qzhdad's Origins Part II
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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The "exciting" followup to the smash list:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/32698

I will admit that some of these games might be out of order chronologically, because I recorded the games, but not necessarily the order.

All in all, a great con.

My three favorite new games are mentioned in their entry, but almost all of the new ones that I tried were pretty good or better.

It was fun to see folks that I only see at conventions and I am glad that my family ranges from putting up with my addiction to my hobby to enthusiastically sharing it!
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1. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Scott Russell
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Clarkston
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Friday already!
Lisa decided to hang out with Stephanie away from the con, so Tom and Charlie rode down with us.
We got to the con about the time the Exhibit Hall opened and headed to the RGG booth to see if either Dominion were open. Not only was one available, but Scott Tepper, RGG demo-er extraordinaire, was interested in playing. So Z, H, he and I started out to establish our repective dominions. Scott got the feel for it, but halfway through, he couldn't stand the sight of a table wanting to learn the rules to a game and took his leave. (Or maybe he was worried about getting beat by a ten year old ). Hanson took that game and then we decided to relinquish the game for a while (Dale and Valerie didn't have to pull too hard to get the cards back.)
 
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2. Board Game: Change Horses [Average Rating:5.37 Overall Rank:14216]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Q and Charlie arrived around then, so we convinced Q and Charlie to give Change Horses a try. Hanson managed to hold his horse back the best.
 
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3. Board Game: TZAAR [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:339] [Average Rating:7.68 Unranked]
Scott Russell
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Clarkston
Michigan
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H wanted to go look at some Pokemon stuff with Q at another stand, so Z and I learned this one. I had her on the ropes (at least in my mind) right up until she took my last single circle piece. She and I both enjoyed this game, so maybe I should start showing her some more abstracts...

In this game, both players have fifteen plain pieces, twelve single circle pieces and six double circle pieces starting on the board. There are no empty spaces at the start and they are arranged in six alternating pyramids around the board. Each turn the player must make a capture by moving over empty spaces (could be zero if the opposing piece is adjacent) in a straight line until reaching an opponent's piece/stack consisting of equal or fewer pieces than the moving piece/stack. The opponent pieces are removed from the board. Then the player must make a second move, either capturing agan as described or reinforcing by moving on top of the same color piece to make a stack. This piece is not captured, but only the top piece counts for victory determination. When one player has no more of one type of piece showing, the opponent wins.
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4. Board Game: Oregon [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:988]
Scott Russell
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Clarkston
Michigan
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Oregon had freed up and Caitlin and Dave looked like they wanted to learn it. Z hadn't played, so I taught the rules to all three and they proceeeded to trounce me. Caitlin finished a point ahead of Dave and Z was a few points behind. I was, well, in the game.

I was glad Z enjoyed this one, because I think it's a good family/in-law game that I will now be sure to pick up soon.
 
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5. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Scott Russell
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Clarkston
Michigan
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One of the Dominion games had two seats, so Z and H jumped in. The other freed up a bit later so I sat down to teach Jerry and Nick. Nick won with a score of 41 to 40 to 39. The other game had finished and started without Z and H, I think Dale distracted them, while Valerie taught another group.

When my game finished up, the other set was about halfway through and Dale and Valerie were heading to lunch, so Z beat me in a sixteen minute two player match (H timed it), so that we finished and boxed it up before the other table was done.

With the main attraction gone from the RGG booth, we decided to head to (all together now) the North Market for lunch (after a trip to the food court for Subway for Q [who apparently is more susceptible to advertising than the rest of us]). Two Vietnamese and a Japanese for the other three.
 
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6. Board Game: Descent: The Altar of Despair [Average Rating:7.76 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.76 Unranked]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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H felt great despair and Z had a twinge when we discovered that all of the Descent events were sold out. We bought some generics, but forgot to go to the table to see if anybody failed to show up. It would have been a long shot.

We also got Q a ticket for a DS Pokemon event for Saturday evening.

I will say that the volunteers were very helpful on both of our interactions with them. The line moved well and the volunteers were knowledgable.
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7. Board Game: Lascaux [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:2518]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Then it was off to start our RibbonQuest(s)! Z, H and I joined by Karin and Steven started with this game taught by a Mayfair pro, Elaine.
This game is No Thanks! on steroids and I mean that in a good way.

Probably a longer review later, but here's a synopsis. After seeing the display each turn, players secretly pick one of up to six colors to claim animal cards each round. Then players bid with pretty (mother of pearl) "rocks" to not choose animals last. Each time around the table the player must put in a rock or take the rocks in the pile and put their claim marker in the latest in the order spot left. When all players have dropped but one, that player gets each animal card that displays the color on that player's selection chit. Each card has two colors, so it can be claimed by two different chits. After the first player claims all the animal cards that match his chit, the other players in reverse order of dropping out claim any animals matching their chits. Sometimes the player that dropped first got a card or even two, but usually only the first three got any cards. After the fifty four cards (nine each of six different animals) are claimed, players score one point for each card in which they have as many or more than the other players (friendly ties) and one point for each six stones left over. Fun little filler.

