took my areas. I tried to stop M, but did not take the optimal route. Mostly, I didn't want to give the guy the win, and didn't like being forced to weaken myself just so M wouldn't win. So, M won. Again.

thumbsdown too wargamey
 
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19. Board Game: Busen Memo [Average Rating:4.81 Overall Rank:15126]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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This was a bad weekend for me, in terms of win/loss! Still, a fun time. Check out some other reports:
Geosphere: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekforum.php3?action=viewthrea...
agnespoodle, who I did not meet: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekforum.php3?action=viewthrea...

Next time, MORE BGGers SHOULD ATTEND!!

thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup go to Dragon*Con! http://www.dragoncon.org/
 
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