BGG.CON #6
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Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We're back! We missed the first one, I think, but then the other early ones were great: reasonably small, got to play with a bunch of people, had that small-con feel while offering a huge selection of games in the library, free door prizes ... it was a blast! Every year it grew; by our last visit it seemed a bit too big and impersonal! So we skipped the last couple of years. But last year, everyone seemed to be talking about how great the con had been! A new hotel, great location, terrific dealer hall, and so on. So we're back to check it out!

Well, it was indeed an excellent con! The hotel is easy to get to, has nice rooms and decent (and possibly even one great, though expensive) restaurants/cafe. And the gaming space was exceptional! The main gaming area was large but, unlike Origins' huge convention hall, didn't feel like you were in a cavern. The hot games area, complete with game teachers, was pretty awesome (although it would have been even nicer if it were a bit larger, with more copies of the very popular games)! And there were a bunch of other game rooms where you could find quieter tables (or where, at night time, the loud gamers apparently played) to play!

Looking forward to next year!
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1. Board Game: Mr. Gameshow [Average Rating:5.71 Unranked]
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Hillsborough
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TUESDAY, November 19

VACATION! Took it easy this morning, cleaning up and finally packing.

Nice, direct flight.

Hotel check in, then disappointing dinner at Mr. G's. $120!! Filet overlooked and not very flavorful, service not great. They comped us deserts: flourless chocolate cake desert not good, either, with ice cream that was not creamy. The hurricane desert, though , was good.
 
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2. Board Game: Tichu [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:119]
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Hillsborough
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On our way out, ran into Zev and Paul at the bar. Stefan joined later (and Paul left) -- Tichu! S and I had great cards -- won pretty handily. a much better way to start the con!

Hung out chatting for several hours.
 
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3. Board Game: Hold the Line [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:1847]
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MONDAY, November 20

Went to sleep at 2am, awoke at 6:30 -- too early for M! So slept another 2 hrs before waking up for real. Then, P90X Plyo, followed by leftover filet for breakfast. Wouldn't you know it? THIS half was cooked right! Then, time to register.


Long line! It snaked around the large registration area, up the stairs, and out the building (and almost around the corner)! Fortunately, it did move pretty quickly. Mary decided to go join some friends for breakfast, while I waited in line like a chump! Probably good for her -- it was shorter by the time she got in line. TomM was in line just ahead of me, luggage in tow.

Registration was pretty smooth: show your registration email, pick up your badge, raffle tickets, and swag bag (some coupons, a visit-the-dealer bingo game, a few cute custom meeples from MeepleSource, and a little card game); then get in the next line for the door prizes. My freebies: Sunrise City and Crazy Creatures of Dr. Doom (plus the card game in the swag bag, Noir BGG Edition -- I don't think there's a BGG entry for it yet!).
 
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4. Board Game: Russian Railroads [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:67]
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Hillsborough
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So I was wandering around looking at the game room (my first visit to this hotel) -- pretty spacious! -- when Mary called me: she needed her registration printout (I'd taken it hoping they'd let me pick up her stuff; they didn't ). She was in line with Tom and Bay (or maybe they was just keeping her company?). When they were finally done, we walked back into the game room and Rick grabbed us: time to play! He's a game explainer here, and is apparently very enthusiastic about his job -- Great! I missed my chance to play this (prototype) in April, and have wanted to try it ever since.


Very good worker placement game, with a train theme thinly pasted on -- didn't feel it at all, although that might be because it was a learning game. There is a LOT going on here, a LOT to learn at once!

The game was very enjoyable, but also had a bit of an odd engine-building mechanic: at the start of the game, you're scoring just a handful of points each round. On that final turn, you could be scoring over a hundred! Was there even any point in scoring those few little VP early on? Is there any hope at all of catching the player who manages to get ahead? Also, counting those VP every turn was a little annoying!

I'd like to play it again, but I may prefer Snowdonia if I'm looking for a train-themed worker placement game?!

