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Subject: Tivowatcher's BGG 2012 Diary rss

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Dave P
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Ok, so the con is over for me and its time to post my musings.

Like last year, the con started with some drama. I woke Wednesday morning all set to drive over to the Hyatt and found my front yard floaded due to a broken water pipe.

After several hours of phone calls and visits from the city, I was finally able to head out to the con. The best news out of this was at least it wasn't a car accident (like last year).

Wednesday:
Arrived a little late but ready to get started!
Lords of Waterdeep (I muled and taught this one)
Dungeon Command (cool concept and great bits, but one-on-one tactical mini games just don't draw me in)
Clash of Cultures (by far the best game I played at the con this year!)

Thursday:
VIRTUAL FLEA MARKET - By personal library grew by THIS MUCH.
Tide of Iron (excellent game that I finally got to learn/play!)
Clash of Cultures (played it again!)

Friday:
Fortune and Glory (cool game, but we SHOULD have used the 4 movement pt variant instead of roling for movement. This is a definite must for any future play).
Clash of Cultures (yes, played it AGAIN!) - this time we used the 4 turn variant to cut the time down and it worked (it was about 3 hours of play, which was perfect).
Game of Thrones I tried this last year for the first time and thought "meh" so I've been wanting to try it again just to be sure. I've concluded that to enjoy it, you really need to know the capabilities of all the other players (because their "tech" cards do different things). For example: I attacked with a big army and easily won, however the defender played a card that forced all my guys to immediately retreat). Not knowing this capability even existed put a wet blanket on the overall experience. You need to play this more to really appreciate it and I'd rather spend 5 hours playing something else (Clash of Cultures anyone?!)

Saturday:
Starcraft (fun, but like Game of Thrones, you need to play it a few times to get a real understanding of proper strategy due to the players each having different tech).
Space Cadet Fun co-op game that features each player as the "officer" on a starship. The goal is mission specific (we needed to kill 3 bad guy ships in our sector in 6 turns). What makes this one unique is each station has a mini-game you play each turn. The mini game is timed (30 seconds) and depending on your success, your station performs better (or worse). For example, if you are the weapons officer, the more Tetris-like puzzles you complete, the more shots you can take when it comes time to fire the weapons. Then, to "fire" the weapons, you flick a disc up a track and hope to land as far forward, without going off the board) to score specific damage. I generally hate dexterity "flicking" games, but this one was pretty cool and worth adding to my collection (too bad they sold out!)
1969 Easily the 2nd best game of the con for me this year. It was in the Hot Games room (2 copies AND NO ONE WAS PLAYING!) This was crazy because its a neat worker placement deal with each player representing a nation vying to get to the Moon (and back). Its about a 60-90 minute game (we managed to scrounge up 4 players, not sure if it can handle more, although I bet it does). I am ABSOLUTELY tracking this down and adding it to my collection. Not very heavy, so I see this as a possible gateway game...
Eclipse What can I say - its a fun game that doesn't HAVE to become a 4+ hour "epic" but when I play, for some reason, it always turns into one. Maybe because the OTHER players are so AP.

Final thoughts:
Last year was my first con. That year, it all about the # of games I learned and played (something like 38 games played in the weekend). This year, as you can see, the # of games was dramatically less (due to the fact they were almost all "epic" 5+ hour games). This means, the other players was the big "cool" experience this year. The folks I met and played with definitely made this con a success.

Special nod to the dudes from the UK (Mark and Nick) who taught me all kinds of new British colloquialisms, including "uphill gardner"? Huh?

Finally, a minor rant on the Hyatt. Restaurant service was laughably terrible and prices high (no surprise really on high prices). Also, the front desk staff apparently have no concept of time when validating parking tickets, so you can expect to pay some extortion whenever leaving the DFW property (even when you remind them to validate the ticket correctly, they still screwed it up). Bottom line for me: next year I'll just drive home each night and save the $120.


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Brian Baird
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tivowatcher wrote:

Friday:
Fortune and Glory (cool game, but we SHOULD have used the 4 movement pt variant instead of roling for movement. This is a definite must for any future play).



Definitely agree with this You still managed to pull out a win, mind you. Had a lot of fun playing this despite the snafus.
 
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Dave P
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I wish I could say I contributed to our win, but it was all Jon's doing. I really just wandered in circles most of the game due to my low movement die rolls.

I did like the game and will be playing it again (my copy actually made it out of shrinkwrap but still needs to be punched).

-Dave
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Jim F
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Uphill gardner...what were you playing when that cropped up?
 
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Steve Duff
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tivowatcher wrote:
Finally, a minor rant on the Hyatt. Restaurant service was laughably terrible and prices high (no surprise really on high prices).


Where did you eat?

We ate at the Jacob's Spring Grille and thought it was great. $12 for the buffet was excellent. Not a ton of choice, but the menu was posted, so you knew if you liked it beforehand.

