ConnCon 2015 Plays & Thoughts
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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In keeping with my past traditions, I like to record my overall plays at the con including some quick thoughts on the game and experience.

Unfortunately, I neglected to record a few names and results after the plays and now I have some embarrassing question marks peppering this list. This is not a reflection on any of the great people that I played with, but rather my poor memory and note-taking.

With that in mind, I think everything is accurate, but I'd be happy to be corrected or record peoples names if anybody stumbles upon this list.
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1. Board Game: Harbour [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:1241]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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FRIDAY
Pick-up Game (Before Slot 1)

2p: Ben & I

Result: Ben whooped me pretty bad.

Thoughts: I'm willing to give this game another chance, but was pretty disappointed by my first play. Admittedly, I made a few mistakes in hindsight, but there seems to be quite a bit of "situational" balance issues. Meaning you don't see enough cards to guarantee that all combos are worth investing in. And if there is a good card there, you simply might not be in a good situation to buy it at that time. You only buy 3-4 cards the whole game so its really difficult to change gears or recover from a "bad" purchase. The (relatively) short play time might help compensate for that, but I'm not convinced yet.

Preliminary Rating: 5
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2. Board Game: Alchemists [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:80]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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FRIDAY
Slot 1 (1pm)

4p: Dale, Alex, Jon and I.

Result: I won with Dale and Alex in a super close 2nd and 3rd. Just 1 point between each of us.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this game. It's probably top 3 of the "new to me" games that I played this con and could easily wind up in my collection in the future. Both the worker placement and deduction elements are excellent. I think the biggest weakness is the length of the game, but it didn't bother me at all. Also, the phone app makes it all possible and I have no problem adding it to the game when this is the product.

Preliminary Rating: 8
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3. Board Game: Deus [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:303]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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FRIDAY
Pick-up Game (Between slots 1 and 2)

3p: Ben, Francie and I.

Result: I won in a very close game.

Thoughts: My second play of this game and I'm enjoying it more each time. There are a number of viable strategies to get points and the sacrificing of cards always makes for interesting decisions. I like the level of interaction as well. There is minimal direct conflict (and no "loss" of land, but staying aware of your opponents is essential.

Preliminary Rating: 8
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4. Board Game: Orléans [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:26]
 
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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FRIDAY
Slot 2 (1pm)

4p: Eric S., Ben, Chris W. and me.

Result: I came in third. Chris won.

Thoughts: While I enjoyed the game, I wasn't wow'ed by it. The simultaneous nature of worker assignment phase is rather odd with no player shields and I'm curious to see how that works in future plays (especially in later rounds). To some extent it felt like Macao with "bag building" instead of the resource dice. In many cases, that might be fine (since I LOVE Macao), but it seemed lacked any penalties like Macao and therefore just felt arbitrary on many decisions. A game doesn't have to be punishing to be good (see La Granja below), but there needs to be some more optimization or engine-building to make the decisions meaningful. I just didn't get that from the "bag-building". Maybe I will see more of its strengths in future plays (I Kickstart'ed it after all), but I'm not sure it will have any real staying power.

Preliminary Rating: 7
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5. Board Game: Pandemic: The Cure [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:259]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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FRIDAY
Pick-up Game (Between slots 2 and 3)

4p: Ben, Christopher, Joe and I.

Result: We lost pretty horribly with only Red cured.

Thoughts: Was excited for this since Pandemic holds a special place in my heart and I generally like dice games. That said, I walked away pretty neutral on this game. Its VERY abstract and I think that removes a lot of the charm and elegance of the original. I'm not going to go out of my way to play this again.

Preliminary Rating: 6
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6. Board Game: Linko! [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:707]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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FRIDAY
Pick-up Game (Between slots 2 and 3)

5p: Chris W, Megan, Bryan, Ben and I.

Result: Christopher won.

Thoughts: I spent most of this play trying to wrap my head around some of the mechanics and strategy so I was pretty underwhelmed at first. I just dismissed it as a pretty generic card game that had a similar vibe to most trick-taking games. That said, I've been thinking more about it more and I think I can see more of its strengths in hindsight. I think the goal of playing the most cards rather than simply trying to go out first or scoring by value of the cards, is really interesting. And sometimes you want cards stolen to get other cards. I would definitely give it another shot and I think the preliminary rating could rise.

Preliminary Rating: 6
 
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7. Board Game: King of New York [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:426]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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FRIDAY
Pick-up Game (Between slots 2 and 3)

5p: Chris W, Megan, Bryan, Ben and I.

Result: Brian won from elimination.

