Our annual gathering , CabinCon, happened this past weekend with four of us making the initial trek up the mountains this year. Sean, Colton, Reese, and I got things settled upon arrival and immediately jumped into some gaming. We kicked things off with a game that caught my eye in a living room full of game boxes and tubs: Meeple Circus.
Meeple Circus is a nice little dexterity game that has hit CabinCon a couple of times now. I always like dexterity games and this one has a nice combination of stacking and theme. The app seemed to have some issues on my friend’s phone but we powered through and got it done, even though Colton’s circus troupe had a meltdown in the finale as his seal team just couldn’t balance everything top of an already precarious elephant balancing on circus newbies.
We finished out the evening with a game of Tiny Towns and a couple rounds of No Thanks! Tiny Towns got a lot of negative reaction when we played earlier with our significant others but turned out to work well with our CabinCon crew. I’m not a big fan of the randomness as it seems to just frustrate me more than get me excited for the challenge of overcoming what others throw my way but the rest of the players seemed to enjoy it.
Colton and I finished off the evening with a game of the intro scenario to Joan of Arc
This game has a lot to live up to since we’ve been anticipating it for almost two years now. We set up the introduction and quickly found that it is not an easy game to get through when opening the box. This is pretty standard for large or complex games so it didn’t bother us and we plowed on.
The scenario has the English (red) laying siege to a small town and trying to starve out the citizens while the French (off picture to the left) arrive to try and save the town. It’s a pretty basic scenario with some of the rules stripped out to keep things moving. There are some setup issues that are annoying and the quality control of Mythic Games is a bit suspect with numerous typos and errors to contend through but none of ultimately spoiled the game.
The English took the town by stalling out my charging knights with a combination of arrow volleys and archer stakes. The French failed with the weak citizens of the town starving to death two quickly to receive my aid. While it was disappointing the see the game end in the quickest way possible, both of us were eager to see more of what the game could offer.
We started off Day 2 with Castles of Mad King Ludwig and the Secrets expansion. We’ve played Mad King before and always enjoyed it but the Secrets expansion really kick the game up a notch for me and for a really dumb reason: it becomes more aesthetically pleasing.
If you take the moats option, it forces you to play within certain strict building confines and I really liked the way it forced me to build something that actually looks like a castle. After the game, we thought of making different player mats that auto-include a moat or castle-confining exterior. Maybe we’ll see a homebrew variant expansion pop up on this site later…
After Mad King, Sean and Colton set up a game of Infinity. The setup took some time and I joked that I could put in my Battle Kitty as a 3rd player neutral and they liked the idea so I joined in, in between turns.
I was wary of playing spoiler too much so we made my objective to kill as many figures as possible but I would only score points based on the faction I killed the least (kind of a Knizia-style scoring mechanism). This worked well but ended up hosing Colton’s forces because I kept knocking his figures unconscious with my small 2-order turn but Sean kept finishing them off. I did kill several of Sean’s forces but usually it was after hitting them with a panzerfaust (causing excessive damage) or spraying a weak guy with a spitfire. Ultimately, knocking Colton’s forces down but not out (one of them being his lieutenant for round 2) caused his downfall and Sean won.
Next, Reese and I hit a game of The Duke. This CabinCon staple ended up coming out multiple times for the rest of the Con, even during other games when some players take to long on their turns. Not going to rat anyone out as their turns are embarrassingly slow but I’m glad The Duke was there to comfort those bored souls. (alright, it’s totally me that takes too long)
While people were in various stages of showering or meal prep, Colton and I threw down Pandemic: Fall of Rome. I’d already got a game in with my wife and liked the game. We decided to play on a harder level and ended up abusing the Vestalis character’s rule pretty hard to pass through an easy win.
After dinner, we put the epic Feast of Odin down on the table. This game took awhile to get everything squared away but ended up running smoothly throughout. There is a bevy of choice and an overwhelming worker placement option board but ultimately, it was fun and worked out well. The only issue I had was the large amount of choice and complicated or long ramp up means we have to play this game often or risk re-learning everything. At the end of the day, it is just another euro worker placement game and, while it has some unique items, I didn’t find it better than other worker placement games I already own and like.
We ended the evening with some light dessert games of Incan Gold and High Society. It’s always good to see these lighter games hit as they can break the tension of too many complicated and brain burning sessions.
