The Woundwart Report: Atlanta Gamefest 13
Todd
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Hello all,
So here is my report from this years only Atlanta Gamefest surprise
You know why they call Atlanta "Hotlanta" (insert picture of snow covered cars)? Even in January the heat can be sweltering (insert pictue of snow coverd trees). Yep the snow this year was almost a bigger topic of conversation than Agricola (and it proper pronunciation shake ).
I discovered a few new things this year about Atlanta Gamefesters and before we get to the games I am going to share them with you. I am not suggesting that any of these are bad. They just observations I made.
1. Atlanta Gamefesters like new games. They like to talk about new games, argue about the best strategies for new games, have deep meaningful discussions about the proper pronunciation of new game names, express their well thought out opinion of new games and most importantly play new games. If given a choice between an old game they have played 100 times and something new from essen they haven't played they will turn down the old game in a second. I am not suggesting that is a bad thing but it really makes it hard to find players for Cosmic Encounters
2. Atlanta Gamefesters like short games. In their mind three hours spent playing three games is better than three hours spent playing one game. Now there is a small splinter group that throw this idea to the wind and play a 6 hour game of Descent but for most this is true.
3. Atlanta Gamefesters love rowdy games. There will be a lot of noise in the gamerooms because of this. All of it good noise mind you. Lots of laughing, cheering and good time having. I think at one point the Hotel had to ask us to keep it down we were waking up the guest.
4. Atlanta Gamefesters or both honest and very generous. If a piece gets misplaced and someone finds it they will hunt down the original owner and make sure its gets put back in the box. A personal thanks to Dolly and Kasey for dinner you guys are paragons of what makes AGF so great. So how about the games this year. Here is what I played and some observations.
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1. Board Game: Kingsburg [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:266]
Todd
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So the first game of the weekend is always tricky. Especially if you can't get there till noon. This is when most people are breaking for lunch. (I keep saying eat a late breakfast and you can skip lunch but no one listens to me.) So while I was trying to get Shogun on the table the only players left want to try this. Overall I was not impressed with this game. It is just too light for my tastes, and while rondomness is great in the right kind of game it is easy to stay in last place with a few bad rolls. this was a very popular game this year but I doubt it will get much play after the "Shiny" wears off. I heard many people who had played it express disapointment with the game overall. It is interesting to see how Caylus has begun to influence game design. To me the spots to place your dice seemed heavily influenced by the buildings in Caylus.
 
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2. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:17]
Todd
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There were a couple of paste up versions of this here and I was excited to try it. Daniel did a great job teaching the game but then made an off hand comment that ploughing fields didn't seem like a good strategy. I love a challenge so I was determined to see if there was a viable strategy with grain/vegtable fields. I did get lucky and a few cards in my hand that played into the strategy. I finished two points behind the winner and I see exactly were I could have made those two points up. I really like this game and will definately be getting it as soon as it is available. If your ever in Atlanta be sure you pronounce the name corectly. There are a certain few who "just can't stand people that can't pronounce a name" in a dead language correctly. (Thats just what I overheard at a table don't shot the messenger)
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3. Board Game: Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:533] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
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I had the one of the two copies of this at the Fest and I really wanted to play it. Luckily Dolly let Kasey play even though they were going to get dinner and Bob from Nashville was itching to play the Zombies. This turned out to be a very popular game for the weekend. My copy was almost always on a table somewhere being played. We played the Truck scenerio and while we found the keys and the truck early on the second turn we just couldn't fight past the hordes of zombies surrounding the truck to drive off. The zombies won the game after the fourth hero was turned into a brain eating zombie. I love this game more and more each time I play it. The guys at flying frog have done something with the "Team vs. One Player" model that FFG and other haven't been able to do. Make the game as just as exciting for the "bad guys" as it is for the heroes. It seemed to me that Bob was just as involved in the game as the heroes and his victory was never a sure thing. This is Doom's biggest downfall. The marines are having a blast but the invader isn't.
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4. Board Game: Qwirkle [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:658]
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Dolly, Kasey and I played this after dinner. It was a very fun game. I think it is a nice improvement on Ingenious and I am going to add it to my collection. My wife loves these kind of games and it should be a big hit with her family.
 
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5. Board Game: Shogun [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:127]
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This was my Secret Santa's gift to me this year and I wanted to make sure I played it this weekend. Now when you have a game you really want to play you have to activly get it on the table. You can't just set it on the shelf and wait for someone to suggest it. This was one example of the "long game" stygma working against me. Several potential players turned the game down becuase they had heard the game was "long". Once I got 3 other players (two of whom I game with regularly) we set this up and had a blast. That tower truly hates me . How one farmer could beat 4 trained warriors is beyond me. I really liked this one and can't wait to play it again when I have some idea of what I am doing. The turn selection is very intersting. You really want that extra attacker ability but you don't really want to go last either. Any game that offers me tough strategic choices is great in my book.
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6. Board Game: StarCraft: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:341]
Todd
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Saturday morning was reserved for starcraft. Shawn had just gotten this and I was again excited to give it a go. This one is pretty good. Better than Nexus Op but not as good as Twilight Imperium. A very solid design overall though. I really like the diceless combat which was a suprise since this comes from FFG. I am looking forward to giving this another go now that I am familiar with the rules.
 