One other dinner we ordered the nachos appetizer for $14, and it was so huge and filling that we didn't need anything else.
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David Debien
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
tivowatcher wrote:
Finally, a minor rant on the Hyatt. Restaurant service was laughably terrible and prices high (no surprise really on high prices).


Where did you eat?

We ate at the Jacob's Spring Grille and thought it was great. $12 for the buffet was excellent. Not a ton of choice, but the menu was posted, so you knew if you liked it beforehand.

One other dinner we ordered the nachos appetizer for $14, and it was so huge and filling that we didn't need anything else.


The pizza was pretty good as well. I found the buffet to be really hit and miss. Still, the prices were really good, considering.
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Jon Greisz
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Ashiefan wrote:

Uphill gardner...what were you playing when that cropped up?
I believe that one of the players was away for a smoke, and Mark said "... When he gets back from his fag...". So we had a discussion on what all was wrong with that.
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Chaddyboy
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Huh, weird on the parking validation. I left over a half dozen times and it always went fine; I was never charged when going through the toll booths.
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Dwayne Hendrickson
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The problem with parking was if you stayed longer than 24 hours. The Valet had the improper stamp to validate and you had to take it to the front desk.

I got the tacos in the restaurant almost every day. $10 (before discount) for two 8-in flour tortillas, filled with steak, avocado, cheese and salsa. I would order one for lunch and another around 5:30 (because dinner started at 6).

Finally, who felt that the elevators on the last day should have had warning signs on them?
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Michael Parker
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My biggest beef with the restaurant was the service. The buffet was decent enough, outside of that the food was passable I guess. But the service was horrible, it would take forever for them to do anything.

Also, I concur with the parking fiasco. I got stuck with an $80 bill on the way home. I plan to write a strongly worded letter to the hotel, but I don't expect much will come from it.
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Matthew Tadyshak
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Do you own Clash of Cultures Dave? If so, be sure to bring it to DGM!
 
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Dave P
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Herkemer wrote:
My biggest beef with the restaurant was the service. The buffet was decent enough, outside of that the food was passable I guess. But the service was horrible, it would take forever for them to do anything.

Also, I concur with the parking fiasco. I got stuck with an $80 bill on the way home. I plan to write a strongly worded letter to the hotel, but I don't expect much will come from it.


Yep - this is the problem. The food was pretty decent (prices were still too high) but the service was just down right bad.

The whole parking ticket validation process should be looked at by the hotel management since it seems to be hit or miss...

In the end, I had a great time at the con regardless of these minor issues.

-Dave
 
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Dave P
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NBAfan wrote:
Do you own Clash of Cultures Dave? If so, be sure to bring it to DGM!


No - but Jon does!
 
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Dave P
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chaddyboy_2000 wrote:
Huh, weird on the parking validation. I left over a half dozen times and it always went fine; I was never charged when going through the toll booths.


For me it was 3 out 3 times being shaken down by the booth goons.

This became extra annoying since once I found out the front desk wasn't validating correctly, I specifically asked them on the last day to get it right, and I was still hit up for $2 because the ticket was 7 minutes shy of full validation!

-Dave
 
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Kris Moulton
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okiedokie wrote:
The problem with parking was if you stayed longer than 24 hours. The Valet had the improper stamp to validate and you had to take it to the front desk.

I got the tacos in the restaurant almost every day. $10 (before discount) for two 8-in flour tortillas, filled with steak, avocado, cheese and salsa. I would order one for lunch and another around 5:30 (because dinner started at 6).

Finally, who felt that the elevators on the last day should have had warning signs on them?


A few times I thought I was going to be stuck in those elevators. I think a Con such as ours is more of a stress on the elevators than most.
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Alejandro G.
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Just curious but how was there an issue with validation? My wife and I attended for our first time this year and every morning when we arrived, we walked to the counter and they quickly stamped our ticket.

Never had any issue leaving the airport, just simply handed it to the booth worker and let them know it had a validation stamp. $0 parking fees.

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Joseph Cochran
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tivowatcher wrote:
Herkemer wrote:
My biggest beef with the restaurant was the service. The buffet was decent enough, outside of that the food was passable I guess. But the service was horrible, it would take forever for them to do anything.


Yep - this is the problem. The food was pretty decent (prices were still too high) but the service was just down right bad.


Hyatt prices are Hyatt prices: if you plan on hotel eating you expect to pay them. Our crew was pleasantly surprised by the size of the discount so as far as that goes, we were happy with the hotel restaurant. A buffet that normally goes for $17.50 before tax was $12.18 after tax. That's super-good for hotel food. Anyone who's done the 18 or 20 euro breakfast buffets at Essen hotels would call BGG a bargain!

