Chris’s Gathering: Wrap-up

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I have a work commitment on Wednesday, so I’m flying back home tonight, though the Gathering doesn’t end until Sunday.  I wanted to do one final post about the Gathering, a sort of conclusion, with thoughts on the coming year in gaming and my experience at the Gathering.

What are people playing?

Same answer as yesterday and the day before: Terraforming Mars, Century: Spice Road, NMBR 9, Sagrada, Yamatai, and Clank! all seemed to be very popular.  I’ve also observed a few groups playing Gloomhaven.  Plus, there were several popular prototypes.  What will be popular at Gen Con and Essen?

The Gathering is often a first showing for Gen Con and Essen titles, as you can tell from some previous coverage of the convention.

So what will be hot this year?  I think that’s kind of hard to answer, at least for me, because many of the prototypes I played are aiming for 2018 release.  For several others, I was asked to keep details secret.

But here’s my best guesses, in alphabetical order, with the links going to either my coverage, Dale’s, or Eric Martin’s over at BGG.  I based this on my plays, as well as buzz around the Gathering.

There were also some fascinating prototypes from eggertspiele, Matagot, and Richard Breese that got decent buzz.  And I’m sure I’m forgetting some!

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My Gathering Experience

I loved the event.  It truly lives up to the event’s name: this is genuinely a Gathering of Friends, with many participants having known each other for over two decades.  For example, when I played Werewolf at night, I immediately knew that these attendees had been playing with each other for years, although they happily welcomed me to their village.

My favorite moments weren’t necessarily spent playing games, but rather chatting or going out to dinner.  The reason I was most excited to attend was to meet gamers from around the world — many of which I had only ever talked to online — and that ended up being the most fun part of the event.  I counted last night, and I played games with more than 60 people, probably closer to 75.  That seems like a lot, but about 400 people will attend this year, so there’s room for improvement.

By the numbers, I played 16 new-to-me games, half a dozen titles I had previously played, and more than a dozen prototypes.  And for some of the prototypes, I was in awe at what is coming out in 2017-2018, with me easily seeing some of these games cracking the BGG Top 100 or winning major game prizes.

What were my favorite games?  In alphabetical order, my five favorite were Century: Spice Road, Codenames Duet, Middle Ages, Werewords, and an unnamed prototype that I played on Monday and Tuesday morning.

Now I head back to Kansas City, happy to have been part of the Gathering’s 28th year.

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