Games I played at TotalCon 2014
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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What an amazing weekend! And the best part was that it started Wednesday night. It was great to go back for my third year for so many reasons, but here are the three big ones:

First, I have met some awesome gamers this past year, and the opportunity for us to all celebrate our hobby together was truly satisfying.

Second, it was great to see folks from last year who I have not seen since.

And lastly, I met some great new people that I hope to meet up with and play more games outside of the Con.

All three reasons can be summed up this way: the people. It was a really great time and my thanks to everyone who played, and put TotalCon together.

Here are some of the great gamers that made this year so incredible:

Geki
United States
Providence
Rhode Island
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Matthew Soares
United States
Somerville
Massachusetts
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J Bengi
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Jim Reed
United States
Mount Holly
New Jersey
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Dave McAvoy
United States
Waltham
Massachusetts
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Urayoan Irizarry
United States
Massachusetts
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Norm Vaillancourt
United States
Westford
Massachusetts
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robert kircher
United States
Rhode Island
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Eric Summerer
United States
Hamden
Connecticut
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Will talk for food!
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Christopher Watkins
United States
Amherst
Massachusetts
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Art Clausen
United States
Dudley
Massachusetts
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Matthew McHale
United States
Audubon
New Jersey
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The Cardboard Jungle Podcast
United States
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and so many more!
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1. Board Game: Salmon Run [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:2686]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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The first group of gamers I saw on Wednesday night was the NJAGP crew. They all remembered me from last year and it was as if I had seen them the day before. Jim got a call so I sat in for him on this one. It was quite good. The pace was brisk, and the theme was light-hearted and fun. Not one I'll buy, but I'd gladly play again.

Thanks Matt, Jeff, and Meg!
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2. Board Game: Glen More [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:256]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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I was so pleased that my second game of the convention was one on my "want to play" list. I have owned this game forever and have only played it once. This time, I joined the Cardboard Jungle crew and Rhyno. I like this game and find many of the mechanics interesting. Especially the resource production and management.

Thanks Matt, Anthony, and Rhyno!
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3. Board Game: Francis Drake [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:331]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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This too was on my "want to play" list. I was excited to finally play this game effectively. This was my fourth play I think, and all of my prior ones have been pretty ugly. I figured I would learn from my mistakes and improve.

Turns out, this was my ugliest one yet. Man did I play poorly. Love this game, but I am bad at it.

Thanks Matt, Art, Anthony, and Rhyno.
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4. Board Game: Steam Park [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:677]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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This game was the hit of the convention. I played it three times and did not tire of it. The theme and production are perfectly entwined with the light and brisk gameplay. Just fun start to finish.

Thanks Art, Rhyno, Anthony, Matt S., Jose, Mike, Drew, Dave, and Ura.
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5. Board Game: Rapa Nui [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:1917]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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This was my first game on Thursday and it is quietly one of my favorites. I break it out rarely, which is a shame. But when I do, I fall in love with it all over again. It's such an elegant tug of war you have to manage in this one, and I think the art is terrific.

Thanks Ben, Roger, and Walter!
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6. Board Game: Bruges [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:198]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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You can talk about Bora Bora all you want, but if this convention had a say, this was Feld's game of the year. Soooo many copies being played all four days. I played it twice and still think it's awesome. I'm really not sure if it's my choice for 2013's Feld-of-the-Year, but only because of how much I like Rialto.

Thanks Barry, Will, Heather, Aram, Wayne and Jeremy!
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7. Board Game: Targi [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:149]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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Here is another game from my "want to play" list and another underrated gem. I didn't think a two-player game had much of a chance at a convention with so many people, but I mentioned it to Will after playing Bruges and he lit up. It was on his list too apparently. Great game.

Thanks Will!
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8. Board Game: Quicksilver [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:7588]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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Okay. I'm really not sure if this game is as great as I think it is. Here's why: I played it with the always excellent Eric Summerer, who did not break from his Proper Victorian Gentlemen Pilot character once.

"Well flown Sir!"

Fantastic game. I will own it and I will try to share the excellence Eric shared with me.

Thanks Eric and Joe!

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9. Board Game: Medici [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:442]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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This is my favorite game I think. And I'm responsible for exposing it to many gamers who would likely not give it a second look. I ran it as an event on both Thursday and Friday. The funny part is, immediately after the Friday event, I had a request from Matt S. to play it. What a game that turned into! My voice is still recovering from Connor tossing his last fur tile into the ocean convinced he would get another. Of course he didn't, and he lost his 20-pt bonus. Classic!

Thanks Connor, Mike, Anthony, Matt, and Dylan
 
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10. Board Game: Las Vegas [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:480]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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A quick filler while we waited for some folks to finish up a game. It was new to a couple of the players and it was a nice chance to get a game in with some good folks.

Thanks Benji, Andrew, Walter, and Brendon.
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11. Board Game: Rialto [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:754]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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Ran this as an event first thing Friday, so I wanted to get a game in Thursday night before hand to get all the rules back in my head. Terrific game. Lots of fun. So many companies could learn from Feld's graphic design team. Every component has a place and every rule is well translated into icons. Just beautiful. Via Appia suffered from this not being the case. More on that later.

Thanks Benji, Paul, Art, Dale, Caleb, David, and Nancy.
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12. Board Game: Nations [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:96]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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I don't want to beat this game up too badly because we started it after midnight I think and I did not have a lot of brain or patience left. I really disliked the graphic design. The little bit of art was fine, but the colors are flat and the information is not conveyed clearly on the player mats, cards or boards. I didn't hate the game and I know I need to play it again, but given how wonderfully certain designers and publishers handle graphic design and iconography, this one missed the mark for me.