I taught another group to play this one while we were waiting for a table to free up and was rewarded with a ribbon.
 
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8. Board Game: Catan Dice Game [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:5295]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Z went to hunt some fish with her penguins in Hey! That's My Fish! so H and I moved over to "learn" the Catan Dice Game. An intern who had arrived from Dusseldorf that morning taught us the game along with Luke and Wendy. My city strategy didn't pan out, but Hanson was close to 100 to win the game and a ribbon. (Well, we all got ribbons.) H took my 12th and 13th turn while I walked Q out to meet Lisa and Stephanie picking her up.
 
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9. Board Game: Chicago Express [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:362]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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The Exhibit Hall was closing, so we headed to the Boardroom. H decided to roam around and watch some other games while I taught Z and Charlie Wabash Cannonball. Z proved to be an apt pupil and won convincingly.

 
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10. Board Game: Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1318]
Scott Russell
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Clarkston
Michigan
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Charlie went to find his dad, so Z and I broke this one out again and she trounced me. I did have a way more powerful ship, but couldn't make up the Megagalux (VP) that I'd spent on upgrades. It's a fine line about when to stop upgrading and just race with what you have to get to 70.

In the middle of this game, I went out to give and receive math trade items. I looked at the time at least five times in the half hour before eight, but then didn't look until twenty minuts after eight. Everyone was relieved enough that I showed up that they weren't upset with my timing. If any of you that were involved are reading this, I apologize again for being that late. There were still two or three that hadn't showed up when I did. I hope they eventually made it. Thanks to Roam Dog for the hard work organizing the trade!
 
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11. Board Game: Midgard [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1977]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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After finishing the Perry Rhodan game, we wandered over to RGG's birthday celebration. Jay provided chips and dip, cake and ice cream (with toppings) and music. The tables were decorated with balloons, candles and had meeples scattered across them to fiddle with while visiting.

When we returned to the Boardroom Charlie and Tom were in the mood to learn a new game, so I checked this one out and taught H, Z, Charlie and Tom. It was a good tight game that Charlie won with five sets of JAM.
 
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12. Board Game: Stonehenge: An Anthology Board Game [Average Rating:5.41 Unranked] [Average Rating:5.41 Unranked]
 
Scott Russell
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Clarkston
Michigan
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After Midgard, we decided to try Chariots of Stonehenge with Bob. So Bob, Tom, Charlie, Z and I raced in a big circle around the Stonehenge site, dodging barriers and trilithons.

It was coming up on midnight, so we called it a night and walked out into a very vibrant downtown. High Street was bumper to bumper and it took us quite a while to even get out of the parking garage.
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13. Board Game: Swim [Average Rating:5.42 Unranked]
 
Scott Russell
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Clarkston
Michigan
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The pool had been closed until Friday, so I decided to let the kids sleep in until they woke up, then swim for a bit before heading down to the con. Great plan that worked right up until I was showing the kids how to do the butterfly (with my eyes closed due to contacts and no goggles) and smacked H in the face. No brusing, but he wasn't a happy camper. He'd cheered up by the time we left the pool area. Lisa was hanging with Stephanie again, so we headed to downtown for lunch. You'll never guess where.
 
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14. Board Game: La Grande Parade [Average Rating:6.08 Unranked]
Scott Russell
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Clarkston
Michigan
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We got to downtown, but High Street was again clogged this time with a parade Rumor was that it was a gay pride parade in conjunction with a music festival, but that wasn't confirmed. I did see several rainbow T-shirts, so the rumor may be true. Whoever was marching was making a mess of the traffic. Columbus doesn't use policecars to block streets (or at least didn't around the convention center), but police wearing yellow vests stand in the middle of the closed streets. I tried to ask one policewoman the best way to get around the parade, but she wasn't able to effectively multitask, so I eventually went back to the freeway and went one more exit. Fortunately the policeman blocking the road to the West Market parking garage was amenable to letting us through to the parking garage, so we made it. Two Indian and two Japanese for us.
 
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15. Board Game: Horus [Average Rating:5.88 Overall Rank:6341]
Scott Russell
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Clarkston
Michigan
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Z had played this Friday, but agreed to play with H and I again and we were joined by Bill.

