Sunday, August 16, 2009

Gen-Con 2009

I got to go back to Gen Con this year, and I moved up from the one day of attendance of last year and went over the course of the three days. I created a list of everything I did on This post is a copy of that so each numbered thing is a game I played and/or bought. If you want to see pictures/read more about the games you can go look at that list here.

1. Okko, Era of the Asagiri
I arrived to the con on Thursday, and after spending an hour and half parking/waiting in line, I finally got my badge, and I went to the main exhibitor hall first. The first game I played was this one. This game is basically a "my first miniatures" game, with small squads of combat. The game was fun enough, and I liked that it was customizable.

2. Arcane Legions
Speaking of miniatures, I wondered into Arcane Legions. This is a new game that follows the collectible miniatures game model, with an exception of being able to buy common units on their own. It was simple, and kind of fun, but collectible games miniatures games are a money pit I can say no to.

3. A Touch of Evil: Something Wicked.
Next, I stopped by the Flying Frog both to check out the new expansion to A Touch of Evil. The game developer lead the demo. I really liked the new board that the expansion added, as well as the new cards and ideas like characters getting possessed. If I played a Touch of Evil a bit more regularly, then the expansion would be a must get.

4. Palatinus
So as you will see, really cheap games/good deals are my kryptonite. I am drawn like them like a moth to a flame. I heard several people mention that there were a lot more bargain priced/close out clearance games this year than in previous years. Anyway, Mayfair Games had a whole row of shelves of cheap games. This one was $4, so I figured it would be worth trying

5. Arcana
This is one of the games I knew that I would actively seek out. This game has deck building games like Dominion, but it is much more adversarial because players compete over the cards to add to their decks. After playing several other games, on Friday I would come back to buy this one.

6. Beowulf: The Movie Game
This is another sale game. There was one game publisher that had everything for $5. So I picked this up. I don't really care about Beowulf but the game is made by Reiner Knizia and Abigail likes his games so again I figured it would be worth the risk.

7. Race for the Galaxy
I left the Exhibit Hall and found myself in the Rio Grande room. While there I played this game (which is my absolute favorite) against the Designer. It was a good game, and in the end he beat me by one point. Even though he won, he still signed my copy of the game. Later in the evening I played this game a second time.

8. Dominion
While in the Rio Grande room I saw two people who were clearly trying to figure out how to play the game. They let me play and teach them how to play. It was fun. The two people made a common mistake for first time players in that they got so caught up in building a deck that they forgot to buy enough points. This meant that I won by a good amount.

9. Catan: Seafarers
This gets to Friday morning, and I got lucky that there was an opening in a Giant Seafarers of Catan game. This meant the board was extra big and three dimensional. I did fairly well. I got to 11 point and stalled, because everyone started picking on me (as tends to happen in Catan). This allowed another player to have a big turn and come back for the win.

10. The Island of Doctor Necreaux
This is another game that I really wanted to play. It is a co-operative car game. It was ok, but my biggest problem with the game is that it clearly has several rules issues. In the demo game I played there were two problems that occurred that the rules did not properly address, and the guy running the game had no clue how to resolve it. Going into the Con, this was the game that I thought I was most likely to walk out with but playing it changed that.

11. Battlelore: Heroes Expansion
Next I got to play Battlelore and experience the newest expansion, which addes heroes and an RPG-lite leveling system. The expansion seems kind of cool, but to really get a lot out of it the expansion needs to be played regularly. Sadly, I do not play this game enough to make it worth it, and to me it seemed really expensive at $40.

12. Penny Arcade
I really like Penny Arcade. I read the webcomic every week and I have all of their books. This is a light 2 player card game that simulates a fight between the two comic strip characters. It was really fun, but a tad quick. The humor of the strip comes through in the cards as well. I did not buy it, but this game is going on my wishlist for sure.

13. Adventurers
This was another game that I was hoping to play. Adventurers is a competitive game that borrows a lot from Indiana Jones type ruin raiding. The game was an absolute blast to play, but I have serious doubts about the game would hold up after repeated playings.

14. Vapor's Gambit
Remember, I am drawn to cheap games and this one was a $1 with a coupon. Seriously, how could I pass up a $1. Even if the game is awful, I could probably get a $1 from a yard sale for it.

15. Battle Spirits- Trading Card Game
I played this game because it was open as I was passing by and they were giving away free decks when people played it. The game is a simplistic and overall not good Collectible card game. Fortunately, the whole game lasted less than 10 minutes.