--- Summary ---
Each player has their own board, with space for factories, and 4 rail tracks (to 4 different cities). On each track, use a track token to mark the progression of your rails (different colored marker for each type or rail). Some interesting twists:
- The different track types must be built in a specific order (black, gray, brown, white). Later tracks may never be advanced further on the track than the earlier tracks.
- On each track, as the track head advances, you cross several thresholds that provide awards: the ability to start a new color of track, victory points, bonus tiles, etc.
- Each track line can have one (two for the first rail) engine associated with it; the size of the loco(s) determines how far down the track you actually score VP

The central board has (almost) all the locations for placing workers. Each location requires 1-3 workers (of one player; played all together). Players, who start the game with 4 workers, will take turns using a location. These provide a variety of abilities, for example:
- advance 1 or 2 track heads by 1-3 spaces
- acquire an engine or factory; engines are allocated to rail lines, while factories (the reverse side of the tile) are placed on your factory line.
- earn 2 coins
- take 2 temporary workers
- jump ahead in turn order
- acquire an engineer, which has a unique power and becomes a worker-placement location only for you
- get an end-game bonus VP card

Each round ends when all players have passed on placing/using workers. Then, score VP for each track line. On each line, only spaces as far down the track as the loco level will score. Each track type scores VP for every space from its track head back to where the next color of track starts. Track types built earlier (e.g. black) score less/space than later tracks (e.g., white).

After 7 rounds, the game ends; most VP wins!
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5. Board Game: Glass Road [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:210]
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United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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Someone (sorry, I don't think we ever got her name?) from the last game volunteered to stay and teach us -- THANKS!!

This is the latest from Uwe Rosenberg. This one, though, plays much more quickly (maybe 60 min once you know the game?) while still giving you much to think about. The production wheel, originally seen in Ora et Labora, has been cleverly tweaked to manage resource collection and goods production: once you have enough of all the required resources, the are automatically consumed (1 each) to produce the advanced good (brick or glass). Like in Le Havre, the bazillion cards of Agricola have been cut way back, to roughly 30. They are now building tiles, only a random subset of which will be available each game. And the terrain stuff in Ora is also seen here, although simplified: several tiles on your player board, ability to acquire more.

Something brand new: a personal deck of action cards from which players select 5 each round (and play at least 3).

Cool game, but:
- like Loyang, it's a low-VP game (around 20) so every half VP is crucial.
- choices at the beginning seem overwhelming, with little guidance as to which cards to choose
- the production wheels feel vaguely like the Trajan circle: difficult to figure out how to manage it at first!
- it seems as if, to do well, you really have to figure out what actions other people are choosing (so you can piggy back onto them, getting up to 5 actions instead of your base 3)

I do, however, LOVE the production wheel -- so clever! A very nice refinement of the system!

I would like to try the game again, but I'm not necessarily crazy about it right now. Maybe it's just a first-game thing, but it seemed too random as to whether or not you got bonus actions from other people's card choices.

Oh, surprisingly, I won! I guess I built the right buildings!
 
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6. Board Game: BBQ Blitz! [Average Rating:5.58 Unranked]
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Hillsborough
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Mary put together a group of 18 or so (?) -- nice work! She set up 2 shuttles (6 people each), and the others had 2 cars. First time visit there for us, although we had had takeout from there a few years ago, during a very looooong Tichu tournament. It was de-licious! Especially the spicy sausage links, ham, and ribs!! The pork tenderloin (about 2 inches thick!) was apparently very tasty, too. This DEFINITELY needs to be a regular stop whenever we're back in Dallas!
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7. Board Game: Tichu [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:119]
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This time, Toni and I against Mary and Ted. We won!
 
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8. Board Game: One Night Ultimate Werewolf [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:264] [Average Rating:7.28 Unranked]
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Ted, Toni, Eric, John, Zev, Mary, and me.

I am not a fan of Werewolf: the few games I've played were long and painful, with me sitting there most of the time (having been lynched early on), BORED. But this version has been getting a lot of buzz, and promised to be very very quick so I had to give it a fair shake.

