Monday, April 10, 2017

Granite Games Summit 2017

Granite Games Summit 2017 or G2S as it has been called is a regional board game focused convention hosting it's first multi day event in Nashua, NH - about an hour drive north of Boston, the first week of April. This weekend was home to 300-350 of like minded friends and strangers who became friends.

Until recently, I usually only attended regional cons within a short drive of my home in Ohio.  This one most closely resembled Buckeye Game Fest in Columbus in September.  The one notable difference at BGF has a gaming lending library run by the Columbus Area Boardgaming Society (CABS), who also provides the library at Origins.  The G2S library is mostly tables of games owned by local attendees with games they are willing to share above the table and their private collection, often items they are selling or trading, below.  I played several games by borrowing them this way since I flew with a small carry on bag didn't bring much with me.

I started flying to conventions when I started going to Board Game Geek con in November.  Changes in my usual convention plans this year, G2S's proximity to my birthday and the people I knew would be there, were all good excuses to fly to this one.  


Ballroom 1 of 2


My flights were a little messed up due so I wasn't able to connect in Boston with my friend Ruth, pod-caster on the 5 by, but we did connect with fellow pod-casters Eric and Bill, and soon to be new friends Molly and Mike to play our planned epic "every expansion super blinged out" game of Eclipse.  




We knew this was going to be long, but oh boy!  With breaks and changing into our fancy dress up, one of the con themes for Friday night, we were at that table for 6-7 hours.  Eric and I took a break for fancy dress Coconuts during the break.




We explored, expanded, I was exploited and then I finally exterminated the center core aliens and took the win.  It was pretty epic. The photo below is the first time Eric and I faced off in combat.  I'm the pink space thingies.




Even though it was pretty late my buddies asked me to teach Terraforming Mars, a game they know I love.  This was Eric, Dan C. Matt and myself.  I lost, and we ended up in bed at 230 or so.

Since Eric and I are on a podcast together and interact a lot on the internet, so we decided on splitting a room, which is great because you get to know someone better that way.  I don't sleep much and he got up with me and we tried out a new tile game Castles of Caledale, I brought per his request, during breakfast.  I found Dan C. and we planned to meet later.  I played a quick game of Harlem Globetrotters from 1971 w Moderator Chris, with what appeared to be plans for their show later that day.  




By then crowds started to appear and we played a favorite, Suburbia, with Ryan, Dan N., Matt and I.  I came in dead last.  Dan C. And I had played Glory to Rome before, this was our rematch with his wife joining us.  He was very close to a win when I snatched it from him.

I helped Dan C. and his wife learn Clank! But had to leave to watch the last live recording of a Flip the Table podcast.  As a long time fan of the show, and as I frequently interacted with them on social media I was excited to meet them all in person, and see the show.  It was as fun as expected.  I left with a box of donuts, a game from the vault an 10,000 points!







Eric was desperate for some "real" food.  We grabbed Kimberly, a con organizer and local, to take us someplace good.  We had a great meal, and laughs, and heard some challenges of running a con.  Kimberly admitted there were challenges with the venue and our quick and carry food options were not like they expected.  They were better than nothing, which is the case at many small cons I go to.

Returning re energized we got in a game of Worlds Fair 1893.  Then, Ryan and his wife Erin returned with Millennium Blades to teach me for my request. This was quite a handful as tired as I was, but Ryan is a good teacher and we had a good group to play with.

Eric brought some pod-casting recording equipment and several of us joining in.  Jessica and I from the show saw each other a lot but never actually got in a game, so I agreed to one more.  We scanned the library and saw Yspahan.  Our mutual friend speaks of it, um... often and I've been meaning to play so she taught Eric and I.  It was pretty fun.



I got to bed a little earlier, saw Mike and Eric at breakfast and we played HUE as my real last game of the con. I said more goodbyes and headed to the airport.






So should you go to G2S next year? 

If you are regional? Definitely, with out a doubt! It is well organized, in a nice space, great library, local food options, reasonable costs and amazing people attending.

Am I?  Probably not, unless I want to take off more time before and after to rest.  I'm typing this on the return flight and I'm pretty beat - this is a hard one for me to get to.  I played 12 games (now one was 6+ and one was 2.5 hrs), but had so much fun with those people.  I have regional cons, in fact I skipped one to go to this one.  That one is much smaller and pales by comparison.  Now take it for granite (you know I couldn't get thru this without a pun), I say this about lots of cons and end up going back...

