click here to see part 1 of this series.
click here to see part 2 of this series.
My first event on Gen Con 2016’s Friday was a fun little Liar’s Dice Tournament. It was fun but I forgot how quick your luck can swing in those games and Reese and I failed the first round. Back to the dealer hall we went but then I had to ditch early to go find a run-through of Portal‘s new game Cry Havoc.
I really wanted to like this game but it just felt too similar to other “dudes on a map” games. The combat was interesting and unique but it wasn’t enough to make me think I ever needed to own this over something like Blood Rage.
We decided to try a different type of event this year so all three of us signed up for the Catacombs Walking Tour. It was interesting but ultimately, the “catacomb” was basically a basement in the bottom of an old city market.
I ditched my next event (a Crokinole tournament) and Reese and I headed back to the Yard House. Great food and awesome beer selection. Dragon’s Milk from New Holland has been my poison of choice lately but I have to be careful as it will kick me on my ass.
After dinner, I ran over to catch the Shut Up and Sit Down Live Podcast event.
It was standing room only and I was in the very back corner but in typical SU&SD fashion, they ran a great and entertaining show. They brought in their resident “miniatures” expert who has been reviewing minis games on their site and we learned a bit more about him and some of the games he was reviewing at the Con. The cast was a lot of fun and had some interesting audience participation but as they opened it up for questions, I had to take off to meet up with Colton and Reese for the BGG hot games library.
This year Boardgamegeek hosted their first ever BGG hot games library at Gen Con. I’ve been to BGG Con and their library is impressive during that Con so I was excited to see what this would be like.
It did not disappoint. The first thing was a sign that said “Time slots sold out – no generics.” As we planned ahead, this was perfect news. It meant they were policing the room effectively and we should be able to get a table and game. We were greeted with just such a situation and we grabbed Imhotep for no other reason than it being a Spiel des Jahres nominee and I figured it’d be light to learn.
In typical BGG hospitableness, a guy came over and asked if we knew how to play or if we wanted him to teach us. We were honored and playing in a quick 10 minutes.
The guys next to us dropped Ice Cool, a penguin racing dexterity game and since we all finished up at about the same time, we shifted over and learned how to play that one as well. It was cute and really popular at the show but it wasn’t really my kind of dexterity game. Maybe for the kids eventually. It did sell out at the show though so it definitely found its audience.
Ice Cool ran us to time so we went back to the hotel for some sleep.
Saturday was my busiest “scheduling” day as I was booked from 10am to midnight with no breaks. This is only the way it looks on paper. Events rarely stick to the scheduled stop times so Saturday ended up being pretty relaxed.
I started with an event I’ve been meaning to try that is hosted by the venerable NoVaG (Northern Virginia Gamers) group: Formula Waaugh!
Formula Waaugh! is a custom racing game using a lot of the rules of Warhammer 40k to create fun and mayhem. The host was great and basically ran the race pretty open by telling us we could try to do anything we wanted and he’d adjudicate. This is perfect for this kind of open, crazy, no-holds-barred bloodfest.
The race had a lot of craziness with some racers immediately turning around to joust with the players behind them and try to run the course backwards while others decided to cut the race size down and drive straight into the crowds. During the rounds, other events would happen such as angry Orks in the crowd rushing out onto the field to try to join or take over some of the existing vehicles. Airstrikes were called in, Gyrocopters came in, and a lot of carnage ruled the road.
After a lot of the other players had ground out or blew up, I made it through the initial jump and skated around some of the derelict vehicles only to catch a last land mine and blow my car out.
It was a lot of fun and the hijinks and wackiness of the event overshadowed the sometimes long turns and bad luck. The layout was perfect and it was a highlight event of the Con.
Later that evening, I finally got to participate in an event I’ve been wanting to do for several years now: the annual Duke tournament. I’m usually bogged down in X-wing or Armada tournaments so I can’t do this abstract strategy game tournament but this year I made it a priority. I was running behind but luckily they saved a seat for me when Reese assured them I was on my way.
The tournament was quick and smooth and went through the rounds pretty easily. Things got a little hairy in round 2 when I started getting trapped in a corner by an opponent that was quickly outpacing me in levying new figures but he left just the tiniest bit of daylight in one turn and I escaped and regrouped. I levied a Wizard and chased down his Duke and ended the game. The final game was a fluke as I caught my opponent unaware and ended the game in about 4 or 5 total moves. It was a lot of fun and all the competitors were good sports.
To celebrate, Reese and I ran over to the Ram.
I never remember anything great about the Ram but this evening solidified the fact that it just really isn’t that interesting. The food took forever, the service was stressed due to being so busy, the order came out wrong, the food was just blah, and they have only a few beers on tap. As much as we didn’t want every meal to come from the Yard House, we might just need to do that from now on.
After the uninspiring meal, we had another set of tickets to the BGG hot games room. Reese and I got their and had time to kill before Colton showed up so we busted into Klask.
Klask is a dexterity game that is a little bit like airhockey with little magnet penalty pieces and the ability to “klask” into your scoring hole and lose points. Reese and I had a lot of fun with this. I don’t know if I’d own it but I’d play it again if the chance came up. Colton was able to join us and I busted through the rules for Isle of Skye while Colton filled us in on his own Formula Waaugh! experience.
Isle of Skye was fun and Reese even had a good scotch for us to drink while we played. The game is an interesting combination of Carcassonne mixed with variable score conditions and quasi-Castles of Mad King Ludwig auction elements. Isle of Skye ended the evening and so we headed back to the hotel to pack up for the last day of the Con.
I’ll end my Gen Con 2016 series next time with my Sunday events and wrap up.