2 plays, and my suspicions were confirmed. This game is quick, but it's still Werewolf yuk. And the biggest reason I don't like the game is not for the length (I prefer longer games) or player elimination (although true, I don't like that aspect either); it's because it involves at least 2 skills I lack, and have little interest (or ability?) in acquiring:
- negotiation: convincing people to do stuff. While a great life skill, I just don't want to do it.
- people-reading: figuring out when someone is lying. That's another life skill that would be nice to have, but I just can't do it! Say what you mean, and mean what you say -- I don't want to have to figure out what you actually mean!

However, for people who enjoy Werewolf, this would seem to be a real winner! It still has the core of the game, albeit with some chaos from the characters in the Ultimate version of the game.

--- Summary ---
A bunch of character cards are distributed randomly, one per player. Then, everyone puts their card in a circle in the center, with some extra cards in the center. Everyone closes their eyes, then someone calls out every character in the game, in order (there's an app for that). When you're called, you act based on your character. There are a variety of powers, for example:
- look at a card
- trade any 2 cards
- copy another power

After every card has been called, everyone opens their eyes and the discussion begins. When everyone is ready, simultaneously point to a person; the player with the most votes is lynched. If the Werewolf is lynched, the Villagers win; otherwise, the Werewolf does. Of course, some characters modify this (e.g., if they're pointed to, they can kill someone else; or if they're killed, they win instead). And since there are some extra cards in the center, it's possible that NO ONE is a Werewolf; Villagers only win if they figure that out and decide not to kill anybody!
 
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9. Board Game: Core Worlds [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:510]
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Hillsborough
North Carolina
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THURSDAY, November 21

Awoke at 5:30, tried to sleep agai, gave up at 6: P90X Core Synergistics! Went down to the fitness center to let M sleep -- WAY busier than I expected at this hour! Just as I finished, M called -- she's awake! So, back to the room for P90X2 Plyocide ... sure hope this works off some of last night's meatfest!
 
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10. Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:15]
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Hillsborough
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Mary, Tom, and me -- Rick taught.

Rather than a new game, we have yet another refinement from Rosenberg. Basically, it's Agricola made faster and easier, and now with a vaguely fantasy theme (dwarves). I'm not the biggest fan of Agricola, although I'm getting to like it more now that I finally bought the iPad version for this trip (solo game series is pretty cool -- nicely done, Dale!). I've always found the struggle to get food a bit too much for me, and it seems like the game ends when you FINALLY get your little farm working! Maybe I'm just not a very good player? Probably. Anyway, I prefer Le Havre and Ora et Labora.

For me, Caverna is a good thing: I'd be happy to replace our copy of Agricola with Caverna. Or not ... whatever. But I'd certainly be willing to play Caverna again, this time actually looking at all the little building tiles in this game (which have replaced all the cards)!

--- Summary ---
Like Agricola, except:
- dwarves instead of humans
- you have a mountain into which you carve space used for dwellings (one/person; no upgrading) and buildings
- no cards; instead, there is a display of tiles from which EVERYONE can choose
- more animal/resource types
- harvest occurs at semi-random intervals
- can make food, at fixed ratios of resource:food, at any time
- "fighting" dwarves: used to send people on expeditions (you don't fight other players)
- slightly different point rewards for people, space, etc., and lower penalties for missing stuff; and SIMPLER scoring (most things are worth 1VP)
- less oppressive pressure to get your stuff done before someone else takes that action spot!
- more streamlined
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11. Board Game: Machi Koro [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:738]
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Hillsborough
North Carolina
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Looking for our next game in the Hot Games area, and this one had 2 open spaces -- just one or two tables over! Thanks for letting us join!

The game feels a bit like a light version of Settlers with special powers: you roll 1-2 dice, collect stuff (money), and use it to buy other stuff. And you generally want to spend what you got, so other people don't steal it from you! Going through the rules, it seemed like it might be fun. The early game, however, was disappointingly uninteresting: everyone pretty much acquired the same cards and had basically the same tableau.

I'd like to try it again -- it's quick enough, at least -- but not sure that this would be a keeper.

--- Summary ---
Each player starts with 2 face-up cards and 4 face-down objective cards. The display has several copies of 15 or so cards. Each card is color-coded and numbered (1-12): the number(s) tell you when that card activates, and the colors tell you if they activate only on your own turn (green), on other players' turns (red), both (blue); or if they have a special power (purple).

