I spent four days in Irving, Texas playing board games with people from all over the place. It was a fabulous good time. With a game library of over 1000 games, not including those brought by the attendees, there were orders of magnitude more options than time allowed.
My photos are on flickr, and are mostly of games.
My only regret is not playing a game of Dune, and out of print game. They had an unpunched version of it in the library. A $100-$200 value in the current market. The game is going to be re-released in a year or two but without the Dune theme.
The hottest game of the convention was Agricola, which isn’t even available yet. There was one English copy and a few German ones with the cards in sleeves and printed translations accompanying them.
There were raffle drawing giveaway items each day with fabulous lists of prizes. And every attendee received a free game of our choice (in the pile) in addition to the two small games in the swag bag.
Everyone was also given five cards with special 5 jewels and each with special information or special abilities. After three days you could turn five cards in. There were five winners in the five categories. Piratenhändler was the name. We didn’t attempt it, but shared and “sold” ours with others. It was very competitive – good to have passed it by.
There were also five or so tournaments of various games, including Texas Hold ’em. I passed on all. We did participate in the game show like Match Game. We were in first place at the first break. TG, Paul, Miguel, and I were Team Awesome!!!!1 but we fell behind by the end.
So, for my own edification, here is the list of games played. Most were only played once, so that’s all my impressions are based on.
Army of Frogs – An abstract hexagon tile laying and moving game with a cute frog theme and nice bakelite pieces.
Colosseum – Having learned this game just the week before I jumped in to teaching this game to three guys from Kansas.
Web of Power – A very thinly veiled math graph abstract game, laying under a medieval theme.
Darjeeling – I was interested in this game before the convention. It has a very odd collection of some great mechanics and unfortunately awkward pacing.
Tumblin’ Dice – A fun, interlude bar-like game that would be ideal in any game room!
Piratenbillard – A very interesting and tricky whacking of balls across a grid game. I’d like to spend more time trying.
Amyitis – A fairly good, typically Euro game.
Container – Apparently they had some issues with their first run of game pieces, but the game is pretty cool looking and interestingly complex.
No Thanks! – A simple, and short card game – trying not to take high cards.
Notre Dame – Currently ranked #46 (out of 10s of 1000s) on BGG. It was on our list, it was a great game. And TG bought it.
Shark – I only got about half of the play of this game in with Oliver from Calgary. It’s a 20 year old game, but I’d like to play again. A bidding and building game. More than two would definitely be more cut-throat.
Puzzle Hunt – Twenty thought/word puzzles for 4-person teams to figure out. Dan and Amy from Washington got blind-paired with us. They were good sports, because they were quite good, and we weren’t so much. We finished 13 in two hours. One team got them all. This was fun, despite not being good at it.
Caribbean – This game was fairly light, and pirate themed. The pieces were poorly constructed, and the competition was quite randon. The bidding mechanism was interesting, and it was short.
Yspahan – TG hates dice and camels in games. That pretty much defines this game, and it may have been her favorite of the weekend. She bought it.
La Citta – A heavier and longer game city-building, resource inhibited, culture competing game. It wasn’t un-fun, but did seem to drag. Could have been my or the group’s energy.
Circus Flohcati – A very light card game.
Architekton – A square tile laying two-player. Looks deceptively similar to Carcassonne but plays very differently. I wouldn’t mind playing it again.
Kingsburg – The artwork makes it seem light. It could definitely be managed by younger players, but it’s a medium weight game. Not overly competitive and has a very interesting dice mechanism. Don’t use the yellow dice, Robert swears they’re weighted for low numbers.
Fangfrisch (Cash-A-Catch) – Peter was quick to correct us when we used “bucks” for this Euro-based German card game trying to bid on fish and get them to marked without them spoiling. I’m not a fan of speed-related bell-ringing, so likely wouldn’t want this one.
1000 Blank White Cards – A free form make-it-as-you-play-it game. Can be as good (or not) as the group you’re with. At a convention it’s mostly self regulating because people that aren’t interested have 100s of other things to do. It’s free, and anyone can play it.
That’s all the ones I managed to play. I also cam home with several games I haven’t played.
Die Macher – A classic German election game. I’ve been wanting to play it for a long time. Tricia picked the good ticked for door prize and got this one for me (I got her a bag of Meeple in return). Also game entry #1 on BGG (ranked #11).
Reef Encounter – I’ve heard good things about it, and heard more this weekend. Saw it a few times being played.
Carcassonne: Abbey & Mayor – The 5th major expansion to the tile-laying Carcassonne. I preordered it from Rio Grande Games. Iaven’t played it yet, but it looks to have some really neat mechanisms.
And there were the Golden Geek Awards voted for and announced at the convention.