Dixiecon -- First Time
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United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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Dixiecon started out as a Diplomacy event way back in 1986. In the last few years, other games have made it to the convention, too. I had heard about the event, which is local for me, but this year was the first time Mary and I were actually able to attend.

The event was held in the basement meeting room of Granville Towers, one of the dormitories for UNC-Chapel Hill. The main highlight for me was the fact that we met some great folks. The facilities, on the other hand, weren't so great: not enough table space (especially since many of them were occupied by Diplomacy players, or others playing other long games), poor climate control (it was pretty warm and humid down there), and people constantly wandering around making their Diplomacy deals (freakazoids!). The event is also small enough that it can be difficult finding a game if you don't manage to get in sync with all the other gaming going on!

Despite all the issues noted above, we'll certainly consider attending again: it's close, it's convenient, and most folks we gamed with were friendly and fun to play with!
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1. Board Game: Black Friday [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1840]
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Friday

No, I didn't actually play this game, even though I brought it with me the whole time I was there! For the most part, this didn't seem like the prototype/Euro crowd.

Dixiecon happens over Memorial Day weekend, but it starts Friday and ends Sunday -- how crazy is that?! It would have been nice to have it Sat-Monday instead, but I guess people want to be home on that Monday? Unfortunate for me, though: I was working late on Friday, so I didn't actually play anything; just went home after work and watched the season finale for 24!
 
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2. Board Game: Letter Roll [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:9224]
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Hillsborough
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Saturday

We stayed home with the dogs for a while, but finally arrived just before 11am. Most people, of course, were already in the middle of a game. So Mary and I pulled this one out (which we'd just received). We were going to play 2er, then a 3rd joined us (Michael, who we ended up gaming with a lot this wknd), and then a 4th!

It's a pretty good word game with a Boggle feel, but easier in some ways because you can use any letters you want (harder, though, if you need to _see_ the letters to prompt your brain). I had one fantastic round that carried me to victory - yay me!

--- Summary ---
There are 7 dice: white (common letters), orange (rarer letters), and blue (medium). On your turn, pick 4 dice and roll them. Then the player to your left may discard 1 of those 4. Players now race to write as many words as possible using those letters (and any others), before the timer runs out. Then, each player scores 1VP per unique word. The rules don't specify, but we disallowed multiple forms of a word (as well as the no-Proper-nouns and other common rules). Most VP after 2 or 3 rounds wins.
 
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3. Board Game: Treasure Fleet [Average Rating:6.07 Overall Rank:9618]
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Hillsborough
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Mary and I were getting hungry for lunch, so we decided to play something quick. After spending some time playing the what-do-we-play-next game, Michael and Kevin suggested this one, which they'd played just a few times so far.

It's a fun, fast little filler! It feels a bit like Battle Line or Knights of Charlemagne, except that you're fighting over variably valued cards (VP range from about 9 to 22?) that come out in random order (in groups of 4). Also, a game of hand management since everyone uses exactly the same deck of action cards (mostly 2-4 cannons, and 2 specials -- boarding party, and storm) -- each round, players choose which of their cards they want in their 3-card hand (3 volleys per set of cards).

Clever game; I'm a little surprised I never heard about it before now!
 
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4. Board Game: Noodles! [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
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Hillsborough
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Lunch time! We were right in the middle of Chapel Hill, so plenty of choices. We'd seen the Noodle & Company restaurant before but hadn't eaten there so we decided to try them out. Yumm! My pesto noodles were pretty damn good (esp after they made extra sauce for it), as were Mary's macaroni and cheese. But the parmesan-breaded chicken was freakin' awesome! We ended up going back here on Sunday, too (that time I got the peanut sauce noodles -- yummy!).
 
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5. Board Game: Masters Gallery [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1630]
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Hillsborough
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When we returned to gaming after lunch, everyone was again in a game so Mary and I played this as a 2er. For someone like me who's pretty sucky at auctions, this game of set-collection and hand management works much better than it's parent Modern Art! I'm not sure that it's best with just 2 players, though....
 
