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Subject: Board Game Bash 2019 Austin Texas ( Our 1st convention) rss

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Greg Davis
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Lets start this review with a small bit of background information. My son (26) got a copy of Ticket to Ride for his birthday about 2 yrs ago. I enjoyed the game so much my wife bought me a copy of the game a few weeks later and i begin to share with a friend or two. Within 6 months, we had started a gaming group once a week with an occasional weekend night thrown in. We progressed to Puerto Rico and
Catan, then Stone Age and Dominion, and now have 20+ games in our collection.

I started watching a ton of content on Youtube and decided we ought to attend a convention. I noticed Austin TX had one in August, so we decided to make the trip down from Arkansas to check it out. From the website we could see they had plenty of scheduled events, and we were extremely interested in playing games that we had never played.

Upon arriving, we immediately went to the library. It was a bit smaller than we anticipated. We did find about 5 or 6 games on our list of 30 games we wanted to play. So we grabbed 7 Wonders Duel and headed to the large gaming room. Once inside, we decided to walk around the room and see what everyone was playing. A group of locals were playing an interesting looking game, 2nd Chance by Uwe Rosenburg and we stopped to watch for a minute. The leader of the group, Matt Stephans immediately asked us to jump in and we got our first taste of the hospitality of this convention. 2nd Chance is an excellent filler game, in the mode of Tetris, where you are filling in pieces until you cant put anymore on your form. This leads me to my first
observation:

1-INCLUSION- I cant state strong enough the feeling of inclusion we had the entire weekend. We found someone willing to teach us almost anything we wanted to play. And as limited as the library was, the locals attending brought multiple bags of their own games to the convention. So most of the classic and new hot games were easily found by asking the right people. Someone knew someone with a copy, generally willing to show you how to play any game.

After our brief first gaming experience, we found a place to set up our game. Moments later a guy set up at a table next to us with "Terraforming Mars". This was the number one game we wanted to learn how to play. We knew this was one of the most popular games with real board gamers, but wasnt sure we could play it without professional instruction. After about 5 or 6 hands, I wasnt sure i could play it with instruction. My son and i both thought this was the hardest game we had ever learned. It truly took me half the game to grasp the concept, but by the end, it left me wanting more. The problem is, i dont know if i obtained enough from the one setting to be able to teach it to my group. But ill certainly revisit it somewhere in the future.

The original group we met, invited us to play an auction game with them, "QE" and it was just OK for me. Its quite a challenge to spend but not overspend, just wasnt my favorite game of the weekend. The group was fun though. We finished off the night with a social deduction game at midnight, "Blood on the Clockhands" My son enjoys this type of gaming. The production was pretty good and the group was pretty involved, i was probably the worst player. lol.

Saturday, we rolled in around 10am, grabbed "Istanbul" from the library and started setting up the game.
We set up a sign for extra players/teacher and a local guy Neil walked by and wanted to join in. As it turns out, this was one of his favorite games and he was an excellent teacher. What a great game, and moves into the "must own" category for our collection. Afterwards we went to the flea market. Saw a few games of interest, but only bought one initially, "Through the Ages" for a steal at $20. We made a 2nd sweep towards the end, and about half the vendors were making incredible offers to move out stock.
Picked up a copy of "Hacienda" for $10, and he gave me a copy of "The Resistance" for free. My son grabbed a copy of "The Oracle of Delphi", "Homeland", and "Babel" for $40. The game swap was next, and that brings me to my 2nd observation:

2-IF YOU WANT A GOOD GAME, YOU GOT TO BRING A GOOD GAME- There was probably 60 games in the swap. About 10 great games, with another 10 solid games, followed by about 20 somewhat interesting games, and 10 games no one would want. I had about 12 or 13 games to pick from and i brought the Catan Cities and Knights expansion. I ended up with Bullfrog Goldfield. I felt from the review, probably a descent swap for me. Catan expansion never gets to the table. My son ended up taking his game back with the choices that remained.

We entered the Dominion tournament and neither did exceptional good or bad and were eliminated in round two. We both played the third round for placement. We had previously signed up for Catan tournament, but decided to bail out for the card tournament that night. (side note, Catan started at 6pm and was still going after midnight) The Catan National Qualifier had a lot of serious gamers, and we felt the card tournament was a more relaxing fit for us. Matt was running it and it was and I actually qualified as the top seed and won the whole tournament. To qualify for the finals, you played 4 different games of cards. "No thanks", "For Sale","Category 5", and "Relationship tightrope" I managed to get 2 wins, a place and a show to qualify 1st. As winner, i selected "Relationship Tightrope" for the final. I liked the mechanics of the game even though i had never played it before. I got 5 sets of Convention dice and a copy of "Shop N Time" for winning.

Back to the library, we picked up a game off our list that several at the convention said was a great game, "Orleans". The director of the convention, Jonathan Grabert told us it was his favorite game so i asked him to take a break and teach us how to play. And he graciously did. A local lady Sharon arrived and wanted to join in and she picked up for Jonathon and WOW what a great game. Moves to the very top of my "must have list". By this time, its midnight and Sharon wanted to teach us how to play one of her favorite games, "Clank". I had never heard of it, but a quick seach showed its a highly rated classic. Very smooth playing game, basically Dominion with a gameboard. We liked it.

Sunday morning, we changed our plans from leaving to lets stay til lunchtime. We had a 7hr drive ahead of us.Brings me to my third observation:

3-DONT LEAVE THE CONVENTION EARLY- We should have stayed til Monday, but we thought 2 days of it would be enough. We just wanted more, lol.

We started out the day with a classic game we had never played, "Kingdomino". The Watkins, originally from Arkansas as well, taught us the game, and its tile laying a lot like "Carcassone" with more of a dominoe feel. Simplistic gateway type game, would be excellent with my whole family. We decided on one more for the road, its 11:30am by now. We headed for the kickstarter area to play "Plunderbund" with the game designers. What a great game. Area Control, card drafting, neat design. We didnt order it, but we will be watching for it maybe for Christmas. Looks like a November release. We checked out at 3pm lol.

Overall, this totally exceeded our expectations. The library may not be as big as i expected it to be but its strongly supported by the locals that bring hundreds of the best games and are willing to play and teach you how to play. We had an exceptional time and the Austin Marriott South is a great location. We are eager now to attend other conventions in the future. Board Game Bash gets an A+!!
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Michael Oliver
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Argyle
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Thanks for posting. I live in the DFW area, and I thought about driving down to Austin, but, my schedule wouldn't really allow it this year. Will definitely look into it for next year. If you get a chance, you should try BGGSpring in 2020. It sounds like it would be a really good fit for you.
 
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Greg Davis
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We certainly will. Thanks
 
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