BGG.CON 07 - My List, My Photos, My Opinions -
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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BGG.CON 07 was again an awesome time this year. This being my second bgg.con, i had some experience and it went a little differently for me. I played less games overall but i think I achieved quality over quanity this time around.

I wanted to wait a week or two post con to let some of the other lists run their course and to also let the experience settle in so i could be more objective about the games i played.

Thus for my own benefit and yours, my bgg.con 07 geeklist.

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1. Board Game: The World Cup Game [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:1779]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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Firstly, for those that i have not met in person, and to hopefully clear something up.

My avatar is NOT me(while of course i wouldnt mind switching places with him), it's Fabio Cannavaro holding the World Cup from the 06 tournament.

A lot of people asked me about it, and it was nice actually explaining and bragging on the italia win, but I have yet to win any actual world cups... =D

Photos of the event and where the Avatar originated from:
Click Me


Fabio Cannavaro



Lastly, this is actually what I look like.
Me in Pareee
 
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2. Board Game: Airport [Average Rating:2.60 Unranked]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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Fun fun fun was my airport run at some 5:00am to EWR in New Jersey.

The first meta game was that my buddy Schlotto was running late, but managed to make it on time.

We chatted for a bit, a little ways off from our gate, and ended up getting caught up in conversation and nearly missed out flight when I didnt realize that no-one was at our gate (as our gate had changed).

In a mad panic we ran over to our gate and were able to board, but our to be carry-on had to be checked :-(

We were the last two on the plane and thus very lucky!
 
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3. Board Game: NHL Ice Breaker: The Card Hockey Board Game [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:4733]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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During the flight we played a game of NHL ICE BREAKER. You essentailly play poker hands to try to beat out your opponents and move the puck around the board trying to get into scoring position. I was the product of some great hands and got up very early and thus WON my first game of the convention weekend...WOOHOO.

This was a fun game, and a perfect game for traveling as it's footprint is small and it can be played in a small space such as on an airplane. If you dont like hockey, this likely will not appeal to you though.

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4. Board Game: Funny Friends [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1631]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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Nearly as soon as we got off the plane we started seeing and running into other geeks.

Our shuttle from the airport to the hotel was loaded with a plethora of geeks, including Octavian and the cute asian couple that seemed big on dexterity games.
 
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5. Board Game: Diamant [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:613]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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We got signed in, and got our door prize. I again got a red ticket this year, like last, while Scott got blue again.

I chose incan gold as my prize and was really happy b/c the day b4 the con i almost traded away my original settlers for it. I recently played diamant and had a blast with it, so this was the perfect prize for me.

i was also very happy i didnt make the trade nor had paid the top dollar fun again had been charging since the components are pretty weak. I def pref the diamant setup. But this is still a fun game and i can recommend it.

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6. Board Game: WeyKick [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:2379]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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We took a quick look around at the dexterity games that were setup and instantly had to try WeyKick. We had heard of these before and while we were more interested in the hockey version the soccer was pretty fun.

We were cracking up b/c we often sent our guys flying off their magnets where they would go careeming until getting stuck to an opponent player. I don't recall the result of this game, but after we both became decent at manuevering our little guys it was becoming a slight stalemate. It reminded me a lot of air hockey where a lot of goals happen kind of by accident or are own goals. The concept is fun and i would still like to try the hockey version as i think with a stick you could maybe twist or flick the ball rather than trying to smack into it(like air hockey).

It was fun, but i wouldnt buy it.
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7. Board Game: Galaxy Trucker [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:128]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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Next up, i headed into the library which was laid out in a smaller room this year that kind of snaked around in stacks. It somehow seemed a little less impressive than the huge room last year with games lining the walls but it was still AWESOME.

I was the product of good timing, Octavian had grabbed a copy of galaxy trucker and offered to teach it, so i was def game.

The rules were explained, i under 85% of it, and we were off. I built my first ship not realizing that the 3 prong connects were universal but instead were attempting to connect them to other 3 prong tiles. This made it it very difficult to get a good ship going but it was fun none the less.

The highlight of this game though had to be Friedman Friese coming by to tell us we were playing all wrong and explaining the mechanics in his animated way all the while emptying the cup of water he was holding all over me. Talk about being welcomed to bgg.con =D.

