Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Category: Conventions (Page 1 of 6)

Gen Con 50 Recap Day 4

See Recap Day 1 or Recap Day 2 or Recap Day 3

The last day of the Con was here and my big Loopin’ Chewie Tournament was in the morning.  I say “big” because it had apparently sold out all 36 slots.  Last year I had four people show up so this was going to be interesting.

I only brought 6 games of Loopin’ Chewie so I’d have to run the event in two heats.  Maybe next year I’ll run them in separate event heats like X-wing does so that no one has to feel like they are waiting.

I still wasn’t sure what to expect with a sold out event of this size as it was a Sunday and a cheap event so a lot of people might just ditch anyway.  But nope. I had most everyone show up and those seats that were empty quickly filled up with friends of the other participants.  The main reason for the sell out? X-wing.  A group of X-wing tournament players had seen the event listing and all wanted to join in.  Apparently this group had started to play Loopin’ Chewie at some of the bigger X-wing tournament events around the country and found that it was a great way to blow off steam and de-stress during the long tournament runs.

It was a great group of gamers, from young kids who love the game, to a family that came from German where Loopin’ Louie is almost a national past time, and of course the X-wing tournament players.

I can’t thank the participants enough for being great sports and really getting into the game.  I had some diabolical setups for the participants as we ran two main heats of the normal game. To make sure the game didn’t just end quickly for anyone in the first round, we used the “standard” tournament rules (as I understand them) from Alan Moon’s Gathering of Friends event (which used to feature standard Loopin’ Louie tournaments and maybe still does).

In essence, you will play multiple rounds of Loopin’ Chewie where the goal is to be the last player left with a Storm Trooper token in their player zone.  Each time you win one of these mini-rounds, you start the game again but start with one less token.  All players keep playing mini-rounds until one player wins the game starting with only one token.  That player is the winner of the round and will move on to Round 2 of the tournament.

Round 2 ran the same way with the 12 qualifiers from the two round 1 heats playing again.  This round ran in the same fashion, be the player to win the game with only one token at the start.

At the end of Round 2, we had four semi-finalist.  Now I started to make things interesting.  Each of these finalists would pair off for Round 3 and now have two games of Loopin’ Chewie running simultaneously.  The rules revert back to the simpler “last man standing” to keep things moving.

At the end of the Semis, we had two players remaining. For this final round, I upped the ante one more time to really determine the Loopin’ Chewie Champion: 3 games running simultaneously.  This set up had the two “book end” games running just like in the semi-final round but added a third center game that used a piece from the special 6 player adapter mod created by Robert McFadden.  Again, the round was just “last man standing” and it created a pretty epic finale with the winner coming down the last token for each player.

It was a great event and a lot of fun and I can’t wait to run it again next year.

Sunday is usually the lightest day for me but this year it seemed pretty busy with the tournament in the morning and an afternoon event.  In between, I was able to check out a few last things in the exhibition hall.

This pimped out version of the recently Kickstarted Fabled Realms was on display but I didn’t have time to play it.

I was really happy to see oversized Magic: the Gathering back at the Con.  I hadn’t seen this since my very first Gen Con back in 2007.

The Matagot booth was always popular, especially at the Meeple Circus demo tables.  I didn’t get a chance to play but was able to watch enough of a game to see that I was definitely interested in picking it up.  At its heart, it’s a timed dexterity game where you are trying to stack your meeple pieces in certain positions to score points.

Finally, I made it over to my afternoon event, a full game demo of Rayguns and Rocketships.

This is a nice tactical miniatures board game which plays like an updated four player Broadsides and Boarding Parties.  You crew a ship and have scenario goals to earn victory points.  Once one player reaches a certain victory point amount, the game finishes out the round and the highest score wins.

You have two tactical boards, one is the space board that has each player’s starship which can shoot each other to damage their tactical ship board.  The ship board contains your crew and must be moved about and interacted with to move your ship and fire guns. You can also be boarded and attacked directly.  The game has a lot of freedom to it and was very swashbucklery.  I wouldn’t mind porting a lot of the rules over to my copy of Broadsides and Boarding Parties as this really is a great system for that classic game.  The game itself is also well made and fun enough to pick up on its own as well.

