Betty's Superlatives - BGG.con 2009
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
Texas
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Another rollercoaster of a BGG.con (I also went to 2005 and 2007). Here are my impressions. . .

UPDATE: Now with a few photos and a Postscript for if you don't want to read the whole itemized list. Includes: worst game, what Richard Breese was really like, what happened to the "BGG.con: The Ugly Underside list," and more exclusive bonus material.
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1. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:4185]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
Texas
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BEST REASON TO CELEBRATE
Published in conjunction with bgg.com's 10 year anniversary. Quick, fun boardgame shopping game by designer Richard Breese, featuring boardgames, of course, and box art with avatars and greetings from BGGers. Played it with the designer and some other guys, came in dead last (indiscriminate buyer and terrible seller, like real life). Worth getting!
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2. Board Game Designer: Richard Breese
Betty Dingus
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Austin
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COOLEST DESIGNER
VIP guest-of-honor from England, he was around Wednesday through Sunday and beyond, being charming and always up for a game. Really a super nice guy.
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3. Board Game: Time's Up! Title Recall! [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:291]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
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BEST THING IN THE SWAG BAG
This year's goodie bag had a small deck of cards from this game. Also a tiny metal soldier figurine (how I coveted the hefty minotaur my roommates got in theirs!). Not too much else, besides 2 raffle tickets that probably won't win. Some people got a Fantasy Flight mini-catalog, but mine came in the mail today anyway (Summer 2009!?).

WHAT I WISHED IT HAD CONTAINED:
*A reminder to buy a con tee shirt before they only had sizes 4x & 5x left.
*A Settlers of Catan sticker like Mayfair had as promos that they didn't give to (just) anybody.
*A coupon for ThoughtHammer and the actual hours that their area would be open.
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4. Board Game: Bezzerwizzer [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:1978] [Average Rating:6.40 Unranked]
Betty Dingus
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Austin
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YOU CAN'T BEAT FREE. . .
Like a lot of folks, I was given this attractive trivia game ("it's a hit in Europe"), just for showing up. Also got Robber Knights. Free. You can't beat free.
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5. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:125] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Betty Dingus
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Austin
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. . . EXCEPT WITH MORE FREE
Yep, I won a grand prize (random number drawing, no skill required), the Ticket to Ride bundle, which included Ticket to Ride, Ticket to Ride Europe, Ticket to Ride: Marklin, Ticket to Ride: The Dice Expansion, Ticket to Ride: The Card Game, as well as Gang of Four and Colosseum. Quite a pile, and I am lucky and grateful. Contrary to rumor, I only owned two of the games already, both of which will make fine Christmas gifts. I will enjoy the games and appreciated the congrats from friends and strangers.
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6. Board Game: Arimaa [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:1903]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
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BEST ABSTRACT THAT'S NOT CHESS OR GO
At some point in the con there was a talk given about this game, which I missed, sadly.* But there was also a demo table going with fritzlein (Fritz Juhnke, a two-time world champion, I think), teaching and playing simuls. I embarrassed myself trying to learn, but his new book (called Beginning Arimaa: Chess Reborn Beyond Computer Comprehension) was for sale at the Z-man stand so I picked it up, as well as the game.


*If You Gave Up on Chess, Try Arimaa a lecture by Omar Syed The talk was by the inventor of the game!

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7. Board Game: Cockroach Poker [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1212]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
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BEST REASON TO BE GLAD OF THE LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS:
LITTLE GAMES

Played this and other small games Wednesday night (bgg.con library not open yet) with a lively bunch who'd just flown in from Washington State. They had games in their carry-on bags and played in-flight. They'd rethemed this one with an Artscow deck. (There's a photo somewhere online here - 12 cartoony animals on the cards).

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8. Board Game: Pocket Rockets [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:2949]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
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BEST STUCK IN AN ELEVATOR GAME:
Another tiny game I got to play with the Washington group, very enjoyable little game. (Side note: This was also played when Richard Breese got stuck between floors in the lift - the other occupant had this game in his pocket. 45 minutes later they got a free breakfast. Can't beat free?)
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9. Board Game: Risk Express [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:2798]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
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WHY NOT HERE? GAME:
How come other countries get this, but not America? And how come their luxurious pod is so much nicer than our cheapy Sorry/Monopoly/Scrabble Express game pods? And why was the icehouse game World War 5 just as fun? ('Spose both are simplified Risk, I guess - never played Risk, myself).
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10. Board Game: Bongo! [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:4377]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
Texas
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HARDEST GAME TO PLAY AS A NEWBIE:
The Washington state group were experts at this and they also like SET ("The Family Game of Visual Perception") and Krypto (the "Mind stimulating" "Family Mathematical Game") which is like 24 Game ("Builds Fast Minds") in that you try to be the first to find a solution.


