Monday, November 19, 2007

BGG.con 5 - Pirates and Podiums


Shabbat was fairly quiet. Good food at hosts and shul. I played a few hands of Bridge with my friend David Friday evening, each of us taking two hands.

Saturday Gaming

Sat I arrived back at BGG.con at 8 pm or so, just a tad early to start manning the booth for pirate card entries, so I joined a game of Mexica, one of the three "mask" action point games by Kramer. It was good, just as good as the other games. For some strange reason, I haven't gotten either Torres or Tikal to the table in my game group, so I'm a little wary of buying this one, even though I like it as well as Tikal.

Pirate Math

At 9ish I headed up to the reception counter to start collecting sets of pirate cards for the pirate game, and people began coming in a steady stream. Not only that, I found out that there was already a box of entries already filling up from the morning.

People were really nice and said they enjoyed it, thanked me for running it, and so on. Apparently I had missed out on scenes over shabbat, when people began to take the game seriously. There were people collecting pools of cards and wheeling and dealing, just like I wanted. I'm sorry I missed it.

At 10:00 entry was closed, and I ended up with 54 entries. To my surprise, over half included special cards called Pirate Attacks, which, owing to a feedback system of that mechanic, meant that the best Pirate Attack entries were likely to win. And that's what happened for four out of the five winning values. The fifth one was won by a straight set entry, beating out even the Pirate Attack value in that slot.

I spent the next 2.5 to 3 hours calculating the relevant values on each card, then the number values for Pirate Attacks, and then the results of the Pirate Attacks. In the end, we had five our winners.

Pirates and Podiums

The next day at noon I and Scott announced the results. Each winner won Command and Colors and its expansion in a nice set. Sweet. I had to stand in front of the room with a microphone to do this. This doesn't frighten me, but I really don't have a commanding speaking presence.

I was pleased with the way it turned out. It could have fallen flat altogether, or been horribly unbalanced. but it gave some people a good time and some extra socializing, which was the main point.

Sunday Gaming

Sunday morning I played Hamburgum, a province building game from Rio Grande. The game was pretty good for about 2/3 of the game, while the remaining 1/3 was somewhat dull, as only one set of tasks remained to be done and a whole lot of endless cycling to do it.

I played half a game of Lumberjack, an abstract with fancy wooden pieces in a specifically stacked style. Points only mattered with which pieces you took when and when you choose to score them, but the other players had a good time building towers with the pieces. Seemed straightforward and ok, but nothing special.

I badly lost a game of Yinsh to Aaron Fuegi. Then he taught me Knockabout, which I enjoyed. It's a lot like Abalone, but the variable nature of dice pieces that roll strength each time they're moved makes a less rote style of play and gives more tactical interest.

Last I finally managed to pin down Coldfoot and some others for a game. With only an hour, we played a game of Oh Hell. Brian loves Oh Hell, too, even though nearly every rule he plays with is different from the ruleset I know. Truth be told, either ruleset produces a nearly identical game.

Return Journey

I met a family from BGG.con at the airport and we played a game of It's Alive, which I kept in my backpack for just such an occasion.

Airport security was just as stupid as usual. One line for hundreds of people, still checking shoes and liquids without even casually determining which people are a waste of time to check.

I ended up having to throw out a water bottle. This was after I went through security and they discovered it in my backpack. I even drank out of it to show them it was water, but they told me that I wasn't allowed to drink from it once I had gone through security with it. If I wanted to drink the water, I would have to go back through security again. Otherwise I could throw it out.


When I arrived in Toronto, I discovered my bag of games opened and spilling forth contents on the luggage carousel. I managed to collect most of the contents, waited for the carousel to go around again, and then collected a few more pieces on the return. I hope I got everything.

And last but not least, owing to carrying two large bags home by subway, I cut my head open on an overhead bar on the subway trying to hoist the bag onto my shoulder, and had to fend off two people who wanted to take me to the hospital when they saw blood running down my face. It was a simple cut, and head wounds just bleed a lot for a little bit. I wasn't feeling dizzy or anything. I just wanted to go home.


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