OG@GOF #3: Notes from Sunday – Games, Rain and Birch Beer

Sunday 4/17

Dale Yu: Well, the room is certainly filling up now as more people are making here to Niagara Falls!  If the weather would only cooperate now.  Admittedly, the overall forecast inside hasn’t changed: 70 degrees and fluorescent, outside it’s cold/windy and rainy.  Not the most conducive weather to check out the falls!  Oh well, I guess that leaves more time for games instead. It was snowing around noon but most of this afternoon was sunny. Of course, I was playing games, so the sunlight is really only hearsay.

Pictures hopefully coming in the next post… Some technical difficulties today.

Rick Thornquist: Days at the Gathering tend to follow a similar arc.  From the early morning to the early evening, the regular strategy games tend to dominate, especially the new games and prototypes of future releases.  That’s not to say old games don’t get played – many of them do – but many people figure they can play the older games anytime, why not take the golden opportunity to try the new ones.

When the evening rolls around, two other types of games start to appear – party games and Tichu.  After a long day of learning so many new rules, people are ready to relax a bit.  Time’s Up is a common sight, as is Electronic Catchphrase.  People do bring all kinds of wild and wacky party games – I actually played the boardgame version of The Newlywed Game a few years ago (a very fun game that tends to foster quite a bit of arguing among the spouses, making it even more entertaining).

Though you’ll see the occasional Tichu game during the day, it’s really during the evening when they really start to proliferate.  It’s a little strange as Tichu isn’t exactly light, but the players love it so much that when there’s a a group of four looking for a game, someone will inevitably say “Tichu?”.

Starting around 11pm or midnight, the werewolves come out.  I’ve played a decent amount of werewolf and am not bad at it, but the people at the Gathering are amazing, doing all kinds of things and changing the game in ways I never would have imagined.  They are very welcoming of newbies, though, and I know many newbies that have had a great time even if they’ve never played werewolf before.  The werewolves can, and often do, play all night.

And the next morning, it starts all over again.

Dale Yu: one more tidbit… Rick Soued from Gryphon was here with the newest version of Pastiche. Apparently the second edition will have cool wooden easels to hold your potential works of art. I haven’t played with them yet, so I don’t know whether visibility is an issue, but they sure do look cool!

I’m still a sucker for Scotland Yard type games, and I finally got a chance to play the long awaited Letters from Whitechapel by Michele Mari (who also did Garibaldi). It’s not a bad take on it, but it moves a little slow. Some of the delay is probably because we were talking a lot and because we were mostly new to the game. I’m starting to believe that my love for the genre stems from the awesomeness of Scotland Yard, however the different iterations never seem to stand up to the original. Letters from Whitechapel feels original with the gameplay, but it’s a long game. Our 5p game went well over two hours. I felt engaged in most of it, though it seemed that in each round there was at least one detective stuck out in East Bufu with nothing better to do for the first few turns but try to move into sniffing distance of the action.  This has gone from a definite buy (which every Scotland Yard type game starts out on) to the “I hope Luke buys it list so that I can play it when I want”.

I’m still on my usual kick of not trying to over-do it early in the convention. In the past two days, I’ve only played 10 games – but I’d like to think I’m striving for quality over quantity.  Those ten games: Tichu x 2, Uluru, Avanti, Der Pate, Burgund, Pergamon, Mines of Zavandor, Letters from Whitechapel.  Some of the games went a bit longer than the box length due to learning games from the rules, but I’m trying to get in four quality (newish) games a day and then fill the rest of the day with socializing and fillers or old games.

In the past two days, I’ve spent a lot of time catching up with old friends. I had a wonderful lunch with Alan and his wife at the Red Coach Inn. Spent a bit of time catching up on what some of the game companies are doing this year: Jay from RGG, Zev from Z-Man, Petr from CGE, Sean Brown from Gryphon, Peter Eggert from Eggertspiele, etc.  I’ve also managed to walk to Canada, have a nice view of the falls as well as darn good wood fired pizza. Today, we also went to Charlie the Butcher in Buffalo for an authentic beef on weck sandwich.  This was a good meal,but I found that all the salt on the bun was a bit overwhelming. The birch beer was interesting, sort of a super sweet root beer. I’m glad that I tried it, but it’s nothing I would go out of my way to drink again.

