Our GenCon 2013 Trip with pictures
Steve O'Grady
United States
Jacksonville
Alabama
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This was our 2nd GenCon. We went in 2011 and were there for 2 days. This time, we planned to be there all four days. So we set up work vacations around it. My oldest son (Chris) flew in from Boston. My youngest son (Tim) drove up from Auburn to meet us at home, and on Wednesday morning, my wife (Karen), Tim and I all loaded up the car and left at 7:30am from Alabama for our trip to Indianapolis for the best 4 days in gaming...
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1. Board Game: Dungeon Roll [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:1992]
Steve O'Grady
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Jacksonville
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We got to Indianapolis about dinner time. We checked into the Laquinta out in Plainsfiled (I have Laquinta Points from my RL job), quickly had dinner at a local restaurant, then drove downtown to pick up our registrations at Will Call at about 8:00p. We walked around inside a while. There was no registration packet. The Programs were all gone. And they closed down the window for the Coupon book, which we picked up Thursday morning. We did find a bunch of Programs for the taking by the vendor hall. It was not open and wouldn't be until the next day, but the Programs were plentiful in that area.

Afterward, we walked outside where the food trucks were set up. It was a gorgeous summer evening. The atmosphere was charged with gamers everywhere, talking, boasting, comparing, and even some playing where they could find a spot.

We left to pick up my son at the airport, then went back to the hotel, where we broke out DUNGEON ROLL. I kickstarted the game. The family enjoyed it, though it is probably better for 2 with one player rolling as the Dungeon Lord and the other being the main party player. Each person rolls their own party, goes as many levels in as they dare. They do it for 3 rounds. Whoever has the most experience points after 3 trips into the dungeon wins. Simple. Fun. Nice components. Great game for when you and one other person have 30 minutes before that next event and want to just play until then.

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2. Board Game: Domaine [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:647]
Steve O'Grady
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Jacksonville
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My wife had no events scheduled for Thursday. Tim and I had Giant DOMAINE from Mayfair as our first scheduled event at 9am. Neither of us have ever played the game, though it has been on my radar for a couple years. Two others joined the game, making it a game of 4. You start with 3 castles, try to build borders around your castle area, then expand those borders, and support it with Knights which are not used in any combat, just as a support element to your Domaine area. I won the game. The player to my left was getting closed out, and in his attempt to get his second Domaine, he inadvertently gave me my third, putting me 1 point from victory, which I easily had with the cards in my hand. Thank you very much. Great start to the Con.

Tim deciding on his next move
Me...looking intent
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3. Board Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:286]
 
Steve O'Grady
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This was the one item we came to GenCon 2013 for. Tim and I met Karen at the vendor hall about 10:45a and I arrived to see about 30 or so copies of this left on the shelf and a L O N G line to pay for it (about a 45 minute wait as it turned out). They did sell out by noon. I grabbed my copy plus the play mats that were also available (later I discovered the mats really add visually to the game, and have a small functional value as well). My next event was not until 2pm, but Chris was only available from 11a to noon for lunch. A guy from Paizo walked around the line and told us that anyone with cash could check out immediately. I had cash. And two minutes later, I was on my way to lunch with my family with game in hand.

We demoed it later when we got back from lunch. And we played it on Friday night in the Open Gaming Room. My wife likes co-op games and prefers them over head to head with me. In the demo (and in our play on Friday night) we were looking for two things. (Did the co-op function work well, and (2) did we enjoy it enough to come back. The game succeeded for us on both counts, and we look forward to exploring the Pathfinder world through this card game for a while.



Karen and Tim in Vendor Hall
One view of Vendor Hall
Me demoing Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
Karen also doing the demo
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4. Board Game: 1812: The Invasion of Canada [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:626]
Steve O'Grady
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Jacksonville
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With no events for the day, my wife took off after lunch to visit her sisters in Lafayette (about an hour north of town). The next event for Tim and I was 1812: INVASION OF CANADA from Academy Games. I bought this game at Origins in 2012 and both my son and I enjoy a war conflict game from time to time. (I hesitate to call it a wargame, lest I start an independent debate from the Wargamer crowd here on BGG). There were 5 players in the event, so all factions were used. I was the Indians. My son was the American Regulars.

