Geekway: My First Con and Definitely Not My Last!
Jeff Wells
United States
Centralia
Missouri
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Geekway to the West 2014 was my first big convention, and one of the most fun experiences I've had.

I tried to go last year, since my Father-in-law only lives about 20 minutes from the event's location, but life happens, and I wasn't able. This year, however, I decided early on I was going. I pre-registered back in October, then almost immediately put in for vacation for that week.

Finally, after months of waiting, reading news blurbs, and counting days, the day was here.

This geeklist is an attempt to tell some of my experiences at Geekway, and hope that others will be tempted to attend next year. I'm going mostly by memory, since I didn't take any photos or make any notes while there. But I wasn't there to write a story, I was there to play.


And an apology if I didn't mention your name in this list. I'm horrible at remembering names, but when I see your faces next year, I'll remember the great times we had.
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1. Board Game: Overload [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Jeff Wells
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No, didn't play this game there, but my first feelings after arriving on Thursday morning were information overload. The playing area was big, the library had lots of games, there were lots and lots of friendly people there, and I wasn't sure what to do.

While wondering around, I ran into two of my friends from our Columbia, MO game group, the Mid Missouri Strategy Gamers. I didn't realize anyone else would be coming from my area, so it was quite the nice surprise.

In all, I met Michael, Jamie, Dan, and Cameron from my local group. It was good to hang out with friends, and meet a lot of new ones.

There were also a lot of folks doing demos of their new games, as well as small stores (would be a crime to call them vendors' booths) courtesy of GameNight and Miniature Market.
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2. Board Game: Tales of the Arabian Nights [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:310]
Jeff Wells
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Played

After walking around for a few minutes, I decided to check out the main gaming area. I saw several people setting up games, and displaying large wooden meeples holding up "Players Wanted" signs. This is how, at Geekway, you find players for whatever game you would like to play. I was to use this several times over the next few days.

Anyway, I sat down to play with Rose, Mark and Sam. It was a long game, and if I remember right, Rose won. It was fun, but I couldn't help but think this game would go better with beer.
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3. Board Game: Space Empires: 4X [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:437] [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
Jeff Wells
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I'd set up this game here on BGG before leaving for St. Louis, and was excited to meet the folks I was to play with. Unlike me, none of these guys looked anything like their avatars.

Anyway, as I predicted, I lost with dignity. Thanks Justin, Andy and Andrew for a lot of laughs and 4 hours that flew by.
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4. Board Game: Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:143]
Jeff Wells
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Got in early Friday morning and met Lawrence. I saw that he had Sekigahara, and mentioned that it had been on my radar for some time. He set it up, explained the rules and we were off. I lost the game, but it was a costly victory. All the battles were bloody, and one of them saw one of his troops defect to my side.

I really liked this one: the combat involved bluffing and trickery, and battles were resolved really quickly. Decided I needed this one, and have since ordered it.
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5. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:75]
Jeff Wells
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Played a few times

It turned out that Geekway had a nice Crokinole board in its library. I decided to check it out and see if anyone wanted to play. I met a gentleman named Paul, and we played a couple games, then recruited a couple more players, and played a couple team games. I decided to enter the tournament that would be held on Saturday morning. My next mission was to find a partner (more on that below).
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6. Board Game: 1812: The Invasion of Canada [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:626]
Jeff Wells
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Saw this one in the library, and took it and a "Players Wanted" sign to the play area. Wound up playing a game with Steve, John and Lisa. John and I played the Americans and managed to squeak by with a win on the final turn.

This is always a fun game to play, and this one was special because I was teaching it to three new players, two of which who were fairly new boardgamers, and were not fans of wargames. By the end of the game, everyone was cheering and high-fives were dealt continuously. I saw John and Lisa the next day, and they told me they'd bought it from Miniature Market there at the Con.

Yes, the game can be that much fun.

I also should mention that a gentleman had a game of this set up on Saturday with custom pieces including an 8-foot board with 3D terrain and miniature troop formations. To say it looked impressive would be a gross understatement.
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7. Board Game: 1775: Rebellion [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:247]
Jeff Wells
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Played this with Paul, Michael, and another gentleman whose name I can't remember (which is pathetic considering we played other games together, talked at length, and he does a Dice Tower podcast) and for that I apologize.

