Ben’s Gathering Day 4

Another day of short descriptions and few pictures, I’m afraid, as a large portion of the day was committed to unpublished, unsigned prototypes.  Great day all around, however. 

It began with a third play of Elysium.  This is the third different table I’ve played the game with and each one has had a different reaction.


This group had a bit of an issue with some of the take-that cards in the deck, though they appear to be confined to one of the eight possible families (and so can be left out without impacting the game).  I personally don’t mind a bit of that kind of interaction, though I also won this game so I’m probably inclined to see it in a better light. 

I am not enamored with the game, but it works as an hour-long game with a fair bit of meat to it.  It’s the sort of thing I’d be happy to play, but would rarely recommend myself unless we’re under a time constraint. 

After that, I tried two prototypes by Brian Leet and Kevin Worden.  I thought both had potential, even though both were from gaming categories I usually avoid: dice games and micro games.  Was pleased to be able to win at least one.  I hope my feedback, such as it was, was helpful.

I followed that up with a middleweight Euro prototype from Greg Daigle.  I really enjoyed myself in this one. One of the special things about an event like the Gathering is also being privy to the shop talk.  After the game, there was some discussion about what publishers might be a good fit for the design, and it was fascinating to imagine how the different permutations of game would look from each.

From there, I returned to the prototypes that I am able to talk about with a second play of Mombasa from Eggertspiele and designer Alexander Pfister.  


This is a very good, meaty game that will appeal to most heavier Euro fans.  As a point of comparison, think about something like Russian Railroads. 

The gist of the game is that players are playing cards to take actions, most of which involve investing in companies or trying to move along particular tracks to score points.  A lot of tough tactical decisions to flesh out the overall strategy.  I won each of my two games with a very different strategy, but a very similar score, so I’m pleased with the balance I’m seeing.  It might be a bit tough for the AP prone, but I expect this one to be fairly popular.

From there, I learned El Gaucho, one of last year’s games that I never got around to trying.  It was better than I thought going in, for what it is.

As always, we finished the night with several hours of Time’s Up! Tonight’s game involved some spectacular mind-reading by Akrotiri co-designers Sen-Foong Lim and Jay Cormier.  It also ended with an unbelievable one-man show, as force-of-nature Dave Arnott acted out about 30 consecutive clues from a previously-unseen deck.  I’ve never witnessed anything like it.  

Looking forward to another great day tomorrow!

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