DriveThru #TableTopDay
Joel Eddy
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Just got back from a fantastic day of gaming for #TableTopDay at Uncle's Games in Spokane Valley, Washington. The place was off the chain. They typically have a small Saturday "Board Game Day" every week, which myself and others in my core group have never attended. We usually meet on Thursdays at a member's home. Weekends are just a horrible time for the "hobby" side of my gaming. Family and other responsibilities take the forefront.

However, my core group does do a "Library Day" one Saturday once a month, if not every other month. I think we are going to change our "Library Day" and move it over to Uncle's. They did such a bang up job supporting #TableTopDay. I was honestly blown away by the atmosphere and enthusiasm that has permeated this day all around.

REALLY... BLOWN... AWAY. All day long, starting at noon and going until 10PM, there were fifty people in the shop at any given time. They provided free sandwiches and soda for everyone in the shop. They gave away a massive amount of games as prizes. They had several raffles, gaming trivia events throughout the day, and gave games to random "winners" who logged a play as a win. I was able to win a gift card and put it right back into the store for a second core set of X-Wing. The final prize was a new copy of Formula D. It kept things competitive, but not overly so. I don't think I saw a single meltdown of any kind in that regard.

It makes my geek heart happy to be able to share and see all of the various things being shared on the internet about this day. There were several gamer types represented at Uncle's today.

I saw everything from Pathfinder to Munchkin, Catan, King of Tokyo, Magic, Eclipse, Mage Wars, Puerto Rico, and too many others to list being played. It was a fusion of everything great about gaming.

Here's a list of "stuff" about the day.

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1. Board Game: DreadBall: The Futuristic Sports Game [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:1472]
Joel Eddy
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First game of the day was Dreadball. My buddy who is an avid Blood Bowl player and I had decided to get this one out of the way first. We figured it would be a good idea to get a relatively meaty two player game done first thing at noon. We both really wanted to try it for the first time, but wanted to be open to participating in multiplayer games through the rest of the day.

Our initial impressions were extremely positive. I've played Blood Bowl, but my fried is extremely involved in a league in the area here.

I loved Dreadball. I think it's probably better than Blood Bowl for me. My friend also liked it, but from just one play I think he would be hard pressed like it more than Blood Bowl just yet.

Even for our first game, we got it finished in just over an hour. We didn't make use of the foul calling and the referees like... at all. But the game flow was extremely fluid and balanced. I can't wait to try this one again. Everything is vastly more intuitive than Blood Bowl for me. And, it's exciting! It doesn't seem as chaotic to me, and the bits that are chaotic just seemed more "fun". I ended up winning by two points on the last rush, when my friend's clumsy orcs bobbled the ball in a fumble.



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2. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:254]
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Next up was Flash Point. I had yet to play this game. We just played the game on its basic level, and I was a bit underwhelmed by it.

We decided to just stick with basic game since myself and another were brand new. It's very much a filler in this regard. It was enjoyable enough, and after discussing how the advanced rules play out with some people who had played the game a few times, I would like to try the full game before judging it too much.

I do think my son might enjoy this game. However, I spent most of the game in one corner of the house putting out meaningless fires and finding false alarms instead of victims. I think if this happened to my son, he would be extremely bored very quickly. I don't know that the advanced rules solve this, but hopefully they do. I really enjoyed the production quality and the overall presentation of the game otherwise.




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3. Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:64] [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked]
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Probably the highlight of the day. We played in teams of two. My friend and I separated and teamed up with two people we'd never met before who were not shy about saying, "You guys need to show us X-Wing now!"

We broke out my vinyl playmat furnished with Hubble space imagery and decided to play the new smuggling mission include with the Millennium Falcon model. The Imperials had to get three cargo containers passed our Rebel "fleet" consisting of three ships: Skywalker in his X-Wing, Tycho in his A-Wing, and of course Solo piloting the Falcon. That put us right at 100 points with no room for enhancements. The Imperials decided to bypass Fett and field a squadron of various Tie Fighters decked out with various missiles and other enhancements.

It was a very intense match. We threw down a smattering of asteroids to keep the maneuvering interesting (this is a must), and the Rebels squeaked out a victory without losing a single ship. The Falcon was definitely on its last legs by the end, but we gave the smuggling ability to the A-Wing for the final two rounds and it was able to leave the skirmish and snag the last container just before it made a jump to hyperspace.

With my newly won gift card, I was also able to finally pick up a second core set. I may have to grab another couple more small ships to round out my collection now.... Must... stop... chasing... the ... dragon...

I hope FFG adds the Snow Speeder, AT-AT, AT-ST, and Death Star turrets in the next set. I know lots of people want some bombers and stuff like the B-Wing, and the land stuff isn't "necessarily" compatible with interstellar ships, but it would be amazing I think.







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4. Board Game: Kingdom Builder [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:456]
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*sigh* Kingdom Builder.

I had the opportunity to teach this to three other folks who I had never met, and I am pretty sure never played a game quite like this one. Everyone seemed to take to it by about half way through the game. Myself and another player constantly fell victim to the one major flaw of the game, drawing cards that lock you in to placing wherever the game dictates every turn.