They opened up with an incursion into the Ft Erie area. As Indians, I had a concentration in the west, and after they failed in an attempt to move from Ft Detroit into Canada, my Indians, with some lucky die rolls and help from the Canadians took Ft Detroit. After that I continued to move area by area to Ft Meigs. Meanwhile they decided to cut off my reinforcements and took my home area of Six Nations, but by doing that, isolated themselves there. We (Brits and Canadians) went around them, taking back Ft Erie and moving into Buffalo and Ft Niagara. There was some back and forth in the east, but the main concern for them was rescuing the isolated troops at Six Nations. I then came across Lake Erie and Lake Ontario with the Canoe movement card, taking several starred areas unopposed. Before they knew it, they had 6-7 areas we controlled that they had to take back. We hurried through the play of Treaty cards to end the game in our favor, and barely got it on our last turn, as they made an heroic comeback, but we got last phase in the turn when we played the last Treaty card.

We won. I won. I was 2-0 so far for the Con.
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5. Board Game: Axis & Allies 1941 [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:3431]
Steve O'Grady
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We walked over to Steak and Shake to meet my other son Chris for dinner. He had spent his day Building a Foam Weapon at 10a, Playing the MAGE WARS APPRENTICE event, and then playing in the LARP GOLEMBANE event.

After dinner the 3 of us were in the AXIS AND ALLIES 1941 event at 7p. I was Germany. Tim was the Americans. Chris was the British. The other two players were Japan and Russia. I opened with an attack on northern Russia. My ally went to Manchuria and got his rear kicked there. The Brits also kicked Japan out of the Southern Indian ocean area. (don't have the map in front of me, so guessing on area names). Meanwhile I continued to keep the pressure on Russia. America tried to storm the beaches in Western Europe and was successfully repelled. The Brits tried to support, but did not have much as were merely a bother. The Japanese then moved towards Hawaii and took out much of the American fleet there.
By the time we hit 9:00p, we all had other places to be. We did not finish the game, but Germany clearly had the most dominant position on the board. Granted, we did not have enough time to let the allies build up and force the Germans into defensive mode. So, while I had a good position, I could not claim victory in an unfinished game. But we all REALLY had fun getting it to that point.

(So lets call it 2 1/2 - 0 so far for me).

Hall Play area
Axis & Allies 1941...Chris and Tim
The strategic situation
Chris after D-Day that didn't go well
Does Dad sense oncoming Victory here?
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6. Board Game Publisher: Paizo Publishing
Steve O'Grady
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Karen finally made it back from seeing her sisters to pick us up around 9:30 to go back to the hotel.

Below are a few Thursday pictures.

Actually from Wed night at restaurant...Karen and me
Tim....we are here at GENCON 2013
random candid view
random candid view
TMNT and Tim
Did I mention the costumes?
and the music?
Tim in the vendor hall.
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7. Board Game: Ascension: Rise of Vigil [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:974] [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
Steve O'Grady
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Jacksonville
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We shopped while at the Vendor Hall. We pick up Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set, but we also picked up a couple more while there, including this one. We bought Ascension: Deckbuilding Game while we were at Origins 2013 earlier this year and liked it so much, we decided to expand on that with this purchase.
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8. Board Game: Doctor Who: The Card Game [Average Rating:5.83 Overall Rank:5615] [Average Rating:5.83 Unranked]
Steve O'Grady
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Jacksonville
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we found this 2012 release of a DR WHO CARD GAME for 3-4. We all demoed it, and because as a family we are huge Dr Who Fans, this was a no brainer. I really could not do it justice to describe it, the mecahnics are different from anything I have played. But it kept our interest and really got our Dr Who geek on. You have locations that are played. You defend them as the Doctor and companions, and try to take them as Daleks and other enemies. When you get to a certain point of locations taken, you win. Not a really good description, but not too far off. There are subtleties in play to keep it strategically interesting. It was enjoyable. A diversion and nothing more. I could not play it all night. But as a "Whovian", I would want to play it with my family for 30 minutes or so in between heavier gaming.
 
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9. Board Game: Vampire Empire [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:2508]
Steve O'Grady
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Jacksonville
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Our final purchase for Thursday was Vampire Empire. Now I have not ever played this game. But my wife and I try to come home with at least one game that is different from things we normally play. This one from Stronghold Games caught our interest.

