BGG.CON 2013: Wargamer Rally, Fun All Around
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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This is a geeklist about my experience at BGG Con 2013. I tried a lot of new-to-me games, and have comments on those.

In general, the wargamer crowd showed up in force, and there were many wargames being played all over the Con. Here are the games I played, and what I did in the middle-time.
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1. Board Game: Tuesday Night Tanks [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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I took an earlier-than-usual flight this year, arriving in Dallas at 12:30 p.m. I fly to Dallas at Love Field via Southwest out of Midway-Chicago. Love Field is the *other* airport, so I usually have to arrange transportation to the con and back, but Southwest is still cheaper than a direct flight.

In Chicago - there are two airports. The one closest to my house (about 40 minutes away) flies only to Love Field. The other one is O'Hare, and it's a 90-120 minute drive each way, but flies directly into DFW where the Con is. After not finding any competitive prices with Southwest, I booked my ticket months in advance.

My buddy

Tim Gilberg
United States
Norman
Oklahoma
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was able to pick me up by 1:00, and we headed over to Central Market for some craft beer and food for lunches all week. Our third roommate

Patrick Pence
United States
Tallahassee
Florida
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arrived much earlier in the day. Once we got to the Con, we headed downstairs for some precon gaming.

The awesome organizers has set up gaming in about a third of the main gaming hall for us early-birds.
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2. Board Game: Trains [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:368] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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gilby, farsol, and I found KingMob downstairs, and started to organize the game, but before explanation was done, KingMob and Farsol were offered a dinner date with some other friends, and took them up on it. No matter, two additional players were at hand

Sharon R
United States
Framingham
Massachusetts
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and

Mark Salamon
United States
Escondido
California
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and they joined our game.

It is described as "Dominion with a Board" and some of the cards are a direct lift-and-paste of Dominion cards, edited to have a train theme. But I felt the game had a completely different feel than Dominion - the board gives you more interesting decisions to make with your engine, and the unlimited actions and unlimited buys makes money (called by various types of "train") much more valuable, since you can usually find a place to spend your cash.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed the game - the other players were satisfied, but not necessarily impressed.

Final Score:
Tim (gilby) = 46
Mark (salamon) = 35
Sharon (sharoz) = 41
Me (cmontgo2) = 49
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3. Board Game: Combat Commander: Pacific [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:434]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Patrick Pence
United States
Tallahassee
Florida
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came back from dinner, and asked if I'd like to play Combat Commander: Pacific. I love Combat Commander: Europe, but had not played Pacific before, even though it sits on my shelf at home. This game was a nailbiter.

Most of the game was a steady back and forth, as the Americans steady progressed across the map, using their superior firepower to blow holes in the Japanese lines. I got off a few good shots and eliminated a unit, but Patrick's boys really gave me what-for. I drew plenty of Pillbox and Foxholes markers, and made him pay Time! in order to capture hexes. Patrick spent his Initiative card earlier in the game (I think to re-roll a nasty attack of mine that eliminated a unit), so with the Initiative on my side, and Sudden Death having come and gone . . .

The last few card plays of the game, I had a broken Japanese unit in a bunker. Patrick drew an Event for a Hero, and Patrick Assaulted with his kill stack from a Land Mine hex into the bunker. The Hero rallied his units in the hex, but couldn't move in the assault.

The Land Mine on exit broke two U.S. units (again), but Patrick still enjoyed an 8-to-1 combat power. I drew a good card under most circumstances, a 10, but that pushed my defense to only 11. Patrick needed a 4 or higher to eliminate my unit for the win.

His roll was ALSO the last card in his deck, a Time! trigger.

And the roll was a 3. Just enough to hand me the win in the assault.

The Time! trigger fired, advancing the turn marker to another Sudden Death roll, which I won, and since I had the Initiative Card, the game was over.

I could just see some non-comm rising up from the muck (the Hero) to order the men forward to capture the bunker, the leader and squad charge in, mines blow up a bunch of men, and a lone, wounded Japanese solider shooting down the U.S. boys as they came, eventually ending in a knife fight, leaving everyone dead but the Japanese trooper, who eventually ends up dying from his wounds, but having won the day for now.