On your turn, roll 1 or 2 dice (your choice, once you've built one of your 4 objective cards). Cards with that number (or sum) may activate, earning their owner money or taking money from other players. Players may earn coins based on the roll. Then, you may purchase a card from the Display, or flip one of your 4 objective cards (the first player to buy all 4 wins the game).
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12. Board Game: Madeira [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:299]
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Hillsborough
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I'd caught a bit of the explanation for this on BGG's Essen channel, and heard about it on some podcast or other. It's a long, heavy game -- just my kind of game! -- and the one table in the Hot Games "room" seemed to always be busy. But finally, no one was there; the table was totally open! So we grabbed it and recruited 2 more players; we got Rick to teach us the game.

It's a complex worker-placement game with all kinds of interconnected bits and pieces. Sadly, we only played part of a game. I was having a good time, but no one else was -- so we ended it after 2.5 hours or so? I DEFINITELY want to try this again, hopefully to its conclusion!

--- Summary ---
The board shows:
- several islands, divided into 5 areas, each with several regions. Each region grows a specific resource (grain, sugar, wine) although most start with stacks of wood tokens. Each area has a specific type of power; in addition, at the start of each round 4 person placards, with different powers, are randomly allocated to these areas. At the start of the game, players place 2 meeples into different regions.
- 3 city tracks, with a random distribution of people tiles; these are single-use powers
- 3 colonies, where players may send boats for powers and points
- 3 trading areas, where players send boats with goods (to earn money)
- pirate area: start the game with 2 meeples/player here. At the start of each round, roll 3 black d6 (1-3) and place the pirate dice here.

A separate action board shows n rows with several VP tokens, set up at the start of the game. At the start of each round, roll and place 3d6 (1-3) on each row.

Each round, players select a row, take those dice, and choose a tile from that row. This also sets turn order for this round, top to bottom. Then, players take turns placing one of their dice, along with a player marker, into one of the 5 areas. Areas are numbered 1-3; to place a lower numbered die, must pay 1 coin / missing pip. Players may choose to place a pirate die instead, by removing one of their meeples from the pirate area. Each area may have at most 4 dice. When you place a die, use the power of the person tile there. After all dice are placed, resolve each area in order: players with markers there may then use the powers of that area, which is stronger if you have 3+ meeples in that area. These powers are things like: buy/place ships or meeples in different areas of the board, harvest resources, acquire action tiles, etc.

At the end of each round, pay maintenance for your ships, and food for your people (discounted according to your position on the grain track). At the end of every other round, score one of your VP tokens. The game ends after 6 rounds; most VP wins!
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13. Board Game: Texas [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
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"The original Texas steakhouse"

Just a group of 6 this time -- me, Mary, Mark, Madison, Stefan, Jules)! Ate too much food again. Actually, I was doing OK -- but I should've skipped dessert! My sirloin was OK, better with the stuff they put on top (chopped tomato and sausage stuff). Mary's prime was delicious!

Afterwards, we hung out at the bar (I nursed one Scotch all night -- I REALLY should have skipped that brownie -- I was uncomfortably full most of the evening). Finally got to sleep at 12:30.
 
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14. Board Game: Baseball Highlights: 2045 [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:367]
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FRIDAY, November 22

Woke up at 6:40, couldn't get back to sleep . Gave up at 7, went down to do P90X Chest and Back (and Abs). M finally woke up just as I was about to finish -- went and did P90X Kenpo with her. Didn't get down to the game room until 10:30!

No long games were open, but this was available and Ralph taught. It's Mike Fitzgerald's latest. This seemed to be getting some good buzz, Tom seemed to really be enjoying it right next door, and I really enjoy Mike's mystery rummy series so I jumped in!

It's a neat system, simulating an entire season of baseball where you can recruit new players, play multiple (abstracted) games, and finally end with a World Series 7-game match. Each game consists of back-and-forth card play with a neat system where players alternate putting pressure on the other, possibly responding defensively if you can. Individual games are over pretty quickly, playing through 9 innings (but not overly detailed -- just the highlights, really). After each game, you earn some money with which you can buy new cards, discarding old ones -- quick and easy deck building!

