BoardGameGeek.Con was an amazing convention. I played over forty games, took way too many photos, and had tons of fun.
Here is my total list of games played:
- Red 7
- El Gaucho
- Progress Evolution of Technology (demo)
- City Hall
- Black Fleet
- Ashes (prototype)
- Artemis (simulator)
- Banana Win Lose
- Code 777
- One Night Ultimate Werewolf
- D&D Attack Wing
- Kakerlaken Poker
- Roll For it!
- Phoenix Covenant
- Imperial Settlers
- Dead Man’s Draw
- Going Going Gone!
- Arcadia Quest
- Dead of Winter
- Sheriff of Nottingham
- Delirium (prototype)
- The Game of 49
- Hare and the Tortoise
- D&D Attack Wing
- Kanban (demo)
- Medina (demo)
- Design Town (prototype)
- Tiny Epic Galaxies (prototype)
- Rhino Hero
- Go (demo)
In terms of hot games there were three that stood out: Red 7, Mysterium, and Spyfall. Not only were they the games that everyone was talking about but they were fun. So fun that I played Red 7 six times, Mysterium three times, and Spyfall four times.
What really made BGG.Con so special was the people. I got to meet with eleven of my photography clients. I got to play a game with designer Scott Almes who is extra special because I’ve been hired to shoot more of his games than of any other designer’s. I got to meet a lot of board game media people I had never met in person and I got to see some good friends I’ve not seen since moving to Texas.
So without further ado here is the photodump…
Note: these are a mix of my cell phone pics and real camera pics.
On the way to Dallas I passed this weird statute. I have no idea who it is. The statue is important though because it is halfway between Houston and Dallas. Plus it’s only ten minutes away from Buc-ees…
Buc-ees is world’s largest convience store. Not only do they have coffee, which is a must, but they are well known for having a jerky bar that’s over forty feet long. I ended up spending several hundred dollars buying jerky for people who had asked that I pick them up some.
For those of you who have never been, BGG.Con takes smack dab in the middle of the DFW Airport. You are pretty much trapped in the airport. There are ways to leave but even if you have a car they are a major hassle.
I arrived on Tuesday night (the convention started on Wednesday) and not that many people were around. Luckily I bumped into Rodney Smith of Watch it Played who taught me Qwixx and Red 7. That night I ended up going out for Vietnamese with Rodney as well as Patrick Nickell and Spencer from Crash Games. I also learned that “pho” is actually pronounced “fa” which Patrick really enjoyed rubbing in my face.
I was lucky enough to get my badge a day earlier because I had an exhibitor’s badge. Does this count as a selfie or self portrait?
The only other game I played on Tuesday was El Gaucho. The little herding pen was too cute!
A breakfast buffet was included with our hotel room, but since their omelet station was closed they let me order off the menu. I made use of it almost every day.
The convention was set to open at 10a.m. on Wednesday but people started lining up to get their badges before 7a.m. It was by far the coolest line ever. People had chairs, tables, and just about everyone was gaming. I even saw Rodney teaching Red 7 to people.
Lots of people were in line. I got to see Marty & Tony from Rolling Dice and Taking names as well as Hunter from WeaponsGrade reviews. Both of which kept excellent vlogs of the whole convention and you should check them both out…
Rolling Dice & Taking Names:
Since I had an exhibitor badge I was able to get into the Exhibitor halls early. However, instead of using my powers for evil by buying up all the hot new games, I spent the morning with Ignacy Trzewiczek of Portal Games. You can learn more about that adventure by watching the video above.
We managed to get the Portal Booth set up SECONDS before the doors opened. It was so stressful! On the plus side, it was such a crazy bonding experience that I did get to know Ignancy. He’s a really cool dude and because he was on European time and I get up butt-early we actually ended up gaming every morning while everyone else slept in.
The exhibitor hall was split into two rooms this year. Most of my day Wednesday was spent between walking around it and meeting up with people. I also got to speak with a bunch of cool publishers like the Plaid Hat crew.
I got to do a demo of Panamax and later in the week played a full game. The cool thing about the demo was that it was taught to me by the head of the Panamax fan club, Miss Rhiannon of Spooning Meeples. She did a good job.
I saw lots of people demoing Star Wars Imperial Assault, but once I learned that the AT-AT wasn’t in the demo I opted not to wait in line to play.
Arcane Wonders had a nice presence at the convention and I saw lots of people playing both Mage Wars and Sheriff of Nottingham.
I don’t know what game this is, but it’s creepy.
I don’t know what game this is, but the minis were pretty darn detailed.
I don’t know what game this is, but the minis were SUPER BRIGHT.
I got to play a round of D&D Attack Wing. It was pretty much the same as Star Trek Attack Wing but with a fantasy theme.
I saw a lot of people playing Arcadia Quest from Cool Mini or Not. So much so that I ended playing a game of it in later in the week. I enjoyed it. Plus now I really want to photograph the minis with my light set-up at home.
