Now that the dust has settled, I thought now would be a wonderful time to talk about BoardGameGeek.Con!
The convention was great. I’d go as far as saying BGG.Con should be a must try for anyone who loves gaming conventions. In many ways it felt like a more personal version of Origins, but instead of all the RPG’ers, LARP’ers, CCG’ers, and such, BGG.Con was just about a whole bunch of people playing boardgames.
The most notably thing about the convention is how well it was run. It was only my third gaming convention, but because of my background in comics I’ve been to over forty convention total and BGG.Con was smooth. The staff was passionate about doing their job and really cared about doing it right. The only complaint I heard all week was that on opening day the registration line was long. Whoopty-do that’s the most minuscule kind of problem that you could have at a major event.
So without further adu lets get to the photo dump…
The first game I saw played was Whacky Whit a weird boardgame clone of Pac Man. I got to play it later during the convention and it was deceptively hard. Near the end game point it became a true brain burner trying to out-smart your opponent and hoping that the dice landed in your favor. I’d never recommend anyone buying it since it cost over $300, but if you ever get a chance to play it you should!
Bang! The Dice game was pretty rad. I’ve only ever played the card game on iOS and this blew the game out of the water. For those of you who haven’t played, it’s basically King of Tokyo in terms of gameplay but with a strong social element. We played multiple rounds and it’s totally on my “to buy” list, specially since it’s pretty darn cheap.
Over the past year I’ve heard a lot of people mention HeroScape, but because it’s a lost relic from before my time I really never knew what it was or what it looked like so it was neat to see a massive game set-up. One day, I hope to make friends with someone who has the game just so I can play it once.
We got to checkout the new expansion for the DC Deckbuilder. Honestly if you liked the base game you’ll like this. If you hated the base game then you’ll hate this.
One of the best things I played at BGG.Con was the Pathfinder the Adventure Card Game with its designer Mike Selinker. I already owned a copy of the game so it was a true geek moment to play with some of the adventure packs that weren’t even released yet. Plus I didn’t get to play it alone! My roommates, Compounded’s Darrell Louder & Dice Hate Me’s Chris Kirkman got in on the fun which just upped the anti cause we got to goof off and face monsters together.
I think Chris and Darrell’s favorite game of the con was Eldritch Horror. They were supposed to have copies for sale but its release was pushed back a week so they couldn’t buy it. However we did all demo the game and since attending the convention we all three have bought a copy.
By far my favorite game of the convention was Gravwell, but I now own a copy and I have a full blog post coming about it in the near future so I’ll keep this short by saying it’s AWESOME.
Patch History was a different experience all together. I met up with Eric Summerer because we had just wrapped working on the audiobook for “Finish The Script!”…speaking of which, if you aren’t already a member of Audible.com then you can sign up for a free 1 month trial and get the book for free!
Anyway, Eric picked Patchistory and it was a loooong game. It took us three hours to get through a four player match. Part of the problem is that the rules are poorly written and poorly translated. I think if we all knew what we were doing it would’ve only been a one and half hour to two hour game.
The game was pretty darn cool. You take square cards that are divided into quadrants and patch them onto your civilization. You can put them on top and put them under so it gives you a lot of options on how you can build your engine. There are also a bunch of different resources to keep track of so it’s a pretty heavy game.
I game in dirt last but I blame the iconography. For some reason with my dyslexia I have a hard time learning and memorizing icons without reading explanations of what each means. So it took me about a third of the game before I finally picked up on what was going on, but by that point I had already messed up so much that there was no chance for me to come back for a victory.
Once I realized that I had no chance in winning, I decided that I wanted to have fun and test the system. I built up my armies and started declaring war on the other players, just so we could see what the mechanics were like and how that was handled. One of the other guys we were playing with snapped at me when I attacked him. He didn’t understand why I was attacking him and how could I do such a thing and didn’t I know that he was in last place so it didn’t do me any good and blah blah blah! When the game ended and it was revealed that I had thirty points less than him and almost 100 points less than Eric he got really apologetic. But seriously I thought at one point he was going to throw the game to the ground or try to hit me. He was that worked up!