Overall the game was a lot of fun, we played 3/4's of the game missing a key rule, and that likely would have changed the challenge of the game but it was still fun.

I know Gil will be buying this, if he hasn't already...so i hope to play it again soon.

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8. Board Game: Container [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:583]
 
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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I met up with my friends Mary and Tim, who i played Antike with last year, and Modern Art with Mary and really enjoyed their company. They along with their friend Jeff were reading the the rules for Container and invited me in.

I had the chance to play this as a prototype since Mike Doyle was doing the art work and belongs to our local group. The game at the time we tried it was deemed broken due to the lack of money available in the game.

The changes were obvious once we got started, though it started a little slow once the game hit it's stride i think we were all enjoying it. The game has a very interesting in game economy and auction which i think works nice. I really liked the game and managed to win by 1 single dollar over Tim to make it very climatic.

This was a winner for me and i recommend it for those that enjoy games that have in game economies. The group i played with was great and that always helps!


Going through the rules with Tim and Mary
PHOTO

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9. Board Game: Too Many Cooks [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:2539]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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By this point, i met up with Scott and we decided to get some food. Being in Texas we of course figured on getting BBQ again. The place we went to this year seemed a bit more hardcore than the place last year. We queued up and ordered a variety of meats and overall was pretty enjoyable. The beers were cheap and it was nice to decompress for a bit and be on vacation.

PHOTO

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10. Board Game: Keythedral [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:681]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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After dinner we ran into Dana & Rick whom we met last year and played some good games with. They were interested in Keythedral and since i had played it several times and it's a favorite I was more than happy to play it.

Oddly though, this edition was different/earlier than the edition my buddy has and if i'm not mistaken the seats(VPs) were of lower denominations. I'll have to look for some pics here on the geek and take a look at the set we play with, but it made for much different game as typically those that are able to get one of the last few seats ends up winning.

Either way it was a good game even though i didnt do the greatest of jobs explaining it. Dana ended up winning while the Scott, Rick and myself were all tied.

Many people complain about the law cards being too chaotic, and that can be true, i took several law cards in this game 3 of which were useless but one was truly powerful however it obviously didnt help me win.

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11. Board Game: Ultimate Werewolf: Whitebox Edition [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:8817]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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I played in a beginner game of Ultimate Werewolf. Two very experienced players joined our game at the last minute which i think upset the balance a little bit. I was a measly villager and didnt last terribly long, i was killed by the witch in our game which was unfortunate. Scott/Schlotto was a WW and managed to make it very far in the game but i believe met his demise with only a few players left.

I think it can be a really good game with the right group, but obviously the player elimination factor can put a quick dampner on the whole experience. Typically the first two players out of the game are typically out for no real reason of their own and that's kind of a bummer.

I would like to play this again with my friends, maybe while at the shore, on vacation or for large group gatherings but that's about it.

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12. Board Game: Time's Up! [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:382]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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By this time it was getting fair late, well after midnight, and that typically translates to either WW, Times Up, Jungle Speed, or Tichu for the masses(who are still up).

I was recruited to play Time's Up, which i've only played as this version once(at last bgg.con) and i really have to say that the pen and paper version of Celebrity is a much better game. For those completely foreign to the game in general, time's up is a party game best played with a large group that is split into a teams of (about) 3. A group of cards is selected that have famous people's name on them. The game is played over three rounds and on your turn u have 30 seconds to get ur teams to guess the person on the card. The game is also played over three phases in the first u can say/speak anything other than the persons name, second phase u can say ONE word(and act), the last round you can only act...but the phases use the same clues so you would have tech heard each clue twice by the 3rd round.

In celebrity the players write down the famous people/clues and honestly that's half the fun, coming up with your own clues becomes a minor addiction that stays with u long after the game ends. In time's up, those that play often are familiar with the cards and in many cases the clues are not at all timely nor as funny if you were making them up yourself.

Anyway, it was still a very fun time and we had a lot of laughs. I personally had my second best boardgame moment when a girl that was on aldie's team introduced herself to him and was trying to read his badge. "oh mmm, your scott? hi i'm ***...hmm u have a lot stuff on your badge!'. Aldie was totally modest about it though. "Mmm, well yea i actually run boardgamegeek.com". She was like "oh..ok, well nice to meet you.'. i was dying inside. The other guy on Aldie's team was guessing new people in third round as well, which had me totally rolling on the floor. Ah it was funny.

