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Subject: Reflections on BGG Con 2012 rss

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John Mellby
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Plano
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This was a very good year for BGG Con. Lots of improvements and only a few questionable points. I'll write another geeklist with comments on individual games, but here are my reflections.

There were a better selection of new games this year than 2011. The only theme I detected was that so many of the games desperately needed player aids. For example, Al Rashid was excellent if you used the player aid from the geek, but almost impossible otherwise. And Ruhrschifffart was even worse.

The hot games room was excellent. More space for games. It has almost 25 different games, and ~40 games total. Plus it wasn't crowded around the tables like last years. And with Rick Thornquist and Jennifer Geske teaching almost perpetually it was easy to learn games. This room was almost full the whole time.

I spent more time teaching games than playing this year. I was daunted by the number of hot games since I only had rules down for many eight games. But, since Steven Sheasby, Mark Swenholt and I have been teaching in the hot games room for years, Jeff locked us in there Tuesday night with Rick Thornquist who helped us polish our rules for Tzolk'in, Myrmes, CO2, and Escape from the Temple. We go to play a few turns of each so we knew how to teach them. (Sadly I never did get to play full games of Tzolk'in or CO2.)

Then Wednesday morning we ran into Jennifer Geske who shared breakfast with us, and then got us back into the hot games room.
We moved some games (last minute removal of Eclipse) and she taught me Niew Amsterdam.

Jeff made sure we were able to teach as many people as possible, so I taught there from opening until about 2PM Wednesday, and Thursday 8:30 - 1PM, plus lots of other times. I probably taught Snowdonia at least 15-20 times, Myrmes 12+ times, and lots of other games: Among the Stars, Niew Amsterdam (very badly - I played this one and I totally broke the victory point rules), Goblins, Palaces of Carrara, Riff Raff, Escape the Curse of the Temple, and probably others. A good year for teaching, even if I did forget a couple of rules.

The hotel was largely good. The restaurant wasn't as overprices as most hotels, and served as a good place for meeting people. I'd expected the downstairs food to be poor and it was actually good enough to get me through the day.

The overall location was the only real problem. Getting out of the Airport to the North was always painful and the attendants at the toll booths were clueless. Plus the hotel, as documented elsewhere, had a very bad record on validating parking, unless you pointedly reminded them. Construction made it hard to get to Grapevine for food so we gave up. There were locations to the south that we tried, but restaurants were more limited than last year.

All the people were friendly as usual. I never had trouble pulling someone into complete a group for a teaching game, or for a game I wanted to play.

My only issue there was the space was so big and so many people, that I found it hard to locate people at times. (It didn't help that my phone had absolutely ZERO connection in the hotel, even in the lobby were you supposedly had free wifi. No phone connection the whole week.)

Thanks to the staff and team geek for a great conventions, and special thanks to Jeff and Kristine Anderson for a great convention!

John Mellby
jmellby@gmail.com
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myles
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I have to agree with most points. Besides easy access in and out at the Westin, I also liked that entry toward the main ballroom passed by most of the smaller game rooms. I think I was oblivious of one entire leg of game rooms until Friday at the Hyatt.

Also, regarding access, despite having a validated ticket, the toll booth crew tried charging me parking anyway. The last day he wanted 80, until I pointed out Hyatt had validated and he "ran" my ticket again. It felt like shennanigans.

I'd almost suggest that at the next con, they parse the main ballroom with all the sliding walls. The sound volume at peak times was unbelievable. I was losing my voice just talking across tables loud enough to be heard. We wouldn't lose much table space, if any, and it would cut the decibles down greatly.

Also the game stampede after the awards ceremony was approaching a dangerous level. I saw a couple of ladies almost fall from the "men" shoving their way in to get games they already had. This needs a more orderly distribution somehow. I liked the idea of giving "first timers" first dibs, like they did a year or so ago.
 
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Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
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Great_Mazinga wrote:
Also the game stampede after the awards ceremony was approaching a dangerous level. [...] This needs a more orderly distribution somehow. I liked the idea of giving "first timers" first dibs, like they did a year or so ago.


Limiting the extra freebies to first-time attendees was the intention, I thought, except someone forgot to mention it. As the con grows, they may need to limit it even more, like "first time attendees whose raffle ticket ends in [roll d10] 4".
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Rich P
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John, I was one of the many people you taught Myrmes to and it was a masterclass of game explanation! Many thanks for the effort you put in as without you and other explainers, the Hot Games room would be much poorer.
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