Con of the North 2008 - My Experiences
Ryan Olson
United States
Auburn
Kansas
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Con of the North (www.conofthenorth.org) is a local gaming con here in Minnesota. It was on Feb 15th - 17th this year.

They seem to have mostly scheduled events, but several of us are starting to play more open games. I managed to play quite a few while only playing one scheduled game.

I didn't play as much as I would have liked, but I had alot of fun talking to people and finding out some interesting stuff. So while gaming was less, socialization was higher (which is quite strange for me).

Here is my recap of the weekend...
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1. Board Game: Hotel Life [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:4303]
 
Ryan Olson
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My wife and I arrive almost a half hour early for our 6 o'clock games.

I drive around trying to find a parking spot (stupid hotel construction has several spots taken up by containers), but eventually I do get a spot right in front. I assume my wife is waiting for me so we can go up...

No such luck. They seem to think we have already checked in, which is odd because we had been on the road for the past 2 hours taking the kids to my sister's house.

They call up to the room (where nobody should be, we had gotten part of the "Con block" of rooms, whoever had it would be gaming), and eventually went up to see if anybody was really in the room. Which there was.

So we eventually do get a room, and a free upgrade to a better room, which worked out ok in the long run, but my wife had decided to bail on her game, and I walked up just after 6 to my game of...

 
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2. Board Game: Die Macher [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:185]
Ryan Olson
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I finally got to play the masterpiece.

I am very grateful to Chris Shaffer (TheCat here on BGG) for teaching this to us, and thanks to Michael Jordal (Jormi_Boced on BGG) for wanting to play also, so Chris would bring it with.

Luckily, Chris had filled the last 2 spots before Michael and I walked up, so we had a full compliment of 5.

We played the short game, which only took 5 hours .

But, as I have heard often with this game, the 5 hours flew by. It was alot of fun.

Michael & Chris battled for the win, with Chris coming out on top. I snuck into a tie for third without really doing anything very well except leeching onto people with coalitions .

I had alot of fun (although it was enhanced by the group, we laughed alot at each other .), too bad I doubt my game group will play this with me. I probably need to trade my copy .
 
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3. Board Game: RattleSnake [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:4016]
Ryan Olson
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My friends were all pretty tired, so we played a quick game of Rattlesnake in my room, and they all left.

Shanda won. She is very good at games. I think her husband Klay (k5jaeger on BGG) wins rarely when playing her. She seems to win everything she plays .

I was hungry, so my wife and I went out to get something to eat.
 
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4. Board Game: Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:544]
Ryan Olson
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I got up late, and walked around inspecting the Vendors.

I ran into Michael again, who was just starting to play this game.

I had asked him to bring it, and he offered me his seat, but I wasn't sure it would get done before my wife was going to want to go to lunch (she was playing until Noon).

I felt pretty dumb about turning the offer down. They finished BEFORE my wife did, but I stood and watched almost the whole game.

Wow, did this game look fun. I definitely need to play it.

Dammit, now I need to try to get ahold of this one. Maybe do a several games on my trade list for it type trade .
 
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5. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:49]
Ryan Olson
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Grabbed the game I am currently obsessed with (even after only 1 play ).

I was going to teach my buddy Steve, but as we asked for a table, an older gentleman said he wanted in if we'd have him. I wanted to try it with more than 2 anyway, so I gladly accepted his offer .

Turns out Richard had played the game 5 or 6 times, so HE taught US how to play . We also picked up Tim, who I think said he is on BGG, but I didn't get an ID.

I went Military, because all the cards I seemed to get were of that type. Richard had mentioned it's hard to win that way, but I played with what I was drawing.

Richard had a good system going, and Tim had a bit going too. Steve wasn't getting it, but I knew he wouldn't get this one the first time. he absolutely rules in any game where nobody else has played though, he wins those games all the time.

Richard ended the game, because he thought he was winning. He should have waited, he would have gotten a crapload of points in the next round when he consumed.

