Drive Thru Gencon 2011
Joel Eddy
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Here's a quick Geeklist of my first "real" Gencon experience. I attended Gencon SoCal back in 2004, but c'mon. That didn't even hold a candle to what was happening in Indy this weekend.
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1. Board Game: Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:245]
Joel Eddy
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This is was probably THE surprise of the con for me. I did not expect it to be there, nor did I expect to get a chance to play it and like it. I'm not sure if I will like it after more plays, but the first play was very surprising and fun. This game is hilarious without being silly. Very tactically sound, and the variety of teams you can select should add to replayability. Definitely one I will be trying again in the future.

Everyone, I've spoken to seemed to agree as well.
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2. Board Game: Ascension: Deckbuilding Game [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:519] [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked]
Joel Eddy
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I was able to attend the Con by demoing all day, every day, at the Gary Games booth. I'm not sure how many people I was able to teach the game to, but it was a huge variety of players. Ranging from professional Magic players to kids and other folks who never played anything like Dominion, or Magic, or even Yugioh.

The fact that (from what I saw) 90% of the people turned around and bought the game (or expansion) is a testament to the broad based appeal of this game.

Also, Gary Games hosted probably the largest "Board Game" tournament ever at 128 players on Sunday for Ascension. I'm not sure if the "largest ever" statement is 100% accurate. I'm sure it's damn close though.
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3. Board Game: Ninjato [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:657]
Joel Eddy
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Because of my exhibitor badge, I was able to easily pick up a copy of this, and I'm glad I did. I have heard comparisons to Stone Age, and I think those comparisons are apt.

However, this is not your mama's worker placement. You can go to the same place over and over and other player's can go to spaces you've gone, etc... It's what you DO in those spaces that becomes the "action drafting" aspect of this game.

It's definitely interesting. I've only had a chance to play it with two so far. I suspect that is the weakest form, as it becomes somewhat puzzly and "card" driven. However, I see this being much better with three and four.
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4. Board Game: Quarriors! [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:708] [Average Rating:6.79 Unranked]
Joel Eddy
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I played this several times this weekend. What an exercise in frustration. I'm not sure about this game yet. The dice and the various spell/creature effects are definitely interesting and fun.

But, if I really try and win, the game loses all elements of fun. It would be nice if games weren't always blowouts. You seem to either win or lose big. I can't say I didn't have fun watching other people win though.

Weird game.
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5. Board Game: A Few Acres of Snow [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:251]
Joel Eddy
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I got to play this twice this weekend. This game will be huge I think.

If it's not huge and/or cracks the Top 20 on BGG, I am convinced I don't understand gaming. I love this thing.
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6. Board Game: Eminent Domain [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:444]
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Finally got a chance to play the real copy a few times. I've played the Print N Play copy several times already. It took me about half a game to re-adjust to the new layout of the cards. Once I did, I re-"fell in love" with this game.

Another one that I would be surprised if it doesn't do well.

Is it as "deep" as Glory to Rome or Race? Define "deep". If "deep" is fishing for cards out of a big deck then "no". If "deep" is trying to optimize a deck and make tactical choices on your turn then "hell to the yes".

And, it's damn fun, because you can choose from a big variety of "always available" tech upgrades. Basically it keeps the fun parts from Puerto Rico and takes out the parts that drive me crazy about Role Selection games.

I see myself getting into heated discussions about this game, lol.
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7. Board Game: 1955: The War of Espionage [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:5257]
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I need to play this more. I quite enjoyed my first play. It's quite elusive. Definitely has a "Twilight Struggle ultra-light" vibe, and not just because of the theme.
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8. Board Game Designer: Uwe Eickert
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I had a chance to watch Uwe demo the latest expansion for his Conflict of Heroes line. What a fantastic looking game! He was sold out of the expansion, but this definitely moved Storms of Steel way up on my wantlist. It also helped that Uwe was super friendly and spoke very well about this line of games.
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Joel Eddy
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Had a chance to meet Jeremy Salinas (Drakkenstrike). What an outstanding and friendly guy. The whole Indy Board Gamer group did an amazing job with the board game room. I expect to see some truly groundbreaking videos come out of his Gencon 2011 haul.

Note that this picture is from Gencon 2010.
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10. Board Game: The Ares Project [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:2482]
Joel Eddy
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Bought a copy of this early along with Ninjato. I've made it through the rules and the game "seems" great. I could not for the life of me get anyone to play this with me when I had it available for like an hour in the board game room. I'm not sure if they were scared of the game, or the fact that I was sitting there reading the rules.

Hopefully, I can find someone to play this with. It looks ridiculously fun.
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11. Board Game: Rune Age [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:905]
Joel Eddy
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I'm hoping that this game isn't as bad as everyone I talked to made it sound. I think, to a person, everyone I talked to did not care for this game, and it fell on the "meh" side. It's still on my radar. This is the game I most wish I had a chance to play, but did not.
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12. Board Game: Notre Dame [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:222]
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Traded for this game. It's been high on my wishlist for some time now.
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13. Board Game: Midgard [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:2079]
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Traded for this game. Another one that's been high on my wishlist for some time now.
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14. Board Game: Space Infantry [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:3294]
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Also traded for this game.

I love Math Trades!
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15. Board Game: Defenders of the Realm: The Dragon Expansion [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Joel Eddy
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Yet another Math Trade success! I was more than pleasantly surprised to find everything already in plano boxes and even the downloadable expansions were included, and all tricked out and mounted for me.

I can't believe someone went to all that work and traded it away. I love the base game. Possibly my favorite co-op.
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16. Board Game: Kingdom of Solomon [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:2203]
Joel Eddy
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Had a great experience with this game. Played a four player game after being taught by the designer. We played while the designer (as well as the head of Minion Games) talked about the process of getting the game completed and published. Great stuff. Great game!
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17. Board Game: Uncle Chestnut's Table Gype [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:8393]
Joel Eddy
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I actually played this game against the designer of the game. What a fun little brilliant abstract this game is! I can see this getting a lot of play with my non-gamer friends as well as on lunch breaks at work. I played it once with the designer and bought it on the spot.

They didn't even have a booth. Just an iPhone app for taking payments and a bag full of this game. Great experience.
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18. Board Game: Artus [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:2863]
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This game exemplifies my only real "issue" with Gencon. There aren't enough Euro gamers. It's a minor quibble as I'm mainly a Euro gamer. But, I could not for the life of me get anyone to try this with me.

However, it was worth it to see their faces when I brought it out. I was like, "C'mon, it can't be that bad!" Hilarious.
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19. Board Game Designer: Geoff Engelstein
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Along with his son Brian Engelstein and Ryan Sturm, I was able to at least express my thanks for their efforts on Ludology and the Dice Tower. A real thrill for me to finally meet them in person. I missed Tom Vassel and Ryan Metzler. Maybe next time!
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20. Board Game: Redakai [Average Rating:5.64 Overall Rank:14403]
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I was able to pick up a couple of starter decks (for free thanks to my work at the Ascension booth). Can't wait to play this with my 10 year old son. Seems to be a fun little TCG for kids. The production on the cards is awesome.
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21. Board Game: Onirim [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:957]
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I played this on the plane ride to and from Gencon. This is my go-to "Plane Game". If I'm feeling frisky I even play it with the first expansion, still fitting on the fold-out tray.
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22. Board Game: Werewolf [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:1250]
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I must have seen about 25 Werewolf games happening at one time on Friday and Saturday night just outside the board game room and throughout the hallways. It was crazy.

I also ran into a bunch of little mini-LARP "happenings". I've never seen such a thing. Imagination is something to behold during this weekend.

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