I had honestly hoped to write up my experience from Thursday as it happened, but due to some phone issues – mostly personal problems regarding my inability to correctly charge my phone in the car on the way up… – it had to wait for today…
The Buckeye Game Fest is a fantastic local convention hosted each fall in Columbus OH. Per their promotional text: BGF is “central Ohio’s friendliest board gaming convention. Best know for our open board gaming space, and featuring the Columbus Area Boardgaming Society’s extensive game library, this convention has been a local favorite for nearly two decades. Check out a game you’ve been dying to play or bring your own. Our main gaming hall doors and tables stay open the whole convention. “
Having gone to this convention probably at least ten times, I can definitely confirm that it is a very friendly and welcoming place, and one of my favorite places to come and just play games.
The convention is centrally located in downtown Columbus, in the Hyatt Regency which is connected to the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Plenty of parking, and the group rate for the hotel was darn good for a downtown hotel. If I had stayed for multiple nights, I would have been glad to have had a room upstairs so I could stay up late and game through the night!
For many, one of the huge advantages of BGF is the access to the CABS library. Hundreds of games are available to be borrowed and played for free. Access to the library is included as part of the BGF badge. In addition, there was a Play to Win table – here, you could sign up with a group to play one of the shrinkwrapped games… and the winner of that game got to take the copy of the game home with them as a reward! Not a bad way to experience a new game…
The (real) guest of honor at the convention was Rodney Smith – who you likely know from the Watch It Played videos on BGG. Rodney is a great guy, and never a discouraging word was heard from our ultra-polite Canadian game guru. There were always folks around his table getting a chance to chat with this celebrity or get in a quick game with him.
and, as you might expect from his videos, Rodney is just as good as explaining a game in person as he is on his videos!
For much of the morning, I played prototypes and caught up with some friends, both old and new. I can’t really show you many pictures of the games that I played due to their unpublished status, but I will say that I’m always impressed with the ideas that I see coming out of the Columbus area. There are a lot of published designers in the local group, and there is a critical mass of interested, intelligent, motivated designers here that help each other improve and refine their game ideas.
I suppose I can post a teaser picture of a game that I’m working on currently
Anyways, prototypes and discussions all morning quickly morphed into lunchtime. Normally, I go to the North Market which is across the street, but this time, I was talked into a pizza joint on the block closer… Gotta love those pizza names
Upon my return to the game room, I was quickly dragged into a game of Letter Jam – the word/party game from Czech Games. My initial play of this was admittedly lukewarm, but I have really grown to love this one. This was my first game where we played with 6-letter hidden words, and it was a tight affair which we managed to win in the end. Highly recommended!
Next up was the new Adventure game from Kosmos. This one really felt like more of an interactive fiction event than a game, but we haven’t finished it yet. We have only played though the first of three chapters, so it’s too early to really make much of a statement about it. But, I’m still interested in seeing how the story turns out – so that’s a good thing!
One of the things that I love about conventions like this is that all I do is play games. And though I certainly have game genres which I prefer, I’m usually happy to try anything once. My good friend Tyler had literally picked up this game off his doorstep as he was leaving for the con, and before you knew it, we were playing Sabotage – a “deduction” game from the Burgle Bros guy.
Here, players are in two teams. One team is trying to sabotage the death rays in the secret lair while the other team is just trying to hit the saboteurs. Each team plays on one side of the screen, and there’s lots of hidden information. The game is a mix of deduction and some good-ol-fashioned guessing. Not usually the sort of game that I love, but I had a great time playing this one, and I would be happy to try it again in the future.
Another interesting find for me is that there is more than one Benndorf game that I like… Luke (who is our OG Benndorf fan-boi), had an entire bag filled with Benndorf games. And maybe a signed 8×10 glossy photo of Benndorf. Anyways, we played a cute card game called Ohanami where you try to collect the right cards at the right time. You only have three stacks to play one, and you can only play cards at the top or bottom of each stack (and of course, the stacks must stay in numerical order).
Finally, time to get my games ready for the consignment sale – this is perhaps my favorite event of the whole convention… I just love the way that they run the sale at the BGF. You use their nifty self-populating pdf to list your games.
Items may have as many as three different prices: one for each hour the store is open.
Wave 1: 9 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
Wave 2: 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Wave 3: 11:10 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.
The costs are quite reasonable – $1 to sell, and then 10% of the final sale price. If you don’t sell a game, you pay a $0.25 fee (that’s 0.28 canadian) as your punishment. I have found that his sale is set up well. I can try to get a good price in the first hour if it’s something in high demand… and well, lets just say that there are a lot of $1 or $2 games for Wave 3 – ensuring that I don’t have to bring games back home with me! I think that this sale works out great for everyone – I can clean out the gameroom a bit, and all of the buyers can take home a used game at a price point that they are comfortable with.
Overall, this convention is well run, and I love the online registration that they use now (thru tabletop.events). The full weekend badge is only $50, and with access to the library, at least one new game as a door prize, and the chance to get a Play-and-win game – there is plenty of value here for your gaming dollar. This remains one of the conventions I look forward to each year, and I will surely be back in 2020. (With any luck, I’ll make a similar post to this early in the summer to remind folks of the dates of the next BGF in case you are able to join us here in the Buckeye State for some friendly games).
Until your next appointment,
The Gaming Doctor