So that concludes my Gen Con 50 experience.  It was a great convention and easily one of the top 3 in my eleven years going.  It’s sad that the popularity has outgrown it’s venue and our success at this convention will be up to the housing lottery but maybe we’ll find a more consistent way to attend in the future.

I came home with more swag than usual as I picked up several promo sets like the Sparky Super Dog promo for the upcoming Flick ’em Up: Dead of Winter, Adrenaline and Santorini Dice Tower promo cards, out of print Evolution promos and two event promos, one for Rayguns and Rocketships and the other for A Song of Ice and Fire minis game. I talked to the guys at Win Go Games about what it takes to publish and they gave me a sample box filled with a lot of their production samples.  Then there is the Flip Ships game and miniature portal terrain I picked up.

Lastly I picked my Gen Con 50 dice and dice bag.  The one shown above is the oversized edition (followed by the last ten years of the standard ones) but I also picked up the standard sized one for this year and another “commemorative set” as a nice bookend to my 2007-2017 Gen Con attendance.

Gen Con 50 Recap Day 3

See Recap Day 1 or Recap Day 2

Just like Friday, my friend and I cleared Saturday morning to run over to the Mythic Games booth and try out the other scenario.  This scenario is supposed to show the games non-fantasy options and be less narrative and focused more on strategy.

In this scenario, the English have secured a cargo of goods and gold and are transporting it back to the safety of their village.  The French have caught them in the open and are looking to destroy the English or prevent them from getting any of the cargo back to the village.  Just like in the Werewolf scenario, this game will last six rounds.

A couple of new units were introduced in this scenario as well as some tactical game options.  My English group was comprised of archers and mounted archers with a Man-at-Arms group waiting for me at the village.  I could also raise archer stakes to help block movement and give me a little defense bonus if thing get into melee. The French was mainly comprised of a bunch of knights on horseback and some Man-at-arms units.

This scenario did not play out as great as the Werewolf scenario as I decided to quickly make a bunch of archer stakes around my forces to block off the incoming knights.  I focused mainly on the border to my North as I thought the knights to my West would take too long to get to me.  I also was able to pick up a Priest figure that was in the open near the town and move one of my cargo wagons closer to home.  I don’t automatically win if I get to town as I have to hold it there until the end of the sixth round but I figured I might as well get going.

After my turn I was thinking I had this game in the bag. My opponent was wondering the same thing and thought this was maybe a little weighted too much in favor of the English.  He plugged along anyway and started with his knights on my left.

Neither of us really had a good feel for how the pacing of the game works or the power of certain units but my friend started pushing through with his knights and crossed over to me quickly.  I failed to completely surround my rear flank with archer stakes and those knights made me pay dearly for that error.

The knights came about the bottom side of my rear and completely wiped out my archers in that space, then freely moved in and repeated that process until they were out of action cubes.  Unfortunately, this round gave us a ton of action cubes and those French tore through my entire caravan, killing absolutely every unit I had on the board (or knocking them out to reinforce later) except my lone Man-at-Arms and newly acquired Priest.

We were both shocked at the effectiveness of those knights.  I would say that maybe it was dice luck but my units don’t have much defense and the French knights rolled a ton of attack dice.  The end result was basically game over in one turn.  We had came all this way so we decided to play it out and the French quickly took my remaining units in the next turn.   Realistically, that is probably how this battle should go if a group of knights are able to break through an archer line but it was pretty crazy to see it happen so easily in a game.  I did make a pretty huge error and would not repeat that mistake but we weren’t able to redo the game in this setting to see if that was the main issue with making this scenario so swingy.

We did stick around to ask the demo giver if that was a pretty typical game or if he’d seen anyone lose that fast.  He gave us probably an even more disturbing answer in that “no” it was not the fastest game he’s seen and in fact, the English side tends to win quickly.  He went on to say that he’s seen games end on the first turn without the French even getting a chance to play as the English archers go first and if the action cubes are decent for the round and you get some good rolls, you can remove most of the knight units and the French won’t have anything to attack you with.