It is a card game. One player is the Vampire. The other player is a Vampire Hunter. There are 10 Hunters that person controls. However, 3 of those hunters are actually Vampires also. The Vampire has to trick his/her opponent as to which of the 10 are a vampire and which is not.

At least, this is what I understand about the game.

Still yet to be played. We will probably break it out this coming weekend.

 
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10. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:101]
Steve O'Grady
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Jacksonville
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Friday morning we had open until noon. We got in about 10am, and discovered parking to be a real issue later in the morning. Note for next time....get there no later than 8:30am.

We shopped the vendor hall. We had been looking for a nice Dice Tower and found a nice cherry wood Dice Tower for $30. At Origins, the same thing was nearly double that. We also picked up our GenCon 2013 T-Shirts, and I got a nice GenCon 2013 Dice Bag.

Also in the morning, Chris went to FOAM FIGHTING. Not sure if he used the Foam weapon he made the first day. But he had a great time.

For lunch, we took advantage of the Ruths Chris Steak Restaurant specials for GenCon and had 2 mini steak (fancy burgers) sandwiches with chips and a cookie. Really overpriced, and when we got back, Tim's bag had chips and cookie and no sandwich. Because of time, we game him one of our two, and I ate light (watch the weight!).

Chris demoed and shopped while Karen, Tim and I played our only Fantasy Flight Games event (they are HARD to book)...Cosmic Encounter. There were 8 players. The round went around the table only once before we had a winner. I was in the last play of the game for the win, negotiated a shared victory, keeping my undefeated streak alive when my "partner" double crossed me and took the victory all for himself. I considered doing that to him...AND SHOULD HAVE....I just never considered he would do it to me. My bad! Stupid rookie error.

But we had FUN. My wife and I used to play the original EON version in the 1970s. Really good to see this fun game still being played and supported by FFG.
 
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11. Board Game: Pathfinder [Average Rating:7.10 Unranked]
Steve O'Grady
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Jacksonville
Alabama
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NOT THE GAME WE PLAYED IN PICTURE

At 2pm, all 4 of us met to play PATHFINDER RPG event. Now, I am not into RPGs. I try. I really do. My wife loves to play. My 2 sons are RPG players. And I really want to like them. I am very impressed with Pathfinder. Heck, we bought the new 2013 Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set on Thursday.

It was boring. The scenario had us all hunting some missing mischievous gnomes. It was 4 hours. Or supposed to be. I tried it for about 90 minutes. I was cold in the room. The noise level was high and my 60 year old ears were just not hearing him above the noise (for that fact, most of my family could barely hear above the noise as well). I wanted to like it. I wanted to play 4 hours with my family. Eventually, I realized I could be having a far better time demoing stuff in the vendor hall. So, I got up, asked the party if they could go on without me without my sword. They said yes. And I got the heck out of there.

They played on for 2 more hours while I went to the demo hall.

Chris and Tim in Pathfinder...Karen in background
Chris, Karen and Tim...and many many gnomes
many many mischievous gnomes. They have their hands full.
 
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12. Board Game: 1775: Rebellion [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:247]
Steve O'Grady
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Jacksonville
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While I was out without my family, while they were finishing their (fun?) Pathfinder experience, I made my way back to the Vendor Hall and ended up at the Academy Games, Inc. booth. I demoed 1775: Rebellion a little and with it's similarities to 1812: The Invasion of Canada, I bought it after I demoed it. It is the same system adapted to the New England colonies at the start of the American Revolutionary War. As a wargamer (and again I hate to call this a wargame and start a long debate here by wargamers), I really liked the system, and the play. I was quite happy with this purchase.
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13. Board Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:422]
Steve O'Grady
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We all met up for dinner at one of the ICC food booths, and brought our food into the Open Gaming hall. We planned to spend Friday night as a family, playing games together.

Chris brought this one from Boston to show it to us and get us into the experience. We enjoyed it. It went rather quickly. It is a co-op with one player that turns out to be the traitor (you don't know who until later in the game). We found the bad guy early on. We defeated the bad guy, rescued the girl and got the heck out of there. The game has a system so that no two games play the same, with different story objectives each time. The variations on those are numerous, so it would take a very long time, with many playings, to get the same story again to play.

Good game.
 
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14. Board Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:286]
 
Steve O'Grady
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Next, we broke out our Thursday morning purchase. We did get a few people around us come over and watch, or comment...or envy.