So in general - look to your regional cons they are a blast - don't feel like you are missing out by not attending the "big cons".  No, this doesn't have the craziness of a Gen Con but it does have all the fun of Origins or BGG.

So, congratulations to the G2S organizers for their first successful multiple day event.  Thanks everyone​ for making me feel invited, special and fun to be with. 

Games Played:

  • Coconuts
  • The Harlem Globetrotters Game
  • Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure
  • World's Fair 1893
  • HUE
  • Yspahan
  • Millennium Blades
  • Suburbia
  • Castles of Caladale
  • Terraforming Mars
  • Eclipse
  • Glory to Rome



Some Friends:










Friday, March 31, 2017

The Tea Story

The Tea Story


So you shouldn’t think of people as stereotypes - like all Englishmen enjoy a spot of tea right?


Setting: Gen Con 2016


My son and I are enjoying one of our annual trips to North America’s largest annual board gaming conventions. Gen Con.  Now you have to understand the crowds - somewhere north of 50,000 people, and the size of the convention center - about 1/4 mile end to end.  We avoided the long lines of the food trucks, which are great, and had lunch at the Sushi place about a block. We had been seeing tweets all morning from our friend Paul Grogan about some challenges he was having in his demo area and he sounded really frustrated.  While at lunch I saw a tweet from our mutual friend Mike Risley, currently in Salt Lake City, asking for a tea delivery service in Indianapolis.  I responded back knowing exactly what he had in mind - “I’m on it”.  Between the restaurant and the convention center is my favorite coffee shop - smartly open 24 hours during the Con, I figured they’d have some tea.  They did and I picked up some other snacks.  Not knowing how Paul liked his tea we made it black but put some creamer in a second cup with a lid and sweeteners in a third and put it all in one of those carriers.  We headed off to the convention center on one of the most crowded days with a handful of hot tea and our own drinks, wouldn’t pass up a chance to get my own iced coffee.  We made it the ¼ mile or so and found Paul and I told him about Mike’s message and he said, quite flatly, “I don’t drink tea”.  He politely took the snacks and I thought - “well, shit - who besides my wife who is 150 miles away do I know likes tea around here???.....Ignacy!”   Stephen is always joking about him drinking tea when the go out to bars.  Crap…. Portal’s booth is on the other side deep in the exhibition hall - oh well, I like Ignacy and the tea is still hot.  We pushed our way thru the crowds, skirting along the perimeter like rats having learned this “secret” less used path before.  I arrived at the booth and Ignacy wasn’t there - but I did see Merry and Chevy.  I’d met Merry once but I know Chevy pretty well.  They told me he was off shooting a video in the BGG booth and would be back soon.  I asked Chevy to explain that I wasn’t a crazy person, which he couldn’t necessarily confirm, and explain to Merry and Ignacy when I returned why I brought them some tea and it was safe.  We left the tea and went off to the BGG booth and actually saw Ignacy finishing things up, told him what happend and he seemed to appreciate the thought.  Not sure if he ever drank the tea or not.


For the record I don’t tea or pop or alcohol any more so don’t show up with drink for me but other than coffee.

Tea route below....


Thursday, March 9, 2017

CruiseCon 2017






The short review is that CruiseCon was not what I had hoped it would be. I think the biggest issue was the cruise and not so much the con but it is hard to separate the two. 
    Cruise con was new to this ship so I think things were different than their last ship.  There was a central room with a surprisingly well stocked library with about 6 steamer trunks full of games plus lots of Floridian gamers carrying around their own bags of games they carried on board.  There was a nice card room that many folks played in and then we had a larger private space somewhere that had mixed use. We all received a huge bag of games and swag - I was a little concerned about getting it back in our luggage but I was able to remove the excess cardboard to reduce weight, bag bits and fit in my luggage where I could.  


      The cruise con attendees were a good mix of young/old, straight/gay couples and some well behaved teens.  There were somewhere in the range of 85-90 of us on the cruise - and we identified ourselves with matching name badges similar to other conventions and that helped us learn some names and recognize other gamers.  Unfortunately much of the group had been on cruises together before or were from the same gaming groups in Florida and we I found it hard to get into games.  They attempted to use a magnetic / dry erase board to write games and that worked for me to find a game of the Bloody Inn, but other times people said they would be in places and they were not.  Another family found me reading the rules to Quadropolis and taught and played a game with me, someone else found me playing solo Castles of Burgundy the Card Game and joined in for a two player game.  Opening night there was a cocktail party with party games - we played Telestrations and had fun as always.  Another night we played some party games with a fun young couple one night.