Between the main halls at BGG.Con they have a bunch of dexterity games set-up. On one of the mornings Ignancy and his wife, Merry, taught me the rules for Crockinole. I ended up playing it multiple times throughout the convention with random people. If I had room and the board weren’t so expensive I’d so totally get one.
I saw several groups playing Dead Panic.
The Witcher demo table was always filled so I never got a chance to try it.
I bumped into Richard of 64 Oz. Games who showed me a 20 sided brail die. It was really cool and something I’d love to shoot at home with the proper lighting and gear.
Kakerlaken Poker was one of those random filler games I got to play several times while waiting for others to finish something else. I lost every time, but thats because people kept ganging up on me!
Code 777 is a super smart cool game. Yet for a highly dyslexic person, the note sheet and mini marker board made it impossible to play. I got destroyed.
I saw a whole slew of people playing Rhino Hero, including Adam from Hakari Games. He had just over filled his belly with Hard Eight (which I’ll explain later) and was struggling with the meat sweats. Really it was an unfair match-up.
I hung out several times with Glenn and Cheryl of Couples vs. Cardboard. We got meals and we played games. However, one of my biggest regrets of the convention is not getting to play a LCG or CCG with them. Part of the problem is that I don’t own many and the ones I do own I don’t know how to play. But they said that the next time I see them they will let me borrow one of their decks so that I can play them on their turf.
Suzanne of Board Game Breakfast fame was like one of the cool kids. I always saw Tony & Marty hanging out with her. In most cases she was laughing evilly while destroying Marty in whatever game they were playing.
When she wasn’t making Marty cry, this is what Suzanne was mostly doing. Of course I was doing the same thing so I can’t really make fun of her for it.
BGG.Con is such a smaller convention (head count was just over 2,600 people) that no matter where you went you constantly saw people you know.
Though I swear Rodney must of cloned himself cause he was EVERYWHERE and always with someone different. In this case it was designer Isaac Vega.
Of course I also saw him palling around with the legendary actor Rich Sommer who’s favorite line was to tell people, “I’m just a gamer like you.” Though in his defense he would say it very sincerely, of course he is an actor so he might have not been meaning it. Either way I’m a big fan because he has backed my Calendar Kickstarter.
Back to Isaac Vega… his next game is Ashes, a two player deck battling game in the same genre as Magic the Gathering or Hearthstone. I got to play a prototype of it. The game didn’t go well. It wasn’t the game itself, it was that the person I was facing off against already knew how to play and he was trying to teach me instead of letting Isaac do it.
Once we got past rules and player personality problems, I really enjoyed. Later in the same day I got to spend more time with Isaac and graphic designer Peter Wocken to gab about the origins of the game, how it has changed since he first created as well as the mythos behind it. It was really cool to chat with him. In fact I’m hoping I can get him to come on my podcast so we can talk about the exact same stuff cause from a design standpoint it was really interesting.
For those of you who don’t know, Unpub is a big program for unpublished games and in addition to a big convention they also do mini-meet ups and have a large convention presence, including a whole area at BGG.Con.
One of the Unpub tables that was always full was Seafall, the new legacy style game from Rob Daviau, which is being published by Plaid Hat Games.
Plaid Hat was all over the Unpub area of the convention cause they were also showing off Spector Ops. I didn’t get to play it, but I did take some photos of the cool painted minis!
Darrell, head of Unpub, was there every day. He was also my roomate so I saw him bunches! He was also showing off his newest prototype Bottom of the Ninth, which I never did get to learn, but people were geeking out about it.
Where Darrell goes so does Chris Kirkman of Dice Hate Me Games. He was there being Mr. Social and helping out with Unpub.
I also got to see Keith Collins a lot. He is a shy, but nice guy and I think I might have played either more games with him or possibly Suzanne.
Nat Levan, designer of New Bedford was a machine! He was constantly demoing it. I think 99.5% of what he played at the whole convention was just New Bedford.
FYI: New Bedford is currently on Kickstarter and needs some love so definitely check it out!
I got to watch a full game of City of Gears, the next “Dice Tower Essentials” game from Arcane Wonders.
This is Jason Levine right before he decided to DESTROY Darrell in City of Gears even though Darrell was in last place and kicking Darrell while he was down didn’t really do anything to help Jason.
I got to play a prototype of a game called Delirium. It was a lying/social game. I played it with Darrell, Chris, Tom Vasel and Scott Morris (Tox of Crits Happen). It was the perfect group to play a social game with. In fact I wish I had gotten a chance to play Spyfall with the same group. Doing so would’ve been epic.
The only problem with Delirium is people kept interrupting us and asking if they could take a selfie with Tom.
Later, on the same day, I got to do the Artemis simulator with Tom, Michael Mendes of Tasty Minstrel, Mark from Boardgame Corner, and some other people I’m not 100% sure who they were. Though they were all very nice.
The simulator was so weird. We each had our own station and were responisble for certain tasks. So for example, Tom was the gunner and it was his job to shoot the other ships. My job was the science officer and I had to scan ships to determine if they were hostile or friendly. If they were hostile I had to find out the frequency of their shields so that Tom could blow them up.
