What I Played At GenCon 2009
Eric Franklin
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Milton
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I know a lot of people have already posted their GenCon 2009 memories.

As someone who spent their days in the exhibit hall, I have a different perspective on the whole thing.

Several GenCon 2009 GeekLists have commented on how nice/helpful/good Asmodee's booth team was - as a member of that team, I would like to thank you.

It was genuine pleasure teaching you to play these games.
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1. Board Game Publisher: Asmodee
Eric Franklin
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This was my fifth year in the Asmodee booth, and the second in which they provided shirts for the team.

I liked this year's shirts better than last year's shirts.
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2. Board Game Publisher: Repos Production
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I'd been told in advance that we'd be sharing booth space with the Repos team as well.

I had no idea going in how many of the Repos folk would be there, however. The final count was two.
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3. Board Game Publisher: Matagot
Eric Franklin
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When we arrived, I was surprised to find that Matagot would also have a representative in the booth.

I didn't speak with him very much, but he was extremely nice and was clearly passionate about his games.
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4. Board Game: Heroes Of The World [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:5324]
Eric Franklin
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While setting up on Wednesday, this was one of three games which was new to me that we set up.

We only had about a dozen copies of this one, one of which was designated for use as our demo.

My wife and I both took one of the new games for study that night, and this was hers.

We played it with friends in our hotel room that night, and quickly realized that we were going to like this one.

Nearly every demo of this one led to a sale.
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5. Board Game: Magnifico [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:5818]
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The game I took to the room to learn was this one. I was too tired to make any sense of the rules, so we set it aside for later study.

I did make sense of the rules on Thursday, and got to play it a few times. It's got a surprising amount of military strategy, and the play time is about right.

I suggest that new players play a few turns with experience players before resetting and starting over - that way, the new players have the chance to figure out the value of items in the auction.

The gorgeous bits caused some sales of this one, even without a demo. Once players demoed the game, however, it sold even better.
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6. Board Game: Snow Tails [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:652]
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This being the hit that it is/was, I was not surprised to find Snow Tails out. We had the most basic track possible out for demoing the game, but made a point of telling everyone I walked through it that the game itself is much more interesting than the demo would show. The tree tiles in particular seemed to bring out the cringing and wincing.

Nearly every demo led to a sale.
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7. Board Game: Ghost Stories [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:219]
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The Repos team brought their gorgeous 3-D set of Ghost Stories to the con. That table was in constant use.

So was the other table of just the basic as-sold-in-the-box set.

Five groups beat it this weekend.

This is the only game I got tired of playing this weekend - and it's not because it's a bad game or lacks replayability. It's because I spent more time playing this game than I did sleeping & eating combined. There are very few games that can hold up to that amount of play for me - and usually they are games that take that long per game.
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8. Board Game: Ghost Stories: Chuck No-Rice [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked]
Eric Franklin
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To get this highly-sought-after promo card, you had to demo Ghost Stories.

In theory.

By the end of the con, we were giving them out for nearly anyone who demoed anything. Special allowances were made for other exhibitors - after all, not all vendors get a day off.
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9. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:220] [Average Rating:7.29 Unranked]
Eric Franklin
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I like this game. Rules-wise, it's very simple - but it's eye-catching and more fun than it has any right to be.

I only played it a few times, but I ran several other demos for it.

The art alone sold this game.
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10. Board Game: Dice Town [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:773]
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This was a new one for me. I normally hate dice games, but this one gives you a lot of control over the dice - and there are reasons to go for a lesser hand.

This game was ALSO in continuous use.
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11. Board Game: Jungle Speed [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1187]
Eric Franklin
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I billed this as "the most dangerous game at GenCon" and the demo table for it was "the most dangerous table at GenCon."

Before playing, I always made sure that protruding rings were removed and I checked people's fingernails to see who I had to fear.

We had limited stock of the expansion, too. The expansions sold out pretty quickly, and a number of the base game sold as well.

We also had several Jungle Speed temporary tattoos. Those went over fairly well, even when people weren't trying to get their cards punched.

One of our Friday Werewolves players called this "The Crack Game" - and she was so right.
 
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12. Board Game: Posthumous Z [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked]
Eric Franklin
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This is one of two games that was not in the booth that I had a chance to play this weekend.

It's not the deepest game ever - there's a lot of die rolling and randomness - but it was fun.

I'm just not sure it's worth the $75 price tag.
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13. Board Game: Dungeon Twister [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:846]
Eric Franklin
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I only got to play this masterpiece of gaming twice.

When someone asked for a demo, I'm told my face would light up.

I love this game.
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14. Board Game: The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:838]
Eric Franklin
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Our good friend Thomas runs this for us every year. And he does a masterful job of it. We always pull in crowds. This year, I only played two games - one with 23 and one with 30. I usually die pretty quickly, because people assume I'm better at the game than I actually am.

These aren't demos, by the way - these are us playing the game after hours because we enjoy the game.
 
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15. Board Game: Cyclades [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:149]
 
Eric Franklin
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Some of you may, on Thursday evening, have spotted a cluster of French-speaking gamers in the board game room playing a game.

That would have been us. Well, I wasn't speaking French but the other guys were.

The game was (at the time) an unpublished prototype. It still is - but it'll be available (in French) for Essen. English release to follow.
 
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16. Board Game: Mr. Jack [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:455]
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I got to demo Mr. Jack, as well. In fact, it just wouldn't be GenCon without Mr. Jack.

I'm learning more and more how much I enjoy a well-written two-player game.
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17. Board Game: Bombay [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:2395]
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This one is lighter fare, but it's fun - and has a surprising amount of depth to it. My one complaint is that it ends too quickly.

Again: Experienced players have a significant edge over new players.

I'd like to play this one more.
 
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18. Board Game: Giants [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:1005]
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A fine game. My first few demos didn't do it enough justice, as I was rusty. It still sold. Once I hit my groove, it sold better.

I need to play this more often - it's on heavy rotation in my car.
 
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19. Board Game: Okko: Era of the Asagiri [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:2691]
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Another good game that the demo fails to do proper justice to - the demo was a 3-on-3 with no equipment matchup. It was ... okay. But the game itself is quite good.
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20. Board Game: Hearts [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:1660]
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On Saturday night, one of my friends was a bit too tipsy to play something new, so we played this one instead.

At GenCon, with thousands of very good games, and we played Hearts.

It was actually kinda refreshing to play something so simple.
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