This game feels like Carcassone plus. Each player draws a tile each turn that must be played. If it's a river, it and another river tile are played. Then a card is played from hand to place a tile of one of four colors. Each card also has a number that allows the player to place an influcence stone in an area of that many tiles. When two of the four colored land tiles are used, the game is over and players score one point for each tile in any areas where they have or are tied for the most influence stones. I think this is a good tile laying game.
 
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16. Board Game: Bacchus' Banquet [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:4420]
Scott Russell
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Clarkston
Michigan
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We moved next to the Bacchus' Banquet table, were joined by Kerri and Robert. Robert got to be Caligua, but evidently did a bad job on his guest list, because three of us were assassins and easily caused him to pass out for the win.

This game compares well to Bang! Each player gets a hidden role one of which will be Caligula which is exposed. The other players can be assassins, party-goers or just there for the gifts. Depending on identity, the player has a different goal. Caligula wants to either eat two dishes, drink at least five points of wine or have three guests pass out. The (up to three) assassins want to get three daggers to the party or cause the host to pass out. The gift seekers (up to two) want to collect three different of the six possible gifts while the other guests want to eat dishes and consume wine without passing out.

Each turn the player who received the last gift gets to be the next distributor of gifts. The player on turn selects three of seven faceup cards, then secretly selects one to keep, one to discard and offers the third facedown as a gift to the player of his choice. The player offered the gift can take it or pass it to another guest. If all refuse it, the original offerer must take it.

The cards can be cards that are consumed; food that take up 1-5 units of stomach space, wine that can be from 1-4ish space, poison that takes 1-9 spaces. A player passes out after consuming more than ten units. There are also gift cards for which up to two of the guests are searching, daggers and special action cards. The last type of card are exercises that reduce the units of food/wine/poison in the players system while still counting the cards as dishes. (They left out purging, which is in good taste, if not thematic.) The game goes until one of the players achieves his victory conditions and announces it.

It won't replace Bang! at our house, but if there are only five players, it works better, I think. This completed our ribbon search, so we got knighted and wandered off to see what else we could see.
 
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17. Board Game: Metropolys [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:632]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Q and Z played a demo of Mimic. I will need to mark the cards before I can play this one as red/green feature prominently.

Then we saw Charlie and Tom back at the RGG booth. Z and H jumped into the empty chairs at a Dominion table while I sat down with Charlie and Tom to learn Metropolys. Jay himself explained the rules and as he finished we were joined by Chris who had playd previously.

This one definitely will get a review probably after I get a copy, but maybe before if I get ambitious. Players bid for city lots to place their buildings and claim VP chits, hopefully at the same time meeting their hidden VP cards. The bidding is a fun process. Players start with thirteen buildings numbered from 1 to 13. When a player bids, the next player can play a higher number in an adjacent vacant lot. When everyone passes because there are no more adjacent lots or because no one wants to (or can) bid higher, that building is placed on the board and the winner starts a new auction. When one player runs out of buildings, the game ends and the VP are tallied.

This is probably my favorite new game at the con after Dominion and one to be described later.
 
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18. Board Game: Ice Flow [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:2057]
Scott Russell
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Clarkston
Michigan
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We wandered back up to the Boardroom and Z and I played another game of Perry Rhodan while H examined his new Descent:Road to Legend expansion.
We've decided that using poker chips is better than using the sun score track (with no numbers). I walked Q down to her DS event just before the end of this one.


Then H was ready to play so we checked out Ice Flow. Bill S. (also from Michigan and a frequent ROBA-goer/game night at Jim's attendee) came by as we were reading the rules and joined us.

Players are racing three eskimos from Alaska to Siberia by walking or swimming between ice flows. There are ropes and fish to collect and polar bears to distract. The ropes allow players to catch fish or cross broken ice, while the fish are used to gain energy to swim between ice flows and distract polar bears. Eskimo can move as far as desired as long as the necessary ropes and fish are available and pick up a rope or a fish where the figure ends. The player may move no eskimos and fish instead or choose not to do an eskimo action. Each turn players must move, rotate or add a new ice berg either before or after taking the optional eskimo action.

I enjoyed it pretty well, but Z said she'd rather play Polar Dare which has some similar mechanics.

Tom and Charlie showed up while we were playing this one, but were going to be picked up along with Q to go to Schmidt's Sausage House. H, Z and I pled not hungry and stayed to play instead. Tom and Charlie started a Perry Rhodan while they were waiting.
 
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19. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Z went up with her mom's badge to claim the last of our pairs of games and we got yet more free drinks courtesy of RGG. Altogether for our families five Boardroom ribbons we got Masons/Times Square, Dragonriders/Toppo, Rat Hot/Fiji (the other one in this set was Funny Friends, but we took the two "small" games instead), Ghost Chase/Zigzag and Masons (to trade with Bob for Guatemala Cafe)/Knights. Other games that were available through the course of the weekend included Crocodile Pool Party, Halli Galli, Gone Fishing, Euphrat & Tigris card game, Tower of Babel and maybe a couple of others. Did I mention Jay rocks?