I’m really glad to have seen this potential “ugly” side of the game as I was really excited about it but now I feel like I have a fuller picture of the game’s potential.  Even though that particular scenario feels unbalanced or least extremely unforgiving, I think it shows that the game will be dependent on the strength of the scenarios.  It also looks like you can set up your own non-narrative clashes pretty easily and totally remove the unbalanced set up but making mirror matches or maybe even a “grab any 8 units” Age of Sigmar style game set up.  Archers vs Knights have a very rock, paper, scissor feel in that they kill each other in different ways so in a symmetrical game set up (for the win condition), the need for combined arms sounds necessary and may prevent a situation where taking all of one unit outclasses other build options.  Or worse-case scenario, the narrative scenarios are just better and you only consider the game in that regard.  Either way, I’m still very much excited for the game and can’t wait for it to hit Kickstarter to see all the other game options the system has available.

Saturday was pretty open for me so I was able to check our more of the dealer hall and the next place I stopped was at Fantasy Flight’s booth to see their new Star Wars: Legion game.  Legion is a new 32mm tabletop miniatures game and looked fantastic.

As usual, FFG had some amazing board set ups and it made the game look fantastic.  The game is a squad based miniatures game that is scenario dependent and flexible in game size.  The game takes place in roughly the same Star Wars timeline as their X-wing and Armada games but with a bit more emphasis on the original trilogy for the first core set.

A lot of the typical troops are in the core set with Storm Troopers and Rebel Troopers.  You also have an AT-RT for the Rebels and Speeder Bikes for the Empire.  Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker heroes round out the set.

The heroes act as your commander and set up an interesting gameplay element.  Like Armada, games take place over six rounds.  Each round players will play a command card to determine initiative.  These command cards come in two types, a generic command card that is available to everyone when building your deck and your commander specific command cards which are unique and offer interesting extra options when played.  The command card designates not only initiative but how many units you can specifically activate during the round, usually with faster initiative cards giving you less unit activations.

After specifying your specific unit activations based on the command card played, you take the rest of your activation tokens (specific to each unit you have in play) and they go into a bag to be randomly drawn during the game, simulating a fog of war effect.  Games seem to play in about the same time scale as Armada and other large force minis games but it looks great and I can’t wait to see where the game goes.

Wandering around some more, I sat down and played a shortened version of Z-Man’s new Valletta.  It’s an interesting territory control game/deck builder.  As much as I liked Dominion, I’m really glad designers are looking at the deck building system and applying it to a not-strictly deck builder archetype.  Clank! is a great example of that and Valletta seems to straddle the line very well. It is definitely more deck-buildery than Clank! but it was a fun game.  I lost horribly.

This curious set piece mountain-climbing game, Mountaineers caught my eye.  It was an interesting 3D board that rotates during the round and seemed a bit involved with picking your the routes of your team and potentially sabotaging others.  The art is a little off to me and needs a bit more polish but the game itself seemed interesting.

If you could stand the half-naked dude demo giver, the Arena Rex booth had a great setup of their gladiatorial combat game.

Leder Games had their Vast miniatures up for display and fully painted.  They look great and it’ll be nice to have them on the board when they arrive (sounds like that won’t happen until early 2018 though).  I also sat down to talk with the designer as they had their sister version of the Vast game that takes place in a huge mansion.  It sounded like the new roles in that game will be available to swap in and out of the Crystal Cavern game so that can be an interesting option.

Pretzel Games had an oversized copy of their new Flick ’em Up: Dead of Winter.  I ended up pre-ordering this before the convention so I didn’t really stay very long.  I saw that they were also selling an oversized copy of Flick ’em Up.  I’m not sure what I’d do with an oversized copy of the game except run events at a Conventions.  I do like oversized versions of games and want to build my own but something about this game just doesn’t do it.  I think I may be a little concerned because I like the expansions as well and those aren’t available.  It’s a Catch 22 since they likely won’t make the large-sized expansions unless the large base game sells but I wouldn’t want to buy in unless the expansions were guaranteed as well.

After walking the dealer hall, it was time for my last event of the day.  This year I decided to take a painting seminar.  Since I’ve been painting up my black and white Walking Dead game, I wanted to try out a technique that I’ll need to use for these miniatures: painting non-metallic metals.  This is basically a technique of using non-metallic paint to simulate metallic reflections. The technique is pretty hard but I was hoping this class would get me started.

In looking for some images to show as an example, I stumbled this great blog post from Razza Mini Painting, showing off the technique:

image from Razza Mini Painting

Pretty incredible technique when done well. Unfortunately, I have a long way to go.

