It was day two, which featured more hotel exploring, more bbq, and the arrival of new friends, some of whom I knew were coming, and some who I hadn’t seen in years, and didn’t know when I’d see again.
Day Two of BGGCON is when the exhibitor hall opens. At the new hotel, the 2 vendor halls have merged into 1, and other vendors not previously present there (such as boardgametables.com) were also there.
They also kept a few booths for smaller publishers to exhibit for half days, and one of those was my only intended purchase, Lords of the Chords, a set collecting game about music theory and puns.
It wasn’t for me, but rather something I was picking up for a good friend who had something come up at the last minute, and for whom that game description is inexplicably perfect. Unfortunately, Jonathan didn’t have any copies for sale, but he was offering a convention specific promo code to get free shipping from his website.
Up next was, well, lunch. It might seem early, and it was, but Jeff, my trusted source of hot food tips, had a recommendation for a place that wasn’t to be missed, and is essentially open 10:30-2:00 on Thursdays and Fridays. Two PM.
I ran into Jeff in the morning and we recapped Pecan Lodge and I confirmed that this other place, Cattleack, was worth the drive and any wait. It was,a he strongly assured me, and urged me to go then, but it was not even 10 yet!
I walked the halls for a bit to find any friend that was up for a preposterous early lunch and ran into Kimberley and Andrew finishing the new English Chunnel game, and Andrew was in.
One confused 40 minute ride-sharing trip later (as our driver thought he was picking up an Uber passenger, but had accepted my Lyft request), we were there, in a nondescript office park.
As we got out of the car, I saw my friends Renee and Nathan leaving, and felt reassured we had come to the right place, as my tastes in games and food seems to always align with the two of them and their friends.
They assured us the beef rib was the thing to order, and, well, there had been little chance I’d order anything else. But would there be one left?
As you waited in line, there was a helpful concierge of sorts there to answer your questions, and in three places a pen and paper list of what was sold out for the day. When we arrived at around 11:30, they were out of burnt ends and pork steak for the day, and by the time we left, the list would extend to at least 6 different meats and 1 side.
I didn’t get his name, but the concierge was excellent, giving us tips on what to order, information on prep (such as the banana pudding that takes 3 days to prepare), and a general timeline of when different items sell out. He put our odds of getting a beef rib from where we were in line at 60/40, and, well:
The beef ribs clocked in at around 2 lbs each and I grabbed one of their sausages, a garlic andouille.
As much as I have an eternal and genetic sweet tooth, several beef ribs from around Dallas top most everything else for most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. I just said yesterday that in most circumstances I can’t or won’t assign rankings or superlatives to things, but wow! This was exceptional and left us both speechless. The sausage was fine, but the rib was a showstopper.
I’ll also add, that, as usual, it wasn’t just about the food, just as the con isn’t just about the games. Heck, at this point in the day I hadn’t played any games. Taking the time out to relax was nice, and a more distant trip than necessary wasn’t really a hindrance if you can have nice conversation and some time to decompress, so I’m grateful to Andrew for joining me and our conversations along the way.
I put that separator bar there, but I suppose this @OpinionatedEaters break isn’t quite over, as one of my first stops when I got back was to find Rand who had stopped to pick up some breakfast for folks and had grabbed me a pastry.
He was at the Winsome Day that our friend Travis and a few others put on, and that meant a chance to explore outside of the mail gaming hall and into the hotel’s breakout rooms that were available. The rooms are somewhat limited as to availability, as they’ve been reserved for events, such as my Not Hot Games Room on Saturday night, but there are unscheduled hours too.
Hey, windows! The hotel is very nice, but not without its issues, and one of those is cellphone reception and wifi. Both are spotty, but these nice 2nd floor breakout rooms have nice windows, lighting, and reception to boot!
Despite what you might find from my RollingCon recaps, I’m not much of a Winsome fan, but was delighted when I got there to find that Jac had borrowed the Loot of Lima prototype from Chad at boardgametables.com.
If you aren’t familiar, it’s an upcoming adaptation of our own Larry Levy’s Deduce or Die, a well regarded and difficult deduction game. It is currently on Kickstarter, but before you roll your eyes too much, Chad wasn’t promoting this and we had to insist he let us borrow the prototype, no matter how rough, to play. I’ve played Deduce or Die and knew I wanted to try this.
