My 2014 WBC
Max Jamelli
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2014 was an interesting year. This year marked the unveiling of the new venue for 2016 and that decision dominated much of the in-con gossip throughout the week. I am only marginally affected, and for that I realize I am fortunate. I know many of my convention buddies were "hit" harder and next year may be the last WBC I see them at for a while.

I can gladly say I had zero impact on any decisions though, so basically ... don't blame me - I voted for Kodos. (or whatever con center you had really wanted)

2014 also marked a slight change in my gaming habits. While I neglected to write down (or log here) every game I played during the day - my memory was pretty good when I started to write down what I thought I played. It seems that I only entered 5 tournaments (and I ran one of them) and in one case I only entered because no one else was doing anything else better.

My sleep average was around 3.5 hours per night, so the last couple days I've crashed and sorta normalized my sleeping. All in all, I met some new people - met up with some old buddies - and played a ton of new games. Here's me week:
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1. Board Game: Hotel Life [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:6304]
Board Game: Hotel Life
Max Jamelli
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My dad gets a room at the host with a buddy of his and I get a cot. It's not the most comfortable thing, but for the 3.5 hours average sleep I got per night it was fine. This year we had a fairly sizable room compared to what we had in the past. I won't recant the many woes of the host here - the hot water, etc. The free breakfast was enough to get me through the lunch hour and into dinner. Dinner options were fair enough for convention time.

I was irritated to find that my car battery had died during the week. I don't think that was the host's fault - but I'll blame them anyway.
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2. Board Game: Lords of Baseball [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked]
Board Game: Lords of Baseball
Max Jamelli
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Starting the list with my father's and my designs:

I had greatly looked forward to showing the new minor league variant of my design. A few people may have thought that Minor League variant focused solely on the farm system - not at all. I just called it that because calling it the "family version" as Agricola does didn't sound as exciting. That's all it is though, a shorter version of the game. It eliminates any offseason costs or building ventures.

Everyone who played seemed to pick up on the learning of the game very quickly - which is one of the things I wanted the variant to do. Some of the updates we made to streamline things were also easily received. We also know what it's going to take the next step towards publishing. That was some good news from the convention for us.
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3. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:2952]
Board Game: Unpublished Prototype
Max Jamelli
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My father and I also debuted our newest design - on the clock. It's an NFL draft game that features an auction mechanic. There were a lot of people interested in this one and we made some wholesale changes even after the first test.

Our hope was to make this a beer and pretzel type game with serious auction strategies, and we're moving in that direction. We got some great feedback and some interesting suggestions for making it better as well. We'll have to see where it goes.
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4. Board Game: Air Baron [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:4193]
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Max Jamelli
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Now, the tournaments I entered. These are in no order other than how I remember playing them:

Air Baron is always high on my list because it's my favorite event. I know most of the people who play in the heats and it's just a game I have fun at. I missed seeing some of my Air Baron buddies this year, but hopefully next year they make it back. I also missed out out the Semi's for the first time in ... ever. I may have made a tiebreaker, but things forced me to leave earlier. It's ok though - my heats were fun and while I didn't win any of them, I got to play with great tables in every heat.
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5. Board Game: Vegas Showdown [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:585]
Board Game: Vegas Showdown
Max Jamelli
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I really enjoy playing in this event every year. I think this year I would have made the semi's as an alternate (with 2 second place finishes) but didn't get to the drawing fast enough due to Air Baron going past that time. I still enjoyed playing in two heats.

My first heat was tough. In my sleep deprived state, I let a fancy lounge priced at $7 go past me (and Steve wasn't looking for it, so he did too) and I struggled to recover mentally. I ended up in 2nd 41-36 (or something close to that) and I figured it wouldn't have mattered if I got that lounge .. but it really may have. My final board looked like something out of Atlantic City - today. It was that ugly.

My second heat was better. No botch moves made me upset, and I just lost to the table. Came in second again - possibly as close as before but I didn't worry about it as much. Got to play a game with my buddy Scott and had fun with the other two players as well.

My dad played in that heat as well - and I have to remember to try to give him some pointers before next year. He's a Grognard who likes to play some Euros .. but at WBC you should really have some kind of practice before jumping in to the deep end. I didn't see any sharks at his table, but he needed some pointers. Next year.
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6. Board Game: March Madness [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:9967]
Board Game: March Madness
Max Jamelli
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Terry's schedule was a little different this year - but again one of his heats conflicted with Vegas and one with Air Baron. I did get in on one heat though and I was glad.

I played as the 2000 Florida Gators. I took on Loyola in the first round, headed by my buddy Roger. We would've played a tight game if he hadn't been saddled with rolling 2's on his scoring most of the time. His first half was too much for him to recover from and I advanced.