I was hoping the teacher would start on something simple like a weapon or just stay with the helmet but he wanted to touch on the different aspects of the mini like the scale skirt vs the helmet vs the breast plate.  In the end we had to rush because he overreached on his time allowance.  I was able to learn a bit (mainly that the technique is damned tough to pull off) so it wasn’t a total waste.  Ironically, I learned more sitting down and talking to one of the Privateer Press painters in the exhibition hall- they have a booth set up just outside their exhibit area dedicated to a staff painter that will be painting a model while fielding questions to whoever is sitting nearby.  I likely learned better in that environment because the class I took was a bit more advanced for my actual skillset and there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to ask basic questions.

We ended up skipping the BGG Board Game room Saturday night and just hung out until we crashed.  I had a little bit of work to do to prepare for my morning tournament event so it was a pretty chill evening.

Gen Con 50 Recap Day 2

As I said in my Day 1 report, seeing the Time of Legends: Joan of Arc display case had me ditching events to check it out in the dealer hall.   My friend and I lined up at the appropriate entrance and bee-lined to the Mythic Games booth to sit down for a demo as soon as the hall opened.

This game isn’t a full tabletop minis game but it really tries to blur the line between board game and miniatures game. The design immerses you in the setting by adding physical terrain pieces instead of cardboard templates or drawn in graphics.  The miniatures themselves help limit the need for any text or rules on the actual play surface as every thing it taken care of on stat cards set off to the side.

The system is supposedly set up to handle full-on tactical combat scenarios where the goal is mainly combat focused, as well as combat light or even no combat “investigation” scenarios that will play more like a deduction board game.  This second type of game wasn’t really explained in much detail and no purely deductive scenario was available so I’m not sure how that will really work.

Instead, they had a hybrid scenario that combined the combat elements with the investigation style mechanics.  This particular scenario centered around a werewolf hiding in the village and the local Lord called in to help deal with the issue.  All the scenarios in Joan of Arc are rich in historical mythology of the era and this scenario was no exception. The rules will talk about an actual legend from the time period that the particular scenario is dealing with this one featuring a village overrun by wolves and stolen church artifacts.  The priest in the village asked for the Lord of the area to help and so we have one side playing the French Lord hero coming into the village with the priest.

The other player is playing the werewolf.  The wolf is hidden as one of the villagers, secretly chosen at the beginning of the game. The wolf player needs to survive 6 rounds and the French player needs to discover the werewolf and kill him.

The game is played in game rounds, each player taking their entire turn before the other player takes their turn.  Turns are given a set number actions depending on the unique card that is revealed at the start of the round. These actions are then allocated as the player sees fit until they are either done and want to save actions for later or they have no more actions to spend.  The actions available vary per scenario but basic actions are moving and interacting (or attacking).

What struck me as interesting in this game were the varied action options.  In this scenario, I could ride in with my hero and priest and talk to a witch living in a nearby glade (on the map). Talking with her was done through a randomly drawn card by the opposing player. That player read the two discussion options I had and then, after I chose which path to take, told me the result.

Later, I had the chance to interrogate the villagers, one of whom is the werewolf.  If my knight is doing the interrogation, he rolls a die and a positive result means the other player must answer my question truthfully (yes or no questions only). If the result fails, they can lie or ignore me.  If I want to be ruthless, I can just start cutting down the villagers but this is risky in that each villager I kill that isn’t the werewolf burns an entire turn, accelerating the ending and my loss.  I must confess, I grew frustrated with these stupid peasants and their lies (couldn’t roll a success to save my life) so I did chop one innocent down. It didn’t bring the others in line…

The priest, however, can ask villagers questions but they can’t lie (no die roll).  These questions are always yes or no answers (no “who is the werewolf” instant win questions).  Finally, I asked the right question and the werewolf was revealed. The options in this game expand ever more as the buildings aren’t just pretty terrain, you can go inside them (via a cut out template depicting the interior) and gain clues or items or more. The werewolf turned out to be a villager that had made its way into a secret crypt in the church and was busy praying to it’s dark God.

