Chris’s Trip to the Gathering of Friends: Thursday/Friday/Wrap-up

Welcome

This is my third and final post documenting my trip to the Gathering of Friends.  My apologies for the delay; I’ve been busy since I left the Gathering on Saturday night, so I didn’t get to write as much as I had hoped.

Below I predict what will be hot later this year, discuss my trip by the numbers, and recount my favorite moments at the event.

What games did people play the most?

Whereas last year there were 2-3 titles that stood out as getting significantly more playtime than others, this year the games getting played were a bit more diffuse.  

I think the “The Mind” likely holds the distinction of being played more than any other game.  I also regularly asked attendees what their favorite new game is, and The Mind was the most frequent answer.  

At this point, I’d guess Decrypto has snagged the #2 spot, followed by Azul.  I’ve seen quite a few games of Ganz schön clever, a roll-and-write I briefly mentioned early last week.  

Among unpublished games, the Repos party game that is for now known as “Just One” seemed to get a lot of play time, especially late at night.  

After that, there are a large number of popular contenders.  

What will be hot later this year?  

Here are my best guesses, in alphabetical order, with the links going to either my coverage or Dale’s.  I based this on my plays, as well as buzz around the Gathering.

There are also at least a dozen other prototypes that I’m not sure if we can publicly discuss them, but the above list is quite the set of games to look forward to!

And I’m sure I’m forgetting something!

My Gathering By the Numbers

# of Total Plays: >80

# of Unique Played Games: 36

# of New-to-Me Published Games Played: 13

# of Published Games I’d Played Before: 9

# of Publicly-Announced Pre-Production Games Played: 8

# of Unannounced Prototypes Played: 6

Most Played Game: 20 Plays of Rise of Queensdale (Runner Up: Fast Forward #4)

# of Games of Werewolf: 7

My Favorites

What were my favorite games?  In alphabetical order, my five favorite were the Fast Forward #4 game, Ganz schön clever, Rise of Queensdale, Ultimate Werewolf Legacy, and an unannounced prototype from Bezier Games.

My Gathering Experience

As I said last year, 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.  This was the 29th year of the event, and there are even a few people that have been to all 29 events.

Having attended only twice, I’m still the new kid, but I’ve played games with a good portion of attendees at the event.

My favorite experience was probably playing the 4th Fast Forward game with Friedemann Friese and Doris and Chad Roberts.  We had laugh-out-loud fun and the game was great. I meant to demo it, but we enjoyed the experience so much we worked our way all the way through the deck!  I also enjoyed Rise of Queensdale, which I also played with Doris and Chad and Tom F.

As with last year, my favorite moments weren’t necessarily spent playing games, but rather chatting or going out to dinner.  There are many attendees that I only get to talk to online or see at bustling conventions like Essen. I didn’t get a game in with everybody I wanted to, but there’s always next year.

I’m honored to have been part of the Gathering’s 29th year, and I look forward to the coming months of gaming!

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