A photo finish, and it totally made me a fan of this game, too! Patrick should have, by all rights, won that game, but such is the nature of Combat Commander. Never give up until it's over.
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4. Board Game: Trains [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:368] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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After that, it was 11:30, time enough for another round of Trains. I found a couple of new players and hit it again.

Adrian George
United States
Austin
Texas
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Ryan Kontras
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Austin
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I might be crossing my wires, here, but one of the players who I hadn't met before, I think it was Ryan, just crushed it, with Adrian, Sean, and I bunched up at the bottom:

Ryan (aereas) = 48
Adrian (georgeofjungle3) = 38
Me (cmontgo2) = 36
Sean (daehtloeht) = 34

After that, it was up to the room for some much needed sleep. I had been awake since 5:00 a.m., and it was now 1:30 a.m.
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5. Board Game: Stonewall Jackson's Way II [Average Rating:8.46 Overall Rank:2814] [Average Rating:8.46 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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The next morning, Patrick (Farsol) and I had plans to participate in a Great Campaigns of the American Civil War mega-game. I think during our session (Noon - 5 p.m. or so) we had 6 games of GCACW played.

I helped to set up the teaching scenario: SJW Scenario 1, Cedar Creek, then went by the Exhibitor Hall while Patrick taught the new players.

When I returned, they were already breaking out into their sessions, and I paired up with

skippen
United States
Greeley
Colorado
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to play an intro game with him.

The scenario is short and essentially requires the CSA to capture and hold Culpepper while inflicting some casualties on the Union troops. There are beaucoup points if the Union doesn't have a unit adjacent to Culpepper, but that's hard for the CSA to stop, since the CSA only has three units to protect six hexes.

I had a wonderful first and second turn, easily marching up the road to capture Culpepper. I got in good defensive positions, and just waited for Scott to attack. About half-way through the last turn, having spent lots of fatigues to maneuver around and block Scott from having a good attack against Culpepper, I realized that *I* needed to attack, because holding Culpepper wasn't enough! So, with my remaining fatigues left, I attacked at horrible odds, and failed, but Scott played a very good game and was fighting the dice all the way through.

Good job, Scott!
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6. Board Game: Napoleon's Triumph [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:382]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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At 8 p.m., Rusty (kuhrusty), Gordon (gordomg), and Me, along with two other players who I unfortunately didn't get their usernames, got in a game of Napoleon's Triumph. A few starting players bowed out during the game explanation, but we readily found two others.

Rusty, Gordon, and I took the French, and the other two players took the Allies. The Allies played an excellent game. I had the French left, and my counterpart and I fought each other to a standstill, with neither one of us being able to muster the attack strength needed break the other's lines. Gordon, a new player, fell under a series of vicious French Allied maneuvers, and his lines were finally breached. After several hours (we spent a lot of time talking about various options for various moves to help everyone better understand the game), the French conceded to the Allies.

I wish I could remember these fellows' names! They played an excellent game with excellent force distribution.

I think part of the French problem was that we might have locked up too many 3-step infantry in our reinforcements, when they were sorely needed elsewhere.

Cheers to the adversary, they played a really excellent game.

Edit: Had my sides mixed up - changed French to Allied
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7. Board Game: Here I Stand [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:165]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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The next morning was our annual Here I Stand game, which has been on-running since I first attended the Con in 2008. This year, we had

Jonathan Kinney
Canada
Surrey
British Columbia
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Jonathan as the Ottomans

Troy Adlington
United States
Dallas
Texas
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Troy as the Hapsburgs

"L'├ętat, c'est moi."
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Vancouver
BC
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Roger as the English

Chris Montgomery
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Joliet
Illinois
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Me as the French

Justin L
United States
Verona
Wisconsin
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Justin as the Papacy

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Greeley
Colorado
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Scott as the Protestants

This game was played on consecutive mornings, but I'll consolidate the report into this entry.

