SorCon 2010
CJ
United Kingdom
Colchester
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This past weekend saw the 3rd annual Son Of Ramsden Con (SorCon) open gaming convention in Colchester. Having been for the first time last year (I'd post a link to last year's Geeklist here but apparently BGG is not going to let me) I was hugely excited to return again and this time I even brought a couple of friends - Mike and David - with me to join in the uber-geek goodness.
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1. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:293]
CJ
United Kingdom
Colchester
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This year SorCon started at 1400hrs on Fri but unfortunately there was no chance to take the day off work or finish early. I finally managed to cut away at 1830hrs and make it to the Ramada Hotel by 1930, ready for some geeky gaming goodness. Unfortunately Mike and David jacked on me and made some pitiful excuses about not coming with me that evening (work and a funeral, if they were to be believed) so I was forced to go alone. Not a problem, I thought, last year I went on my own and it took 2mins to get invited to a game.

Well, I finally arrived and there had been a clear surge in Fri evening gamers from last year. Everyone seemed to be heavily involved in a games with no chance to wrangle my way in and, being on my own, I wandered through to the bar to get a drink. While I was there I spotted some gents sat in a corner playing a small game and approached, asking to watch. Jeff and Stuart, as they introduced themselves to be, were quite friendly and invited me to sit down, and taught me to play Lost Cities while they finished off their game. After they'd finished their friend Rob arrived and we sat down to dinner followed by a game between Rob and I. Victory (my only one of the weekend) was mine but the real victory was the corruption of Rob, who arrived openly mocking the glorious games, only to leave a bit of a convert.

Now, you might wonder why I've bored you with this quite labourious tale. Understandable. Well, the reason will become clear as this chance meeting turned out to be the beginning of a delightful weekend gaming relationship.

Anyway, Lost Cities turned out to be a nice little game, although I have to wonder if the board and oversized cards were really necessary. Struck me as a Mrs CJ-friendly option and this was to be later tested...

Rating: 6.
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2. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
CJ
United Kingdom
Colchester
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After dinner and Lost Cities Rob went home and we moved through to the main gaming room where we hit up a couple of games of Dominion. Stuart and I had played before (although we were both a little rusty with the rules) and Jeff was keen to play. We managed one game (I think Jeff won) before I went home for the evening. Most notably, I think, a discussion between Stuart and I of our experiences of SorCon the previous year included me quite vocally slagging of Brass with Martin Wallace playing on the table next to us.

Rating: 7 (no change from previously).
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3. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:62]
CJ
United Kingdom
Colchester
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For those of you who followed my SorCon exploits last year, you may remember that I was mad-keen to play this game. Well, Jeff and Stuart were equally keen and I had departed the previous night with plans to play this the following morning at 10. I dutifully arrived on time with Mike and David in tow and we settled straight into this beauty - huzzah!

Unfortunately I was not to be a traitor this time, much to my chagrin, but Mike was so ecstatic to be a Cylon that he simply couldn't bring himself to maintain the charade after the 2nd turn and revealed himself to be a toaster. Unbeknownst, however, there was another traitor lurking in our midst. Although I had come to suspect Jeff around the time that Mike revealed himself, further into the game Stuart, and then David, both became the objects of my paranoia before I settled back into accusations at Jeff. By this time, though, Galactica had been fairly mashed up by the Cylon fleet and I wasn't able to access the Admiral's Quarters to slam him into the Brig. By this point the fleet was in raggedy clip and we only had 2 population left - more than little enough for Jeff to reveal himself by moving to FTL Control and rolling a 5 for an early jump and -3 to our population.

Awesome game and I can't wait to play again. Mike was chatting about picking this up so I may whisper sweet nothings in his ear and get him to pay for it and leave it at my house.

Rating: 8.
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4. Board Game: TurfMaster [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:1372]
CJ
United Kingdom
Colchester
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After BSG we nipped out for some lunch and when we got back we settled into this favourite of Jeff and Stuart. This is a nice easy game and it has some quality production value but it doesn't really inspire the senses much. I managed to remain in contention throughout and missed out on the win by 2 spaces in the final race (ultimately finishing 3rd to Stuart and Jeff) but I'm not sure I'd be particularly keen to chase another play of this anytime soon.

