Games Played At BGBTB Auckland (May 16-17)
David Taylor
New Zealand
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I had an absolute blast at Board Games By The Bay in Auckland this past weekend. It was my first event where I wasn't working in some capacity - I've attended BGBTB, Wellycon, and Battlecry in the past, but this was my first time as a patron.

My wife gave me the weekend off from parenting and I hit the road from Tauranga with two buddies.

I felt really lucky to have that opportunity and I enjoyed myself throughout. I was also very fortunate to win a copy of Spartacus with Saturday's main quiz, plus two promo prizes.

Dave and Natalie did a fantastic job and I'm hopeful I can make it to more events in the future.

A special thanks to Lee and Craig for joining me on the road trip and accommodation side of things, and helping to make for a very memorable weekend.

These are the games I played on my weekend away. Please feel free to add your own or comment on these if you played them at BGBTB too!
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1. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:2205]
David Taylor
New Zealand
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The first game we played wasn't actually a board game. The night before BGBTB, we met up with another friend in Central Auckland and played Escape Masters, a game where people are trapped in a room and need to solve clues to work out the lock combination to get out.

It was great fun. We sailed through most of it, but got stuck on the final clue...so stuck, in fact, that we had to guess one number of a six number combination to escape. (It turned out the clue we were fruitlessly trying to solve was a red herring, as we'd completely missed the ACTUAL clue...oops!)
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2. Board Game: Sheriff of Nottingham [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:244]
David Taylor
New Zealand
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After escaping the zombie horde, we went back to the place we'd rented for the weekend and broke out a brand new copy of Sheriff Of Nottingham. It was midnight - the perfect time to start a new game! It was the first time any of us had played it, and it was good...but not amazing. I felt that was in large part due to there being only 3 of us playing. It still provided plenty of tension and quirky negotiation tactics. I remember saying that I enjoyed it for its potential and that it would probably be more satisfying with additional players.

We played it again the next day with 5 players and that was phenomenal. I'm officially the world's worst sheriff. Even when I tried to be corrupt, I only ended up accusing innocent merchants and letting contraband through the gates! I bombed at this one, finishing dead last but having a brilliant time.

What I love about this game is the bags. There's such a finality to the way the pop sound ends a negotiation. I'd highly recommend this and I'm looking forward to playing it many more times in the future.
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3. Board Game: The Builders: Middle Ages [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1395]
David Taylor
New Zealand
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My first game on Saturday at the actual event was this neat little title. I'd played it before but introduced it to three players who were new to it. I really enjoy it - it's very simple on the surface, but has some really interesting choices. (And the artwork is beautiful.)

I managed to scrape out a win almost without even realising it - I was so focused on the player that I thought was going to win it that I didn't notice I'd scored enough points...!
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4. Board Game: One Night Ultimate Werewolf [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:266] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
David Taylor
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This game is always fun. We played it thrice and had a ball, accusing each other and trying to shift blame. Plus the quick turnaround means it can fit in at any time in a gaming session and repeated plays are almost mandatory.
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5. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:255]
David Taylor
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This one felt too easy. Admittedly, we weren't doing it on a super difficult level, but we rescued 7 people without any casualties and only had one explosion. This is in contrast to the last time I played this - a few years ago - when we had so many explosions that the game was over after the third round! Still, I got to be the dog this time, running like mad, jumping through holes in the wall, and saving the goldfish and the cat...
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6. Board Game: Letters from Whitechapel [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:184]
David Taylor
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I'd seen a review of this and had been interested to play it ever since. This was the last game we played on the Saturday before closing time. It was well worth the wait. It was like a darker, grimier, and more strategic take on the Scotland Yard core mechanic. Jack The Ripper was way too good for us. We thought we'd found his safe house after the first murder but he'd actually double backed and was long gone, so we started looking for him in the wrong place after that. By the third and fourth nights, he got to his safe house in a matter of one or two moves - it was poetry in motion, the way he played.

