In space, no one can hear you really screw up, and other tales from BGG.Con 2012
Brian M
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Thornton
Colorado
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BGG.Con 2012. Its ongoing (8 years so far) mission; to explore brave new gaming mechanics, to seek out new games and new players, and to boldly go every now and then to a new venue where no game con has gone before.

BGG.Con moved to a new hotel this year, and expanded to include almost 2000 gamers. Wow!

Just a geeklist of our (Lisa and I) experience at the con.
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1. Video Game: Ghost Stories [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:2384] [Average Rating:7.19 Unranked]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Captain's Log: Con Date Wed-2012-11-14

iPad Ghost Stories on the flight out to BGG.Con is sort of a tradition with us by now. As is getting clobbered by it. In this case, things were going decently until we rolled a "Haunt a tile" curse and drew the Shapeless evil in one turn, bringing us up to 3 haunted tiles.

They really need to add the Guardhouse expansion to the iOS version; the terrorize ghosts are just a little easier than many of the base ghosts, and swapping a few out every now and then brings down the nastiness a tad, which is needed.

This was a very fast and smooth flight out. We also got to the airport via the Super Shuttle, which we had never used before. That was incredibly convenient.

At the DFW airport, however, we took the Skylink train to the C terminal, as suggested on the BGG.Con discussion boards. We then tried to figure out how to actually get to the Hyatt Regency, and were told by an employee "Oh, you can't, you need to call for a shuttle." So we called the hotel "From where you are, you should see a courtesy telephone for the Hyatt. Call and request a shuttle from there". Seriously? We can see the hotel from here and it's less than a block away.

We headed to the phone, but decided to try one last time and asked the information booth attendants if there was a way to walk to the hotel right there. While they seemed to regard this idea as if we'd asked how to kayak to Canada, they did eventually point us toward the walkway through the parking garage. Which was a quick and easy walk to the hotel.

Yeesh. Do Texans get paid commisions by the oil companies?
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2. Board Game: Tokaido: The New Encounters [Average Rating:7.01 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.01 Unranked]
Brian M
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Thornton
Colorado
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Registration was quick and easy. I'm surprised by how many games they were giving to each attendee. We picked up New York, Shogun: Tenjo's Court, two copies of Martian Dice (we already had everything on that shelf, but figured we know some people who would enjoy a copy of Martian Dice), Forceball, Scavengers, Little Devils, and The Crazy Creatures of Doctor Gloom. Whompf! Suddenly we had luggage worries - we hadn't counted on door prize games as big as New York!

In some ways I do miss the old prize table with it's ton of assorted games though. It caused way too much stress about getting there early, but I'd rather get one randomish cool game than four games I may never use. Of course, with us arriving in the afternoon, anything remotely good would have been gone.

We checked the vendor area, picked up a bunch of promos (including the Tokaido promo - for a game we didn't even have yet!), and made a beeline for Funagain to see if they had any of the Essen releases that we were eager to get, which they did not. Our checking account is probably happy ahout that.

The Vendor area is much, much nicer than in past years. They have a lot more space, and many of them had several demo tables set up.
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3. Board Game: Urbanization [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:4280]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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The hot games room was also a bit bigger than last year (though the layout of the room, very long and deep but somewhat narrow and low ceilinged, gave it an oddly cramped feel). Tons of games set up there, many of which were packed with players.

Tonight and throughout the whole con we noticed that games were less used the farther into the room you went, like most people hopped into the first game they came to and didn't bother to go all the way down.

Unsure of what to play, we just joined in when Judson (nyarly) asked us if we'd like to join Urbanization.

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Judson Lester
United States
Santa Monica
California
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Mini Overview: Tiny bit of role selection, then very limited actions to develop land and factories. You need food and housing for your people, who provide you most of your turn-to-turn points. You need work orders to produce at factories, to produce points and income.