But I have ZERO interest in baseball so it was all lost on me. I enjoy Harry's Grand Slam Baseball, though, probably because it is VERY light and feels VERY random, just like baseball looks to me. You know, this team is up, then that team, sometimes people get on base .... Maybe if this comes out with a different theme, I'll be able to actually evaluate it.

 
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15. Board Game: Ground Floor [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:988]
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All the hot games tables were full so we decided to find something in the library. Charlie and Sheila had played this before, but it was new to Giles, me, and Mary.

I opened the box and found Skyline! It's a simple little push-your-luck dice game, now available on Yucata. It was a freebie bonus in the Kickstarter run, but BGG hadn't taken it out of the box. I was SO close to having a free game! But no, instead BGG added a game to it's library .

This is a pretty long but interesting worker-placement economic game where you're building up an office building. Everyone starts with the ground floor, with 6 offices each of which give you a different ability. Players are randomly allocated to get the advanced form of one of these rooms.

Each round, collect starting income -- varies based on your company size. Then, players take turns allocating action discs (you get more based on the number of employees you have). These can go on the main board, or in the offices of your own building. Actions are resolved only after all have been placed, and do a variety of things such as: earn money or information (the 2 currencies of the game), produce resource cubes, sell cubes, upgrade rooms (to better versions of the starting rooms), add floors, grow the company (get more action discs), etc. Selling of cubes and cost of employees is cleverly handled with a combination of 2 things:
- a random deck of economic forecast cards: each tells you the number of goods that will be purchased that round; it also affects the cost of employees that turn.
- a supply grid, where players place their goods cubes at a price of their choosing; goods are sold from low price to high, up to the number dictated by the card. Any unsold goods drop in price.

The game ends at the end of the round in which any player builds the 6th floor.

The economy is pretty cool and the game works well; but it was just so long! I don't mind a long game, but this game may be longer than it should be. Probably faster, though, with repeat play?
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16. Board Game: Rococo [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:196]
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United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We headed back to the Hot Games room (but without Giles) and found Rococo available - yay! Ralph had told me about this when we were playing that Baseball game, and he walked us all through the rules.

This is sort of a deck-building game, but not really. It's more area control, with card drafting and hand management. The rules are very simple, and the game plays smoothly and quickly ... may have to get this one!

--- Summary ---
The board shows a palace, divided into several areas (full floors; 2 half-floors). Each area has places for dresses, some tagged with a gold thimble, and decorations. There's a row of dresses, and an area of materials (tiles with different colors of cloth). Also, some high-priced statues (which are for end-game scoring).

Players each start the game with identical decks of cards. Cards have a top half (gold, silver, or crappy thimble) and a bottom half (different actions, such as acquiring material, making a dress, hiring new employee = add card to your hand, buy a decoration, etc.). Each round, select any 3 cards from your draw deck. When the draw deck is empty, your discard pile becomes your draw deck -- previously played cards are available again! The card play is similar to that in Glass Road, but without the annoying feature of randomly getting a bonus for having chosen a card someone else also chose!

In order, players play single cards from their hand to their discard pile until all hands are empty. With each card play, they take the top action, then the bottom. Some actions, marked with gold thimbles, can only be taken by Masters; others by gold or silver; the rest by any. When making dresses, you can buy any on display (some require that you are playing a Master card); the ones further back in line cost more. Then, spend the required materials and either discard the dress for money or place the dress (and a control marker) in a legal space on the board. Some spaces give you an immediate reward (of material, money, etc.). One action, hiring new employee, adds a card to you HAND -- so you can play it this turn!

When the round ends, reset the board: fill in missing materials and dresses, place 4 new employees (cards) on display. The game ends at the end of the round when all the cards have been put in display. The cards come up in a semi-fixed sequence: there are 6 groups, coming up in sequence but in random order. Cards in the final group score end-game VP.