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6. Board Game: Tichu [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:122]
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United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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Mary carried her tin around the entire weekend. This was the first chance she had to rope 2 newbies -- Michael and Rick -- into a game (she and Michael vs. me and Rick). Rick said he'd played before, but it must have been a long time ago! It's a fun game, of course, but this particular session wasn't the best example of that! Michael, at least, seemed to enjoy the game; we played it again with him and a new fourth on Sunday, too (he and Mary won the Sat game, while he and I won on Sunday).
 
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7. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:232]
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Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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We were going to set up Fruit Fair at a big table, but couldn't find enough players. But we were sharing that table with a father and son (Edwin and Jackson) setting up this game; they kindly let us join them. Jackson had played before, but wasn't playing optimally. Still, he beat Edwin, who was apparently having a pretty bad game! I ended up winning thanks to an early Judge (the 16 guy is a judge, no?) and a bunch of 8-cost (2VP) buildings that no one was willing to buy out from under me!
 
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8. Board Game: Cheaty Mages! [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:2131]
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United States
Hillsborough
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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I went home after the previous game, to feed/play with the dogs. Mary did get a group together to play Fruit Fair -- they were still playing when I returned. But they were playing it wrong!! I think they quit just before the game would have ended anyway.

One player left, but Edwin stayed and Jackson returned. We decided to play something relatively light -- this great little Titan: Arena-like game. I find this more fun than Titan/Colossal Arena, although it was kind of annoying when Mary decided to smack me twice with card-discards, even though I had 0 VP at the time! Mary ended up winning this one -- boo!
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9. Board Game: Time's Up! Title Recall! [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:291]
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Hillsborough
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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It was getting late-ish (9pm!) so we decided to play something pretty easy. We had a group of 6, with Edwin as my partner. Edwin! Watch more TV! He and I were both HORRIBLE with songs (of which there were many)! We came in dead last, although I think everyone (with the possible exception of Edwin) had a good time with the game!

Edwin: TV is GOOD! Watch it !
 
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10. Board Game: Say Anything [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:815]
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Hillsborough
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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Edwin left after that fiasco, but the rest of us decided to end the evening (Mary's and my evening, anyway) with one last game. No one else had played it before. I think this was a lot more successful. In the end, Mary won, 3 of us (me, Bruce, Kevin) tied for 2nd, and poor Dave was dead last.
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11. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:62]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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Sunday

Another late arrival to drop some stuff off, then head back to Noodles & Co. After that, we joined a group who'd just finished a game, and we all settled on this. Good thing, 'cause I didn't like my first play all that much (too loooong) and had wanted to play it again.

Unfortunately, Mary (new to the game) ended up getting both cylon cards. The rest of us also played the card which forces everyone to play crisis cards face up, so she didn't think she could bluff. New to the game, she didn't really know what to do. We won fairly easily after 128min. Despite that, it still felt too long. I'd be willing to try it again, I suppose, but I don't need to own this any more -- this game went straight to the sell pile!
 
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12. Board Game: Fruit Fair [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:8270]
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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Michael, Mary, Ray and I played a game of Tichu first. Ray and Mary were running away with the game at first, but Michael and I managed to make a great comeback (with thanks to Ray for those play errors!) and win it (after 136min!!). Ray had to leave, but the rest of us decided to try Fruit Fair (Mary wanted to try it with the correct rules this time, I thought it might be fun, and Michael was up for pretty much anything this weekend!).

This is an interesting set-collection resource-management game. It seems well-balanced and there is a lot to think about each turn -- where to allocate workers, which things to buy (VPs or tools for future use?), which special powers/tiles are worthwhile, what choices will others make? But the penalty for being last in turn order seems too great once resources get tight. And even at just 76min, the game felt repetitive -- you're pretty much doing the same thing over and over again. I'd like to try it again now that I'm more familiar with the rules, though.
 
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13. Board Game: Dixie [Average Rating:4.45 Overall Rank:15078]
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Hillsborough
North Carolina
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And that was Dixiecon (except for the meat-fest Allen and Son's barbeque dinner on Saturday; $7 for all-you-can-eat pulled pork, chicken, hush puppies, potato salad, and coleslaw -- not bad!)!

As I said at the top, it was great to meet some new folks; I'm sure we'll see them again, either online or at another convention. Thanks for putting it on, ya'll!
 
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