Mini Review
: Nice low-weight economic game. Fun and easy to play even if it lacks much bang.

thumbsup

Lisa 61
Brian 57
Judson 48

I had a nice lead for much of the game when I was keeping at 4 population and the others only had 2 or 3, but I lost it in the last few turns.
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4. Board Game: Skyline [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:3501]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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There was plenty more to play in the hot games room, but we decided to grab a bit of food at the "Cash and Carry" food area. This is new this year, and provides an assortment of basic food. Basic, but from our experiences not real great.

We ate in the main gaming area, and David (etherton) asked if we'd like to try Skyline with him, which he finished reading the rules to and sorting the pieces for while we finished eating.

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David Etherton
Scotland
Edinburgh
Midlothian
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Mini Overview: Light dice rolling. Try to form buildings of three types; the higher a building goes, the more it's worth.

Mini Review: A nice light game. Easy to learn, quick to play. Not as much "push your luck" as "hope to get the stuff you need", but some amount of control in what dice you select.

thumbsup

Lisa 53 (clobbered us with big buildings)
David 45
Brian 40
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5. Board Game: Tokaido [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:449]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Back to the hot games room for Tokaido. We've been eagerly awaiting this one on the grounds of:
A) It's pretty.
B) Antoine Bauza.
C) We already bought the promos for it.

We found two others to join us, and someone to teach us.

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Marshall P.
United States
Wichita
Kansas
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There is grandeur in this view of life, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
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August
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Mini Overview: Move along a road scoring various categories at each destination. Some items cost money, which is limited. Collecting sets scores better than a bunch of unconnected cards. The player who is farther behind moves next, so jumping ahead lets others grab the stuff you passed.

Mini Review: Pretty and simple. It's hard to decide how much control you really have, or whether you almost always want to take the closest spot. Having to move last on the first turn, I felt very "stuck" in that position.

thumbsup

Lisa 92
Brian 76
August 71
Marshall 71

Not sure how I wound up with 2nd place! My special ability was a bonus for each traveler I met, and I only met one all game because Lisa kept taking them ahead of me. I could have skipped ahead to meet a traveler, but doing so would have involved skipping 4 or 5 spaces, and that always seemed to be too much.

Rules screw-up: We played the board backwards! Whoops. It is a suggested variant, however.
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6. Board Game: Space Cadets [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1223]
Brian M
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Thornton
Colorado
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And here we get to the first reason for the geeklist title.

As co-op fans, this was very high on our "want to play" list and was free in the hot game room. We started joined by just Candy, a friend of ours from past cons, and were getting ready for a 3 player game when two more players showed an interest and we added in Tanner and Ryan.

Unfortunately, this was a hard game to learn and teach. Like several others, Lisa had read the rules, but it had been weeks, and she was needing to refresh. It's not that any part of the game is complicated, but there are a lot of parts that all work differently.

We played the first mission and got completely clobbered, with major damage to the ship on early turns (heh heh...largely due to my confused piloting ) before we even got to an enemy!

We did manage to get one crystal before we were destroyed.

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Candy Weber
United States
Port Charlotte
Florida
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Tanner
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Mini Overview: A party style game of a spaceship bridge crew. Each players plays a "mini-game" under a 30 second time limit to steer, fire weapons, scan enemies, etc.

Mini Review: Mixed feelings here. It was fun to play overall, but ran awfully long for what it is. The thematic immersion is very weak compared to Space Alert. Some of the mini-games are fun (piloting the ship robo-rally style, for example), while others were disliked by basically everyone at the table (memory match for the tractor beam was the worst).

Not sure what to think - need another play to evaluate more!
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7. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:217]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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It was getting late and we wanted to get to bed early, but I figured we had time for this quick game, and Sterling and Marcia (who we know from Colorado) taught us this light but fun filler. (I also wanted to try it because I thought it might sell out quickly).

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Sterling Babcock
United States
Longmont
Colorado
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Marcia Babcock
United States
Colorado
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Mini Overview: Draw a card, play a card in attempt to have the highest number left in the round of kick the other players out. A lot of guessing of what cards other players are holding.

