BGGCON Day Two (2018)

This was a busy day.

I started off this morning teaching a few titles in the hot games area, as I will also be doing Friday and Saturday.  I usually request an 8 AM shift there, and this morning was one of the largest crowds I’ve seen waiting for the air walls to be opened.  Once inside, each table was consistently filled, outside of Fuji, KeyFlow, and Root.

This morning was also the first replacement, with one of the copies of Architects of the Western Kingdom being replaced by Captains of the Gulf.

I’ve mentioned before that I love the food generosity of strangers at bggcon, so your first OpinionatedEaters break today is this coconut donut from Revolution Donuts. A table of folks had a box with an open lid beckoning to passerbys.

I’m not going to put a lot of this in order today, so not the first thing I did, but the first thing I’m going to talk about is this event of Rikki’s that I went to where he was exhibiting some of the games and technology that his company MeetMax develops.  

We arrived early and helped him set up five screens around the room – one main screen, and four spread out.  Each screen had a long plastic contraption in front of it with A, B, C, and D colored circles, and the games would involve placing an RFID card against those locations.

We played a large variety of games – from speed games that felt like live action Overcooked, and certainly checked off my cardio for the day, to city building games.  We stayed through out the 90 minute session, and helped the next group reach a quorum to enjoy it also. Rikki has an infectious passion for large group games and is on a mission.  These were a lot of fun.

When Rikki was finished with us for set up purposes, but not ready for the event, Rand, Lee, and I went into the hallway to play a game of Hiktorune. I’ve included a video of part of the gameplay below, but I’m not going to talk about it at length today.  (I can’t figure out how to convince WordPress not to include the first tweet below, so you’ll also get a little coverage of fellow OGer Jeffery Allers new game Pandoria.)

The dealer halls also opened today. Some folks were already in line when I came downstairs with my salad this morning, despite the hall not opening for another 150 minutes. When it was open later, I was glad to be able to grab Belratti for some friends, as it is now carried in the Geekstore. 

But I was quite excited to see Narabi available for demo! In Narabi, players each have three cards in front of them and are cooperatively trying to arrange then in order, clockwise or counter-clockwise.  The game comes with sleeves, and a set of cards that define how each number card can be moved.

These are paired up differently each game. On your turn, you look at the restrictions on your cards, and then make a legal swap (it only needs to be legal on your end). You are allowed to discuss with your fellow players, but cannot explicitly describe the rule.

I loved my first game! There’s a chance that after a certain number of plays I will be finished with it (and that’s OK), but I may not be, and I don’t know if that number is 4 or 40, but for now, I look forward to picking up a copy in “early 2019”.

As I stated yesterday, I’ve been trying to arrange my VFM exchanges outside of the normal time, and, well, this is why.

I did stop by to tell Tim how much I appreciated the Fortran game and how much love it was getting already, both yesterday, and today.

Today was also my friend Travis’ Winsome game day, where some folks reserve a conference room, bring nearly all the games (excluding PanzerZug and one other I don’t recall), and play most of the day. (If you’re looking for coverage of tonight’s RPG, we cancelled due one of the player’s not feeling well.) The clamshells were neatly organized into two boxes, and there was a handy chart showing player counts, ratings, release year, and whatnot.

I nearly played Dutch InterCity which I’ve wanted to play for years (and this chart said was uncut!), but we were unable to. There was a specific rule question that we had and were unable to resolve before I had a prior obligation. (It was cut now, by the way, though only just that morning!) As we worked on the rules, I was surprised to see a Winsome order form in the box, as well as that at the time, credit card was an acceptable form of payment.  I look forward to joining them next year to give it a shot.

“Next”, which is not to say temporally in my day, but rather the thing I’m going to talk about next, is Helltoken: Remote Control Robot. In this game, a mad scientist has created a “World Conquest Kit” and there are two rival factions who want to purchase it, but he only has one oddly-reminiscient-of-the-SdJ-poppel doomsday weapon. He decides to give them both remote controls to it.  You win by either sufficiently damaging your opponents bases, or by entering the password which disables the other player’s remote. 

What’s the password?  Well, it’s the location of your bases – which you don’t know as the game starts. OK, at this point the theme sort of falls apart (“At this point!”)

Anyway, it’s a deduction game that is somewhat analogous to 2-3 people playing Battleship on the same grid, but none of them know where their own ships are.  The attacks are run through a combination of a die roll and a deck of attack cards and these also bring a lot of the fun to the game.  I played twice today, and like it more with 3 than with 2. I do fear that it is too weighted towards intentionally not attacking your opponents so as not to give them information, but two things: (1) that does still give them information and (2) I think that may be an un-nuanced view which overlooks more creative strategies.

Is that too much game talk? Food break? Uli had requested pictures of happenings at bggcon, and so I sent him this crate of pizza that one room had ordered.  (There was no pizza remaining at the time of this photo.)

I was also able to try Lift Off tonight.  It was one 2 player game, and so I don’t want to give too many thoughts, but I enjoyed it. The art and theme are obviously excellent, and the rulebook (for which the current English translation is unofficial), was excellently laid out and very clear to learn from. 

In the game, you’re trying to launch space missions and help build and international space station. The games actions are run through the missions that you launch into space, and a deck of specialist cards.  The specialist cards have one or two actions you can perform, a null action, and grant something specific on your turn.  Each round the players draft 3 cards in the usual manner and will play two of them.

Afterwards, the players draw possible space missions from a deck of cards, and see if they can launch their mission into space, needing to meet quite a few requirements regarding technology levels, cash, and payload capacity.

The game ends after 8 rounds, and the most points wins. 

My short view is that it was pleasant and I’d be happy to play again, though I doubt I will suggest it.

There are a few new titles in the dexterity area this year, and one was a new Steffen-Spiele title, Takla.  I perhaps used too many blocks that Kimberly and Alex would have wanted here, but the goal is to build a structure that touches the red ball without touching the base past a set point.

That may have sounded dry and not properly reflect how much fun we had, so here’s Kimberly’s photo:

Here’s something I played: Zankapfel. It is a 1993 release from VSK-Erwachsenenspiele and designer Ralf zur Linde. It’s a stock market game of sorts regarding different varieties of apples. (Fun fact: years ago I wrote apple reviews.)

The grid on the game board represents the prices of the various apples: yellow on one side, red on the other, and the prices go in opposite directions; same for blue and green on the other sides. The position of the mayor pawn determines the current selling price of the apples.  

Each round, players will either play one card face down, representing the type of apple they wish to sell, or purchase the face up card from the deck, with the cost being half the market value.  One each player has taken one of these actions, the start player moves the Apple Mayor to an adjacent space with a red disk. Any of the face down apple cards are now revealed.  If a player was the only one to reveal that color, it sells for the current price.  If more than one player played a color, there is a mechanism for resolving ties, but only one player will be able to sell that apple.

The game ends when either one player has completed a lap around the board, a certain number of victory points, or the Apple Mayor has visited each of the locations in the market.

It wasn’t great, but I’m certainly glad I played it.

If you’re still reading, first, thank you for that. Second, uh, here’s the room I reserved for the Not Hot Games Room this year, as I’ve had a number of questions about that the last few days.

It’s also still Planksgiving, and since part of that is saying what you’re grateful for, tonight’s was being able to come here and spend time with my friends, relax, and occasionally play a game.

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