I've never before played a game and thought it was a must-have, but I ordered a copy of Letters From Whitechapel straight away.
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7. Board Game: Lancaster [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:251]
David Taylor
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After the venue closed, we went back to the house and played a game of Lancaster. I really love this game. I've played it half a dozen times and each time is just as enjoyable as the last, if not more. I had a pretty weak start for the first two rounds, but began clawing my way back in the third round. Somehow I built on my momentum and some opportunistic worker placement enabled me to surge to a 1am victory.
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8. Board Game: Shadowrun: Crossfire [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:620]
David Taylor
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I'd played this at a previous BGBTB event and had enjoyed it. Even though it required a brush up on the rules, I really enjoyed it again. One of our group has a copy and I'd be keen to play it some more. We kept the client alive but it got extremely close a few times. I also like games that can be used in a campaign setting, with characters being improved with better skills and equipment over time.
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9. Board Game: Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:64] [Average Rating:7.75 Unranked]
David Taylor
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Absolutely the best game on Sunday. I'd played this twice before as a 3 player game and had been betrayed by the same person both times. (You know who you are!) Said traitor was at the table for this, too, but there were 5 of us this time. We played twice because the first time we played, 4 of us decided to eject all of the dependents and our morale dropped by 5. Even though we didn't have a traitor in that first game, (and even though we also ditched the mall Santa for a boost in morale), we had lost before we finished the second turn!

So the decision for another play was made, and this time there was a traitor. That was fine...except he wasn't the guy we exiled. And we had 3 characters die in the first round. So now we were down a handful of characters and we had one very angry exile! We eventually ousted the real traitor and almost won...until the exiled player returned and made us pay! Oh, the humanity!

The storytelling aspect of this game, combined with interesting (and often difficult) decision making, makes this a brilliant game that I'm looking forward to playing a lot more in the future.
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10. Board Game: Tiny Epic Defenders [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:1932]
David Taylor
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A nice filler-ish game to end our weekend on. It was fun, with a simple concept but more depth than it initially looked like having. To be fair, we didn't last very long, but I'd be happy to play it again in the future.
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11. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:75]
Mark Waenink
New Zealand
Whangarei
Northland
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I know that you, David, missed out this time, but I have to add the oldest game played at BGBTB, Crokinole. I taught this game to a number of players and it was my most played game by far with at least a dozen plays.

I also played:
Lost Temple
Elysium - thanks Mark
Port Royal - a light card game I had been wanting to try.
Pandemic: The Cure - thanks Nathan.
Room 25 x3
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12. Board Game: Merchant of Venus (second edition) [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:585]
Jason Clague
New Zealand
Hamilton
Waikato
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I got to play this on Sunday - it has been on my "want to play" list for a very long time. We played 3-player, and all of us were new to the game so we made a couple of rule errors, but I had a great time and look forward to playing it again with the right rules soon!

I also taught/played Pandemic: The Cure, Fresco and Ra - and taught a heap of games - Terra Mystica, Kingdom Builder, Flash Point: Fire Rescue, Le Havre and Lanterns: The Harvest Festival to name a few!

And I came home with some shiny new purchases - both expansions to Kingdom Builder (Nomads and Crossroads) as well as Dead Panic - all of which I can't wait to play.

Had a fantastic (though very tiring) weekend. Another successful BGBTB!

(Also, I learned I am falling behind in my knowledge of all these hot new games! Walking around the tables to see if I could help anyone I was like "nope, don't know that game, or that one, or that one, or...". I need to study up on what the cool kids are playing these days before the next BGBTB! laugh)
 
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13. Board Game: Grog Island [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:2596]
Louise McCully
New Zealand
Auckland
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The first game I played is one that's been sitting on my shelf waiting to be learnt since Essen. Grog Island was the one game I bought I really wasn't sure there would be enough to it to be a good game. Since it popped up on last weeks BGG News I had the sudden desire to learn the rules Friday evening.

We all found it quite fun. The interesting auction mechanic using dice was the key part of the fun. At its heart it's a set collection game but the new auction mechanic lifts it up.

I look forward to trying it again and seeing if a second outing is just as good now that's the new mechanic buzz has worn off.
 
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14. Board Game: Colt Express [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:298]
Louise McCully
New Zealand
Auckland
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Next up we played another Essen 2014 release but this was one Kirsten had picked up (and one I had told another friend I wasn't going to buy it because I knew that he would... and I was right because he did).

This is a game where you have to enjoy chaos and your carefully laid out plans crumble to dust in a hilarious fashion.