"Teaching Bongo to a horrified Richard Breese"




"Krypto on the airplane"

(more pics - and captions - stolen from cuzzle's gallery)
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11. Board Game: Triovision [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:5713]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
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MOST SET-LIKE:
The Washington gang would like this Set-like game, as would a lot of my friends. You put out 12 cards around 8 pawns on a grid. When you find a card whose arrangement could be matched by moving one pawn, you call it out and claim that card. I won every card! (Played solo.)
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12. Board Game: Mosaix [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:2746]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
Texas
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BEST WRITE ON, WIPE OFF ESSEN RELEASE:
Another patterns-on-grids game, Richard Breese brought this out several times for a quick game. (He had a Reef Encounter box full of smallish games, wish I knew what the other ones were.) Roll the four dice marked with X's, O's, and triangles. Arrange them in the shape you like, then everyone marks that pattern on their grid. Repeat with a new roller. At the end your grid is scored for how many groups of X, O and triangle you have, multiplied by how many actual X, O and triangles you have marked down. I intuitively made large groups, which, let me tell you, doesn't help your score one bit. (For the curious: it's spelled MOSAIX - the O and X being o and x, and the A being the triangle.)


Click on this photo to see designer Christof Tisch's "4 Solo Games from just won to quite super."

(If his name sounds familiar, it could be from his 8 pages of art credits - go to his designer page and then in "Linked Items" click Artist.)
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13. Board Game: ...und tschüss! [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:4036]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
Texas
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MOST SURPRISED TO BE PLAYING
I'd just been reading about this Martin Wallace cardgame, not that it made any difference (I think it was in a "you can play this with a Rage deck" geeklist). This was the first game I played at Richard Breese's table (from above-mentioned box o' games), with total strangers (incl. Zalasta, one of several soon to be familiar Maryland guys).
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14. Board Game: Aladdin's Dragons [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:4890]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
Texas
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BEST NEW VERSION OF A BOARDGAME:
I'd been looking forward to this, as I enjoy the board game. This plays very similarly. But slightly differently. Mostly I'm glad I didn't say anything (too) stupid, as I didn't realize we were playing it with the designer (Richard Breese).

RUNNER UP:
Ticket to Ride: The Card Game After struggling with the rulebook we found this to be very similar to the boardgame. Hard to believe. Well, not really.
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15. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:75]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
Texas
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BEST WAY TO KILL TIME BETWEEN GAMES
Dexterity games in the hall/lobby/gallery. Partnered with Mr. Cranky in Crokinole against a Mississippi guy and San Antonio girl. Later, lost terribly to Aaron Weissblum. Takes practice, but doesn't everything worthwhile? (No, not really.)
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16. Board Game Designer: Aaron Weissblum
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
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BEST SATURDAY AFTERNOON GROUP FUN
Some of the roomies and I did the Puzzle Hunt, "Hurry up and Weight/Wait," designed by Aaron Weissblum and David Arnott. The teams (named for Kentucky Derby winners) would choose an object from a table in the order they finished each puzzle, and put it in a paper bag -- at the end, the team with the heaviest bag won. 17 teams were involved (at first 15 but thankfully they added a few as registration had filled up fast!). We started with a jigsaw puzzle, then on to anagram games, a music/dice/rubberband shooting game, lots of clues, a city name rebus thing, followed by the same jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing (which spelled out E=T so you knew the final answer was "fact" not "face"). Seemed easier than two year's ago when my team was my son and Mr. Cranky, or maybe I'm getting smarter.
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17. Board Game: duck! duck! SAFARI! [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:9683]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
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CUTEST COMPONENTS
A new one from Kevin G. Nunn (duck! duck! Go! and others). I've liked Nunn's games ever since Nobody but Us Chickens was one of our first "real" games purchased, plus he's from Texas and a good guy. He had a prototype of next year's game going (train? wagon? some sort of map with routes? I should've looked more closely). And his rubber ducky minions showed up in force.
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18. Board Game: The Simpsons Group Photo [Average Rating:5.88 Unranked]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
Texas
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MOST FUN WITH A CAMERA (TWO-WAY TIE)
1. There was a photo area set up, with results on the big screen that also scrolled the GeekBuzz game popularity contest. You can see them here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=126291&id=175972831683


My roommates did a re-enactment of this fine No Respect: Rodney Dangerfield's Game cover (with a stand-in for me because I overslept):

(Result can be seen in Part Two of the bgg.con photos: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=2889931&id=17597283168...

