For more information, see my Purple Pawn entry.
Games I saw a lot of, so far: Tichu, Race for the Galaxy, Endeavor. Mischa brought me kosher food from New Orleans. Yum.
After helping set up, I played some games:
Peeper: Ted Alspach demonstrated this ladder-climbing game from Korea for me, Rick Thornquist, and Marshall. The game uses tiles, instead of cards, and his version was a deluxe version. Tiles go from 1 to 15 in four colors, as well as four X tiles, which are either 16s (when played alone), or jokers when played with something else. Valid plays are a single tile, pairs, ladder pairs, or straights of three tiles or more. Three and four of a kinds are bombs, which must be played on your turn.
Each round, each player scores one negative point for each tile left in his rack after someone goes out. We played to 50 points, and I won handily.
Tarantel Tango: Ted then demonstrated this new game from Essen. It is a silly party game. Each card has one or two animals and zero, one, or two spiders. You have to play your cards quickly, making the sound of the previously played animal and playing your card on the correct pile. Various kinks thrown in for good measure. A barrel of laughs for those that enjoy this sort of thing.
Automobile: I was hankering to play this and managed to find a spot in a five player game. It's a Martin Wallace game, what more needs to be said? A lot of worker placement, tight money, player interaction, painful results for miscalculation - but not TOO painful. With a scant three actions each round, in four rounds, you need to build factories, produce cars, and either get them to distributors or meet the market demand. As players buy plants, older ones become obsolete.
Tight, fun, dry.