Bill bumped into a young woman, E, with whom he played a few games last year and she wanted to play Settlers. Z was interested, so we broke out a CABS and set out to settle Catan. I got what I thought was a really bad start position, but whined enough that Z didn't slam the door on my one potential way out and I wound up stealing longest road for the win.

During the game, the CABS guys set up the raffle table and H checked our tickets then got into an Anima game a few tables over.
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20. Board Game: Metropolys [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:632]
Scott Russell
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Clarkston
Michigan
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I checked out Metropolys hoping to lure Z into a game, but she was not to be deterred from heading back to the hotel to get some sleep when Charlie and Tom returned. Bob was interested and we convinced a wandering gamer, Courtenay to join us. I'd just started explaining the rules when Andrew walked by and looked interested, so we played with four. The lighting was even better in the Boardroom than in the Exhibit Hall, so I am convinced that I will not have an issue with the colors of this game in decent lighting. Courtenay is also colorblind, but also dealt with it well, defeating the rest of us in building the city of the future.
Tom and Charlie got back to finish their game of Perry Rhodan and Z caught a ride back to the hotel H elected to stay and finish his Anima game and pass on Sunday swimming.
 
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21. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:79]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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H watched a Cash N Guns game while Charlie, Tom and I tried to get civilized. I managed to get all eight symbols on the cards and score 18 for my meeple multipliers, but Tom and Charlie finished ahead by virtue of some good multipliers (Tom got 72 for tools) and strong hut purchases during the game.

We decided to call it a night and left ~1:30. High Street is not nearly as busy at 1:30, but not deserted.
 
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22. Board Game: Hotel Tycoon [Average Rating:5.44 Overall Rank:14997]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Sunday arrived, I was up at my normal 7 or 7:30 and loaded what I could in the van, ran out to Starbucks to get our usual coffee, filled up the van, visited with Tom and Stepanie, made some waffles to take back to the room, etc.
Here's a good place to explain why we won't be at Comfort Inn North again. The beds were fine, the pool/hot tub were standard and it seemed clean enough. However, our perception proved faulty when Lisa discovered a baby's bottle under our bed and they don't change sheets even if you have muffin crumbs on them. Additionally, there is not a good place to play games, although the lobby works in a pinch, they even lock up the breakfast room. Probably the biggest downer was the broken door (couldn't be opened from the outside) closest to our room and the fact that the next closest one seemed to be the smoker's den. It wasn't a terrible experience, but I think we'll be downtown next year.

We made it to the con ~12 for the last day.
 
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23. Board Game: Toledo [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:2114]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Lisa and Q hadn't been knighted, yet so the five Russells headed to the Mayfair booth and took over the Bacchus table, then the Lascaux table to score ten ribbons that some judicious trading turned into two knighthoods. Q wasn't impressed with either game, but Lisa thinks they might get some play.

This is the game that I didn't get to try, because the demo table was busy almost nonstop. However, armed with five 50% off coupons, Toledo, Horus, Pillars of the Earth Expansion, Lascaux and the Market of Alturien and decided to pay full price for Bacchus' Banquet to round out the purchase along with a spare set of High Noon cards.
 
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24. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2239]
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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The final game of the con was Rolling Through the Ages. Eagle had a few prototypes available, so Tom, Charlie and I played a game with Keith Blume at his booth.

This is a (good) cross between Yahtzee and Through the Ages. I am very much looking forward to playing more of this and will probably write up some more on it soon.

While I was doing this, Lisa found a stuffed animal place that had a sale $28 for 30 items, so she took full advantage, added a stuffed Killer Bunny (Monty Python, not Playroom Games) for my birthday present and Z picked up the new stuffed disease (Heartworm).

We met back at the Mayfair booth for the drawing and none of our tickets nor the ones entrusted to me hit the jackpot or even the smaller prizes, but we may not have been able to fit them in the van anyway.
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25. Board Game Designer: Reiner Knizia
Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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While we were packing up our stuff outside the Exhibit Hall, I noticed the Good Doctor without a line. We didn't have any new games by him with us, but did have our travel Toppo (it fits in a deck box, as does Race for the Galaxy), so we had Z pick her favorite card (blue equals sign) for him to sign. Since no one was waiting to talk to him, I was able to chat with him for a few minutes. It sounds like RGG has a couple coming out at Essen that I am looking forward to. Especially Ra: the Dice Game and Strozzi, both of which I got to playtest at Gencon last year.
 
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