During the convention, the 50th Anniversary Special of Doctor Who aired world wide and in honor of it they projected the episode onto a screen right in the middle of the convention hallway.
Artisan Dice. ‘Nuff Said.
I think Krosmaster Arena was the hottest game at BGG.Con. I saw more people carrying it and playing it than anything else.
I’ve wanted to give it a try since I first saw it at Origins but I just haven’t had a chance yet and with its huge price tag for the base set and the nearly infinite amount of expanded characters I just can’t justify buying it until I get a chance to play.
I saw it. It exists in the real world!
Holy crap the most intense game I’ve played all year has to be Space Cadets Dice Duel from Stronghold Games. It’s stressful, gets your heart pumping and is total chaos. Yet as chaotic as it is, the design is clean and you really have to work as a team to win. Geoff Engelstein really did an amazing job designing such a smooth real time game.
On the last night of the convention we hit up the launch party for Scott Nicholson’s Going Going Gone! I got to play the giant sized version and overall it was a blast. The game played fantastic in a crowd and it might be the best party game that’s come out all year.
Late night Saturday happened at the Board With Life party. It seems EVERYONE who was everyone was there. It was pretty interesting.
I got to meet designer Eric Lang when he did his round table Q&A at the Unpub event. What was shocking is how smart Lang is. The man knows his game design and talks about it in ways I’ve never heard other people talk about it. He is a true professional and seeing the way he attacks a game’s design is amazing. It’s not out yet but keep an eye on the Unpub website for a write-up of the Q&A because it will be a must read.
The hotel where BGG.Con takes place is in the middle of the airport and even if you have a car it’s not easy to leave. That meant just about everyone stayed inside the hotel for like five days straight. On the plus side, the food at the hotel wasn’t that bad.
We did manage to get off campus one night and when we did we hit up Hard 8, an epic BBQ joint. Like all the other BBQ places I’ve seen in Texas you order your food by the pound at a counter and then simply seat yourself. The food was terrific and one of the best barbecue joints I’ve eaten at since moving to Texas.
BGG.Con some how managed to be the convention of prototypes. Almost half of what I got to play were prototypes. In the photo above is Dead of Winter, which I already talked about here. Spoilers: I loved it!
I also played two games of Round Trip from designer David Short. It’s an airport themed game where you are trying to get people onto their flights while maneuvering through a hectic airport. It was a lot of fun and I think several publishers were already interested in it.
I had a lot of fun playing Double Impact, a new game from Chris Kirkman. It’s a super hero themed card and worker placement game that is all about doing combos. Seriously, the combos were epic and the best part of the game!
I really enjoyed Scoville from designer Ed Mariott, which should be popping up soon on Kickstarter from Tasty Minstrel Games. I’ll have a full blog post about it in the near future.
I got to put in two games of New Bedford, a town building whaling game designed by Nathaniel Levan. It’s light and fun and plays like a streamlined version of Le Harve. I don’t think any publisher has signed it yet, but it’s so good that I expect it to be scooped up pretty darn quick.
One of the best prototypes I got to play was the Radioactive Expansion for Compounded! There are now radioactive elements in the game and when they are drawn from the draw bag, bad things happen! It offered a neat change-up to the already awesome game.
Pay Dirt from designer Tory Niemann and soon to be published by Crash Game was both fun and interesting. I got my butt handed to me in it. I just couldn’t manage to get my engine in place to score points and ended up loosing by a chunk. The mechanics and game were really cool and I’m excited to see what the finished art and graphic design look like.
On the last day of the convention the weather started to shift and everyone started panicking about a horrible snow storm. A mini-storm came about a week later, but it was nothing compared to what’s going on across the country right now. Though because of the potential storm, many flights were canceled and a bunch of people ended up trapped at BGG.Con with no way to escape.
All in all the trip to Dallas was pretty awesome and BGG.Con was an amazing convention. Without a doubt I will be attending again next year.