Day 3 saw a new visitor hang out around the cabin (no worries for me as I was up on the 5 foot tall deck). We also had a fifth player on his way up the hill, Rob. Rob was still hours out from arriving so we jumped into some more 4 player max games.
We opened day 3 with Hang Town. This game reminded me a lot of Race for the Galaxy but with the freedom to interact more with a shared player board and the other players directly without racing to finish your tableau. I found out after the game that we were playing a lighter version where the heavier one actually plays a lot closer to Race. Since that was less appealing, I’d probably just stick to the intro/lighter version.
We haven’t played Root since last Gen Con and with four players available, we had the chance to see the base game in all its glory. I played the Vagabond this time and was busy trying to trade up and get my stuff aligned but failed to see the Eyrie take over most of the forest and run away with the victory.
With various other things going on, we passed The Duke around some more for random one vs one confrontations.
With Rob now here, we started him off with Century: Spice Road. It’s been a while since we played this Splendor-like game and I found I liked it better this time around. I still find myself spinning my wheels in complicated upgrade maneuvers to get the resources I want but I didn’t feel like I totally failed.
After dinner, we decided to switch gears and throw down the roleplaying game, Dungeon Crawl Classics. Colton led this affair and after hearing a lot about how fun the initial zero-level character grind can be, I have fully endorsed the hype. The system harkens back to my youth playing 1st and 2nd edition D&D with no miniatures or fussy setups and it was very enjoyable.
With most everyone else going to bed, Colton and Sean set up a quick “Recon” game of Infinity. This shorter/smaller game seemed to do well but still ended after I ultimately went to bed.
Day 4 opened with a few more games of The Duke and quickly found the rest of the cabin awake and hungry for gaming. We played a full game of five player Roll for the Galaxy before settling in on another feature game of the Con.
With five of us ready, we set out my newly pimped copy of Adrenaline. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Adrenaline drop and usually that was with minimal players. I was happy to see the game play so much better with more players and though it ran a little long, it went fast enough that it didn’t feel like a slog.
The Duke ended up hitting the table a couple more times while the crew figured out what they played next. They decided on Clank! with a new map we haven’t played. I bowed out to get some non-gaming things done and recharge.
After Clank! wrapped up, Colton, Rob, and I threw down a quick three player game of Evolution. I always like this game and it’s fun to see how the players react to the various species that come out. Colton won this one with a fierce brontosaurus-looking pack hunter.
Rob had to head back home so we were back to four players and I pushed for Village with the Port expansion. I always like the story and choice this game offers and it is likely my favorite worker placement game even though it can run a little long. Colton ran a way with a travel strategy that went uncontested.
We finished off the evening with a few rounds of Liar’s Dice to cap off a long day 4. Then Sean, Colton, and I decided to keep the night going long by busting out another scenario of Joan of Arc. Nothing like starting a complicated war game at midnight!
This three-player scenario has the forces of the French (blue) and Holy (white) trying to takedown the Terrasque (black) and the Witch that woke it from its slumber. After a long setup, we were able to begin. While my Holy side and Colton’s French had similar goals, only one of us could win and I wanted to “tame” the beast while the French just wanted it dead.
After rushing to the church and summoning Saint Martha for assistance, I got some lucky action options and was able to send Saint Martha to face the Terrasque and tame him back to slumber once again. This went unexpectedly fast and was based on some really killer die rolls on my part. It was also the first time we were playing with all the game elements and I think my opponents were a little distracted or unaware of how quickly I could get through to my objective. It was already late so we didn’t try it again but I’m sure the results would have been markedly different now that we’ve seen how the game evolved.
Day 5 was our last day and saw us bust out some lighter games as we wrapped up the cabin for departure.
We started off the morning with an amazing handcrafted version of Docker, a light/quick roll/placement game. This game was pimped out by Reese for all attendees and came out fantastic using a variety of rare hardwoods to make the simple pieces. Reese went all out, also picking up the flicking pocket game Push It and some fun gaming reading, “Games you can play in your head, by yourself.” A big thanks to Reese for all the swag and fantastic game.
We wrapped up the Con with a couple of games of Crokinole as I threatened to refuse bringing the big board up again next year if it didn’t hit.
Another great gathering and another great CabinCon in the books. 39 total games played across a variety of 23 different titles. Thanks all!