We won our first round on a level three difficulty. Then people rotated. We switched to level five, the hardest difficulty, and things went to hell.
I ended up having to do the helm, which had HORRIBLE controls. Tom became the communications officer and spent the whole time insulting the other ships with things like, “Your mother is a soccer ball!” Then just for kicks he would switch on the red alert alarm, startling us and making us jump out of our seats.
As cheesy as it was, I honestly had a blast doing the simulator and if anyone has a chance to try it out they should.
Marty & Tony brought Moon Pies for all of their friends. I didn’t see anyone as excited about getting one as Dan King the GameboyGeek was!
The Game of 49 was a big sleeper hit for a lot of people. I had previously met the designer, Mark Corsey, at Unpub almost a year ago so it was really cool to see the final published version. I’ve met a lost of desingers in the past few years and he ranks up there with Mike Fitzgerald in terms of niceness.
Mysterium was probably the hottest game of the convention. It was a wierd mash-up of Clue and Dixit and tons of fun. A lot of people are going to really enjoy it when it releases state side next year.
Spyfall was a dirty evil game.
It has a deck of cards, which are dealt out, and each card either says the the name of a location or it says “Spy.” Players then take turns going around the table asking questions. For example, someone might look at me and say “Scott, what kind of clothing did you wear here today?” If I was the spy and didn’t know what our location was I might say something vague like “Not my finest.” Or if I wasn’t a spy and we were at a car autobody shop I might say, “Something I don’t mind getting dirty.” The whole point of the game is for the spy to figure out the location and for everyone else to figure out who the spy is.
The game was an awesome group game. The best was Keith Collins, who is a horrible liar. Plus the pressure kept getting to him so even when he wasn’t the spy we all kept thinking he was the spy. Eventually he learned how to tone himself down and ended up winning a game. Though my favorite moment was when he was the spy and I asked him “What color are your clothes?” He said, “black” without hesitation, which didn’t make sense cause we were on a space station so we knew right away that he was the spy.
Another lying game I enjoyed a lot was Sheriff of Nottingham. I actually have a review copy and as soon as I get caught up on client work I’m going to get it to the table and shoot it!
So many small cool little components. I MUST get Hare and the Tortiose so that I can take a real photo of it.
I didn’t play concept, but I watched several rounds. In many ways it reminded me of Mysterium.
Oh my gosh! I saw the special anniversary edition of Ticket to Ride. It looks amaze-balls. It’s another game that I must have just so I can photograph it!
I got to play Phoenix Covenant, a tactical card battle game. I got my butt kicked, but am interested in trying it out again. I know they recently funded on kickstarter so I have to make a mental note to look it up again in a few months.
The Medina reprint from Stronghold Games was fun and blocky.
Kanban was just… wow. The demo was basically a rules lesson. We didn’t really get to play it and I’m interested in seeing what a full game is like.
Artisan Dice had a booth again this year. Their hand crafted dice look amazing.
The Broken Token, a company that makes box inserts, was one of the most popular booths at the convention.
I got to attend and be on The Dice Tower Live Show
The two highlights had to have been Jason singing…
…and Tony & Marty throwing Moon Pies at the audience!
Seriously check out those two moments in the video and I promise you’ll laugh.
This year I was recruited by the Players of Pain, a secret team of evil battle top warriors. We met in private and the more expierenced players coached the rest of us on how to win as well as some neat techniques. Then we all put on crazy costumes and went to compete in the Battle Tops Tournament.
See that dorky guy in the foreground… that’s not me. That’s Rich Sommer!
My top was Ornery Ollie. I got second in my first match, which put me into the loosing bracket. I won the first round of the losers bracket and proceeded to the loser finals.
From my very first match I didn’t speak except when I had to. And instead of talking in a throat rattling macho voice I instead decided that the only word I would use is “Pancake.”
My thought was that I didn’t want to hurt my throat by yelling or speaking all crazy-like. Plus I figured if “I am groot” worked for Guardians of the Galaxy then “Pancake” might work for Battle Tops.
This is me. That’s Ignancy in the background.
In the losers finals I was the underdog and because of my whole “pancake” thing I became a crowd favorite and everyone was chanting “Pancake pancake pancake!” It was so sureal.
I ended up losing, but the crowd was so upset booing that the event organizers ended up declaring me the fan favorite and gave me $150 Geek Gold. Of course I still don’t know what Geek Gold is. The cards are still in my wallet.
The go-to place for food ended up being a BBQ restaurant outside of the airport called Hard Eight. Anyone that was anyone ended up being there and no matter who you went with you ended up seeing a bunch of other people you knew. I was less wow-ed by it because there are some equally nice BBQ places here in Houston. Plus for some reason the ribs were extra fatty and had little bones in them. However the BRISKET was the best BRISKET I’ve ever had.
All in all, BGG.Con was a terrific convention. It was board game focused. There were tons of cool people and after attending twice I can still say it’s the best organized convention I’ve ever seen. The volunteers and staff running the show were on their A-Game all week. I can’t wait till next year!