Thanks Rich, Chris, and Art.
 
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13. Board Game: Rococo [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:196]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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My first game Friday was my second play of Rialto. Immediately after, a spot opened up at Eagle/Gryphon's demo of this one. I have been excited to try it since watching Rahdo's run through. We played a 5-player game and I have to say, this was a bit heavier than I was expecting. That's not to say it was a super-heavy game, but there was a lot going on. By the second half of the game, I was really enjoying it, though I was hurting for position on the board. What was cool about that, was it gave me a chance to try for points in other ways. There are a couple of roles that give you points for having a lot of cards, and since I wasn't buying a lot of dresses, I had money to spend on just the most valuable ones. It was fun. I need to play it again with a smaller player count to really get a feel for how it all comes together.

Thanks Matt, Dale, Kevin, and Dave - and Ralph for teaching.
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14. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:8]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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This was such a great series of events falling into place. Four of us freed up simultaneously and we all agreed on this one. I hadn't seen Derek and Brett since last year so it was great to see them again. To make it even better, I had my best game of TM ever! 128 with the Chaos Magicians. I know it's not a spectacular score for some, but it sure was for me. And I was intimidated by this race. It was my first time with them. Hope to see these guys again before next year.

Thanks Brett, Derek, and Chris.
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15. Board Game: City of Iron [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:823]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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Like almost all of the games I got to play, I was thrilled to get this one to the table. It always seems like a bear to get out, but once your in it, this game flows so smoothly, and the art is a pleasure to look at. I really had fun with this one. And I haven't had a game with Russ in ages. It was great!

Thanks Russ and Dave.
 
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16. Board Game: Ra: The Dice Game [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:1114]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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Played this one three times in a row with three different combinations of players. I love this game and I'm always glad to introduce it to new players.

Thanks Matt, Brett, Dave, and Chris.
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17. Board Game: Clash of Cultures [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:204]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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My first game on Saturday. Loved it! Played some of the rules incorrectly, even with a GM teaching the game and holding our hands. So good. But we only scratched the surface with this game. So much to do. Just awesome. Need to play it again soon!

Thanks Robert, Rhyno, Adam, and Dave.
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18. Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport [Average Rating:8.23 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.23 Unranked]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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Another game on my "want to play" list and I got to play a 4p game. I had the beholder lord and was cranking through six rounds. Unfortunately, there are eight rounds in the game. Great fun, and a great time with my weekly gamers.

Thanks Drew, Mike, and Dave.
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19. Board Game: Via Appia [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:2042]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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I really don't know what to make of this game. The pushing of the wooden discs is so clearly a gimmick, esp. since you immediately trade them for cardboard chits. It's a light game, and yet, Matt had a very hard time explaining it. This was not his fault. Matt is a pro. For a game this light, it should be much more elegant and intuitive than it is. I think 50 percent of this problem would be solved with some useful player aids and a couple of small charts on the board conveying basic information and rule reminders. It just felt clumsy. I didn't hate it however and would like to try it again.

Thanks to Matt, Jim, and Ben.
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20. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:35]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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What a ridiculous game! Not the actual game mind you, this specific play. Just nuts.

Everything I heard was how hard this game was. How everything you do ends horribly. We COASTED through this game. Jim was teaching and he kept telling us that this is NOT how it EVER goes with this game. Of course, since the other three of us had never played it, the jokes started and never stopped. "Easiest game ever!" "Man we're good at this game!" Of course, it was dumb luck that the situations we encountered didn't hurt us as terribly for whatever situational reason. It was the most fun I've had playing a game in a long time. Sadly, I can't really give the game credit because the situation was just ridiculous, and it was way late, and we were slap happy.

Glad to have met Jeff from Power to the Meeple.

Thanks to Jim, Matt, and Jeff.
 
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21. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:294]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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Got in some league play first thing Sunday morning. I was glad to play since I don't think I've played since last year. I really like this game. Played three in a row!

Thanks to Colin, Charlie, and Joe.
 
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22. Board Game: Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:570]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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Got in on Eagle/Gryphon's event and played a 4p game. I didn't roll food at all so I basically did what I could to wreak havoc on the other players. I only succeeded in that I built a development every turn and was last player. So I cut their plans short. Sadly, it wasn't enough to win, but it sure was fun. I think my disasters were -19.

Thanks Dan, Art, and Mike
 
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23. Board Game: The Great Zimbabwe [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:343]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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This was a thrill for me. I knew about this game thanks again to Rahdo, but I also knew of it's price and relative rarity. Chris owned a copy and asked us if we wanted to play. I'm sure glad I did. There were a couple of turns where the mathy, puzzly, nature of this game got the best of me, but afterwards, I immediately wanted to try it again. Alas, I had to start heading home.

Thanks to Chris, Eric, Dan, and Art.
 
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24. Board Game: Rise of Augustus [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:772]
Mat Thomsen
United States
Medway
Massachusetts
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The last game of the convention for me was one that Art and I tried for three days to get to the table without success. Finally! This light game with the famous, classic mechanic hit the table.

I really liked it. The beautiful production and zippy pace allows multiple plays. I'll definitely be adding this one to my collection.

Thanks Giacomo, Art, Jason, and Rhyno. And thanks to everyone for an incredible four and a half days!
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