Turn Summary
T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6
OTT 10 10 14 16 22 22
HAP 13 19 20 22 23 27
ENG 13 13 15 17 21 21
FRA 17 19 20 21 21 23
PAP 18 19 20 21 21 23
PRO 16 8 7 9 8 12


TURN 1

The Ottoman player doesn't attack Buda on Turn 1, instead they go for Venice. Hapsburgs Circumnavigate the globe. France captures Metz. England tries for Edward. Protestants get off to a rough start. Papacy uses their weakness to try and keep them down. France plays Andrea Doria and brings Naples under the protective wing of French influence.

TURN 2

Hapsburgs and Ottomans make peace. Hapsburgs abandon Vienna since there was no threat. Hapsburgs invade Germany and capture three Electors, stationing troops there, making it even harder for the Protestants to claw their way back. Ottomans DOW Venice and lay seige, but don't capture it by the end of the turn.

TURN 3

Hapsburg DOW the Ottomans. Ottomans capture Venice, but are crushed at the Battle of Trieste. This Battle had FOUR BATTLE CARDS played between both players, but resulted in 5 hits to 4 hits, forcing Suleiman to retreat. Hapsburgs successfully complete two more New World expeditions, and along with England and France, there remain only conquests (at 10+). France continues to build chateaus, and the Protestants and Papacy continue to fight over Germany, but the Protestants can't seem to catch a break. English convince Andrea Doria to ally with them, throwing off the French yoke, and accepting a lighter one from the English.

TURN 4

France obtains a conquest after Spain and England are eaten by cannibals. Kramer and Calvin are excommunicated before the Protestant's first card play of the turn. Venice falls again, this time to the Hapsburgs, after two assaults. Ottoman also attacks Vienna, but it holds when Suleiman's line of communications are cut due to rebellious Jannisaries.

TURN 5

Ottomans and Hapsburgs declare peace and trade keys. Ottoman gives Hapsburgs Buda in exchange for Venice. Hapsburgs DOW France and lay siege to a 4-strength Milan + Montmorency. France plays many defensive cards on the Hapsburgs, and that, plus unfriendly dice, results in Milan holding against two assaults, eventually reducing Hapsburgs below seige-strength. Of 14 units that invaded French territory in and around Milan, only 6 returned to Vienna. England, it is later discovered, failed to DOW France as previously agreed, mainly because Henri didn't move away from Paris as he was expected to do. The Protestants seige and capture Prague. Healthy Edward is born. Ottoman lays seige to, and captures, Rome.

TURN 6

Papacy sues for peace with the Ottomans, and gets Rome back in exchange for +2 war winner VPs and +1 for Rome VPs. Hapsburgs and France agree to a white peace. England, Hapsburgs and France ally. France DOWs the Ottomans. Hapsburgs seige Prague and capture it. France launches an amphibious assault against North Africa, seiging and capturing an Ottoman key. The Papacy wins a debate and burns a Protestant reformer. England continues to try and convert to Protestantism, but to no avail. Andrea Doria, sniffing which way the power is running, again switches sides and joins the Hapsburgs. The Hapsburgs then play Copernicus for another VP, ending the game.

Troy played the game excellently, and is congratulated on a well-deserved victory.
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8. Board Game: The Road to Canterbury [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:1740]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Thursday after Here I Stand, I had nothing scheduled, so went and found Tim to see what we could scare up.

This light, fun game has a lot to be said for it. You and two other players are priests who have to sell indulgences to pilgrims on their way to Canterbury. As you progress along the road, pilgrims die. When enough pilgrims die, you advance into Canterbury and see which priest among you has obtained the most gold.

A deliciously fun game that doesn't take itself too seriously. The artwork is engaging and gets you into the theme.

Gary (gbcooper) = 91
Tim (gilby) = 58
Me (cmontgo2) = 75

Great job, Gary!
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9. Board Game: Circus Train (Second edition) [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:3010] [Average Rating:7.16 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Sean, Tim, Gideon, and I played this game after I bought it based on the strong review and recommendation of Roger in that game's forum. I wasn't disappointed. In this game, you are a ringmaster, running a circus in the Prohibition-era United States. Some players did not like the game, others enjoyed it, but not for the prices asked.

Sean (KingMob) = 37
Me (cmontgo2) = 48
Tim (gilby) = 51
Gideon (gmecum) = 57

I enjoyed it so much, I played it again.
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10. Board Game: Imperial 2030 [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:167]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Thursday evening, late, Tim wanted to try out this game, which he has played once before.