Alas my team of Steph & Lance did not win but we had a couple decent rounds.


PHOTO

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13. Board Game: Sleepy Time [Average Rating:4.33 Unranked]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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After Time's Up we decided to call it a night, being up since 5:00am, i was pretty tired though also very wired. Unfortunately while i was totally exhausted i spent most of the night just laying in bed unable to sleep. :-(

End Day 1 (2:30-3:30am-ish)

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14. Board Game: Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:759]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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Friday Morning we walked over to Deny's and walked right back, we decided on trying the Starbux breakfast option and it worked out really well. It was decently priced and actually filling.

Thursday night Scott grabbed Fire & Axe out of the library and received a ton of propisitions for people wanting to play it. We set a time to gather Saturday morning and managed to get find at least one other of the original recruits (Rick).

Scott read the rules the night b4 and did a great job explaining them, we had four player game and i thought it was really fun. There are a lot of dice to be rolled but there really isnt any direct conflict. The dice were very bad to me(all weekend really), but i managed to get second place. The game has some chaotic moments through some of the events but i thought the components were nice and theme was decent and overall it's a game i would like to play again. Rick ended up winning with a huge point swing during his final two turns and was victorious.


PHOTO

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15. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:17]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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I was on the Agricola buzz wagon and decided pre-con to make sure i got this in. Stephanie was offering her copy up and also to teach it so I made arrangements pre-con and managed to make it happen.

We managed to make the moons-align and got setup right after Viking Fury, by this time Simon had meandered his way down to the main floor so that too worked out. Steph did a great job to explain the game and i think I saw her doing this roadshow about 4-5x's over the course of the convention, what a trooper.


Unfortunately during this game, i got a call from an employee at work, we had a database crash and i got a bit distracted. My starting hand was pretty lame, and the player to my right played out all of his helpers/subContractors or whatever they are called (in turn not really allowing me to ever take that action). Someone also told me during the game that offspring/workers didnt count for points...needless to say i had a rough time of it. I really was just trying to survive, by the game's end i had a decent amount of livestock and that seemed to save me, i scored i think 18-19 points. The game dragged for me as well, some people had serious AP which is on one hand understandable as the number of choices are many, but with 5 players there was plenty of time to figure out what you wanted to do.

Even though my first play didnt have me swooning, the game stayed with me and had me thinking a lot about it after we had finished, kind of like a good movie. The game took about 3+hours which is pretty long for most groups i would think so i'm not sure how long it will it will be the cream of the crop(heh, crop). I would consider getting the english edition for the right price.

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16. Board Game: Defining a Nation: India on the Eve of Independence, 1945 [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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After finishing up Agricola and it being fairly late afternoon by this time, we decide to take a short breather and venture out for some food. We had connected with a cab driver the night before and gave him a call. Scott, Simon and myself headed out for Indian food. We had good Indian last year and the taxi driver said he knew of a good place near by.

The food and company was really good and Simon was nice enough to treat. The only bad thing was taking the cab rides were about about $15+ each way(if u include a tip), this was the only downer of the hotel/area.

A little curry and we were good to go.

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17. Board Game: Animalia [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:3489]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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After we got back from dinner Scott headed off to the poker tourney and Simon and i made some rounds and were in a bit of a lull. We tried to read the rules for Mr Jack, but it didnt seem to happen.

We eventually met back up with Scott and took Animalia out of the library. Kevin saw us trudging through the rules and offered to teach us. He whipped through the rules very impressively and we were on our way.

The game is a basic trick taking/set collecting type game but art work on the cards is fantastic. For that alone this is a great filler that i would consider picking up.

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18. Board Game: Key Harvest [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1311]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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I did some wandering and found a game of KeyHarvest being setup. This game was almost an instant purchase when I first heard about it, so i was really excited to play it.

This game plays a bit differently than keythedral even though the art work and some of the setup seems similiar. Everyone has a player board or field that has a bunch of 'boxes/hexes'(it's neither really) labeled with letter/number like bingo like such as B3, but unlike bingo they are all the same. Players produce goods and attempt to sell them to other players, goods are exchanged for field tiles as mentioned above which go on your board.

