The OG at GoF – Introduction

Fri 4/15

Well, for the next week or so, the Opinionated Gamers blog will report back from the Gathering of Friends.  About 20 of us will be there at some point during the week – though we’re definitely not going to limit our comments to those physically in attendance!  For those of you that are not familiar with the Gathering of Friends (aka The Gathering), it is an annual invitational event hosted by Alan R. Moon which runs about 10 days each March/April, and it is a wonderful opportunity to play games, meet up with friends – both old and new, and take a break from our otherwise busy lives.  This year, the Gathering runs from Friday April 15 to Easter Sunday April 24.

The location of the event changes from time to time – and currently is based in Niagara Falls, NY.  During the course of the week, probably 350-400 gamers will be there for some part of the Gathering, including representatives from many different game companies (I’d guess about 20-25 different companies will “officially” be at the Gathering).  Many of the new games from Nuremberg will be available to play there, and there will surely be all sorts of prototypes there – both games in development from the game companies as well as new designs looking for a publisher to pick them up!

In any event, no matter what you’re looking for to play: the newest releases from Essen/Nuremberg, prototypes that will hit the market next year (or later), old classics, or whatever – it usually can be found at The Gathering along with enough gamers who are enthusiastic about playing that game too.

I couldn’t decide what would be the best way to do the blog this week – so we’ll try this experiment — I have created a group document that all the OG authors can access, and they’re free to write about whatever they want.  It might be reports on new games, might be stories about old games… heck, it might be about the great dinner they had last night!  I’ll copy the contributions from that group document into the blog each day.  I’m initially planning to do this once a day, but if we are writing enough, I’ll do it more often.

The only thing that I can promise you that you won’t see this week on the blog are detailed reports on most of the prototypes at GoF.  For the most part, all the prototypes played at the Gathering are protected, and all attendees agree to not write about nor display pictures of these games in progress…

Well, here’s to a great week – and I hope you enjoy reading about it with us!  If there are games or people that you want to know about, leave us a note in the comments, and mabye someone will be able to help you out!


Sat 4/16

Dale – Well I pulled into Niagara late Friday night, so I really didn’t get started until Saturday morning with the gaming…  At the start of my Gathering, here is my current list of games I want to play before the end of the week:

  1. Abtei der Ratsel
  2. Adlungland
  3. Airlines Europe
  4. Artur
  5. Avanti
  6. BITS
  7. Carcassone the dice game
  8. Castelli
  9. Cite
  10. Isla Tetra
  11. Letters from Whitechapel
  12. Mansions of Madness
  13. Olympos (not to be confused with Olympus)
  14. Pantheon
  15. Principato
  16. Rolling Freight (don’t know if Kevin will be bringing it)
  17. Secret of Monte Cristo
  18. Strasbourg
  19. Top & Down
  20. TTR: Alvin and Dexter
  21. Traffic
  22. Uluru

Note that this list is not all inclusive, nor is it fixed – because I’m sure that there will be a handful of games that I knew nothing about until someone drags me over to a table to see it in person… Also, I have no idea which games will be available this week yet — with all of the new baggage restrictions, I have no idea what people will be able and/or willing to bring over!  I’m hoping to get to 15 of the 22 on the list currently, but again, who knows what will be added or deleted to the list as the week wears on.

Games that were recently on this list, but were played in the weeks prior to the Gathering include: Burgund, Firenze, Key Market, Pergamon, Trollhalla, Railways thru Time, Pastiche, Nightfall, Monsta, and Cargo Noir.

Time to play games! for those of you keeping track at home, the hit of the Gathering for me thus far is Uluru by Kosmos. It’s a fascinating puzzle game for 1-5 players. Of course, Uluru is the only game i’ve played thus far, so take that with a grain of salt!

More from myself and the other Opinionated Gamers during the week!


About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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7 Responses to The OG at GoF – Introduction

  1. Garry says:

    Dale, Jealous as always. However, I got to play Strasbourg last night and was really impressed – one of my favourite of his designs. You must play it at The Gathering. It has the “destination ticket” aspect of TTR that caught one or two of us out, as we didn’t appreciate how difficult some of them might be to complete. And trying to decide how many cards to take per round and how many “lots” to place those cards into was really agonising, especially when you ran the risk of a high value lot not getting you what you really needed. It might be just at the too complex end of the SDJ but I’d definitely not be surprised to see it nominated. Another excellent Stefan Feld design!

  2. Jeff Wolfe says:

    Does Jay have Dominion: Cornucopia with him? Last year this time he had Alchemy, and Cornucopia is supposed to be out soon. The Dominion forums on BGG are clamoring for news.

  3. Rodney says:

    As a gamer and member of the local Buffalo boardgame group, I was wondering if it was possible to stop in and just observe this event for 5-10 min. I’m not asking to play or interfere in anything, I’m just interested in observing how things are run. Thanks

  4. Dale Yu says:

    @Garry – Strasbourg is on my list to play! So far, I’ve only seen one copy here, and it’s constantly in play. I just have to be lucky enough to be looking for a game when it’s available!

    @Wolfe – see column posted Sunday morning!


  5. Jacob says:

    I’m looking forward to reading your report on Olympos. I’ve looked up Avanti on BGG, but I don’t think I’m seeing the one you’re looking at playing. Do you know if it’s entered in BGG yet?

    • Dale Yu says:

      Olympos is here, but I haven’t played it yet. But i hope to play it before the end of the week. Olympys from Stratilibre has gotten a lot of play as well, and the response has been mostly positive. Avanti is the new game coming out from Zoch. I do not think it is on BGG yet.

  6. @mangozoid says:

    I hope you’ll keep us all informed of how you get on with your ‘list of games to play’ and provide a summary at the end of it all? Although I’m always keen to play anything new, there are very few games that stick in my head as “must play this”-type games, although I did do rather well on my first day at AireCon in Harrogate this year (March 2018), and indeed got a chance to play three very different types of games while I was there: Ethnos, Nusfjord, and Flamme Rouge — was particularly impressed with Flamme Rouge, a bit “Caverna with fishes” on Nusfjord, and still working out whether I like the random set-up of Ethnos… but am interested in trying most games at least once, especially if they’re games I’m not familiar with and/or have maybe heard a bit about but never got the chance to play (that’s a pretty long list!).

    Have a great time!

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