2. I also joined a team for the Photo Safari scavenger Hunt, in which we tried to make rebuses of game titles from a list, using only 15 photos that we took, plus a few sheets of construction paper. Only 4 teams, and no wonder - it was hard work! Frazzling.
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19. Board Game: Monkey Lab [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:7743]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
Texas
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ONLY GAME I TAUGHT
This clever fun (not a kid's) game was featured in AEG's new release area, and was the only game I was familiar with and enthusiastic about enough to teach to someone at the demo table.

Monkey Lab was also was our team's pick for "Game not on the List" for the Photo Scavenger Hunt. A monk from Mystery of the Abbey + my car key, + a team member's abs (+ "L."). Monk-key-(l)ab. (We also used this for Monkey Dash (-) which I played solo one day, come to think of it.)
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20. Board Game: The Isle of Doctor Necreaux [Average Rating:5.54 Overall Rank:12372]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
Texas
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Another AEG release from Austin's Jonathan Leistiko, designer of monthly(!) print-n-play games, this game, and AEG's forthcoming Pressure Matrix. A fun, tense cooperative card game with a neat feel and theme.

BEST PRINT-N-PLAY GAME SOURCE
Invisiblejon'shttp://www.invisible-city.com/
Invisible City Productions is a collective of game designers, writers, and artists who provide this as a space for the creators of secret media to come together and touch antennae.
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21. Board Game: Castle Panic [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:808]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
Texas
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FRIENDLIEST BOOTH: FIRESIDE GAMES
Another Austin production, Castle Panic is a cooperative game I'm sure you've heard of by now (again, not merely a kid's game). The designer and his wife were demoing it and giving away buttons and candy and more importantly were generally being nice and welcoming every time I went by.
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22. Board Game Publisher: Steve Jackson Games
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
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Played a few dice demos of upcoming games (Cthulu dice and Zombie dice) and got to see Nanuk (best with 8 players; didn't play as I am only 1). Another Austin company. Austin really is the capital of creativity. In this and every other area! And while I was usually alone, there were lots of Austinites around, so hey to:

THIS YEAR'S MOST ABSENT and MISSED:
My son (zildjian kid), Ed and Susan Rozmiarek, jgravitt

BEST ROOMMATES:
Chrissy (now "Hollywood"), Joe-nathan, & Richard Banana. Here's a tip: get roommates 15 years younger than you -- they'll be up later and up earlier so it's like having your own room! Actually they were a lot of fun, and luckily I'll see them again, as they're part of SAGN, the South Austin Game Night.

AND THE REST:
Other folks I know from Austin's great Great Hall Games, Dragon's Lair, Central Texas Boardgames Meetup, Round Rock Gamers, Russcon, SundayNightGames, etc. - my game buddies even if I hadn't seen some of them since BGG.con 2007: Jen & Jake, Marc Majcher (Honeypot & more), Dan (Monkey Lab and Burgoo and more to come), Drey (House of Whack), Ian Cooper (Taktika), Jon The Isle of Doctor Necreaux & many more), Buffy & Tim, Stephen, Russ & Anna, Cory, Brady, Jeff "Kafka" Jones & Jill, Mike Chapel, Joe Belanger, Marty Hoff, Neal, Mischa/Rossum, Matt, William, Cisco, Andy, Greg, Dennis, Mark Hamzy, Jon Grimm. And the ones I forgot to point out but was glad to see. And am glad to see across the table any time.

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23. Board Game: Dungeon Lords [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:182]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
Texas
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WINNER OF "I THOUGHT THEY'D BE TALLER" AWARD - the tiny imps from the popular Dungeon Lords game.
Also Infinite City disappointed in person, just judging on superficial looks; I didn't get to play either.

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24. Board Game: Endeavor [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:202]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
Texas
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GAME WITH A GOOD/BAD COVER
Kevin Nunn played this with Richard Breese and me. Kevin did a great job teaching it, though I thought the game was hard to grasp instantly. Divided opinions the box art.
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25. Board Game: Ramses Pyramid [Average Rating:5.03 Overall Rank:15247]
Betty Dingus
United States
Austin
Texas
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BLOCKIEST GAME
I don't know if anyone actually played it but lots of guys were looking at it all weekend. And taking the plates off the rubber-edged die with the wee little wrench.
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