I surrounded the church and fought my way in, past the werewolf’s wolf pack guards and cornered the beast in the crypt.  With one turn remaining, I was able to score the killing blow on the last die roll to win the game.  It created a very epic story and my friend and I enjoyed the game so much, we cleared Saturday morning to race over and play the other scenario.

While I was standing around chatting with the designers, another of the werewolf scenarios was wrapping up and ended in equally epic style with a last round, last die roll werewolf kill. Bodes well for game balance, at least for new players.  The game comes to Kickstarter October 10th and I will definitely be backing this excellent game.

Having wrapped up what will end up being the best new game at the Con, I walked around the Mythic Games booth to see the Monolith Games side as they had another game I was interested, their new Batman game.

They had a great looking display and with the game “engine” based on their Conan game, I thought it might be pretty interesting. I checked out the models in the display case and they all looked great.

Probably having nothing to do with the great diorama they set up.

Then something struck me.  That diorama looked great and really set the tone for the game I’d really like to play.  But when I looked over at the demo table…

Hmm… I want to play the scene that is going on in that display case, not the drab 2D map with board-gamey lines all over it.  Then it hit me, I do play the game in the case with Knight Models’ Batman Miniature Game.  With this (obvious) epiphany, I moved on without even trying a demo.

Having ditched my only event, for the day, I had plenty of time to wander. So I went searching for some industry friends and checked out some other interesting dealer hall items.

Pandemic Legacy Season 2 had a preview demo going on but I avoided it to not witness any spoilers.

Santorini had a great giant version of the game set up for play.

The event hall had a massive 54 mm fantasy pirate game going on with this awesome 3D ship detailing multiple levels.

I jumped upstairs to see if CGE had anything to show for the new Adrenaline Expansion but all they had was this oversized mock up model of the 6th player pawn.

Spin Master Games is making a nice version of Hnefatafl.  Talking with the production team onsite, I learned they are also making a realistically priced version of Kubb.  I’m really interested to see where this goes.

I caught none other than Lord Snow playing the new Game of Throne themed Catan.  He’s playing red, smart man.

Having exhausted the afternoon in the dealer hall and environs, it was time for me to get to work.  I decided to run a few events of my own again this year, starting with Pitchcar in a “death race” variant I made up.

I’ll do a write up about these custom pieces later but this event featured my new 3D cut car discs.  These were created in CAD and then CNC’d on existing crokinole discs.  Some easy painting later and my complete set of eight cars were ready for this premiere event.

The group loved it and the rules variant held up very well.  I even ended up overselling the event because someone really wanted to join in the game.  It was great fun and had a ton of lead changes and disc flicking shenanigans. After Pitchcar, I went straight into 4 hours of Catacombs games.

These events were also sold out and filled with a lot of fun gamers ready to delve into the flick-filled dungeon.  A couple of surprises were in store for the players as I had some early promos to hand out from Catacombs Conquest (the recent Kickstarter) and I premiered my 3D board that made earlier.   Halfway through the event, Aron West of Elzra Games stopped by and was able to talk to some of the players and even finished out the finale of one of the games.

I brought out the custom Rat King disc that the Catacombs Artist, Kwanchai Moriya, had made for me.  And I also was able to provide the Wyverns of Wylemuir expansion for some enthusiastic Catacombs fans to try out.

The players seemed to have a lot of fun and it was great seeing them all enjoy the games. The event finished a little after midnight so I packed it all up and headed back to the hotel to crash.

Gen Con 50 Walking Dead Wednesday

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Walking Dead Wednesday but I did seek out Mantic to see what things were coming up from this great minis game.

Before I hit the Mantic booth, I caught these great scenes from the 4Ground booth.

Over at the Mantic booth, the crew there was pretty tight lipped as I tried to get info on what would be coming out next after the Woodbury expansion.  Even though I struck out in my information hunt, I did catch some of the next retail exclusive wave models.

Walker Rick is going to be released in a separate blister with peg-leg Dale, and Scott Moon in what they are calling “Dale, prison advisor” package.  This is slated for Q1 2018 as part of “Wave 4.”  Interesting as I thought the Walker Rick was exclusive to the upcoming Collector’s Edition.

Lilly and Smitty make an appearance in Wave 4 as well.

Maggie with Susie/Rachel join the options for the upcoming Wave 3.

They also had the release schedules posted for Wave 3 and Wave 4.