In this game i didn't really know what i should have really been trying to focusing on, whether it was trying to take my own goods, or make it difficult for others to get them, or keep others from getting field tiles etc. The other frustrating thing was attempting to see what tiles i needed on my board and/or what tiles others might be interested in and the boards were just difficult to read. This unfortunately fell kind of flat for me and was one of my bigger disappointments.

Pictured above is a photo that i took of our game, featuring some guy named rob or something... =D

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19. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:49]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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After keyharvest i met back up with Simon who was able to get me into a game of Race for the Galaxy. Jeff was teaching me and we also had Simon along with Kathy, they are all great players and i had a lot of fun playing a few games with each of them during the con. I had played Time's Up with Kathy the night before, for those keeping track and can put 2 n 2 together ;-)

Jeff did a great job explaining the game, and i while i had a decent understanding of it my first outing was tough, and that's likely going to be true for most. The mechanics of the game are fairly straight forward, all players blindly choose a role and all players take that action with the chooser receiving a bonus(a la san juan/ puerto rico). The problem is that u have a decent number of cards in your hand at any given point and each card has a lot of different options and what i would call maybe potential modifiers, this is a good thing but makes for a confusing first play. Early on I realized i wasn't really going to be too competitive instead i was really just hoping not to lose. As it turns out this game is really just people trying to do their individual best as the amount of player interaction is extremely low. Now i'm sure that experienced players may be able to do some bluffing or have some strategies around choosing or not choosing certain roles that's still very limiting in the amount of interaction. This was one of the most solitare experiences i've had in a long time.

My expectations were really high, being a huge fan of san juan and the space theme was right up my alley, unfortunately this was a big let down. I am still looking forward to trying it again but like keyharvest what was once a must buy is now just a game i would like to try again.

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20. Board Game: Jungle Speed [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1057]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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THERE ARE NO EXCUSES IN JUNGLE SPEED!

Last bgg.con i was introduced to the TRIFECTA of late night gaming.
1. CashNguns
2. JungleSpeed
3. Mischa

Mischa introduced us to JungleSpeed, and the quote of the evening was i believe:"do you enjoy FULL CONTACT SEX???'.

^^^^^^^ALL FLIP^^^^^^^

Anyways, we had some virgins in the mix and they ate the pot often. We had a few sprained fingers but i dont think any blood...unfortunately.

^^^^^^^COLOR MATCH^^^^^^^

It's an awesome game and Mischa i believe bested everyone in at least one of the few games we played.

^^^^^^^ALL GRAB^^^^^^^


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21. Board Game: Sleepy Time [Average Rating:4.33 Unranked]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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END DAY 2

I felt like i needed to get in some more games and was hoping to really stay focused on Saturday. I had very little planned with exception of trying to get 1960 played, and i had been carrying around Caylus Magna Carta since Thursday morning.

Again, i had another sleepless night, it was even worst than the first night and i often contemplated just getting up to rejoin the fray.


We ended around 3:30am.

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22. Board Game: Caylus Magna Carta [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:666]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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Caylus Magna Carta was a game i was eagerly trying to get in the MathTrade, but didnt seem to pull it. (if anyone wants to trade anything for D&D:Tactics for the PSP game let me know!).

We hit up the flea market first thing, having experienced the rush last year, we knew we had to be there early.

I got in with the first wave(and when i say wave i did hit a few stink clouds ;-) )

I managed to score shrinked version of Caylus Magna Carta for >$20 which i thought was a fair to good price.

I also bought Colerretto for $5, which i also thought a decent deal. The flea market was a complete frenzy and i honestly made both of those purchases literally within the first MINUTE!

After that, things slowed down. There were some other good deals to be had, but with very limited amount of luggage i didn't go for any large footprint games that were available.

Next year i hope they do this after the MathTrade, and i think i may actually bring some games to sell, as i think most sellers sold just about all of their games.

SnoozeULoose :-)
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23. Board Game: Pick & Pack [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:2664]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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So while on line at the starbucks counter our favorite breakfast place of choice, we saw Zev and Simon Hunt so i asked about sampling 1960, one of the few games i was really hoping to sample. They said sure, but we're not opening up until 11:00am.

So about about 10:45 or so we started our stroll over to the Z-MAN booth and unfortunately two players were already going at 1960.

Simon grabbed my attention and offered up Pick & Pack his new game. Simon had been a very generous Secret Santa to me and is of course an active participant in the community here so I was happy to appease.