On the docket for Monday, hopefully more games. I’ve only played four games so far on my new game want list, so I still have plenty of targets. My game time tomorrow will be severely restricted though as I’m planning on some authentic Buffalo wings tomorrow – not sure yet whether it’ll be Duff’s or the Anchor Bar and then my brother and I will be going to the Sabres/Flyers playoff game at the HSBC. There are about 10-12 Gatherers headed to the game… Can’t wait!

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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5 Responses to OG@GOF #3: Notes from Sunday – Games, Rain and Birch Beer

  1. amytherat says:

    Dear Mr Yu,

    I must admit that I come here to read about game opinions. Please don’t take offence when I ask if you could write more on the subject of game opinions. While stories of how much salt was on your bun, the taste of a local beer and how much you’re looking forward to the buffalo wings may help to add color to your piece (if your writing time is limited), I’d prefer to know more secrets about what those game companies are doing this year (or at least some tidbit you can reveal about the industry) and about… games. What are your reflections on Bergund and Pergamon. What have you heard others saying about them? What new games are you looking forward to and why? What’s the buzz on the new games? Thanks.

    • Dale Yu says:

      Well, i will try to write more about the games, but based on the other comments, there are also plenty of readers who want to hear about the atmosphere and non-gaming stuff.

      As far as Burgund goes, I very much enjoy it. It is my current frontrunner for the Kennerspiel. I like the basic form of the game is very good and well balanced. It is interesting because players are all vying for the same sorts of tiles from the start. The advanced version is more tactical because the unique starting positions and maps cause different players to want different tiles at different times, and this makes the timing issues more interesting.

      Thanks for the feedback! And thanks for reading our blog

  2. Brendan S. says:

    If it’s not too late and you’re feeling a little adventurous, The 9/11 Tavern in south Buffalo has some amazing wings unlike any others you’ll find.

  3. David says:

    I love the personal comments myself. I can always go read some detailed breakdown of a game on BGG. I’m a huge hockey fan (Go Ducks) so its also nice to hear you made it to a playoff game.

  4. amytherat says:

    Oh, I think the personal comments are fine. They add color and atmosphere to what’s obviously a fun and social gaming week. My previous comment was merely trying to state that Mr Yu probably has a limited time to write on his blog and that I’d prefer the social and food tidbits don’t outweigh or come at the expense of the gaming tidbits. I’m not trying to be critical for the sake of being critical, rather for the sake of constructive feedback – to tell him what I as a reader would like to read more about. I’m trying to politely give him feedback that I’m more interested in knowing about his opinion of Die Burgen von Burgund than his dinner. If he could tell me about both that’s be great, but with all the gaming and socialising his time is obviously limited. I can appreciate that other readers are different, or looking for something else, and that’s the way it is. I suppose I could go to BGG to read up on just the games, but I think a lot of the games being played here are new and being played by people whose opinions I’m interested in hearing. I do come here hoping to read about the social aspect of The Gathering, and what the people in the industry are talking about, AND about the games.

    I suppose I decided to comment on this day because it felt like I was being teased. The site is clearly about opinions (probably) about games – it says so right there in the title – yet after stating that he’s had some interesting conversations with people in the gaming industry there’s no elaboration regarding what they discussed. To a certain extent it’s just name dropping if you’re not going to provide further information beyond their names. Maybe I’ll hear more about what was discussed in future entries? Maybe I’m just altogether too impatient.

    So to when it comes to games he’s played. Okay, so he played 10 titles. I’d love to know his opinions on them. Now I think he did a good job with Letters from Whitechapel. I’d like to see more like that. I admit that I prefer Mr Schlosser’s style of writing with a game by game breakdown and a clear rating, or Ms Putman’s rundown of five games on day 2.

    I’m coming back, so I’m obviously getting something good out of the site. Anyway, that’s my feedback.

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