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Subject: Sailing the High Seas at GMX (Geek Media Expo) rss

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If ever a game was made to draw attention in a crowded game room at a well-attended Con, Francis Drake is it.

Like Triassic Terror, which I also demoed at the Con, Francis Drake literally drew people to the table like pollen draws bees. The first game I ran was on Saturday morning. Four people played: myself, my son Brandon, Todd, and a gentleman who, it turns out, is a podcaster with All Games Considered whose first name is Chris. As with everyone who sees the game laid out, they thought it was going to be a complicated endeavor and only sat down to play one or two rounds. I assured them (and everyone else I played with or spoke to) that you can learn the game in one round and the competitive spirit will be able to come out and take over in the final two rounds. And, like everyone else I tell this to, I was looked at like I was crazy.

So....Game On!

Todd took an early lead as I made suggestions and explained why I was making those suggestions as we meandered down the Plymouth docks. My son also helped, as he has played the games numerous times....and actually helped me in the demos when I was being pulled between this and Triassic Terror. After purchasing all the materials needed, I then helped them set sail, guiding them through the actions and making suggestions as to when they should return to the dock. Two rounds later (Francis Drake is played in three rounds), Todd was victorious, followed by Chris, Brandon and me. Lots of laughs. Lots of stoppages as people came by and asked what the game was.

Sunday, I again set up Francis Drake and again had a crowd gathered to find out what it was, along with a few questions about how complex the game was and where they could buy it. (I had that from the owner of one of our FLGSs here in Nashville as well.) Having said it's fresh off Kickstarter and would soon be available, three guys (Mark, Steven and Tyler) sat down for the first -- and most memorable -- game of the day. These guys were not fans of Euro-style games, but the components caught their attention. Like the day before, I guided them through the places they should go on Plymouth and explained why, suggesting strategies that might help them along the way. Then the second phase was played, and there was some confusion because they didn't quite grasp the numbered disks and how play would go, so we did it open-faced, with my suggestion where and in what order they should travel. We did it as if the disks were turned face-down, however. After that, and about forty minutes later, Steven proved victorious with a good mixture of grabbing trade goods, battling ships and taking over forts (that's the the Pinnace he constantly went for). Mark was second, a mere point behind Steven, followed by Tyler who was two points behind that.

Three plays over two days, a lot of enthusiasm from the gamers, and some raised eyebrows when it was discovered how simple the game mechanics were, made Francis Drake one of the hits in the GMX analog game room.
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