Michael and I won as the British. I own this, but hadn't had a chance to play it yet. It is almost the same rules as 1812, but a couple of slight rule changes make it a completely different game. If you own 1812, and are hesitating getting this one, don't. You'll have fun with both.
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8. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:75]
Jeff Wells
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The Great Crokinole Battles of 2014

As I'd mentioned before, I had entered into the tournament, and needed a partner. I decided I'd ask the first person to speak to me. As I was thinking this, I saw one of my Columbia, MO friends, Jamie. I told her I needed a partner, and she agreed if I'd teach her to play. So on the roster her name went and the "Old Crokers" team was born.

Saturday morning we met, went over the basic rules and played a couple of practice rounds. A couple others (Paul and his partner) asked if they could join us, so we commenced to playing a "Spring Training" game.

The tournament rules were announced and we looked for our first opponents.

They were a really nice couple from Jefferson City, MO. The tourney was best out of three games, and we managed to win the first round in the third game.

The second round saw us coming from behind on score (about an 80 point deficit if I remember right) and taking the round to a third game.

That third game will go down in the annals of Crokinole history (or at least my memory) as one of the greatest and most nerve-wracking ever played! Our opponents were on their A-game. Jamie and I were smoking hot. Before the final scoring of that third game, we were at 90 and 95 points. Unfortunately, we lost, but it felt like a victory to me, as we made it to the second round, and had a lot of fun. I was jittery for the next several minutes when the game finally ended!

So for the next 12 months, I'll be working out the flicking finger, and practicing my shots. Watch out for the Old Crokers next year!
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9. Board Game: Kemet [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:77]
Jeff Wells
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Played

Taught and played a 5-player game. This is one of my favorites from my collection right now.
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10. Board Game: Troyes [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:68]
Jeff Wells
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This one caught my eye when it came out. I decided to check it out of the library, and see how the "Teacher Wanted" sign worked. Thanks to Jon who happened to walk by and teach us a four player game. I enjoyed this, and want to try it again, now that I understand the iconography a little better.
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11. Board Game: Werewolf [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1165]
Jeff Wells
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Played and died

My daughter wanted to play, so I drove back to the Father-in-law's house and got her.

There were 60 people playing (A Geekway record, I'm told). My kid died early on, then I was accidentally killed by the moderator (apparently I wasn't the one the wolves picked). We still had some good fun and laughs.
 
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12. Board Game: Android: Infiltration [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1245]
Jeff Wells
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Played

Played this one on Sunday morning with Lawrence, Steve and another great guy (whose name I can't remember).

Fun little game of pressing your luck.
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13. Board Game: Sheepdogs of Pendleton Hill [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:7984]
Jeff Wells
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I'd never heard of this one. It doesn't look like anything I might enjoy.

However, was invited by Michael and Jamie to play a game with them and their friend. It was a quick simple little game that was fun. the sheep, shepherd and wolf meeples are really nicely done in this one.
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14. Board Game: Terror in Meeple City [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:627]
Jeff Wells
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Played and Bought

I think this game was one of the most popular ones there. On its surface, this looks like a game for kids. It may well be, but it is a hell of a lot of fun. Maybe it's my sentimental feelings for the arcade game of yesteryear. Crushing buildings, throwing vehicles at your opponents and eating meeples can be quite entertaining. I couldn't help but pick this up to play with my kid (honestly). I think I need to see how this one plays with beer involved.
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15. Board Game: Hordes: High Command [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:4635] [Average Rating:6.41 Unranked]
Jeff Wells
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Played and Bought

Did I mention there were vendors there? Miniature Market and Game Night both had very impressive displays. Played a quick game of this, them picked it up from Miniature Market from their $10 stack.

Cool deck building game with some area control.

We tried a five player game (using factions from one player's Warmachine set), but I think that was maybe too many people.

Rather than list them in separate items, other games I acquired while at Geekway:

Arcana (my free game just for registering)
Chaos Marauders
Guns of Gettysburg

Frontiers
 
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16. Board Game: Friends [Average Rating:4.07 Overall Rank:14985]
Jeff Wells
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And so I must draw this list to a close with a big thanks to everyone involved in Geekway, and especially to everyone who played games with me, both old friends and new.

Sorry that I can't remember all of your names, but know that I enjoyed it all and am looking forward to seeing you next year.

Until then, happy gaming!
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