At the end of the game, players score VP for:
- end-game VP cards (e.g., for pairs of male/female outfits, specific colors of dresses, etc.)
- every decoration with a VP value printed
- each statue you've built allows you to score create a set of dresses of different colors, scoring 2VP / dress
- each floor earns the players with the most and second-most dresses there VP
- the roof scores VP to the players with most and second-most control markers there
- dresses on the top floor are moved up to the roof (to watch fireworks), IF the dress owners have a matching control marker up there; each location there is a 2x or 3x multiplier for the dress value
- ALL dresses on the board score their VP value (those on the roof modified by their multiplier)
- leftover materials and money are worth a few VP
The player with the highest sum wins!

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17. Board Game: Amerigo [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:265]
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United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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Mary went off to explore the exhibit hall, and I went looking for something to play. Lucky me, this table had a spot open and they'd barely begun the rules! Thanks for letting me join, guys -- I do love me some Feld!

Unfortunately, this wasn't quite as good as I was hoping. It's got a lot of the usual Feld stuff, of course: many ways to score VP, interesting action selection mechanism (the cube tower), multiple paths to victory. But it's lighter than those other Feld games I enjoy so much, and the cube tower didn't work as well as I'd hoped: in the second part of the game most of the time only one color cube was coming from the tower, with few or no cubes left in the game and few actions from which players could choose what to do. Also, the last round was a bit anticlimatic: with most islands pretty full already, there was little left to do with several actions. Plus, the game was sloooooow, although that may have been more the players than the game!

--- Summary ---
Create a random board, sized to player count. Place goods tiles on all the marked spaces. Players start by placing 2 ships onto the board. Place all cubes in groups onto the rondel on the board. Seed the cube tower with some cubes of every color. The board has spaces for brown (progress) and yellow (goods multiplier) tokens: fill according to player count.

The game is played over 5 rounds, each with 7 turns. Each turn, drop all cubes from the next color clockwise on the rondel. In turn order, players take a single action; may choose from any color of cube that came out of the tower. The number of action points equals the number of cubes of the color with the majority. Alternatively, collect gold coins = a third of the total number of cubes (round up). Actions may be supplemented by coins (each coin spent adds 1 AP). Actions:
- Blue: move ship 1 space orthogonally; if arrive at island port, place settlement there (if space available). First placement on an island earns you 3VP.
- Black: buy cannons, used to fight pirates at the end of each round
- Red: buy building tiles, max 1 public (neutral). These are in a variety of shapes, bigger ones costing more AP.
- Brown: advance on the brown track. If you reach one of the 5 marked spaces, take a brown tile; these are single-use or provide ongoing benefits during the game
- Green: place building tiles, paying AP as needed. These are placed onto empty spaces orthogonally adjacent to any of your houses or previously placed tiles, or to neutral tiles orthogonally connected to one of these. If placing onto one of the biggest islands, score the larger VP value printed. If covering a goods token, take it. If completing an island, score VP based on the round of the game and the number of your houses on the island (more houses, earlier round scores more)
- Yellow: spend AP to take yellow tile(s). These are multipliers matching the types of goods. At the end of the game, each goods type scores VP = (number of goods) x (1 + number of multipliers collected)
- White: advance on the turn order track, up to the number of AP spent. If you're on a color space, in the future you may use a white cube as that color if no others of that color are present.

At the end of each round, reveal a random pirate token, strength 0-4. Each player fights the pirates (strength = sum of all tokens revealed so far) by spending as many cannons. If they don't have enough, they lose VP. Replenish the yellow and brown tokens for next round.

At the end of the game, score VP for goods tokens, and for how far you've progressed on the white and brown tracks. Most VP wins!

 
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18. Board Game Designer: Thomas Lehmann
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United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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SATURDAY, November 23

P90X Arms and Shoulders by myself, then most of Plyo with Mary -- had to end early to try to make my date with Tom, and I was still late ! But it worked out, actually; the delay resulted in us being in the right place/time to bump into Jeremiah, who became the third for this game! It's a prototype -- the one I played in SF (but not with Jeremiah). Good, and getting better! I think I might enjoy this one when it gets published!
 
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19. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:23]
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United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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Looking for a game and I found Rick, no longer teaching. We quickly looked but all the hot games were full. However, a group was trying to learn Rococo: I taught them the rules while Rick went off to look for something to open up. Eventually, we just went to the library and grabbed this one.