We got a six-player game of this going. It's an interesting game that ran a bit long, I thought, but was fun with lots of interesting decisions to make.

Would play again.

Tim (gilby) = 122
Justin (dotcomee) = 110
Grant (jrandom36) = 89
Me (cmontgo2) = 88
Rocky (slade8) = 65
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11. Board Game: Space Empires: 4X [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:437] [Average Rating:7.61 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Friday, after Here I Stand concluded, I went to eat, went through the exhibitor hall (yet again), made some purchases, and then met for our 2:00 p.m. game of Space Empires.

Sean (scharri7) taught the game, and Sean (daehtloeht), and I played. Gordon (gordomg) was supposed to meet us, but somehow, he didn't find out game despite it being listed on the dry erase board . . . we all broke for ten minutes at the start because Sean McGrath had some things to help his wife with, and I suspect Gordon missed the game set up in McKee. Sorry Gordon!

This game was just pure fun - if you're a wargamer. Exploring, researching technology, building ships, and conducting space conquest to annihilate your enemies. Just a fun game. It does run rather long, though and I had another scheduled game at 7 p.m., so we played until about 6:00, then picked up the game.

While we didn't finish, scharri7 was well on his way to becoming Supreme Ruler of the Galaxy. I would like to try and get a full game in next year, with the caveat of setting aside the appropriate amount of time to play to completion.
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12. Board Game: Railways of the World [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:97] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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This was an epic game, set up with the Epic Games Meetup, and boy was it a raucous, busy time.

Six players competed to build railroads starting in the Eastern Map, after which, certain triggers opened up the West. We met at 7 p.m. and were underway by around 8 p.m. We played at a break-neck pace, ending after about 4.5 hours of game time. I neglected to write down final scores, but Tim (gilby) won by a hairsbreadth, due to the fact that the game organizer (and most experienced player) was unable to complete his Baron card bonus.

I forgot until about half-way through the game that Bonds come off your final score, so I was out of the running, nearly from the get-go, but I had an awesomely fun time, nonetheless.
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13. Board Game: Schrille Stille [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:2654]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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The Coat of Arms of Clan Montgomery - Scotland. Yes, that's a woman with the head of a savage in her hand, and an anchor. No clue what it means, but it's cool.
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I was nearing 1 a.m. when we finished Railways, so Tim and I headed over to the library to see if there was a light, fun game with a low-teaching time to try and pull together. Tim suggested this game.

We were able to pull together four players, and had a fun time, but the game, for what it was, ran rather long. We finished up around 2:30 a.m.

In this game, the players are record label companies betting on which bands will rise and fall in the charts. This rather random game does allow for some level of predictability, but can fall victim if your predictions fail to match those of the other players.

By the end of this game, I was bushed and headed off to bed.
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14. Board Game: Napoleon's Triumph [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:382]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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The next morning, Saturday, I met Roger and Rusty for what was supposed to be a double-blind game of Napoleon: 1815 (Columbia's recently updated game), but the library did not have a copy, and so we only had one copy of the game to play. Roger suggested instead that we play Napoleon's Triumph again, which all agreed to do.

Roger (leroy43) and Jonathan (jonocop) paired off as the French against Rusty (kuhrusty) and my (cmontgo2) Allies. The game had a lot of give and take, with the Allies losing something like 9 morale points by the second hour of the day, and things were looking rather dire. We stuck with it, though, and the Allies eventually won the day, but only after Jonathan had to go and pull library duty, so Roger took over as the French.

It was really satisfying game because no one really made any mistakes - victories and defeats on the field were the result of calculated risk, but after two assaults that went sour, the French were in dire straights, and lost around 3:00 p.m. due to demoralisation.

Thanks again Rusty and Roger - I always have fun playing this game.
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15. Board Game: Washington's War [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:428]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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I was supposed to play a game with Ken at 2 p.m., but had neglected to write it down on my schedule. Ken texted at 2 p.m., but I was busy calling the airline and my wife about an ice storm that might overtake the area tomorrow, when I was flying out. After several texts with Ken, and being on hold with the airline, I decided to reluctantly cancel my game.
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16. Board Game: Circus Train (Second edition) [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:3010] [Average Rating:7.16 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Since I didn't have anything going on after I squared away everything with the airline, I met up with Roger and grabbed three other players for another game of Circus Train.

