Monday, November 07, 2005

BGG.con: Sunday, Nov 06

1. Con Ends

Woke up in a hotel. Mmmmmm.

After waking up, I couldn't find my overcoat, the one that I had brought from Israel, not the jacket that I had lost. Took me about an hour to find it. It was near the table on which I left my game prototype.

KC from Sunriver Games and I finally sat down to explore the rules that he had tried out for my game design. I found out why I had not received an enthusiastic initial response from them, and that is because they hadn't known that the player mats go behind the player screens along with the money. Well, that changes a lot. Now they can retest with the right rules. Hopefully I sparked enough interest in them to do so. We also discussed numerous other possibilities as far as directions to proceed.

Sigh! No contract in my hand, yet! The travails of being an unpublished designer! Actually, come to think of it, since people bought my prototypes, I can call myself a self-published designer, I suppose.

Sunday ...

I woke up to Through the Desert (I taught). The two experienced players, myself and Michael, lost out to the newbie, Roger, since we were fighting over the length of our white camel train while Roger was scoring points. 93/86(me)/75

Over breakfast I finally got to play Alhambra with the Sunriver group. In my first game, I managed to kill my wall development, leaving myself only the ability to expand westwards, which made collecting and placing tiles difficult.

Jeff 8 first/39 second/83 final
Jim 11/18/42
KC 6/24/62
Chris 3/30/84
me 9/17/48
Rita 5/30/85 winner

Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers - I taught, also. I can't remember the names, sorry. I only know that I beat them almost a full circuit. They did pretty well, anyway, one of them stealing an entire water system (17) from me very neatly. I had my own little contained and sweet field for 20 points. We played with two of my unofficial rules (don't worry, I told them about the real rules): Aurochs worth 4, Sacred Stone equivalent to two meeples.

Then I convinced them to try my game, along with some others. I won, and more happy people.

I played a Crokinole game with Chris Tripper, a nice local Dallas guy, and just eked out a victory, still not sure how.

And then my game again, finally demonstrating the correct rules to KC. Then we tried a variation with different tile distribution and scoring that he had come up with.

And that was about it.

Games acquired: Primordial Soup (door prize), game from Dancing Eggplant Games (door prize), Modern Art (traded for), China Moon (traded for), Domaine, Yinsh, Alhambra, Havoc (bought).

Really wish I could have gotten: Age of Steam (not at $60), Power Grid, Caylus, San Marco, lots of others...

Props to everyone, high and low. Dallas people: Chris, Anye, Eran, Jared, Jeff, Aldie, Derk, all assistants, etc. Thanks again.

2. The return. A new beginning.

I am going to be spending a week in northern New Jersey and New York City. I am looking to game for the next week. Be in touch if you are available, especially Wed or Thurs nights.

For those of you who "enjoyed" my trip into Dallas, sit back and relax.

The trip to the airport was uneventful, except that some people went by airport shuttle which was supposed to take you around the city first and then cost $16, while we went direct and paid $13 including tip. See, life isn't fair this way. If you could only guarantee that paying more equaled better service/quality, we would at least have a guide to live by. Why is it so difficult?

Dropped off at Continental, and there is this little check in booth at car level for luggage, but it wasn't staffed, so I dragged the cases upstairs. Luckily I have a Continental flier pass number so check in was quick. Kosher food, check.

Getting through security was not.

First was the line for about half the length of the airport to go through security. Now, I live in Israel, and Israel has some crack security. For the few troublemakers who are not Arab terrorists, and there are some, they can usually nail them with direct questioning and the like. The Arab population is subject to intense security. The result, of course, is that Arabs don't try anything at the airport, because the odds are unlikely that they will succeed, which of course means that the Arabs who suffer are the ones that aren't trying anything. So it goes.

So after I finally get to the security, I see the most ridiculous things. People taking off shoes! Like, a metal detector isn't going to catch a shoe bomb? Taking off belts and struggling to hold up their pants. Oh give me a bloody break.

And wouldn't you know it? Little old scary me is pulled out for intense security. When they start the process, my eyes are laughing at them and I tell them that Israel security is pretty tight and not like this at all. They are curious as to how it works and they chat with me as we're doing this.

They X-ray my wallet. They prod my socks. He gives me a pass over with the metal detectors and then hugs my body completely, practically lifting my off my feet. After about 30 seconds of hugging, I want to know if he actually knows what a bomb looks like, because it seems highly unlikely that he does, or he would have known that I don't have one a while ago.


Nothing kosher in the airport, except for some cookies. Now, I get to my gate and see that the 3:15 flight is delayed and it's already 4:15. My plane is supposed to leave at 5:15. I ask what is the status of my flight and she tells me that I should board this one, because the next one will also be delayed, and this one should be leaving by 5:00 . I wonder if all passengers on the 5:15 are being told this, or if I'm just lucky. New flight number: 1138 - an auspicious number for a gamer (Google it).

Naturally, I worry about the luggage and the Kosher food. Luggage will get there. OK. Food? Nope, according to the attendant, there is no Kosher food available on Continental domestic flights, period. Yes, they server dinner, but no, no special meals. But didn't they just tell me that I had Kosher food fifteen minutes ago? Must have been looking at my Newark to Tel Aviv ticket.

Great. No meal. Luckily I have the backup food. But ... why?

So we board at 4:30. I ask the guy next to me if I can use his phone to inform my friend in New Jersey that the flight number has changed.

"No, you can't."


Guy in front of him hands me his phone and says, "Knock yourself out."

At 5:35 we take off. Something about storms over Pennsylvania. I'm seated at the back of the plane in a seat that doesn't recline, and something about it is absolutely killing my back. I strategically place pillows and blankets to try to numb the pain. No music, no video.

Meanwhile we are delayed some more and circle over Washington DC, making circles in the air through highly turbulent weather. After an hour delay, we can approach Newark. Far out the side of the plane you can see white puffy clouds, while closer to the plane on either side are these black glowing clouds. Which we're descending into. We arrive, safely, in Newark at 10:10 .

Belt on the luggage conveyor is broken. Out of the airport at 11:20.

At least my friend was still waiting for me to pick me up.


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