This is a really good 2 player abstract strategy game that plays in about 15-20 minutes. There are some tough choices to make and a little bit of stick it your opponent gameplay that can go on. I rather liked it and would have purchased it if my luggage would have allowed for it. It's small enough where i could see it being a good travel game.

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24. Board Game: Kingsburg [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:266]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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Next up I found a table where Kingsburg was being setup and got myself into the game. I didnt know much about this game and it turned out to be really fun.

The basic premise is that each player has a player board(think goa) with different buildings that allow you certain bonuses/effects/actions/points etc, to buy/build the buildings you need to collect and pay the required resources.

Each player rolls 3d6 (3 six sided dice)at the start of a turn. The main game board has 18 boxes (1 to 18) each with different resources you can collect or other actions/items/defense you can receive. They get better as the numbers increase. Taking turns players place their dice on a box of the action they want to take(assuming they rolled that number). The interesting thing is that you can break up the three dice to take up to three actions, so if you rolled say 1,5,6...on your turn you could choose box 12, box 11, box 1, box 5, box 6 etc...using any combination of your dice, players take turn placing on one box until all players have placed all their dice. Some buildings offer dice modifiers(like +/- one) and other game elements can give u additional dice. It was really very interesting and quite fun. I was actually a little sour a good way through our game as i had only once rolled up to 14 and just about all of my rolls were well less than 10, but i managed to come in second place. Tricia won our game and she was pretty dominant through out with i multiple 17/18 pulls. The other thing that makes it tense and entertaining is that only one person can be on a box(with some minor exceptions), so you need to decide wisely which box you choose as you may end up not being able to place some dice in later rounds(the 1 spot being popular).

The one downside of this game is that it seemed to take much longer than it should have, we did take a minor break to do the math trade but even aside from that our 5 player game lasted quite a long time and at a few points it 'felt long'. Maybe the happy number is more like 4 players.

There are some other elements that i didnt talk about at all, which also add to the tension, in that like a game of thrones at the end of every game year the kindom is attacked and if you do not have the proper defense you pay dearly for it and thus ensuring at some point during the earlier phases you'll want to either build a defensive building or take an action that gives you some defense, this reminded me of getting to the tax relief spot in pillars.

The players i played with, whom i of course don't recall all their names, Rob who i played a bunch of games with was in, and Tricia whom i say accross from and won our i recall were all really fun and it was one of my better experiences this con.

This is a game that my group must own.

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25. Board Game: El Capitán [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:1254]
james napoli
United States
Westwood
New Jersey
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Scott and I met back up and I found a nice chap that was setting up El Capitan.

He taught us the rules, and i think at this point I was very hungry and feeling the lack of sleep b/c I think my mind totally fell asleep. The explanation was good, but I honestly don't think i took hold of any of it.

You ever have those anxiety dreams where you are in school and everyone is pulling out an assignment that you don't have. When my first turn came up, that's exactly where I was. I honestly was just trying to do exactly what the player who went before me did and hoping i would just pick it up. I tried to focus, refocus, concentrate but it was tough.

I eventually just asked enough questions to get a feel for it, and once we had a round of scoring and i took a couple of turns I finally 'got' it.

Based on one play I would say that the game was pretty 'ok'. It's extremely abstract and while Mike Doyle's artwork is quite good, in this case it was a little difficult reading the script port cities upside down, but that's a minor gripe. The theme of the game, which i honestly couldnt even tell you, really seemed to have no bearing on the mechanics or gameplay. With all that being said, it's kind of guys game for those that enjoy moderately planned strategy games. I say only moderarely planned b/c there is a card system that makes the game a little random. I was behind pretty early but felt like i had a great second or later half. I made one critical mistake during my finale turn which really lost me a lot of points, and an opponent took advantage and pushed me out of scoring in two key places...which is actually a very nice asset of the game.

I also think that the environment was ill fitting for such a game, it was primetime saturday afternoon at what is one of the biggest boardgaming conventions in america and we were sitting in a high traffic area trying to play what could be a minor brain burner...(note all my disclaimers for finishing QUITE poorly). :-)

I'm not going to buy this one, but i would def play it again. It's not a game i would teach to my wife...but ya never know she may like it.

Nate's youtube video, you can catch us at the tale end, about 2:56 mark(scott in black shirt, i'm wearing a green shirt) :-)



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