Rating: 5.
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5. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
CJ
United Kingdom
Colchester
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Stuart now moved off to play some games with friends of his, leaving Jeff, Mike and I to be joined by another player for a couple of games of Dominion (David spent the time trying to place a bet on his iPhone for Newcastle to beat Barnsley - they did, 6-1). Amusingly, Mike - who was baggage due to his finishing drinking post-wake at 0330hrs - couldn't remember how to play the game, despite the fact that he owns it. Indeed, he even forgot that he did own it until I reminded him. Despite that, he managed to join in a three-way tie with myself and our fourth in the first game before he crushed us all in the second.

Rating: see above.
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6. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:92] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
CJ
United Kingdom
Colchester
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I decided to cut away at this point and meet the missus to do a bit of shopping but before I went I taught Jeff, Mike and David how to play TTR: Europe and then left them to it. Apparently Mike won because by the time I returned they had moved onto...

Rating: none - never played it.
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7. Board Game: Thunderstone [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:531] [Average Rating:6.99 Unranked]
CJ
United Kingdom
Colchester
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...a game of this, as I learned when I tipped back up with the missus. While we waited for them to finish, before leaving for the day, I borrowed Lost Cities from Jeff and taught my wife to play it in the bar. Not sure if I'd ever want to invest in this but she certainly picked it up quite easily and seemed to enjoy it. Not much comment about Thunderstone as I didn't even watch it although Mike and David both preferred Dominion to this one. Once they'd finished the wife and I headed off with Mike and David to recuperate for further gaming the following day, with arrangements for a game of Dungeon Lords at 10 the next morning.

Rating: n/a.
 
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8. Board Game: Dungeon Lords [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:182]
CJ
United Kingdom
Colchester
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Mike and I were back at the Ramada a little later than planned on Sunday morning (we lost David to his work) and Jeff and Stuart had gained another player to leave room for only 1 other. Mike did the kindly thing and offered it up as he knew I was keen to get in a game of this and I obligingly cracked on. This was certainly a harsh mistress with an initially steep learning curve, as I learned when the first year's party rampaged through my dungeon and wrecked half my corridors and both my rooms. That said, although I ultimately finished in third, I managed to thump the second season's adventurers with the loss of only a couple of corridors and finished in third place. This was definitely an enjoyable game and it has a nice theme but it is not my natural gaming habitat and I question whether the theme could hold up enough to gloss over the minimal player interaction. Still, I'd happily play it again.

While I was playing Mike pottered about and made a purchase from JKLM who were flogging games over the weekend, at very tasty prices if his purchase was anything to go by. More of that in a bit...

Rating: 7.
 
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9. Board Game: FITS [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1274]
CJ
United Kingdom
Colchester
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By the time we'd managed to finish Dungeon Lords Jeff was soon to depart so we squeezed in a game of FITS before he went. This was the first time for Mike and I, although Jeff and Stuart had played before, and much to my chagrin I carried sizable leads through the first 3 rounds only for Jeff to pip me by one point at the end with a score of 36. Still, this was surprisingly engaging for so simple a game and I'd happily play again anytime.

Rating: 7.
 
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10. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:73]
CJ
United Kingdom
Colchester
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We had an hour before we had to leave and Stuart offered to teach us this which we happily accepted. Unfortunately, we succumbed to the yellow plague as we were on the verge of finding the fourth cure but both of us found this quite enjoyable. Indeed, never having much interest in this or the co-op genre in general I was a little surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did. Certainly I'd never spend money on this but I'd more than happily sit down to play it again.

Rating: 7.
 
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11. Board Game: Space Hulk (third edition) [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:225]
CJ
United Kingdom
Colchester
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While I was engrossed in Dungeon Lords, Mike was circling the JKLM set up with Space Hulk firmly in his sights. Well, somewhat amazingly, he was shifting it for £58 (brand new) and Mike snagged himself a copy. Personally, I was tempted to grab one myself (he had 3 that I saw over the weekend) solely to shift it on ebay but I ultimately decided not to bother. Impressive, nonetheless, to find a retailer selling mint Space Hulk for less than RRP, let alone the piss-take prices online, so fair play to him.

So, with Space Hulk tucked under his arm, Mike and I departed for the final time and said our farewells to SorCon. Unfortunately neither of us will be able to return next year - he because he's soon to move across the country and I because I'll be sunning myself somewhere hot and sandy where the locals like to plant HE in the ground and connect them to pressure plates. My thanks to Jeff and Stuart, for being awesome gaming buddies and all-round good blokes, and to the organisers of SorCon, who always manage to put on a hugely enjoyable weekend. I shall miss it next year but hopefully I'll get the chance to head over again.
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