Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were about non-stop gaming, mostly of released titles, but today I made a point of playing several prototypes and playing with several different groups.
As I did for the past couple of days, here’s my summary of today’s experience, plus a quick overview of what I played.
What games are people playing?
No big news on what people are playing. Like yesterday, the most widely played games seem to be Terraforming Mars, Century: Spice Road, NMBR 9, and Sagrada.
Yamatai also seems popular, but there are only a few copies here, so I think that might be limiting the number of tables that see it.
As Dale noted, Magic Maze seems really popular. Even though I think there’s only one copy, I see it being played frequently.
Clank! seemed to make a comeback today, and I noticed it being enjoyed by a few groups.
I saw a fair number of older games today, classics like Taj Mahal or some older trick-taking games.
Among prototypes that can be mentioned, there are several contenders for most popular, and some of them don’t have a name. Decrypto was out most of the night, and Codenames Duet seems popular. I haven’t checked all the prototypes out, but I’ll make a round to get names and pictures tomorrow.
Some thoughts on some prototypes…
I play tested a cooperative game for most of the morning, and while I can’t say more, that experience was a highlight of the convention. The game was great, and the group I played with — Gil, Bayard, and Sheila — were a fun team to game with.
Afterwards, I met up with Friedemann Friese and playtested an early prototype for 2018. The game was interesting, and it reinforces my view of 2F as being one of the most innovate companies in gaming. The game doesn’t have a name yet, but I’ll leave it to you to guess what letter it will start with!
Later, I got to play two more prototypes that I really enjoyed. The first is tentatively called “That’s a Question!” and is from Vlaada Chvátil and CGE.
The rules aren’t final, but the game is a party game, and playing it was the most I’ve laughed at the convention. On their turn, each player asks a question of another player. There’s a clever mechanic to make sure that the number of questions a player is asked is proportional to the rest of the table, so everybody gets put on the spot.
The questions are based on a comical — and often revealing — choice. For example, you might have to choose between being able to be invisible or being able to read minds. The person being asked the question shows their choice via card, but before they reveal, everybody else predicts how they’ll answer the question. People get points for right answers. (In case you were curious, I’d rather be invisible!)
It’s pretty simple, and I could see this being a big hit. The game was absolutely hilarious, and Vlaada has once again shown great versatility in the types of games he designs. It improves on several other designs in this genre with a clever scoring mechanic and a mechanic to make sure everybody gets put in the spotlight.
And I have to give kudos to the folks from CGE, who are just a ton of fun to play games with. I got in a couple of games with Vlaada and Jason Holt. Jason is behind one of the more intriguing things I saw at the convention: a book based on the game Galaxy Trucker.
I also tried a prototype from Magagot and Bruno Cathala. The title of the game isn’t finalized, but gameplay seems fairly far along in terms of development.
Players are building an ant colony. On your turn, you draft a piece and place it on your colony, paying for taking pieces that came out more recently. You get points for ants, extra points for queens, points for unique fruit in each tunnel, and bonus points for having the most ant soldiers and having the tunnel with the most ants. I played with some folks from The Dice Tower, and they seemed to enjoy the game. I loved it: for such a simple and fast-paced game, this was tense and engaging.
- I got to try Magic Maze, which Dale has previously reviewed. It is a blast, and assuming it has been released in Germany, I could see it getting a SdJ nomination.
- I also got to try die Garten von Versailles, which Dale has also previously reviewed. To be candid, I didn’t enjoy it as much as Dale: I found it a bit chaotic for selecting the tiles, and the placement wasn’t interesting enough to distinguish the game from similar titles.
- I did finally go for a walk to see the falls. I joined Dale, Alan How, and J.P. for dinner in Canada at an amazing pizzeria. I’ve hung out with Dale and J.P. before, but Alan How is one of the most engaging people I’ve met at the convention, and I look forward to seeing him at future game events. After we got back, we played Century: Spice Road (my fifth play of the convention!) and the Decrypto prototype (my third play!).
- When 10:00 rolled around, I went to play Ultimate Werewolf, which I had also done on Saturday. Werewolf at the Gathering is a blast. First, it is often moderated by Ted Alspach himself, and as you’d expect, he’s able to assemble great combinations of role cards. But also the game is played on a whole new level, plus there’s the joy of playing with the DiLorenzo brothers, who are hilarious.
- I ended the night playing Cottage Garden with Larry Levy and Piet S. It was good to get that Essen release back to the table again.
How is “That’s a Question!” different from “Choose One”?
In “Choose One”, both halves of the question are on the same card, i.e., the designer has paired all of the questions for you. In “That’s a Question!”, you have a hand of cards, each with three half-questions on them, and to create a question, you choose two of the cards and combine them under one of three prompts, i.e., you create your own questions.