They were running a few little Walking Dead events and there was the Mantic Games Night but I planned poorly and had booked up my own events during that time.

Gen Con 50 Recap Day 1

Thursday opened the Con with its typical crush of attendees all vying for position at the main entrances.

While I didn’t really notice a difference in attendance on Wednesday, I surely felt it Thursday. Gen Con personnel did a good job of keeping things safe and moving so even with the larger crowds, the transition into the exhibition hall was smooth and quick.

Inside, I had a goal of grabbing the new dexterity game Flip Ships (art by my favorite game artist Kwanchai Moriya).  Unfortunately, Renegade Studios also announced a new game in the Clank! line so their booth was packed. With the aid of a friendly attendee couple, we found a way through the disorganized chaos of that booth and paid for our haul and got out of there.

I had about 30 minutes before my first event so I made my way to the Hawk Wargames booth to chat about the new Dropzone 2.0 rules.  I was not disappointed as the demoers were pretty knowledgeable, being avid fans of the original game. I have a summary of the 2.0 rules here. Please note that these rules were what I heard/understood and are subject to change.

Soon after, I was off to my first event of the Con: an X-wing variant “The Heroes of the Alturi Cluster.”  This variant automates the Imperial ships and turns the overarching flow of the game into a full co-op with all players (up to 6) piloting one ship.

I chose a B-wing to pilot and we were off to stop a group of Imperial interceptors from attacking a Rebel transport.  The system worked out very well and I plan on printing out the campaign for our group.

The system allows for pilots to gain experience and buy upgrades and skill so it also contains some light advancement rules.  Very fun and I can’t wait to get a group together to play through it.

The event ended a little earlier so I snagged a quick lunch and jumped back into the dealer hall to scout out some games that were on my demo list.  I went to the Ares Games booth to see about Hunt for the Ring but they didn’t have anything except some minis in a case (lame).

Next, it was over to Flying Frog Productions to see about their new 10th Anniversary Edition of Last Night on Earth.

The new bits look good but are a little cheap.  The new heroes sound fun and if they offered an upgrade pack for the fans that helped get them to 10 years, I’d be in but forcing me to rebuy all the content I already have gets a big “no thanks.”   From talking with the guys at the booth, they sound like they want to do the same thing for A Touch of Evil.  If that is the case and they won’t also release an upgrade pack, I can just scratch that publisher off the list of ones to ever check out again.

I popped over to the Catalyst booth with little hope for info on some of The Duke expansions that have sat around on pre-order for almost a year now.  Catalyst, as expected, was too busy dealing with their big Gen Con release, Dragonfire, to have info on those expansions but lo! What was this??

In their display case, a new Duke core set was shown (with some uninspiring art).  I went in search for more answers and it sounds like they are hoping to have this through in a year (don’t hold your breathe with this publisher).  After that, they want to work on a Feudal Japanese themed version.  That really isn’t news as they’ve been dangling that carrot in from of The Duke fans for years now.  In any case, it was surprising to see a new edition in the works with some new and out of print bits included.

So you may ask, ‘why does Catalyst get a free pass with a version re-issue and Flying Frog doesn’t?’ and it is simple economics.   I have a lot of Last Night on Earth and having another copy of all those components will be pretty useless.  Another copy of The Duke, however, can be used in a travel version I’m making and includes the OOP Arthurian Legends expansion that is impossible to find for anything but insane price points.  Also the price for this new Duke set will likely be on par with the original unlike the 10th anniversary Last Night on Earth set which is retailing for $100.

At this point, it was time to head over to my next event, A Song of Ice and Fire Miniatures Game.

This is CMON Limited’s new tabletop miniatures game that just finished wrapping up on Kickstarter. I’m really not sure what to think of what CMON was doing with this product.  They ended the Kickstarter campaign right before Gen Con, missing an opportunity to show the game off to a lot of people and gain more backers and base support.  I did back the campaign but wanted to try it out before I committed to any more in their eventual pledge manager.  Luckily, I was able to get into a demo and get some hands on experience.

I’d read the work-in-progress rules posted to the campaign so I was pretty familiar with the basics but it’s always better to see the game in action.  Unfortunately, CMON overreached on this whole product and didn’t have enough production copies on hand to run the full event that was listed in the program.  Instead of a full game, they only had enough models to play two units vs two units.  Some demo is better than no demo and they compensated us for the change in event layout with the remainder of the San Diego Comic Con exclusive promo.