Mini Review: Nice pocket size gaming fun. Pretty shallow, but what do you expect? I can't really see playing to the full suggested 4 points. Lisa would far have preferred it had we been able to get the original version with the promo for a prince to woo instead of the princess. What does she want to send love letters to a princess for?

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Lisa 2 (She may not have wanted to woo her, but she was apparently good at it!)
Marcia 1
Sterling 1
Brian 0
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8. Board Game: Tokaido [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:449]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Captain's Log: Con Date Thur-2012-11-15

Thursday started a bit sleep deprived. We'd retired early, but had wound up with a noisy room next to the elevators (despite making repeated advance requests to the hotel for a QUIET room). On the upside, the Hyatt Regency handled the problem MUCH better than the Westin ever handled problems.

We weren't sure what to start with, and ran into Jeff from Denver over Tokaido. He wanted to learn, we wanted to play again. Logical fit.

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J M Duran
United States
El Paso
Texas
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Bill Whalen
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Mini Overview: See above.

Updated Mini Review: We saw a lot more tight competition for money this game. One player was actively blocking others out of the income spaces. I enjoyed this play better (I didn't start out going last!) and Lisa enjoyed it less (she DID start out going last). The rulebook has a variant that gives players bonus or penalty starting money depending on their starting position; I think this variant will improve the game.

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Bill 79
Jeff 77
Brian 61
Lisa 56
J Manuel 51
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9. Board Game: The City [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1725]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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We decided we should show up early to avoid lines for the Escape Experience. Finding lots of others waiting at tables playing fillers with the same plan, Jeff pulled out The City and we played with Jeff and Mark (ehomer666), another friend from Denver.

I missed the scores for this one as we finished a hurry since the event was starting. I know Jeff exactly hit 50 points and won.

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Jeff W
United States
Parker
Colorado
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Mark Innerebner
United States
Littleton
Colorado
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I am Evil Homer.
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Mini Overview: Pick a card and play, discard other cards for the cost. Really fast hand management game. Race for the Galaxy trimmed down to the bare minimum.

Mini Review: Great filler, just don't take it too seriously.

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10. Board Game: Escape: The Curse of the Temple [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:432]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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The Escape Experience was just a bunch of people playing Escape. Escape, however, is a VERY fun game, as Lisa and I already knew since we kickstartered it and have been playing quite a bit. And for playing you were entered into a prize drawing to win a trip to Essen next year!

Since we had teams of 5, Jeff left to allow the couples to play together, so we played with Mark, Jackie (mongoosedoom) and Josh (kylock).

This was a frantic crazy bit of excitement and fun, as usual. We just barely escaped - Jackie was surely rolling under the door just as it closed, barely grabbing her hat in time!

We stayed a bit longer to teach two of the next tables. Escape is, strange as this may sound, a fun game to teach.

Played with:

Jackie Keiser
United States
Arlington
Texas
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Josh Hawks
United States
Ft Worth
Texas
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Mark Innerebner
United States
Littleton
Colorado
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Mini Overview: Real-time co-op die rolling game, played against a 10 minute time limit. No turns; just roll dice like crazy trying to get combinations to move, explore and find place crystals. Several "modules" offer gradually increasing complexity.

Mini Review: Ten minutes of action and laughs. Light and silly, but very fun, especially with all the modules added in.

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11. Board Game: Trains [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:383] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Back to the hot games room! Trains was sitting free. No one else joined us, so we just played two player.

I was hesitant on playing on the grounds that it's really hard to get, so I didn't want to play it and really like it.

Mini Overview: Dominion with a physical board element, where you place train tracks and stations to score points.

Mini Review: Very nice! The board elements work very well with the deckbuilding, adding just enough to really spice up the game without making it drag or over-complicating it.

thumbsup thumbsup

Lisa 68
Brian 43
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12. Board Game: Snowdonia [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:355]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Then a table or two over for another train themed game.

