Friday, November 11, 2005

BGG.con: Thursday, Nov 10

Warning: Actual game content today. Woo hoo!

I started off not knowing exactly what I would be doing: hang out with my friend in NYC or try to get to the park again. The weather was better than yesterday, but still pretty cold. And I was feeling the beginnings of a cold. Or something.

Turned out that my friend wasn't really available, so I decided to head for Flat Rock Brooks. It's a beautiful place, although small. Unfortunately, it really was pretty cold. By the time I had walked around for twenty minutes I was starting to feel like I had picked the wrong day. I decided to head back to the info station/greenhouse when I ran into a ranger. He was carrying a vorpal sword of tree felling and lion roaring as well as a handaxe and warhammer. I rushed back to the station - if a ranger needs to be that heavily armed in an area, that's an area I don't want to be in. He seemed pretty calm, however.

At the station I read and slept before making it off to NYC for dinner and then to Neutral Ground for games. Steef, who organizes the board game meetups on sent out a call, although, since another meeting is scheduled for tomorrow (Friday) evening, he wasn't sure how many would come. Steef told me he was also a religious Jew, so I figured I could just look for the kippah.

When I arrived at Neutral Ground, it was packed with CCGers, including some Magic players. These guys were interested in trading, not buying, although CCGers only want current stuff, mostly. I found one who was willing to buy, named Dan. I gave him an Armageddon, two Swords to Plowshares, and a Merchant Scroll in exchange for two booster packs (about $8 with tax). Since I know nothing about nothing when it comes to trading, I can only hope I didn't screw up too badly. Other people around the table seemed to think this was ok.

Since I was waiting for Steef to show up, Dan and I played my game, twice. He enjoyed it, although he listed a few problems, all of which had to do with the substance of the prototype rather than the game itself.

After playing with Dan, I looked around for a kippah and saw one, but it turned out to be someone else involved in a Shadowfist game. Then I spotted Steef. Since I had gone out for a hike, I didn't have any games on me other than my game prototype. Steef had brought only Citadels, which is not my favorite game, but I was willing to play.

Of course, I started him off with my game, which he liked. It works very well two players, but even I can see that it plays even better with three or four. Steef actually won, which is pretty good for a first timer.

We set up to play Citadels when Jan (a guy) showed up. So we played three players. Steef had the expansion set which apparently adds almost nothing to the game except some new purple buildings. As usual, I felt like I had become a magnet for the assassin. I tried picking my roles at random, but that didn't seem to help. To sum up, Jan won with 35 to my 27, and I was happy to know that I needn't regret having traded the game.

Jan had brought Shadows Over Camelot, but we deferred so that I could teach my game with three players. Man, was that a good idea. Jan loved it, and said that the mechanisms were great. His enthusiasm, or the fact of playing three players, also affected Steef. I won this one. When I offered to leave them a copy, Steef gave me $10 to offset the cost. They promised to play the game and send me more comments, and I hope that they do.

Another sale. Yay!

Last up was Shadows Over Camelot, my first play. As usual, I won't describe the mechanics (you can always find game descriptions on Board Game Geek). I played Galahad, Steef played Kay, and Jan played Percival. I insisted that we play with no more than 5 Loyals so that we would have at least a 50% chance of a traitor. This worked out well, as I ended up as the traitor. I played almost entirely straight, since the catapults filled up so quickly that there was little chance that we could survive, anyway.

I took Excaliber quickly, while Steef started on the grail, and then switched over and took the armor. All of us spent time going to and from the grail, but we could never quite make it all the way before despair knocked out half of our grail cards. Since I was new, I missed my first opportunity to simply fill in the last catapult on one of my turns, and by the time it came around to me again they had knocked one out. Still, there were so many quests that weren't being covered that I had little worry of the company succeeding. Eventually the Dragon swept through unopposed and that was the end of them.

A very pretty game, with lovely pieces. Some people like that, but I would be just as happy with simple cardboard pieces and a more affordable game. The cooperative concept is not really my sort of thing, but some enforced rules about what you may not communicate and the fact or possibility of a traitor makes the game interesting enough. Pretty cute. I would pick up a copy someday if I could acquire it at a reasonable cost.

It was still early, but I had to return to New Jersey and we had run out of games (short of buying them retail at the store) so we called it a night. It was a pleasure to meet Steef and Jan, and I wish them much success and happiness with their game group.


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