That is a nice little bonus. It was unfortunate that I wouldn’t get to try out a full game but planning for this event has to happen months in advance and if any little issue comes up, it can cause things like this to happen.

Back to the demo at hand.  It was good to see and feel how the units work and interact but we hit another snag in trying to learn this game as the person running the demo (a volunteer for CMON) had zero experience with any tabletop game and it seemed like a passing understanding of the game he was demoing.  I would like to say that we just got unlucky but I had other friends demo this at the CMON booth later and they had the same experience.  It also didn’t help that, as a “feature,” CMON hired a live violinist to play Game of Thrones themes with amps pointed directly at the play tables. Not the best idea for your demoers to shout the rules at you over live music.  The musician was good but it was just another misstep in a series of missteps for this products first debut at the biggest gaming Con in North America.  I asked for them to turn it down or turn the speakers to point somewhere else but was told they couldn’t.

In the actual demo, after wading through a lot of missing rules, misunderstandings and incompetent instruction, we played a “game” with me running the Starks and my friend taking the Lannisters.  Whatever game we ended up playing was interesting but I have zero confidence that I actually played the game listed on the box.  I was able to surround Jaime Lannister’s unit and beat the hell out of him but I can’t claim that it was due to any strategic prowess on my part. Rather, it was due more to the fact that the demoer would let my friend know what he could have done instead, usually using a rule never explained or mentioned.

The miniatures are great and there seems to be an interesting game on that table if I cobble the basic experience I had playing with the physical models and combine it with the beta rulebook posted but I can’t say if I’m really going to go in on this game as there is too much unknown at this point.  I was glad to see some of the unit stats got revised between the start of the KS campaign and the demo as it looked a little unbalanced with the few units they showed so far. Things didn’t go as swingy as I thought but again, who knows what game I was actually playing.  I tried to get clarification from the person running the demo group but all I got was that some of the rules were modified to fit the extremely small game we played as a demo. Ah well.  At least the minis look cool. Maybe I’ll pick it up and pillage it for Kings of War.

While at the display case, I also checked out their next Kickstarter, Hate. I have no info on this game but the resin miniatures were fantastic looking.

Moving on from the debacle that was Song of Ice and Fire, I had a few more minutes to check out the hall before it closed and remembered that I saw some little teaser about some interesting 15mm miniature game coming out called Time of Legends: Joan of Arc. The company was new so it got shunted into the very corner of the exhibition hall so I trekked over and saw a pretty amazing scene.

My jaw dropped when I saw that display case.  I didn’t have time to really check it out but I immediately cancelled my first event on Friday to make sure that as soon as the dealer hall opened, I would bee-line to this booth and drop in for a demo to see if it played as cool as it looked.

With the dealer hall closing, we headed out to dinner and then hit the They Might Be Giants concert.

I’d always wanted to see this group live and they were ok but I think it had just been too long since I listened to them and that style of music just isn’t as interesting anymore.

We left the concert before the encore and headed to the BGG Hot Game room.  The game room didn’t seem as well stocked as last year or maybe the offerings were just weaker but we got in a good intro game to Flamme Rouge.

Flamme Rouge is a racing game with a customized track.  You move by playing cards from your two rider decks.  Each player has the same decks but you’ll be adding low “exhaustion” cards to your deck if you stay out in the lead.

By mid-game, I’d broken away from the pack and we all left our friend Colton (black riders) in the dust.  I figured my lead rider would burn out and my second rider to coast in using the blue riders as his wind shield. But apparently Colton had other plans and was just biding his time.  We got all bunched up on a hill and then Colton started subtly making his move.

and then used his sprinter to blast ahead right at the very end, narrowly winning the race.  The game was shocking and quite fun.  I’d definitely play it again but still feel like CFR delivers the better racing game.

We finished out the evening and day 1 with Kingdomino, the Spiel des Jahres winner.  I’m not sure what happened but I totally misheard the rules and played totally wrong, losing horribly.  This was surprising because the game is really simple.  I guess I was more tired than I thought or had a little too much bourbon during Flamme Rouge…

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