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Dale Gifford
United States
West Valley City
UT
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Nathan Gifford
United States
Kansas
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Mini Overview: Worker placement to gather resources and build, with areas to build gradually becoming available as you progress the railroad up the mountain.

Mini Review: Nice mid weight game. Good juggling of resources and a variety of goals to complete to score more points.

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Lisa 133
Brian 132
Dale 107
Nathan 73
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13. Board Game: P.I. [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:1577]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Finally, we actually checked a game out!

Lisa had wanted to try this deduction themed game, which is unusual by being a 2 player playable deduction game.

It took a bit of work to find more players. In fact, it seemed like this con it was harder than usual to find players for games. I think everyone was wanting to play the game they picked out, so there were a lot more "player wanted" flags than roaming players.

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Anthony Pellicane
United States
Unspecified
Pennsylvania
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Chris McMahon
United States
Eau Claire
Wisconsin
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Mitch Stewart
United States
Texas
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Mini Overview: Mixture of Clue and Mastermind. Try to figure out the suspect, crime and location that the player on your right is holding via gaining "positional" clues on the board.

Mini Review: Not sure what to think. Enjoyable, but there seemed to be a lot of luck to it (a good random card guess could give you part of your solution very quickly!), and not as much deduction as we might like.



Poor Anthony (I think it was Anthony). He was sooo certain he had figured out his combo, but had missed one other possibility. We spent a while analyzing to verify that in fact no, Lisa not not messed up on any of his clues.

We only played two rounds due to some time constraints.

Chris 14
Mitchel 12
Lisa 10
Anthony 8
Brian 6
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14. Board Game: Courtier [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:2084]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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We stopped by the AEG booth, picked up one of the last three copies of Love Letter, and played this demo.

We didn't play a full game, but did get a taste for it.

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J Shortz
United States
Fall City
Washington
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Mini Overview: Influence certain characters with card play to gain control of guilds, and use those characters to fulfill goals for points.

Mini Review: This felt slow paced. You placed one cube, then someone else took it away on their turn. Like a very hard to progress tug of war. The AEG employees mentioned that the game accelerated once a few goals were completed, but we never got that far.

thumbsdown

I didn't write down the scores. I think:
Lisa - in the lead.
Brian - in 2nd.
Jessica - in 3rd.
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15. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:217]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Away Team Mission

We decided to try the restaurant shuttle for dinner, along with several friends from Colorado; Jeff Wu, Mike, Anna and Autumn.

This was...not the best idea. Traffic due to construction was a disaster. There was much debate in the shuttle bus over whether Texas or Chicago traffic was worse. There was also discussion on the bus about designing games based on city planning, and how well the 'starvation strategy' was going to work for us.

We picked stop 3. It was a neat area with lots of Christmas lights up, and was nice to walk around. Our first restaurant choice was closed for a private party. While we were contemplating where to go instead, a couple also looking at restaurant menus suggested we try Tolbert's, just down the street. They had eaten there the other night and thought the food was great.

Tolberts had a mix of American and Mexican food. It was ok, but certainly not great. Service was a bit slow, they forgot Autumn's appetizer (and poor Autumn had been so busy in the Tichu tournament that she hadn't eaten since 9 AM that morning!) and gave Anna pot roast so tough she could barely cut it.

We had a long wait for the bus to pick us up. So long that I decided to pull out Love Letter and play a game. This proved...somewhat amusing. (Note: we were rotating first player rather than having the winner go first. Oops).

Round 1: Lisa plays first. Discards a Baron and compares her Prince to me. And finds I have the Princess, and is out of the round.

Round 2: I play. Then Mike plays, discards a Guard, and asks Lisa if she has a Priest. She does, and is out of the round.

Round 3: Mike plays first, discards a Guard, and asks Lisa if she has a Priest. She does, and is out of the round.