As far as the service: Saturday our service was not so good either (especially considering it's a buffet) but when we ate on Sunday morning service was fantastically good. The waitress that day said that they had really enjoyed having us but that they were all also tired because there were just so many of us, so my guess is that they didn't properly anticipate the number of diners they'd get and were understaffed (and if that's the case they'll probably self-correct that next year).
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Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
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krismoulton wrote:
okiedokie wrote:
The problem with parking was if you stayed longer than 24 hours. The Valet had the improper stamp to validate and you had to take it to the front desk.

I got the tacos in the restaurant almost every day. $10 (before discount) for two 8-in flour tortillas, filled with steak, avocado, cheese and salsa. I would order one for lunch and another around 5:30 (because dinner started at 6).

Finally, who felt that the elevators on the last day should have had warning signs on them?


A few times I thought I was going to be stuck in those elevators. I think a Con such as ours is more of a stress on the elevators than most.


Beam me up, Scotty, the elevators don't work!
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Vicki Scheele
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I agree with you on 1969. It was the first hot room game I played and I really enjoyed it. Was amazed to see the table empty quite a bit of the time.
 
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Curious to see the discrepancy on the service - we ate there 3 times and it was literally some of the best service I've ever seen in any restaurant. It seemed like they had staffed heavily for the event, and I couldn't drain a glass of soda before they brought by another. Don't think we ate there Saturday or Sunday, though, so perhaps they had some issue when I wasn't there.
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Chris Hillery
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Had a great time playing with you, Dave - which is good, since between Tide of Iron, Clash of Cultures and Eclipse (and Uncle Julio's) I spent something like 20 solid hours with you! cool

Hope to see you again next year.
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David Cole
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We had a problem with improper validation one time when we were going out for dinner and were charged $7. Talked to the hotel and they are sending a check.

The food prices and quality seemed cheaper and better quality than the Westin. The cash & carry was close to what you would pay going out to find food & you didn't have to deal with traffic. I was pleasantly surprised that you got as much as you did for the $4 salad. I travel a lot for work, and usually you get a lot less for $10 if you dine in a hotel restaurant. A big breakfast at the buffet would hold me over until dinner when I would hit the cash & carry. $22 a day for food wasn't a bad deal.

The registration line seemed to move slower than previous years. I would like to see early registration on Tuesday, maybe for an extra $25 vip pass if the con grows much bigger.
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The hotel food options were far too limited for vegetarian guests. None of the buffet dinners had a meat-free alternative; the cash and carry had a basic pizza and salad, but who wants to eat just that for dinner each day? I know we're in meat-loving Texas, but BGG.Con has a wide audience and a little more consideration over the catering would have been appreciated.

We ate the breakfast buffet once and it was good but expensive. To get your money's worth, you had to spend a while there eating and missing out on valuable gaming time. It also had the bizarre rule that you could only have one type of drink plus water - every other hotel I've ever eaten breakfast in has allowed me to have tea and orange juice. After the first day, we bought yoghurts, cereal and porridge oats and had breakfast in our room instead.

The cash and carry was reasonably priced for hotel food, but still expensive for what you got. Again, we ate there on the first day, then made our own sandwiches for the rest of the time, which had the advantage of not having to leave a gaming table to go and find lunch.

For dinner, we never ate the hotel food once. The cash and carry food was not going to make a sufficient dinner and the restaurant buffet had no vegetarian option, although it did sound reasonable for meat-eaters. We resorted to the Rio Grande shuttle bus to take us to "nearby" restaurants. We were grateful for the transportation, having flown in and without a car, but the bus schedule was rather erratic. Here, the location of the Hyatt was a real drawback: terrible airport traffic and a round trip of an hour on the bus alone. It worked out to be a lot of time away from gaming for us to get dinner. We would have preferred a hotel located next to a mall, or fewer stops on the shuttle bus. If the bus could only go to one place, the Target stop seems the ideal choice. It has a supermarket and many different restaurant options, even some with vegetarian food! laugh

Eating wasn't easy for us, but it was still a fun convention.
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Matt Kinard
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I 100% agree on your assessment of 1969.

It was one of my highlights of the week(end), and I think that it is absolutely a gateway game in the making. It's quick, not prone to over-analysis, and got some fun theme that you can goof around with while you play.

"The great nation of France will now, after three failed attempts at a launch, finally invest in space helmets...but we insist that they must be stylish, and have appropriate smoke ventilation systems!"
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Babbaloie wrote:
I 100% agree on your assessment of 1969.

It was one of my highlights of the week(end), and I think that it is absolutely a gateway game in the making. It's quick, not prone to over-analysis, and got some fun theme that you can goof around with while you play.

"The great nation of France will now, after three failed attempts at a launch, finally invest in space helmets...but we insist that they must be stylish, and have appropriate smoke ventilation systems!"


Ditto on '69! It was one of the highest games on my curiosity meter. I think this will be a very fun addition!

Want a copy for yourself? Back it on Kickstarter!
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