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7. Board Game: Die Macher [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:185]
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Ahhh the main course of any gaming weekend. Shawn, Chris, Richard and I have begun a ritual of playing this on Saturday. This year Chris won by ten points. There is nothing better that playing this game with 3 or 4 other seasoned players. it is at times like those that the true brilliance of this game comes out. My favorite Die Macher moment this year. When my second region plan, that had about 3 or 4 if's in it, went off flawlessly. There was no sane reason for everything to fall into place like it did but it was amazing that it worked.
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8. Board Game: Brass: Lancashire [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:34]
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This was a very popular game for the weekend. There was easily a game going on some were the entire weekend. Verkisto had just bought the game and was asking me to teach him how to play. This was the second time I played it and I really like the design on this one. I am of the opinion right now that this is Wallace's second best design. (nothing is better than Age of Steam). There are many strategies to work you head around. When do you stop building up your finances and start working on your victory points (this is very reminiscent of Puerto Rico). the struggle to optimize all the cards you have and build the best network of industries and rails is well played. I haven't always been excited about Wallace's designs but this is a sure hit. I will porbably get this with Agricola when it is available.
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9. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:801]
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Well as you can imagine Saturday had been a very long day of tough brain burners. So I was hoping to get enough players for something less brain intesive. Luckily there was a bunch of gamers standing by the gamewall just unsure what to play. I was able to convince 3 of them to join me and 2 more joined as I was setting this up. I have never been able to get CE on the table at these thing. It has too much of the "long" and "chaotic" stygma associated with it. I am always refused when ever I bring it up. Luckily these guys had a)never heard of it or b) played it a lot years ago. Now here is the funny thing that happened as I was explaining the rules to everyone. Easily 10 different people stopped by the table and exclaimed how great the game was and how neat it was to see it being played. The same people that alway refuse me when I suggest we play it. People are funny. Well my faith in CE was proven that night becuase not only did everyone have a great time playing it they wanted to play it again immediately... at 1:30 in the morning. I have never had this happen at a game con. There are jsut so many games to play you never get requests for a second playing. I wish I could have played the second time but it was just so late. I could only do something very short.
 
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10. Board Game: Attribute [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:2367]
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This was the last game of the night and frankly it did nothing for me. I know it is just supose to be a social/party game but I just couldn't get into it. I don't really have much more to say about it other than it is a type of Apples to Apples and I didn't like it.
 
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11. Board Game: Dream Factory [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:575]
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Sunday morning started with an auction game for some reason they always do. This is a game I hate to love and love to hate becuase for what ever reason I am awful at it. I am ussualy in last place and a good 20 points behind the next player. Oh well, I played becuase Shawn was trying out his new Boardgame Themed tiles which he should be posting to the Geek soon. It was fun to see Space Hulk become the a game designed by Richard Borg with a set collecting Mechanic set given a renaissance. Since it was the first Ameritrash to be completed it also recieved the Michael Barnes memorial award. Once he postes it to the geek you should check it out it is a very fun set.
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12. Board Game: Princes of the Renaissance [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:585]
Todd
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This was another game that has gone too long unplayed in my collection. I was determined to get this played. I set it up and Joel express great excitment at playing. Shawn is alway good to play but man finding the 4th player was a real pain(wasn't new and has a reputation as a long game). Shawn and Joel played a game of Ra while we waited for our fourth to finish a game of San Juan. I reread the rules and we got started pretty quickly. I was worried I wasn't going to care for this (I don't go for most auction games) but this is soooo much more than an auction game. It wasn't till the second before I had a plan to win but Joel had established himself by then and schooled us all. I can't wait to play this again now that I have a good idea of some strategy.
 
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13. Board Game: Hart an der Grenze [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:2393]
Todd
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"Ah Senior I have 3 jugs of my mother's famous international homeopathic free range Goat milk. It is very popular" I ran into Kasey and he suggested we play this. I had never heard of it but it is on my must get list now. This is just a very fun game to play so long as you really get into the roll of a suggler and just have tons of fun with it. You have to use funny accents and try talking your way out of the inspection for this to really shine. I can see how this would fall flat on someone who only like thinking games. Now the question is how do I find a copy of it.
 
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14. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:366]
Todd
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After dinner I had time for one more game. This was only becuase I had monday of for MLK. This is always a sad time at Gamfest becuase so many Festers leave during the big Japanese Steakhouse dinner that when you come back there isn't much left to play. Many of us were hoping to play Galaxy Trucker but the copies of that had headed to their homes. We had setted for this and it was a nice way to end the weekend. When I had first learned this game we had the german version so we made up our own names for the different beans. I had just gotten used to calling them by those names so the other players would look confused when I would ask if anyone had any cowboy beans. The folks I played with were very easy going so beans were being trade left and right. Not something I am use to. After the final scores were tallied I had to bid my adue and head back home. Thanks to everyone for making this yet another great gamefest. Can't wait till next year and I hope to see you in Chattanooga for the august event.
 
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