Thoughts: I had a lot of fun with this game. Unlike many, I think the buildings and military are pretty awesome. And I like that they weakened the points from dice. I need to play KoT more to confirm which I prefer, but I'm very willing to play either at almost any time.

Preliminary Rating: 7
 
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8. Board Game: Cockroach Poker [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1213]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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FRIDAY
Pick-up Game (Between slots 2 and 3)

5p: Chris W, Megan, Bryan, Ben and I.

Results: 2 plays - Chris lost both

Thoughts: Definitely my biggest "discovery" of the con since I had never heard of it and had a blast. Good group and a few drinks are this games best friends and we had both. "Get out of my head!" was yelled quite a few times and was always met with laughs. This was very quickly added to my "buy" list and I almost ordered it on the spot.

Preliminary Rating: 7
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9. Board Game: Pairs [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:2012]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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FRIDAY
Pick-up Game (Between slots 2 and 3)

5p: Chris W, Megan, Bryan, Ben and I.

Results: 2 plays with base rules (I think) - I don't remember who won/lost.

Thoughts: I liked this game more than the first time I tried it, but that isn't saying much. In fairness to the game, it is intentionally a very simple game that trends towards an "activity" while having a few drinks. And for that, it has its place. I'd almost always rather play something meatier, but I'll take this over nothing.

Preliminary Rating: 5
 
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10. Board Game: Abyss [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:324]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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FRIDAY
Slot 3 (11:30pm)

4p: Steve, Steve, Chris and I.

Result: Steve won, but there were numerous rules issues that had a real impact on the game

Thoughts: My experience with this game was not positive. But I think that was mostly because of the late time slot and significant rules issues, so I can't really hold that against the game. That said, I think I've seen enough of the game to not be too excited about it. The game play to me just felt really lacking. Its very light and boils down to acquiring cards (through a very basic auction/draft mechanic) and then using that to acquire other cards which give powers and VP. And then some of those powers can be cashed in for more end game VP. The best thing about this game is the art. It really is beautiful, but that is not enough for me. I would probably try it again, but I'm definitely not seeking it out.

Preliminary Rating: 5
 
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11. Board Game: Brew Crafters [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:458]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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SATURDAY
Slot 4 (8am)

4p: Jess, Mike, Douglas and I.

Result: Douglas won and I came in 3rd.

Thoughts: I think its pretty apt to call this Agricola with brewing instead of farming. Its obviously not the same game and I don't mean to take anything away from either game with that comparison, but I think it paints a reasonable picture. The theme is fun and the budgeting makes for some interesting decisions, but there just didn't seem to be enough unique to make this memorable among the many other worker placement games out there. I'd probably play it again, but I wouldn't be the one to suggest it.

Preliminary Rating: 6
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12. Board Game: Empire Engine [Average Rating:5.91 Overall Rank:4709]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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SATURDAY
Pick-up game (between slot 4 and 5)

2p: Ben and I.

Result: I won the battle, but Ben won the war by taking home the game from the Play to Win.

Thoughts: Possibly my least favorite play of the con. The game very much feels like a micro-game due to the limited components and depth. It even tells you to figure out some way to hide your score cubes yet provides no way to do so. There could be some fun bluffing elements between attack and defense, but with limited options to do each turn, I never felt like the decisions were that meaningful. Maybe its better with more than 2 players. There are many other games I'd rather play, including better micro-games.

Preliminary Rating: 4
 
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13. Board Game: Roll for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:60]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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SATURDAY
Pick-up game (between slot 4 and 5)

2p: Ben and I

Result: I beat Ben by a few points.

Thoughts: I like this game more and more with each play. I think I even like this more than Race for the Galaxy (my first '10' rating), but I want to give it at least one more >2p play. The role selection is awesome and even better than Race. The dice add variability while avoiding most of the "dangerous" aspects of dice. And the double-sided tiles are a big improvement.

Preliminary Rating: 9 (could easily go to a 10 soon)
 
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14. Board Game: Tragedy Looper [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:510]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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SATURDAY
Slot 5 (1pm)

4p: Dustin was the 'mastermind'. Ai, Costa and I were protagonists.

Result: We won Scenario 1 on the second to last day. With significant help from lucky mistake or two.

Thoughts: With the right group, this could be really cool. We limited table talk to the time before any cards were played and our group seemed to have a bit of a philosophical difference on how to proceed. Some wanted to try to "what if" every possible scenario to find the "perfect play". Others (me) felt that was effectively impossible and preferred to just discuss at a high-level and play cards more tactically. I think an equilibrium could easily be found with more plays from a regular group. I would definitely play again, but I can't really say that I'm excited to.