It’s a deduction game where the players set the two dials on the map to different directions, choosing 2 results from 3 die rolls. They then ask an opponent for how many tokens they have in the range. Thematically, there is treasure burried in 2 locations on the island, and the goal is to find which 2. Tokens for the other locations have been distributed to the players, and it is these tokens that you are seeking and giving information about. When you choose the directions, you can also ask in either way: SE to W, or W to SE, for example.
The rules are a svelte 4 pages, and the game keeps all of the parts I love from Deduce or Die, and removes one end game feature that I wanted to be more elegant (for those that know DoD, you don’t need to subtract the two cards and find that card’s location).
The other players? Wanted to play something easy like 18xx to give their brain a rest afterwards! It’s a thinker, and I really enjoy it.
(Despite my photos, I do play games with people besides Smoox, but if you have a chance, he’s one of my favorite folks to play games with and almost always down for anything.)
One recent train themed game I thought I might want to try, but hadn’t had a chance to, was Rail Pass, but as I wandered the halls, I found Ross and some friends playing and joined them for a second round.
If you’re not familiar, it’s a real time cooperative game where you are trying to deliver cubes to the correct station. Players start with two trains, of different lengths and a few conductors to drive the train. There are various restrictions, such as how far certain color conductors can move, sounds you must make to pass a train, and which cubes can be loaded. Players are furiosuly passing trains, with their hands full and increasingly urgent “choo choo!”s. It was a hoot.
It was mostly a prototype day, as along with Loot of Lima above, I played another round of the Mini Rails sequel and my friend Daniel’s trick taking game, Reapers.
Along those lines, I actually started the draft for today’s post last night by writing the following recap of the rules for Cine Write and Trade, from a demo copy provided by the publisher at Essen.
It’s a screenwriting themed word game of sorts. In the game there will be clue giving and word guessing like you might expect, but nothing really happens where you think it might (which is both, what made me interested in trying it when they offered, and what made me want to write a rules summary first, to help internalize a teach in a few minutes.)
The game has a deck of cards that each show 4 words on them, and these are the “book cards”. The 4 words that a player will keep secret and the other players need to guess will be chosen by each player from these cards, and afterwards, the cards that show the choices will be face up in a grid on the table. You know that a player has a word from each card, but other than you own, you don’t know who had which card, or what word from that card.
Rather than the person that knows the words giving clues, the people who want to guess the words try their hand at what could be good clues. Each round starts with a draft that will lead to this word selection.
The draft is of blank dry erase cards that allow the player to write either a verb, noun, or adjective, depending upon the card chosen. Once each player has 4 cards, in a standard take one and pass fashion, they write a word on each card. The cards are simultaneously put up for sale and will be auctioned off in a traditional style.
Players then attempt to guess other players’ words. The clue cards that players have purchased at auction are assigned to a specific slot which corresponds to the word the clue leads to, and if another player guesses correctly, the amount of points awarded to the player whose word it was is related to the amount of clues.
Thematically, the guessers are requesting screenplays in certain topics. The players have chosen their words based upon the screenplay they’re writing and then try to tweak their screenplay so that it’s what the studio wants. If the studio likes it (tries to guess the word), then they pay the screenwriter. If the movie is a success (the player guesses correctly), the writer earns points, and royalties at the end of each round! After 4 rounds, the player with the most points (coins, correct guesses, and points for having your words guesses) wins!
It is…rough around the edges. That said, the central mechanism, and the deduction of both what clues to write and what words to guess was good. I’ll be playing it more, chatting with the designer, and get back to you later with a more thorough discussion.
I struggle to go to bed at BGGCON, and tonight was no exception, as I played my 2nd and 3rd rounds of Psychic Pizza Deliverers Go To The Ghost Town this week. Another brilliant deduction game, as you can tell from the intense looks on my roommates’ faces below. We even had an audience engaged, and who would occasionally take a few steps back to discuss what was happening out of ear shot and then return.
Today will be the puzzle hunt and Rikki’s horse racing game, and I can’t wait.
Two days to go!