It was me, Rick, and KrisM, in one of the quiet little rooms down the hall. I forgot to take a pic! Just as well, I suppose: I did so so poorly, maybe I should just forget the whole thing!

This is an economic, card-management game, this time without a rondel! Card handling is sort of like Rococo: everyone starts with the same mix, but can acquire more by buying from a card row. Here, though, you can pick up your discard pile any time, by using the right action card. Cards allow you to do different actions, like moving pieces on the board, building settlements, collecting resources, etc.

There's an interesting type of timing thing: you want to be able to work with the pace others are, to take advantage of producing at the right time so you can sell at the right time. You also want to delay taking the income action, so you get more money; but don't wait so long that someone else gets it! You want to expand early, to claim key territory; but the longer you wait (to collect the necessary resources), the more you'll be able to expand at once.

Also interesting is the end-game VP awards, which are based on the cards you've collected during the game. Cards are associated with one of the gods; each god scores VP a different way, with each card being a multiplier, e.g. (# cards) x (# brick settlements you have). So you're balancing end-game VP awards with in-game card action powers.

Cool game, although maybe not the best with 3: too much board space.
 
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20. Board Game: Nations [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:96]
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United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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I love civ games! It started with Sid Meier's Civ II way back in the '90s, but I've since tried many board game versions. Civilization, the few times I've played it, has been a blast -- but it sure is long! I didn't enjoy Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game very much: seemed as if your game play was dictated too much by your starting civ, and I didn't like the totally random board layout? Clash of Cultures was better, but I didn't like the random objective cards and totally random events. My favorite has been Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization, nearly perfect except for having to spend so much effort keeping up militarily (and the fact that I am such a bad player, despite having played nearly 200 games!).

Nations is the latest attempt at a shortened Civ game; I was happy to find a table. This was the same group (minus Debbie) that I'd taught Rococo earlier! They were gracious enough to let me join them, just a bit after they'd begun going through the rules (thanks, Curt, for teaching!).

The game rules are quite straightforward. It feels much like Through the Ages, but plays faster and with less emphasis on military strength. It is a lighter game, though: you won't see all the cards and there's a less predictable progression so you can't make definite plans; you must react to the game situation turn by turn, much more so than in TTA. At this point I still prefer TTA, but would be happy to play this again -- especially if time is limited! It seems to be an excellent lighter civ game!
 
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21. Board Game: RAFFLES: The Sophisticated Game of Chance [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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Closing Ceremony, including raffle


The ceremonies this year, without the Golden Geek awards, were much faster than in past years. I didn't win anything . Some people at our table were close, but alas no extra stuff for us.
 
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22. Board Game: Buccaneer Bones [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:5449]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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SUNDAY, November 24

Last night, due to the incoming storm, we changed flight: 2:40 (direct, exit row) became 11:40 with a 2-hour layover . So no workout, no gaming ... just pack and go. I did have leftover fried chicken for breakfast -- still good! We got to the terminal, and couldn't get checked in! Apparently the woman I talked with yesterday didn't do something right? So after waiting and walking and waiting some more, we cut in line (sort of) and finally managed to talk to an agent with the ability to fix things. She even got us on the 11:40 direct flight!

With more time available, we got some food and hung out a bit at TGIF. Yummy toffee cake with whisky sauce (and a burger to go)! We also squeezed in one last game: a cute little filler.


This is a very simple Yahtzee-type dice rolling game. Each player's mat has 6 columns, 1/ship, with 3 rows. On your turn, roll 4d6; may reroll any dice once. Pairs advance that marker 1 step down the column; triplets move down 2 steps. Once you're at the bottom row, you get that row's power: roll an extra die next turn, get an extra reroll, or +/- 1 pip. If already on the bottom and you roll trips, take a treasure token and move the marker back to the top of the row. If you can't advance a marker, you can place your scout on a spot to use that power next turn, on an opponent's treasure to try to steal it (thief), or your own treasure to defend against another player's thief. The game ends at the end of the round when someone has 3 treasures; that player wins! If tied, whoever has more markers further down their board wins!
 
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