16. Who Would Win

demoed this game, and then instantly bought it because it is going to be PERFECT to use at youth group meetings. It is a debate game where two cards are drawn that determine to random people that will compete in a random category. Each person has to then argue why their person would win. For example in the demo I had to argue why Napoleon would beat Spider Man in hurdles.

17. Arena Assault
This booth was right next to Who Would Win, so I played it as well. This is a simplistic card combat game where each player needs their own fixed deck. It was simple fun, but the cards were ugly and it was overpriced.

18. Chthulhu Rising
I played this simple two player numbers game, and I instantly knew Abigail would really like it. I ended up buying it on Saturday.

19. Zombiegeddon
This game has nothing to do with Zombies and the theme is really forced onto the game. I found out on Saturday that I prefer Hey! That's my fish! much more, as the two games are fairly similar.

20. Universal Fighting System
There was a merchant in the exhibit hall who had old UFS decks for $1. UFS is a collectible Card game that is based on fighting video games. Several of the decks were Soul Calibur characters (my favorite fighting game). However, I know from experience that CCG like games do not go over with Abigail, so I sought out a demo for this game and played it. Turns out I was right, she would hate it.

21. Hidden Conflict
I took the money I did not spend on the decks and got this instead. It was a sale game at the Twilight Creations booth. I had picked it up and looked at it a couple of times on Thursday and Friday before buying it. The game box advertises that is a Customizable, expandable, strategy Tile Game". It had me at Customizable.

22. Small World
I went to the Days of Wonder booth to seek out a game of Small World, and once again I found three people who did not know how to play so I played and taught them. I had Seafaring Tritons at the beginning, and I held onto them a little to long, and that led to me finishing in third.

23. Circus Maximus
My last game for Friday was Star Wars Podracing. A person to the rules from Circus Maximus and created a podracing variant. It was a lot of fun, and despite having a naturally slower podracer I battled for first and second for most of the race. However, three engine stalls in rapid succession meant that I ended up finishing in 7th out of 8.

24. Endeavor
This gets my experience to Saturday I arrived to find someone I know looking for players for this game, so I was up for it I really enjoyed playing this game. Apparently, the night before someone left the game upset because they did not believe there was enough of a military factor in the game. I played this game going all in on military by the end of the game four of my seven buildings were military ones, and I had conquered most of Europe. It worked well for me, because I tied for first.

25. Catan Geographies: Germany
Since my wife and parents LOVE Catan, I figured I should try the newest Catan game. . and it is garbage. Technically it is Catan but all of the fun is gone. The board is obviously fixed. On top of that, the starting locations are fixed and terribly unfair. One person started off in much better building position than me. Technically my starting numbers were better, but that would only be true if the dice followed perfect probability. On top of that the places where settlements can be built is also fixed. The monuments add very little. The people I played with felt the same way about the game, and we actually all conspired to let the front runner win to end the misery quicker.

26. Hey! That's my Fish!
So the people I played the Catan game with gave me their ribbons. Mayfair does this thing where if someone collects all of the resource ribbons they can trade it in for a free thing. I knew that Mayfair would also accept Clay ribbons in 2 for 1 trades with the "bank". So I took my three new clay ribbons and went to the demo area to earn more. I played this quick and fun game to get sheep, and while there traded two of my clay with other people for wheat and wood.

27. Catan Dice Game
I needed an ore, and there was a wait for those games so I suffered through the Catan dice game to get another Clay. However, while playing it one of the people I played with had an idea of using the dice game dice in place of the normal dice in the regular game, and that could have some potential.

28. Detroit-Cleveland Grand Prix.
I didn't realize that along with getting a free Catan map for collecting all the resources I also got a 50% off coupon so I used it to get this game which I have wanted for a while now.

29. Small World
Once again I went seeking out a game to play and once again I found someone looking to learn Small World so I taught him and we played I won a big victory. However, he learned quick because we immediately played a second game (with a third player) and he won this one.

30. Reich of the Dead.
Something I have been interested in doing was playing a miniatures game so I used Gen Con to do just that. I decided to go with a WWII game that pitted Americans versus Nazi Zombies. I played the Zombies, and got crushed but it was fun. . . the game was just about over when the fire alarm went off putting the game to an abrupt end.

Once again, Gen Con was a great experience. I was there for a lot longer than last time, but there was still so much that I did not get to do, which of course just leaves me more excited about going back next year. Until then though, I got several new games to play, which leads to the question: Who wants to play?


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