I got to play Terry in round 2 and his high scoring team ran past mine pretty easily. Got to play a game with Terry though, so that goes in the good for the week column.
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7. Board Game: Union Pacific [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:717]
Board Game: Union Pacific
Max Jamelli
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I GM this event. We ran a Monday afternoon schedule and our attendance was way down. Last year we had around 60 overall. This year we were at 31. The schedule, if it runs next year, will get moved to the morning opposite San Juan. Many people told me they would've preferred it there. We'll see if that helps.

I got into 1 heat of my own event and played with a fun table. I think I finished 3rd - but had a good time. It was the most relaxing time of the event as the rest of the time I was busy trying to seat people and deal with GM stuff.
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8. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:122] [Average Rating:7.56 Unranked]
Board Game: Stone Age
Max Jamelli
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The last tournament I remember was Stone Age - and it was one I didn't plan on entering. I am not a fan of 4P stone age. I am just more accustomed to 2P. I like the resource blocking aspect and the fact that if you want to go to the middle section of the board, your seating position doesn't stop you. I drew the 2nd seat which, IMO, is the second strongest. The cards weren't especially good during the first move so the first three people went into the middle. I decided to try to grow my people early and was lucky to get some food cards later. I had to neglect my farms early and did have to eat some wood.

I did well in huts, and very good in cards - but finished 4 points in second place. Darn eating those 5 pieces of wood.

Pete was nice enough to advertise my 2P BPA Yucata event as well. If anyone reading this is interested --

http://maxjamelli1.wix.com/stoneagebpa
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9. Board Game: Open Card Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Open Card Game
Max Jamelli
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As I said, I spent a ton of time open gaming at all hours. I may not remember all the details of these, but this is what I remember playing:
 
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10. Board Game: Village [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:168]
Board Game: Village
Max Jamelli
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This was one of the games I really wanted to learn going in. Chris taught me, Jess, and her brother how to play and we were off. I picked up on things and by the end of the game was close to winning (if I didn't win). Jess, Chris, and I were bunched pretty close. I forget who won, but I felt good about knowing the game.

Later in the week, I taught my dad. My buddy Luke stopped over and got in on the game as well and throttled us both.

Really glad I learned this one. Very fun game.
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11. Board Game: Nations [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:165]
Board Game: Nations
Max Jamelli
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Chambersburg
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This one was on my thinking about wishlist for a while and it's one of Chris's favorites. I sat down for my first game against experienced Through the Ages players - so Chris felt they were at a distinct advantage. Nations has a built in system for that though. I played the Prince level, they played the King level of production. Kinda neat how that worked out. It took me an entire game to sort out the importance of things - but as it worked out, I ended up winning the game. It was one of those "how did that happen" things. I played well enough though I guess. In my second game, I also played Prince level. Chris was the only one on King and he ended up winning that game. I didn't win game 2, but enjoyed it more because I felt I knew what I was doing more.
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12. Board Game: Nothing Personal [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:1220]
Board Game: Nothing Personal
Max Jamelli
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I got 2 games of this in during the week. My buddy TJ had wanted to learn this game so I brought it along. In that game, I taught a 5P game. One of the players said that it was the best game teaching he had been a part of (as a High School teacher it's always nice to hear that someone thinks you do your job well) and we built a semi alliance at the start. TJ and Russell had a semi alliance as well. I think I won that game ... although I'm not sure. Didn't meticulously keep track.

The other game was with my dad, Allan, Charles, and Jarrett I think. I don't think it was a 4P game, so someone else was there sitting across from me. Either way, I wanted my dad to play it since he loves Kremlin and this is really close to Kremlin. My dad really enjoyed it, so that game was fun to play. Allan's beagle seemed to like me too.
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13. Board Game: Thunder Alley [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:780] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Board Game: Thunder Alley
Max Jamelli
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Chambersburg
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This was a pretty big hit at the con. I played in 6 games of it with various numbers of people. I played two 7 player games and honestly I don't like it with 7. I don't like many games with more than 5 just because of downtime between turns. With 7 in this game, there is no point at even looking at your cards to try to come up with a strategy until the player before you is taking his turn. The layout of the cars will change that much from turn to turn.

I did pick up a copy of it to play with my son and some of the groups I go to. I think it's easy enough to teach. My game box was dented though and I didn't realize it until I got home. Speaking of the box, with the boards and all the pieces - the game box could've been a smidge bigger. I have to find a thin plano case for the token markers. I don't want them all in bags.
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14. Board Game: Bruxelles 1893 [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:320]
Board Game: Bruxelles 1893
Max Jamelli
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I was wandering around open gaming looking for something to play and saw Rich and Mat sitting over this and it looked like they hadn't started. I asked if I could get in and they said yes. I got a good rules intro and we were off. I really like how this game works. Different options, worker placement with no feeding, the various scoring options -- wasn't on my radar until WBC.