We had only the knowledge of our demo from Thursday, so it took a while to read through the rules, set it up and get it going. Like the demo, I shortened the cards and decks so we could get the sense of the experience in a shorter period of time.

Essentially, there are a number of locations, and a bad guy/villain to hunt down in the early scenario. As a party, you hunt for him at these locations. Once you find him, he will likely slip away to another location, but if party members close off locations, it limits where the villain can run to. Eventually you corner the villain, and defeat him, if you do not run out of the timer cards before.

My two sons are RPGers and Pathfinder players. So I will leave the expert opinions for them. But they both enjoyed the game and felt there was potential in this new co-op card game. As I said above earlier in the list, my wife and I like it and are happy to explore the Pathfinder world through this card game.

Dad and his two sons playing Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
Chris and Karen
Tim, Chris, and their mom.
Someone was nice enough to take a family picture
 
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15. Board Game: Credit Mobilier [Average Rating:5.96 Overall Rank:8027]
Steve O'Grady
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Jacksonville
Alabama
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Our final game for our Friday night was a lightweight train game called Credit Mobilier from Rio Grande Games. You buy build rail lines, buy stock, and move cargo. The mechanic is highly reminiscent of the stock purchasing and payouts of Acquire...but with cargo adding value to the stock dividends in lieu of hotels. The game ends when all but two cargoes have been moved from east to the Pacific Coast. Light weight. Enjoyable as a diversion.

By the time we finished, it was after midnight, and we had to be back by 8am for an event, and still had the half hour drive back to the hotel. NOTE for next time, stay at the downtown hotels.

Actually the hotel was nice. We had many GenCon players staying at the hotel which was out by the airport.
 
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16. Board Game: Serpent's Tongue [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:5505]
Steve O'Grady
United States
Jacksonville
Alabama
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I forgot this one. Just before we went to dinner and did our Friday night open gaming, we demoed Serpent's Tongue, originally a kickstarter game. Chris got into it after Kickstarter during the pre-order phase with special pre-order pricing (which just ended Monday Aug 19, unless they extended it). Think Mage Wars and you have an idea. The Spell books and spell cards are really nicely done, and are very quality components. Chris has the order out there. Tim liked it and enjoyed his demo of it. Karen and I...well...we just aren't into person to person Mage combat, so it did not go over on us. One unique feature is the cards have a language in which the Mage annunciates (I know I spelled that wrong) the spell when casting it.

I think this one could be a real winner once everyone sees these spell books and components, and learns to say the spell incantations vocally as a part of the game.

Figuring out how to say a spell
Chris the Spellcasting Mage
The Master and his protege...let you guess which is which...
 
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17. Board Game Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Steve O'Grady
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Jacksonville
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PICTURES FROM AROUND THE CON ON FRIDAY

 
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18. Board Game: Relic Expedition [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:4130]
Steve O'Grady
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Jacksonville
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Saturday morning.
8:00 AM.

Too little sleep last night!

I kickstarted this game. Karen likes exploration games and I thought this one would go over well with her. It did. She loved it. We met the designer Randy, and he was very excited and enthusiastic about the game. He ran the event. You explore the jungle, searching for treasures. There are Caves, Rivers, Mountains to find treasure in. There is quicksand (avoid), and animals...dangerous animals. There is a backpack mechanic that has a limit to what you can carry, and easily visually tells you how much room you have left in your backpack. Certain things you carry will aid you, such as a Med Kit to counter the snake bite (if you get bit). The board uses tiles to expand the exploreable areas.

After playing, I am really glad I kickstarted this one, and look to receive it some time in November or December.


This was the last scheduled event for Karen, Tim or me. Chris was in Pathfinder RPG for 5 hours on Saturday and 5 hours on Sunday.

Now it was time to go to the vendor hall and demo more games, and buy more...if the wife would let me (she did).
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19. Board Game: Firefly: The Game [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:276]
Steve O'Grady
United States
Jacksonville
Alabama
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Before Chris went to his Pathfinder event for the next two days, we sat outside the vendor hall door to snag a copy of this game. Chris made it in line and picked up a copy. I was not sure about it, so I decided to wait. However, we both picked up the Game Trader Magazine which included a free Firefly ship and ship card...the ARTFUL DODGER. Very nice.