The three other players had never played before, and were more standard boardgamers (not wargamers). They all had varied feelings on the game, from "extreme dislike" to "enjoyed it but wouldn't buy it".

The game was fun, as expected, but I was unable to eek out a win due to having a pretty lack-luster circus for the final prestige scoring. Roger got a late start, but very nearly finished as the winner, failing, as I did, to get the big scores for prestige necessary to put up high VP numbers at the end.
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17. Board Game: Iron and Oak [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:4896]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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I got together with John Longstreet and Andy Bloom to play a learning/teaching/mess-around-with-the-components game of Iron and Oak at 4 p.m. We played the Monitor v. Merrimac scenario and blundered our way through the rules until about 6 p.m. Just as we were getting a handle on it, I got invited to dinner with Tim, and offered to let the two of them finish out the game. Everyone, I think, was ready to call it quits at that point so we picked up.

Dinner, as it were, was a nightmare. We had intended to go to a sit-down dinner, but the drawing was at 7 p.m. After so many problems I don't want to recount them, Tim and I laughed at how difficult the ride had been, threw up our hands and went to Whataburger, racing back to the convention hall in just enough time to catch the end of the award raffle. We didn't win anything, but the experience was painful and fun, all the same.
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18. Board Game: Sails of Glory [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:1268] [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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After the disaster that was dinner, I met up with five other players to play a demo game of Sails of Glory, run by the imminently funny, enjoyable

Steve Duke
United States
Georgetown
Texas
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My French frigate was blown to hell after a couple rounds. I got off some good salvos, though, but it was not enough. The French Ship of the Line sank ours, and I sailed off the mapboard, not wanting any of that medicine. Final tallly: 2 British ships sunk (frigate, SoL), 1 French ship sunk (frigate).

It was a fun game, and I'm excited to get my copy when it is released in a week or so.
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19. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:377]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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The Sails of Glory game finished up around 10 or 10:30 and I met up with my roommate, Patrick (Farsol) who was just getting ready to play this game.

I own it, but had never played, and Roger (leroy43) and Patrick (who had played earlier in the week for the first time), both lauded the game as a really excellent title, deserving of more attention.

This piqued my interest, so we sat down to play.

I got off to a rough start, not realizing how the game worked (we were all never-played players except for Patrick), but Patrick knew the rules well-enough, and accompanied by the rest of the beer we had upstairs, I proceeded to get very drunk.

The game was called early when one guy had to go and we realized that we had been playing some of the rules wrong, but I got enough of a taste of the game (especially with the good company at the table) that I have a "want to play" marker on this one.

It was evident from the game that it is a "gamer's game" not one for non-hobbyists, but it seemed to have a rather deep and engaging design that I want to explore more.

Afterward, it was about 1:00 a.m., and Tim was off to play some more. I, on the other hand, wanted to play more, but I was too drunk and tired to do much of anything. We going to grab a game from the library, but we were about five minutes too late.

Bed time for me.
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20. Board Game: Council of Verona [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:1983]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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The next morning I slept in and took my time. My 10 a.m. game of Flying Colors was cancelled, due to my opponent's ride leaving early due to the weather.

So I slept in, relaxed, and Tim and I headed downstairs to see if there was any light gaming that could be had before we headed out for our annual post-con lunch and ride to the airport.

We ended up trying two 2-player games of this nice little game. Easily transportable, and easily teachable to non-gamers, Tim decided to buy one. He ended up buying two in order to get the promos, and I purchased a copy off of him.
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21. Board Game: Diamant [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:612]
 
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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We then played this game, as the last of the Con. This traditional push-your-luck game was great fun, and took about 20 minutes to play with five players. It was, one of the players said, re-implemented by Incan Gold.

I had a really fun time with this one, but didn't press my luck enough, and ended up third place. Tim pushed his luck too hard, and ended up last, or second-to-last, can't remember.
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