I've played this game recently in the passed couple of weeks and almost enjoyed myself and been able to win games of it more often. However, the winner is pretty much determined randomly anyway if players are of equal skill level. This game is such a double edged sword for me. Half the games I play are fascinating and the combination of special ability tiles and scoring options just explode with "interesting". But the other half are exercises in rote cursing and muttering under my breath. I know this game won a couple of awards. What do I know? I guess I just want to have fun with a game 100% of the time, not 50%.

On the other hand, it's a real testament to what this day was all about. I don't remember what time it was that Kingdom Builder was played, but things were at a fever pitch at this point. People were bouncing all over the place trying new games. Even though Kingdom Builder felt flat for a couple of us, everyone had the overall attitude of, "OK. Well, what's next?"

Families were meandering in and out of the store, being introduced to new games and the hobby in general.

It was energetic. As if someone started a campfire in a cave long ago and strangers wandered in with innocent eyes and somehow this made the fire grow brighter. Somewhere in the distant back of the cave I heard a curmudgeonly troll writhe in pain.

It was freaking fascinating.



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5. Board Game: The Magic Labyrinth [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:855]
Joel Eddy
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The day was taking a decidedly "casual" bent at this point. But, I had no issue with it. It's #TableTopDay. Must... play... moar...

Another new game for me: The Magic Labyrinth. I knew all about it, having watched videos and read up on it long ago, but my kids have long since outgrown this one... or so I thought. Four adult males sat around and laughed and whooped and hollered as we tried to piece together the labyrinth and acquire various treasures. I am pretty sure I would never personally buy this game. The amount of luck involved in where the treasures are placed on the board just really throws the game balance out of whack.

Out of all the treasures that came out, I had one come up close to me, while what seems like 90% of the rest came out on the other side of the board. I was able to collect a few from watching others "trial and error" their way through the other side of the board. It's possible that my youngest boy, who is twelve, may still enjoy this game. I'm not sure. A bunch of thirty somethings seemed to, if only briefly.



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6. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:228]
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Next up, King of Tokyo and another opportunity to meet up with new folks. This time it was my friend and I joining with a father and daughter who were on the look out for something new. The dad was already a seasoned gamer, who loved Le Havre and other games of the heavier sort. He decided he would bring his daughter down to the store and see what the fuss was all about.

At this point, I must stop again and give much props to the Uncle's staff and other volunteers who brought games to play along with the demo library of games already available at the shop. The magnetic attitude of the staff really permeated through everyone that set foot in the store. There was next to no downtime in between games. After a miniscule break in the action, I was snagged along with the father/daughter team to play the King.

Playing with children is something special indeed. Watching them discover a new game just brings me all sorts of memories about the absorbtion of discovery. It's great to see them respond so positively to the enthusiam around them as well.

Also, I have no idea why I find King of Tokyo fun. By all accounts I should not like it. It's basically Yahtzee.

Games that mirror Yahtzee...? *sigh*

Well, I just don't like them. But this one is just raucous and short enough to keep it palatable for me, that I don't mind playing. However, it's not something I really look forward to, to be perfectly honest. I just end up seeming to have so much fun every time I play it. The curmudgeon in me is a persistent jackwagon.



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7. Board Game: Mage Wars Arena [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:146] [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked]
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Things were starting to wind down just every so slightly at this point. Bouncing through different games, I missed out getting into a game of Eclipse with some friends, and decided to get another friend to play Mage Wars. He was new to the game, and it ended up taking close to two hours to play, including rules explanation and a brief interruption to scarf down a sandwich.

This such an amazing game. I had four spellbooks made up. My friend chose the Forcemaster and I chose the Warlord (my favorite character right now). It was a fantastically epic battle. I'm not going to go over all of the little details and key moments of the game, as there are really too many to list. The gist of it is: I basically had his Forcemaster dead. He recovered about two thirds of the way back and was beginning to get some damage output going through a persistent Force Crush, but I was able to eventually overwhelm his mage enough that the upkeep cost could not be paid for. At this point, he was dog-piled and mauled by a small swarm of my creatures.

Mage Wars. You might be able to play two or three games of Netrunner in the time it takes you to play one game of Mage Wars, but heck if all those games of Netrunner will be equally as interesting throughout the session as Mage Wars is... and I think Netrunner is fantastic.





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8. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:338]
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Last game of the day. We played a team game (2v2) of Ingenious. I don't normally go for abstract games, but Ingenious has always been one of the few abstract games I will play happily. It's straight forward enough to keep it moving along at a good clip, and there is just enough of a light brush of strategy to keep it interesting throughout the entire game.

I don't think I like the team game as much as every one for themselves. There just isn't any real interaction between the partners to justify playing in teams. It's not "bad" or anything like that. I guess it seems odd to leave certain things open for your partner to play on, but then the opposing team plays in that exact spot anyway. It's possible there is some strategic nuance I am missing here. Who am I kidding? This an abstract game. Of course, I'm missing out on something. That's just how things go with me and abstracts.

I'd definitely try the team game again given the opportunity.



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