THROUGH THE AGESI started my con playlist with a highly regarded civ-builder. Players compete to build up their civilization through history through the drafting of cards, using resource management you can garner better technologies, new leaders and even build up wonders to improve your empire. You have to balance growth in all areas, if you concentrate too much on science or resources you may leave your military side weak and open to attacks from the other players.
This game is a solid commitment and I hope to get to play it again as unfortunately we only managed to get about half a game in as one of our players had to leave early.
As a side note, Essen this year will see a new edition of this, which includes rule tweaks and streamlining.
FLICK 'EM UP!As I will get into more later, dexterity games rule the Con for me but it all started with this wild west inspired flicker. With many scenarios included in the base game players take turns as either lawmen or outlaws shooting out around town.
The one I got to play was the outlaws robbing the bank and the lawmen trying to stop them. It had a king of the hill style win objective that at the end of the game whomever had the most money in the saloon (outlaws) or the bank (lawmen) would win the game. So it had this back and forth as you had to shoot across town to each location grabbing money and bringing it back, all the while at the constant threat of getting taken out by your enemy.
To make matters even more thrilling it came down to the wire as the game was tied and the final lawman had to shootout against the remaining two outlaws. His first shot ended one of the outlaws, but the other outlaw's final bullet ended the hopes for the good guys and the last standing bandit rode off into the sunset.
DARK MOONThis takes a design that took Battlestar Galactica and crammed it down into a game that only lasts around 90 minutes, then re-theming it in a remote research station that is on the brink of falling apart, that makes it feel like you are in the center of John Carpenter's classic The Thing.
As a team you are trying to work together and survive until you can get rescued, the life support keeps needing repairs, the shields are beginning to flake out and the central control systems are unreliable. But now there is an unknown virus that has infected some of the crew, they have become unpredictable and violent toward the rest and will hinder all attempts of escape.
Even without the threat of the infected, this semi-coop would be hard enough to keep the team alive. The added paranoia and suspicion can put the wrong person in quarantine or make an infected the commander. Definitely moving up my wishlist.
SUPER MOTHERLOADThis was my unexpected surprise of the Con, finding myself between games I had sat down to chat with a fellow attendee when someone else walked up and asked if we wanted to play. Stupid question! So I got introduced to Super Motherload.
This is a tile-laying, deck builder. Players a competing crews of miners on the surface of Mars, each turn you can play cards to dig deeper into the ground and mine the precious resources as you go. The income from these minerals can be spent to improve your deck of cards. As you digger deeper you have opportunities to pick up achievement cards for victory points.
It has the look and feel of an old school video game, such as Dig-Dug, the scrolling board as you dig and the awards give enhance that sense but it has enough to entice lovers of all styles of games.
MAFIA DE CUBAOne player takes the role of the Godfather, he holds his precious cigar box which has a false bottom that contains his stash of diamonds. He entrusts his surrounding henchmen with the care of this box and passes it around the table. As the box reaches you, you have two choices, either become a robber and steal diamonds from the box or take one of the loyalty tokens that remains. Once the box has made it back around the table to the Godfather, they must begin the questioning to find out who he can trust and who he should accuse to recover all his diamonds. But don't be to hasty in those decisions as making the wrong ones will allow the robbers to win the game and the Godfather to lose face.
It takes alot in the modern age of board games to come up with a hidden role game that has a different and unique feel. This is one that can be added to that echelon of games you know how to play but never know quite how to play.
THE MANHATTAN PROJECTEach players takes control of a nation in the nuclear arms race. By sending out your workers to collect resources, build facilities or even attack your opponents you compete to be the first to reach 50 victory points. Victory points are only garnered by building bigger and better bombs, testing them and even loading them onto your bombers.
Using a great worker placement mechanic, with no rounds or end of round scoring the game just flows around the table. It has an awesome puzzle type aspect to how you send out workers or pull them back to your pool. It's all about being efficient and taking your chances when you can. While the theme could likely put people off, it is softened with the cartoon like artwork.
Of all the new games I got to play while at the Con this was easily my favorite.
KEMETMy final experience of the Con was getting Kemet to the table. This is a hefty box of a game and one that looks wonderful laid out on the table. This is essentially area control, players compete for regions of the board and the first to amass 8 points at the end of a round win the game. Unlike alot of empire building type games, you get to start out with enough resources to dive straight into battle if you wish. Alternatively you may want to suit back and build up your pyramids to help purchase power tiles to improve your followers and even add creature to your troops.
I came close to victory in this one, but good push from a fellow player plucked the win from my hands and earned it for him. A great game that is well worth the time giving a shot.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE CONAs stated earlier, dexterity games became the defining event for me at the Con. Late on Saturday evening there was to be a dexterity triathlon, hosted by Trevor Kvaran.
We all started with Tumblin' Dice on a custom made board, not my shining moment as my dice just kept on tumblin' or wouldn't tumble enough. I need more practice at this one.
Then I was introduced to Crokinole, a Canadian bar game, that has solidified itself a spot in the BBG Top 100. It can be likened to a mini version of shuffleboard, that you can sit at a table and enjoy. Again the board we played on was custom made by Trevor K. So awesome looking, I wonder how much he would charge to make one for me? Anyway I digress. Players take turns flicking wooden discs into the center, attempting to score, only rule is that if an opponents disc is already on the board you must make contact with that first or your disc will be removed from play. Awesome fun.
Finally we moved onto Konexi, a word creating, letter balancing game. For this you take turns choosing letters and then placing them onto the ever growing tower on the table. With placement you score for any word you can create from the connecting letters. If you knock over the tower in lose points and start again.
|The completed tower|
The game did begin out as competitive, and word scoring was taken and building was aimed at making it difficult for the opponents. But around two-thirds into the alphabet the game changed and competitive turned to co-op. Scoring was left at the wayside as we aimed for getting all 26 letters balanced in one perfect tower.
Collective sighs and deep breaths were taken as each letter was placed with the greatest of care. Concentration was high and a group of cheers was raised around us as the final letter was placed. Thanks to the two Trevors and Dori for making this a Con memory we won't forget.
|The Konexi tower building team - Trevor Shaff, Trevor Kvaran, Dori Lovers and Me|
I look forward to getting the chance to head to Tucson again next year and also to my plans for my own local con here in Surprise, AZ.