HeavyCon: Day Zero

For the next few days, I’ll talk about my experiences at HeavyCon, in Denver, CO. It’s my first trip here, starts tomorrow, and is already a stellar con.

At bggcon, I’m an 8 AM person- who has showered and eaten breakfast and is ready to play each morning by 8, and usually 7:55. However, Edward started this year off with a 5:30 AM hike on Wednesday prior to the con starting in earnest on Thursday. About 17 of us met in the lobby and carpooled to a site near Dillon.

(I’ll tweet various things during the week, and try to give you different photos here than there.)

This was a great way to start the con, as the drive was around 90 minutes and it gave you ripe conditions to make new friends and get to know one another- in my case Bev, Uli, and a friend who is in town for the week, but not for the con.

Afterwards, we went to a nearby town for a group breakfast, and the shop included 7 types on croissants.

It was a gentle “hike” due to elevation acclimation concerns, but we still ventured up to the continental divide on our way back to Denver.

I had left my jacket at Edward’s the night before, but it wasn’t as cold as I feared as skiers went by.

That’s another thing, a pre-pre-con was available for the asking at Edward’s house the night before- play some games, have some comraderie, help pack up games to constitute the con’s library. Small con. It’s an all hands on deck type situation.

As I’ve said before, one of the things I value in cons is the baking generosity of strangers, and I’ve heard rumors of quite a bit of cookies coming. In addition to water stations, I also understand that there’ll be coffee stations. Small cons.

Speaking of food, @OpinionatedEaters break:

Russian House #1. I spent a few days before the con visiting family north of San Francisco, and we made a few interesting stops. One was this Russian restaurant on the Russian River. The mission of the restaurant is initiating discussions and conversations between cultures, and part of this mission is through puzzles and games. Part of it is through a name-your-own-price buffet.

A pot of soup, some nice bread, a pot of sausage and cabbage, a pot of a beet concoction, a pot of some buckwheat salad, and some sort of eggy/poppyseed crepe. There was no suggested price, just a pot by the door to leave whatever money you felt appropriate when you leave. (If I ever ran a small board game convention, that would also be my pricing model.)

On our table was a brochure about a local member of the Russian community and some puzzles he had designed, and there were flyers near the door advertising open houses of his work, but I didn’t see any around, and there were sufficient language difficulties that I wasn’t able to find out more from the staff.

They did have this large version of Perplexus, and a gorgeous view of the Russian River.

This evening there was an informal gathering at a local pub (and not the one with a similar name that isn’t open yet that I erroneously drove to) where I ran into Rand who I was looking for, as I’d heard he had some Japanese titles I was hoping to play, including MetroX which I had heard good things about from Lorna.

MetroX is a Flip ‘n Write which plays any number of players. For most cards, you pick one train line, and mark something in that row, typically a series of circles, sometimes a number. Each row can only be used a limited number of times, but as the lines intersect, you may be able to tangentially mark additional spaces- though most (but not all) number cards force you to stop marking once you reach a space which is already marked. You earn points for completed color lines, and numbers written at certain intersections, and lose points for unmarked boxes.

It is the tangled mess that it looks like, and that the Tokyo metro has the reputation of being, and that’s why it is great. Picking which line to use each turn is quite tricky. This probably won’t be the last time I play it this week.

After teaching and playing Tricks of the Rails, I drove some folks back to the hotel, and got to hear Dave’s stories of his vegetable oil powered cars, and the time he filled it with lavender oil.

I taught and played Ganz Schon Clever, and then ran into Rand again and we sat down to play Botanical Lab.

What we played was something, but wasn’t what the designer had written in the rules, so I’ll reserve most comments until I play correctly. It’s a deck building game about plant experiments.

After a few games of Illusion, we called it a night.

For a con that doesn’t start until tomorrow, I can’t believe what a full day this felt like. I’m excited to see what this week brings as I’m somewhat out of my element: a much smaller con; I knew almost no one attending (until today); and I have scheduled more games than I normally would.

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1 Response to HeavyCon: Day Zero

  1. @mangozoid says:

    Amazing scenery – looking forward to reading future instalments… ;-)

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