Cheesiest moment:

*turning over a gun card*
Kirsten (our teacher) says "you can't shoot the sherif"
I respond: "But you can shoot the deputy"
Kirsten: "there is no deputy in this game"
Me: whistle
 
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15. Board Game: Ars Alchimia [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:3900]
Louise McCully
New Zealand
Auckland
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Next up was my second time playing the Japanese game Al Alchimia and it was just as good the second time round.

It initially sounds like a pretty standard worker placement. Send workers off to do one of a number of options: gather resources; get recipes; hire assistants; and make vp gaining potions & items.

The one difference that really makes this game shine is the fact that if someone has already been to a location you can too, you just have to send more workers there than what is already there. It is possible to block someone using a space but then you have to forgo a lot of workers that you could use elsewhere.

I hope that an English publisher plans to release this because I think it should be available to more people.
 
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16. Board Game: Glass Road [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:207]
Louise McCully
New Zealand
Auckland
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This is a game I have been curious about since I saw the BGG Essen 2013 video. It didn't disappoint, in fact I probably would have bought a copy on the spur of the moment if it wasn't sold out.

Really quirky combination of mechanics, didn't feel like the other Uwe Rosenburg games I'd played. Learning how to manage the resource wheel was quite trippy initially but I figured out
 
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17. Board Game: Cardline: Animals [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1757] [Average Rating:6.60 Unranked]
Louise McCully
New Zealand
Auckland
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Since dinner was on the horizon we settled down to three rounds of Cardline. A much more accessible version of the Timeline series (which I own too).

I've had this leant out to friends for about 3/4 of a year so I had forgotten almost all of the cards which was good for a game like this.
 
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18. Board Game: Spyrium [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:483]
Louise McCully
New Zealand
Auckland
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After dinner we had the awkward situation of having five players and being surrounded by 4 player games. Diving into another friends pile we settled on Spyrium, I was the only pure newbie for the game but it's been on my curiosity list for a while.

The theme is no strong in this one but the art and bits are good looking so I will forgive it for that. Enjoyable game which I would be happy to play again but don't need to own.
 
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19. Board Game: Antidote [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:2755]
Louise McCully
New Zealand
Auckland
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We finished off Saturday with an unassuming looking game in a small box.

Normally I'm rubbish at deduction games because it's all about being clever verbally and reading very carefully what people say and do. This game is not like that, it's all about what cards you get dealt and swap.

Fun game, would be a good one to add to my collection because its small and very different to others that I own.
 
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20. Board Game: Beasty Bar [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:1064] [Average Rating:6.86 Unranked]
Louise McCully
New Zealand
Auckland
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First up on Sunday I got to try another one off my to-be-played pile (though I've owned this one less than a month meeple).

It's a Guillotine-esque type game where you are trying to manipulate your animals to get into the bar and not get kicked out into the alleyway. Plays very quickly and is a chaotic fun game. Want to play again but hopefully end up with more than one animal in the bar
 
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21. Board Game: Orléans [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:26]
 
Louise McCully
New Zealand
Auckland
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This is my favourite game of what I've played from Essen 2015.

It's taken 5 games of this and I've finally won a game meeple.

Hopefully it will make it to our shores so as more people can join me owning it. I know SerioulyBoard would get it in because they are still enamoured with their play at last years BGBTB.
 
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22. Board Game: The Golden Ages [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:725]
Louise McCully
New Zealand
Auckland
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A one hour civ game... It does exist surprise

I've taught this a few times but this time I forgot one rule which meant money was tighter than it should have been. Interestingly I don't think it changed things too much.
 
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23. Board Game: Red7 [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:545]
Louise McCully
New Zealand
Auckland
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The final game of the con was Red7, a games that shouldn't be fun but really is.

After getting over the initial mental hurdle of understanding how ties were broken the game went really well. Though there is player elimination the rounds are over so quickly it's not a problem.

I had a really good time, I look forward to the next one.
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24. Board Game: Eight-Minute Empire: Legends [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:661]
Jay Hughes
New Zealand
Hamilton
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This little gem was the highlight of the weekend for me. I played it once on Saturday and once on Sunday. I think the title is apt, once all the players are familiar with the game, it really could be played in eight minutes.
 
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25. Board Game: Fief: France 1429 [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:758]
Eric Shift
New Zealand
Tauranga
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We played this first game Saturday morning. We managed to avoid famine a lot, had a couple of weddings and more than a couple of battles before CJ and me won it.
 
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