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Subject: Origins 2009 Day by Day Coverage rss

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Alan Reeve
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I arrived at Origins yesterday (Wednesday) evening and a friend picked me up at the airport. After a quick dinner we headed on to the convention center so I could register and start the gaming festivities. Registration was speedy at 8 PM and it was off to the board room as there really aren't many options available. I got my 'free' game courtesy of Rio Grande's incessant generosity and saw Jay in there demoing Dominion: Intrigue. My freebie was Oregon for those that care.

Finca

Finca was the first game I played. My goal for cons is to play new stuff so I can see what's good and figure out what is worth owning. In Finca you have workers on a fruit labeled rondel and they move around it to help you get fruit. The number of workers on the space you leave determines how many spaces you move... and the number of workers on the space you land on determines the quantity of fruit you get. And every half-time around you get a horse cart to deliver your fruit. The board then contains stacks of fruit tiles that you are trying to match with your deliveries. Then add four bonus action tiles that are worth points if unused and scoring for most of a type or types of fruit when a stack of fruit tiles is depleted and you've got the basics of Finca.

To me Finca wasn't a bad game, but it wasn't a breakthrough either. I played it twice in succession.


Dominion: Intrigue

We then tried Dominion: Intrigue. Warning: I am not a big Dominion fan... I don't hate the game... I just don't seem to be smitten by it as so many are. Dominion: Intrigue is Dominion with 25 different cards. One card in particular struck me and that was the Swindler. Talk about chaos... every other player has the top card of their deck trashed and replaced with a card of equal value. If you like Dominion I'm sure you'll appreciate this game. As a side note the game has an ad in it that states that the next (Seaside) expansion will NOT be stand alone... youll need either the original or Intrigue to play it.


After a night of sleep at the local Motel 6 is was back to the con by 9 AM...

My friend and I tried and oldie first... Tamsk. Tamsk is a pretty nifty abstact strategy game that was once part of the Gipf series of games. I like abstract strategy although it seems that everyone and their brother has one to peddle. This one was quite fun though having played twice.

We then played Smallworld. Not new to me, but new to two of the player's that joined us. Usually shortly after this game is mentioned the followup is "Have you played Vinci?". Nonetheless this is kind of interested due to the wide variety of partnerships of special abilities and the management of determines when your civilizations have peaked.

After that I participated in the Pitch Car tourney. I have to say Fred is among the most generous with prize support lately. In fact, the swag bags are like mother hubbard's cupboard... empty. This year in addition to the usual Origins 2k9 six sided die was a GenCon poker chip.

In any event, I have Pitch Car and love the game as it can be played with any age. It's too bad it's so expensive as I'm sure that's a barrier for many, but when the game is made of wood prices go up I suppose. I think it's worth it, though, based on play received.

Next was the Mayfair booth to work on ribbons and play some of their new titles. I started with Pack & Stack and have to agree with what I've read... the frenzy of grabbing a truck is the only real intense part of the game. Much also comes down to what pieces you get (you roll to see what pieces you will have to place on your truck). My feelings... there are better puzzle games out there like Factory FUn if you can find it or perhaps Fits.

I then played Hey! That's My Fish which I think is among Mayfair's BEST games. It plays so well with 2 and it still enjoyable with 3 and 4. We played with the pretty new Deluxe version, but I can't warrant the money for the upgrade from my wooden penguins. Not to mentioned the blue and green are just too close in color for me.

Journey to the Center of the Earth was next. A game that I feel is an overly complex movie boardgame that shouldn't have been made. Fun? I don't think so.

A quick stop by the Asmodee booth allowed me to get a quick intro to Snow Tails. I love Fragor bros games so this was on my MUST SEE list and I like what I saw. Lots of different track choices... some ability to plan ahead vs basic die roll luck. I just with it had cuter pieces like other Fragor bros games, but I guess the lower mass market price has it's cost.

Next, a quick demo of ZMan's new Bridge Troll game and it was a QUICK demo as I had a 3 PM event. The game looks pretty neat though and I love the theme. In it you're a bridge troll and you bid to get people to come to your bridge. You can then eat them or get them to pay a toll. You have to balance this as card are discarded in sets. Like I said, it was a quick demo and hopefully I'll get a full game in before Sunday is gone.

Next up... Steam. Now I paid $2 for an event ticket to have this taught to me. I show up at the table and noone in the Mayfair room knows how to play? Why did I buy an event ticket?? And noone at Mayfair can support this prized game with an explanation??? In any event, it basically played like Railroad Tycoon or Age of Steam as one would expect wth few tweaks. The maps seems kind of small. My verdict is that I'd get Age of Steam especially with the free, bonus maps for 1-2 players.

Finally it was 3D Roborally. First, finding this event was an ordeal. It took 20 minutes of being sent back and forth in the con hall before I finally got there and got there late. Second, I guess I had built this up in my head, but I was expecting a far more impressive 3D experience. I'll stick with my cardboard set... thanks!

We'll see what Friday brings as I'm hoping to get some video footage up tomorrow...
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Brian Cherry
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Obligitory Smart-Ass Comment Here
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This would have made a great geeklist.
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Snooze Fest
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We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
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This and the other days have been added to the Origins Metalist!
 
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Alan Reeve
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snoozefest wrote:
This and the other days have been added to the Origins Metalist!


Thanks for doing the metalist. With all of the Origins reports it's nice to have one consolidated place for them all.
 
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