Chris and Tim demoed it earlier in the Con, but Karen and I demoed it Saturday morning. This game is WAY COOL. OK..that is one person's opinion. But I love the idea of being your own ship captain, flying around space, trading, working deals and taking jobs, on the fringe of the law, staying away from the Alliance as well as the Reavers. This game drips with Firefly theme. I did not come home with this one (to my great regret), but I can state to the world it will be under my Christmas tree later this year.


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20. Board Game: Middle-Earth Quest [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:433]
Steve O'Grady
United States
Jacksonville
Alabama
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Next I went over to the Fantasy Flight Games booth. The line got much shorter since the long Thursday and Friday lines were. I was in line only 5-10 minutes Saturday, at most.

I have never played Middle-Earth Quest. I read about it, read great reviews about it, have wanted it since last year, and I want to own all the really good games of Middle Earth (War of the Ring (Second Edition) is still on my game radar for next year).

Check one more game off the "came to GenCon for" list.
 
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21. Board Game: Disaster Looms! [Average Rating:5.93 Overall Rank:8657]
Steve O'Grady
United States
Jacksonville
Alabama
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I looked at this game from Break From Reality Games. I did not get it. But I wanted to. Karen is not into many strategy games and this is a strategy game. In it, earth has just developed interstellar travel, but the bad news is, the sun is about to go Nova, and you must evacuate as many people as you can. You have to go out and explore to find suitable worlds. You need to develop better technology, all while the window of opportunity is closing. We did not demo it. Again I wanted to, but she was not to excited. And the boys were off doing other things (Chris in Pathfinder the rest of the day). I may pick it up next year.
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22. Board Game: Damage Report [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:4346]
Steve O'Grady
United States
Jacksonville
Alabama
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We did demo this game from Break From Reality Games. We liked it. It is not yet available, looking for a release in about 2-3 months.

While Karen and I were at Origins 2013, we demoed Escape: The Curse of the Temple, a real time dice rolling game. She loved it, but I didn't like the pressure. Upside was it was over in about 10 minutes. Downside was it was $60.

Damage Report is also a time based game. It is not a dice rolling game, and the mechanic for time was a little different. I still wasn't too comfy on the pressure of the game, but I liked it better. The ship is in tiles and configures to scale well for the number of players playing the game. She liked it. I think this may be a future purchase. I think I like the things coming out of Break From Reality Games.

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23. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:62]
Steve O'Grady
United States
Jacksonville
Alabama
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While Karen and I were at Break From Reality Games, Tim was over at the FFG area demoing Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game. He really wanted to try this out. He thinks the game dynamic of where you never know if you are a Cylon or not, and how you play the game once you find out later in the game, was a very cool game mechanic. I have a tendency to agree.

We joined up with him there, got a small taste of it. I was going to get it for him (hey...he is the perverbial poor starving college student), but he gave us signals to hold off until he sees more if he can only get one game.

Smart kid.

Epilogue...he got something else, (more on that below), but he wants this one badly, so it will likely find its way under our Christmas tree for him in December.
 
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24. Board Game: Tomb: Cryptmaster [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:2831] [Average Rating:6.61 Unranked]
Steve O'Grady
United States
Jacksonville
Alabama
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Karen, Tim and I all went our separate ways to do our own things...demo as we choose. Karen also was getting ready to watch the costume walk.

I was at the Alderac Entertainment Group booth, and found this game marked for sale at $10. I did not know anything about it, but felt (1) for $10 how can you go wrong (you can), and (2) Karen loves Dungeon Crawls. Big box, beautiful components. After getting home, I was reading on BGG the rules are a mess, but it was mixed on the reviews as to whether playing it was worth the effort. We are going to try it out. It may go to Ebay later, but we will try it out. Hey...it was only $10!
 
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25. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:49]
Steve O'Grady
United States
Jacksonville
Alabama
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I wanted to play this game and if I liked it, I wanted to buy it. While the costume walk was happening, I went to the Rio Grande room and demoed Race for the Galaxy. I am sure I do not have to explain this to this crowd as it is quite a popular game. But essentially, it is a 2-4 player card game about building up your space empire and developing your worlds. It's play mechanics are very reminiscent of Puerto Rico. It is a builder game without any real direct confrontation, so I might be able to get my wife to play it with me. I went to the Rio Grande Games booth at the Vendor Hall booth and bought it.
 
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