Round 4: Autumn plays first, discards a Guard, and asks MIKE if he has a Priest. He does, and is out of the round. Lisa is so happy that she'll maybe get to last more than the first round...and then the shuttle bus shows up before she can take her turn!

Overall, dinner took over 3 hours. Ouch.

We spent a while swimming in the pool after dinner. Which is pretty nice, though it was very cold getting out of it!
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16. Board Game: CO₂ [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:568]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Captain's Log: Con Date Fri-2011-11-16

We started Friday going straight to the hot games room. This time, we ran into Lorna, who taught us CO2.

Played with:

EGG Head
United States
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Mini Overview: Start projects to gain resources and knowledge, then use those to build powerplants to score points. Try to keep CO2 levels low, or everyone loses.

Mini Review: Interesting dynamics. You can easily "steal" projects and power plants from other players, but you get resources by proposing and installing plants, and spend them to actually build the plant and score points, so there's no "jamming" waiting for others to build. Once we had it all figured out it flowed very smoothly and provided an interesting economic challenge.

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Rules screw-up: We had the power plants stacked backward, which caused some issues at the end of the game.

Lisa 136
Lorna 126
Brian 119
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17. Board Game: Zombicide [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:345] [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Next we had a change of pace. This year, they had given out vendor room bingo cards. Visit a dealer, get a stamp. Complete rows to win geekgold.

This wound up being a great drive to really explore the vendor room, once we got into the spirit of it. It was a lot of fun; we saw several interesting products that we might normally have skipped.

We played a demo game of Zombicide at the CoolMiniOrNot booth. Quick demo scenario; I got killed fighting past the zombies (after doing most of the fighting mind you!) but Lisa made it past to win the game for us.

Mini Overview: Straightforward (at least from the demo) co-op game of searching, fighting zombies and leveling up. Seemed simple to play.

Mini Review: The demo made it look fun! Pretty simple. Lots of die rolling. I want to play more.

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18. Board Game: Invasion Defense [Average Rating:5.70 Unranked]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Showed our Invasion Defense prototype to a few people, got some good feedback, and got some interest!
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19. Board Game: Hooyah: Navy Seals Card Game [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:5849]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Second check out from the library!

We completely failed to find anyone else to play this with us, so just went for a two player.

Mini Overview: Co-op rummy-ish game. Draw cards to match the colors you need for a "mission" while running against a time and health limit. A few special abilities to spice things up.

Mini Review: Played fine. Really low on theme. Didn't excite me; Lisa liked it a bit better. Sort of Ticket to Ride-ish in terms of trying to draw the colors to form sets that you need.

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We played the Compound Raid (mission 1) and won with 286 points.
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20. Board Game: Spellbound [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:3254]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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And, winning the prize for most insanely over-sized cool playing figures...

We preordered this as soon as possible, but since we still haven't even got shipping and payment info for it, figured we would go ahead and play it at BGG.Con. Back to the hot games room!

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james pfaffengut
United States
Texas
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Mini Overview: A cooperative deck building game, where players all use a shared deck and try to defeat Baba Yaga. You not only have to manage your deck, but your hand of cards; you can leave some cards for the next player, and have to commit one card to the battle each turn.

The pieces and board, incidentally, are really cute and cool.

Mini Review: Cute and fun. It's got some exploration, some tough choices, some interesting deck building, and an interesting varied setup so you'll have different creatures to recruit each game.

Can't wait until we can actually buy it and play it more!

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We had an incredible bit of luck turn 1. There's an event in the deck that requires you to visit a specific location on the turn that it comes up. If you managed, you get a sunstone (good). If not, a moonstone (bad) gets added to the bag. The event came up first turn, with us having no idea where the location was - and by random pick I found it on my first move.

We won this pretty solidly...but that was largely due to a rules mess up. Ooops. blush

Rules screw ups: We weren't discarding the battle cards from the tower each turn. We were actually about to do this correctly when a player who had player earlier was watching the game and "corrected" us. Ah well. That's how cons where everyone is learning new games tend to go.
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21. Board Game: Kings of Air and Steam [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:1406]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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I'd been eying this one in the back of the hot games room. It took a while to sort through the rules (which Lisa did), but once she had it was straightforward to play with excellent references.