I played a late night 2P game with someone as well - I think he was really burnt out because he would fall asleep during his turn sometimes. Was still fun to meet a new player - even if he was zombied out.
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15. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:122] [Average Rating:7.56 Unranked]
Board Game: Stone Age
Max Jamelli
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Chambersburg
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I did get a late night 3P game with two of the best Rich's at the con (Irving and Moyer). Again, not a fan of the non-2P variety, but I did fairly well (and I may have even won). Enjoyed gaming with two of the people that make WBC a fun week.
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16. Board Game: Tokaido [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:577]
Board Game: Tokaido
Max Jamelli
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My dad and I showed Terry and Chris our draft game on Sunday and they asked if we had a little time to play something quick and this came out. It had some really nice looking artwork, but the game itself was rather simple in it's design. It reminded me a lot of Glen More in it's "you move down the road and the last player in line is up". I did really well in this one and perhaps I won (not sure). My dad wasn't a huge fan, but he didn't do awful in it either. I'd play this again if it hit the table.
 
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17. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:73]
Board Game: 7 Wonders
Max Jamelli
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I've gotten to like this one more and more (and not because of any expansions) as a more than 5 player option. I played with Chris and company (not sure of all the players, but I think we had 6). It was a good time. I'm sure I didn't win. If I had to guess I'd guess I finished 3rd.
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18. Board Game: Star Realms [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:123] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
Board Game: Star Realms
Max Jamelli
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Chris broke this out and Brian told me it was a deck builder. Now, deck builders aren't usually my bag baby, but I figured I'd give it a shot. Allan and I teamed up against Brian and Chris. I actually didn't hate this game. It's in the same vein as dominion - which is a game I definitely do NOT like ... but it's also a combat game which makes it cool. The toughest thing for me to watch was the calculation of hit points. That could've/should've been done in an easier way than Allan did it.
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19. Board Game: El Caballero [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:2863]
Board Game: El Caballero
Max Jamelli
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This was in Cafe Jay. I saw my buddy Ken eying it up and I figured this was my chance to learn something new since I had nothing else going on at the time. We sat down with another gamer (name escaping me) and slogged through a few rounds. Not for us. Maybe we did something wrong, but it didn't feel like something we wanted to commit any more time to, so we stopped and went over to ...
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20. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:18]
Board Game: Concordia
Max Jamelli
United States
Chambersburg
Pennsylvania
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this which was across the room. Ken had played before, as had I, but I needed a small rules refresher. We taught Chase the rules and played a 3P game. I attempted to get as much Fabric as I could to trade for brick - Chase expanded all over the map - and Ken ended up running away with the game by buying cards.
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21. Board Game: Pit [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:1727]
Board Game: Pit
Max Jamelli
United States
Chambersburg
Pennsylvania
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Learned this late night with Ken, Chase, and Max -- was told this is better with more than 4 people. I learned a new game at least ... would give it another shot with more.
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22. Board Game: Evolution [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:496]
Board Game: Evolution
Max Jamelli
United States
Chambersburg
Pennsylvania
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My buddy TJ was helping demo this in open gaming so I sat in on a round. It took me some time to figure out what was going on and I even thought I made a mistake in feeding when I did get the hang of it. It was a fun game - maybe a little fiddly in the feeding bits - but I hope they do well.
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23. Board Game: Space Cadets: Dice Duel [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:1427]
Board Game: Space Cadets: Dice Duel
Max Jamelli
United States
Chambersburg
Pennsylvania
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In open gaming, this came out as a late night affair. We had 2 experienced players, and 4 novices (me one of the novices). It was a fun and fast game, not as loud as was advertised to me. My team ended up winning - but it was a close one. I was in charge of rolling missiles, and scanners. The dice rolling got pretty wild.
 
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24. Board Game: Baseball Highlights: 2045 [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:489]
Board Game: Baseball Highlights: 2045
Max Jamelli
United States
Chambersburg
Pennsylvania
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As I wandered through open gaming, I saw this game set up and a gentleman sitting at the table. I recognized him from videos online as the designer so I asked if he was looking for a game since I had backed it and was curious about the rules. He said he was waiting for some of his friends who were going to play something, but since I backed it he was glad to play through a sample round with me.

I think it's a clever design and one that I look forward to getting when it comes in.

After our single round, his group was nice enough to let me stick around for a round of Thunder Alley as well.
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25. Board Game: Balloon Cup [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1213]
Board Game: Balloon Cup
Max Jamelli
United States
Chambersburg
Pennsylvania
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Another open game of "something to do while we wait for more people" Jarrett broke this out and said it's a perfect WBC Saturday game. Not too brain burning. He was right about the non-brain burning thing but there is a subtle deep strategy there. I really liked this one - especially after we got into it and I realized what was going on. Very cool game that I could probably hook the wife on too.

edit: I came home to find that this is also available on Yucata -- so I'm going to get to play a lot more of this it appears
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