Preliminary Rating: 6
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15. Board Game: Deus [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:303]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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SATURDAY
Pick-up game (between slot 5 and 6)

4p: Jason, Kerry, Jeremy And I.

Result: Kerry won with Jason extremely close behind. I had an embarrassingly low score for a distant 4th place.

Thoughts: See above for thoughts and rating, but even my awful showing helped solidify my positive thoughts of the game.

Preliminary Rating: (see above)
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16. Board Game: Red7 [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:545]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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SATURDAY
Pick-up game (between slot 5 and 6)

3p: Ben and Gil

Result: Didn't track. We just played a few hands intending to keep score by scrapped it due to time.

Thoughts: This game is a lot of fun and is already on my "buy" list. Once you get into the scoring rules and card actions, it provides a surprising amount of depth for such a small (and easy to learn) package. I think this could be my go to travel game, if I can only bring one very small thing.

Preliminary Rating: 7
 
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17. Board Game: La Granja [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:115]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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SATURDAY
Slot 6 (7pm)

3p: Don, William and I.

Result: Don and I tied with William very close behind.

Thoughts: I think this is my #2 of the "new to me" games played. I love multi-use cards and this does it really well. I think this might be my favorite "point salad" game. It is so open with your options while still giving you a ton of meaningful decisions. I hope to play this again soon and may wind up picking it up once its more available.

Preliminary Rating: 9
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18. Board Game: Thurn and Taxis [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:349]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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SATURDAY
Pick-up game (between slot 6 and 7)

4p: Doug, Pat, Cathy and I.

Result: I won.

Thoughts: This has been on my radar since I read people saying they like it more than Ticket to Ride (and I'm pretty fond of TTR, especially the post-USA versions & expansions). Its a pretty fun game and I can definitely see the appeal, but it doesn't unseat TTR for me. I think the route cards and interaction of TTR are better for new comers as they provide more direction in the beginning and I thought the need for increasingly long routes towards the end was rather annoying. I think this game could get very samey as its really only about racing for the achievements. That said, I would play it again with the expansion(s) in the future.

Preliminary Rating: 6
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19. Board Game: Concept [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:567]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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SATURDAY
Slot 7 (11:30pm)

9p: Joe as game manager and neutral assistant. Then 4 teams of two.

Result: N/A - we did give out points, but I'm not sure we did it properly and nobody cared much anyway

Thoughts: We played three rounds with each team "presenting" once for each difficulty level. Level 1 was two easy and even level 2 wasn't too challenging. Level 3 was hard, but all answers were eventually figured out. We had a good time playing, but this really is more of an activity than a game. And in the end, it really just felt like charades to me.

Preliminary Rating: 6
 
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20. Board Game: Tajemnicze Domostwo [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:410]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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SUNDAY
Slot 8 (8am)

6p: Anthony as ghost. David, Steph, Alex, Don, ? and I as investigators.

Result: Played with 9 cards in each option. Even though we couldn't narrow down any suspects before the final round, we managed to win in the end.

Thoughts: Highlight of the con for me. I had a blast with this and I'm definitely planning to pick it up at some point. Although I've only played it once, and not as the ghost, it really seems to work great as both deduction and coop. Its one of the few games on this list that I regret not being able to play again right away.

Preliminary Rating: 9
 
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21. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:134]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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SUNDAY
Pick-up game (between slot 8 and 9)

4p: Dustin, Keith, Ben and I.

Result: Dustin won.

Thoughts: I wasn't expecting to like this game as much as I did. In particular, I love the tiles used for the bids and the way that they limit the number of auctions you can win and exchange for the public one. Also, the fact that we learned, setup, played and cleaned up the game in less than an hour is also pretty awesome. I already have a few other auction games, but this could creep onto my "buy" list.

Preliminary Rating: 8
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22. Board Game: Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:88] [Average Rating:7.82 Unranked]
Colin Orr
United States
Norwalk
Connecticut
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SATURDAY
Slot 9 (1pm)

5p: David, Steph, Jordan, Peggy and I.

Result: Perfect organism scenario. I was out first (right before the second objective was met). David succumbed to the third objective hazard and Peggy shortly after to a "chest-burster". Although knocked down to two players, they both had great decks and we won.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this game in the beginning, but I was out pretty quick due to unlikely strikes which knocked me out early. Additionally, I never had much of an option for deck-thinning which made the deck building aspect feel pretty weak. Also, I'm sort of burned out by high randomness co-ops which seem to boil down to just taking swipes at a string of generic enemies. That said, the art is awesome and there are still interesting decisions and mechanics. I love the way the enemies are hidden as they creep towards you and the "coordinate" key word on some of the cards. I would definitely play it again, but I'm not in a rush.

Preliminary Rating: 7
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