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Bob Lau
United States
St. Louis Park
Minnesota
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Sandra
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Mini Overview: A pick up and deliver game with two levels to delivery. You use your airship to pick up goods, but then need to drop them at rail stations for transport into the city. It's also got some elements of maneuvering and upgrading your airship.

Mini Review: Fast playing and intuitive, with a nice mix of options and actions going on.

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Lisa 170
Brian 134
Sandra 116
Rob 106

Late in the game we decided to avoid repeating the dinner bus fiasco by ordering food to be delivered to the hotel. I am not remembering the name of the restaurant. It was an Italian place, though we got sandwiches and artichoke dip, and it was FANTASTIC.
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22. Board Game: Asgard [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1980]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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We ran into Bay and decided we needed to play a game together. Last year, we all played Olympus. This year we went for Norse mythology instead.

This was not the best idea. The rules took quite a while to digest, and the game ran later and longer than we expected it to.

Played with:

Bay Chang
United States
Hillsborough
California
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Mini Overview: Secret action selection to gather resources and attempt to gain more "workers" to take more actions and "troops" to influence battles. Battles aren't player vs player; the players can support "light" and "dark" sides in battles on Midgard. Everything builds towards gods fighting each other, with players attempting to swing the battles to the gods they have the favor of.

Mini Review: This was...strange. Bay described it as very "indirect". You do things aiming for long range gains, and have to make a lot of tradeoffs. I liked it more than the others, Bay disliked it a lot, and Lisa was somewhat neutral on it. It would be interesting to play again now that we've wrapped our heads around how the whole game flows.



Brian 125
Lisa 121
Bay 104

I squeaked ahead in the final battle. I did some persuading of the others not to waste resources on me, since I had a lot fewer support disks out in the battles. I honestly thought this was a valid argument; none of us had really considered that a few of Lisa's and Bay's support disks were on opposing gods, so they could not both score.
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23. Board Game: Oh no... INVASION!!! [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:10874]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Captain's Log: Con Date Fri-2012-11-16

We started off the morning with another co-op from the library.

Played with:

Scott Burns
United States
Centennial
CO
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Bob Schrempp
United States
Atascadero
California
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Mini-Overview: A co-op card game. Play weapons with colors that match aliens to destroy them. Play sets and you only have to discard 1 card from the set.

Mini-Review: Not much to this. Draw cards. Hope to draw the permanent station-boosting cards early. Match colors. It was certainly playabale, reasonable for light fun, but not one I'd go choose to play. I think Lisa liked it a bit more.



We won this with all of us still alive, though things were a little touch and go during the final battle!

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24. Board Game: The Flea Market Game [Average Rating:6.80 Unranked]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Wow! There was actually room to move around with trampling people in the flea market this year!

You had to budge and shove a little, but not trample.

I managed to get away without buying anything this year! Lisa didn't even have to talk me out of anything.

Either I'm developing better self control...or I've already got WAY too many games.
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25. Board Game: Dungeon Command: Sting of Lolth [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:1466] [Average Rating:7.34 Unranked]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Needed to kill a bit of time before the math trade (I had one item left to deliver), so I went for something quick from the library.

Lisa and I had played the playtest of this, and weren't greatly impressed, but I wanted to see how the final game turned out. She took the Drow, and I took Cormyr.

Mini-Overview: Tactical combat game. No dice involved, but players have hands of cards to make special actions and attacks with. You only have a few models in play at a time, and can add more as reinforcements as the game progresses.

Mini-Overview: It's improved since the playtest version! This seems like a decent little combat game. Simple to play, but the cards add some decent variety. I still think the D&D Minis game was better, but at least this one isn't collectible.

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We didn't have time to finish, but Lisa was well ahead on points.
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