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BGG.con 2011
Charles S
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Dallas
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This was my first time official attendee of the con, despite having a wife who helped out the first year and stopping in for visits every year.
I was able to go all day on Friday and Saturday. I had 4 games from Essen I wanted to try and get in. I was successful in playing three of the four, and made the decision in the afternoon on Saturday that I could skip the last.
Other than that, I wanted to focus on games I was unlikely to play in my normal group, or new games I had not played before. Games that I normally can't play includes most games over two hours and games that are more thematic in nature.
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1. Board Game: Lancaster [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:256]
Charles S
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Started out the con on Friday morning with this new game, with Pete, Matt, and Charlie. This was fine, not great, not bad, just fine (7ish for me). I'd play it again, I'd probably never think to ask for it. I thought some of the mechanics were interesting. I feel like it could and should be played in 1-1.5 hours, and at 1 hour I would be much more interested in playing. This playing took at least 2 hours to complete, which soured me a little on the game.
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2. Board Game: Tales of the Arabian Nights [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:337]
Charles S
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Jumped into a game of this with Marissa, Randy, Tim, and John. This is a very theme heavy story telling game. As described to me, I didn't think I would enjoy this. In fact it was part of a grand bargain to get another game on the table later. I'm very glad I played this, because it is an experience I probably will not get often if ever again. It is not to much of a game, but the group overall got into having fun with it so I didn't mind.
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3. Board Game: Eaten by Zombies! [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:4536] [Average Rating:5.89 Unranked]
Charles S
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There was a little time to kill before grabbing dinner (after having skipped lunch), and I generally like deck building games. So despite no one having read the rules or having a clue, we grabbed this and I sat down with Randy and John to play (with Tim getting a rules explanation). First comment is that the rules are not very well written, which slowed us down a lot. We played with the first preset swag cards, and I found this mildly enjoyable. I don't think anyone else did however, though the comments included notes that it felt very much in theme, since once the zombies got going it was all over quickly. And it did feel fairly relentless.
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4. Board Game: Quarriors! [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:715] [Average Rating:6.79 Unranked]
Charles S
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Coming back from dinner (Ali Baba for some sweet Saffron Chicken), John and I played a quick game of this with Randy and Marissa. Despite the base mechanic being very similar to deck building, this didn't grab me. I think part of it is biased by the fact that John had a super lucky roll on the first turn, picking up a spell that could be used to gain 3 victory points. I also did find the game very engaging as far as decision making went.
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5. Board Game: Bios: Megafauna [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:1905] [Average Rating:6.97 Unranked]
Charles S
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The game I most wanted to get in at the con. I really like American Megafauna, but know its going to b really hard to get to the table in my playing group. Plus the bits are bad, the rules are poorly written, and it isn't much of a game as much as an experience. Bios Megafauna is in my mind just a superior product in all ways, and still kept the experience parts I liked. I know this is one of the themes I really enjoy (evolution and dinosaurs), so I know I have a soft spot here. I set up with John and Randy, and were joined by Alex (who wanted to see if this would be a good fit for a friend of his). The rules are similar enough to AMF that it was a quick jump into "ready to play" for me. It cleaned up and simplified most of the rules, and the bits are much improved. I enjoyed this despite getting crushed, having a board position with no marine genes when they were much needed. I want to play again to see how bad our luck was, because we felt very handicapped by the genes that came out (lacking most of the core herbivore genes).
This is on my order list, and I'm looking forward both to playign with the members of my game group who will play as well as either playing either solo or with my kids.
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6. Board Game: Ascension: Return of the Fallen [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:596] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Charles S
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Randy and I sat down to end the night with this. I enjoy Ascension (though I generally play it on the iPad), and was willing to do some two player standalone with the expansion. I like the Fate ability, and thought the cards played well. I would like to see it mixed with the main game (hopefully on the iPad app).
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7. Board Game: Dungeon Petz [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:145]
Charles S
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This was the game I wanted to play second most at the con. I have not played Dungeon Lords, but reading the rules and the buzz from Essen made me want to play this. The theme is fun and really comes out in the rules. I don't feel the theme really comes out in the game play, which comes across as very dry to me. John, Randy, Marissa and I took about 2.5 hours to play this out, and I was in trouble from the start. I don't really like the blind bidding mechanism in this. My bigger issue was downtime during need selection for the petz, which was very variable between the players depending on how many petz they had. I almost want to play again with the extra knowledge I have form one play, but it didn't do enough for me to make me want to make this jump.
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8. Board Game: Power Grid: The First Sparks [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:934]
Charles S
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As a huge Power Grid fan, I felt that I would end up buying this, but it was number four on my play list for the con. When Pete gave it a thumbs up, I picked it up from the Funagain store. Saturday afternoon I opened it up to play with John, Jeff, and Jay. After a quick rules rundown, we jumped in. It plays fast, and is much easier on the brain than PG. It also has very little in common, and is missing a lot of the depth. I fell my main play group will be able to do this in about an hour consistently. My only problem with PG is the length, so I'll ait and see if this hits a better balance. But I'm looking forward to playing again.
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9. Board Game: Eaten by Zombies! [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:4536] [Average Rating:5.89 Unranked]
Charles S
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I offered to explain this to Pete, Matt, and Charlie in large part because I wanted to try it at least one more time. We played the second set, which is completely Flee oriented. This resulted in a totally different style of game, though the dominant strategy was again to get a ton of card drawing. My opinion on this is very neutral except for on point. I really like the Fight/Flee mechanic, and how the balance between them seems to be heavily influenced by the cards in the game. After my fist game I though guns/ammo with card draw is dominant, my second game flee and card draw was dominant. Which probably means card draw is dominant, but what have you. I'm still looking for the card based game that heavy card drawing isn't the base for the best strategy.
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10. Board Game: Stalag 17 [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:10103]
Charles S
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Randy, Jeff, Jay, John and myself played a game of this after running through the rules. We had some minor false starts with the rules, but once we got going it was ok. I'd probably not play it again without doing a good rules check.
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11. Board Game: Dune [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:227]
Charles S
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I came back from dinner with wife and kids to get in on or two quick games before heading home. So when I made the 6th player in a game of Dune I had no idea what I was getting into. The board was the great looking print and play version, which had a ton of people coming by to look at the board and ask what game it was. We were missing some player aids, which would have helped quite a bit. I recall enjoying playing this in the past, but this time after 4 hours that resulted in a virtual stalemate between two 3 player alliances in turn 10 (or 15), and the clock striking 1 am needed to get home. I would highly recommend not playing this with 6, but 3 or 4 (and maybe even 5) might be a good player count. However, I doubt this will be on my play list anytime soon.
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12. Board Game: Ora et Labora [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:95]
Charles S
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The one game that I didn't get to play that I wanted to. Since I'm a big fan of Le Havre (despite not getting to play it very often), I'm planning on picking this up due to the favorable reviews I've read. The time concerns me quite a bit, but I may be willing to just go solo on this fairly often.
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