He had 30 points. Not bad (I won with 16 in my first game). Tim added his up...31! Nice. I add mine up. 30, nuts. Wait...I forgot this 1 point chip I got at some point...31! I got so excited, I launched the chip into orbit, never figuring out where I tossed it.

Tim won the tie breaker though, because I used all my cards for a 6 development on my last turn. Oh well. Lots of fun. Great game.
 
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6. Board Game: Cartagena [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:845]
Ryan Olson
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Richard offered to teach us Cartagena. Neither Steve or I had played before, although I had almost bought it a couple times, thinking it would be good for my family.

My instincts were right. This light game would be perfect for my family. I liked it, Steve loved it. I think I lost. Richard won for sure...

Richard mentioned that he owns somewhere between 5000 & 6000 games. I told him I needed to introduce him to my wife so my collection isn't so big .
 
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7. Board Game: Zombie Fluxx [Average Rating:6.02 Overall Rank:2746]
Ryan Olson
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Richard pulls this one out next.

I knew it would be a game Steve would like. I didn't think I would...

Correct on both counts. I intentionally lost the game to get it over with. We had played 30-45 minutes, but it felt like 5 hours.

Maybe I don't like Zombie games. I really hate Zombies!!! too.

Oh well.
 
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8. Board Game: Antler Island [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:3982]
Ryan Olson
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Broke out a new game for my friends later.

My wife, Shanda, and Steve joined me in a game of this after we went out and got some supper.

Steve, Dina, and I seemed to be battling for the lead, although I never did get a fighting token, so I totally lost. Somehow Shanda won, although I have no idea how. That was bugging me after playing, that I had no idea how the winner had come from so far behind...

Not too sure about this one. Need to try it again before I make a decision.
 
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9. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:49]
Ryan Olson
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Got another one of this in. First time for Klay, second for Dina. I implemented some stuff I had seen Richard use, and managed to win with 37. Klay scored 34, and Dina had 26.

Everybody was tired. Ok, almost everybody. Dina and I weren't, so Dina ran out and got us some snacks, and breakfast for in the morning.
 
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10. Board Game: StarCraft: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:341]
Ryan Olson
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Sunday opened with me keeping my one scheduled game. I never played the computer game much, but I loved Warcraft I & II.

This game did not disappoint. We had 5 players only (one benefit of playing at 10 am on Sunday, we even had 2 alternates end up playing), and one guy bailed pretty quickly after starting (he seemed to have a negative attitude about FFG in general anyway).

I felt it really did capture the essence of the video game. I loved the way it played, and we almost finished in the 4 hour time slot (rare for a FFG game at the con). And that included almost a full hour explaining. Although our demonstrator had little to explain after we got going, the game does seem to follow a logical order.

I was declared the winner, even though I only fought 1 battle. I was at 14 points when we had to quit, and would have spent the next turn dong all I could to preserve the 1 VP I needed . It would have been a VERY nasty turn for me I think.

Another one I need to try to trade multiple games for this single one. I really need to get it. Klay played in it also, and said he enjoyed it.

I also picked up the computer game on Monday .
 
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11. Board Game: Fairy Tale [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:745]
Ryan Olson
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Steve, Klay, and I had some time to kill before the wives were done with their last game, so we went back to a old favorite in Fairy Tale.

I forget how much I like this game when i don't play it for awhile. Everything in this game is fun to me.

I won the first game, only because I got 3 cards to give me 10-15 more points in the last turn.

I got nothing to work with in the second game. Steve won, and I finished last .
 
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12. Board Game: AT-43 Initiation Set: Operation Damocles [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:2402]
Ryan Olson
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Didn't get to play this one, but I wish I had...

FFG gave them out to everybody who played in a demo. One copy of this and Confrontation: The Age of the Rag'Narok were given every hour for most of Saturday to people who played any FFG game.

My pal Steve got one Friday. It looked really cool.

We headed to the Source Comics and Games after we left the con, because they had a coupon for Con-goers to save on Sunday or Monday. I used mine to get Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization.

My wife and I took advantage of Presidents day, and left the kids at my Sister's until Monday. So we went out and saw the movie Juno Sunday night .
 
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