        I also think attending with my light gaming spouse also had an impact on my gaming.  There were plenty of gamers who got into big games and ran up to the buffet for a quick take away dinner, which is the kind of thing I’d do at a con alone, were as we spent time together at long dinners and events.  
          The group also organized some non-gaming events - we had large group dinners together, took a group photo on the sun deck in our t-shirts and a bunch of us partied for about an hour in the ice bar. 


              Games Played:
              • Pentaquark
              • The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game
              • Pyramid Arcade
              • The Bloody Inn
              • BUS
              • Captain Sonar (photo below)
              • Deep Sea Adventure
              • First Class: All Aboard the Orient Express
              • Ingenious
              • Pickle Letter
              • Quadropolis
              • Qwixx
              • Roll for the Galaxy
              • Smarty Party!
              • Telestrations
              • W├╝rfel Bohnanza





            Wednesday, January 4, 2017

            Old Game Tweets v2

            Inspired by a Dustin Schwartz tweet about someone needing to review older games. Although I often talk about older games, hence "Over the Hillier", on my segments on WDYPTW podcast - I decided to do some quick tweet reviews. I'll collect them here.

             

            Agricola (2007) Let's fight over the family growth space - yay!

             

            Alien Frontiers (2008) Roll dice and get your candy shaped colonies for area control on the planet. Plus I get to say my Either & Ore joke

             

            Bohnanza (1997) Funny card art, set collection w trading. So hard to keep from moving cards in your hand. Clearly Uwe's best farming game.


            Carcassonne (2000) Lots of tile laying & the home of the term meeple-all cool except those farmers layin' down on the job. +8000 expansions.

             

            Caylus (2005) Elder statesman of the worker placement and grumpy old guy cover. It's that dang moving provost that keeps messing things up!

             

            Cleopatra and the Society of Architects (2006) Amazing plastic bits, box as game parts, 1/2 cards reversed in shuffle, corruption! So much!

             

            Clue (1949) OK, there a better mystery games but this still is fun in my book. Rumors of a point system to replace roll & move interest me.

            Cyclades (2009) dudes on a map that isn't a war game - auction with awesome minis and graphics. Don't need any stinking expansions.

             


            El Grande (1995) This godfather of area control games is older than Zach in my play group but we still play it all the time. You should too!


            Guillotine (1998) - Art get's you past the macabre theme in this simple set collection game where you get to say "you look like the piss boy"


            Puerto Rico (2002) Action selection, tableau building. Ship that corn captain! A classic worth learning/playing. Except maybe the brown bits

            Race For the Galaxy (2007) Action Selection, Tableau Building, just cards in space! You can figure out those icons - I have faith in you!

             

            Nuclear War (1965) A take-that! card game with a creepy theme. More fun when there isn't a nut job with his finger on the button IRL...

             

            Seeland (2010) Who doesn't love Dutch farming games w cabbage? Rondels and tile placement plus @MikeRisley has the best taste in games.

             

            Snow Tails (2009) Mush! Mush! race your dog sled team avoiding walls, trees, avalanches and other sleds. Those turns are a bitch (dog joke)


            Stone Age (2008) Roll dice for resources to feed your people & score points-fight for space in the love hut & smell that leather dice cup.


            Suburbia (2012) Sim City turned into a board game. Best of the Bezier games keeping it simple. As always, I question need for expansion.

             

            Talisman (1983) More fun in your memory that it really is. What is better than being turned into a toad after an hour of play & losing all?


             

            Ticket to Ride (2004) Rummy type set collection to lay down some tracks that connect route cards for points.504 versions of the base I think


            Ticket To Ride the Card Game (2008) - It is garbage, no wonder I got it it in trade for such a deal. You want it?

             

            Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization (2006) love civ games, this is a great one-just cards, lots of war. I mostly play on line, & lose.



            Tobago (2009) - logic puzzle find the treasure game with awesome trucks & Easter island heads that you get to make noises when you move

            Wednesday, December 14, 2016

            Older game tweet reviews

            Inspired by a Dustin Schwartz tweet about someone needing to review older games. Although I often talk about older games, hence "Over the Hillier", on my segments on WDYPTW podcast - I decided to do some quick tweet reviews. I'll collect them here.



            Alien Frontiers (2008) Roll dice and get your candy shaped colonies for area control on the planet. Plus I get to say my Either & Ore joke





            Carcassonne (2000) Lots of tile laying & the home of the term meeple-all cool except those farmers layin' down on the job. +8000 expansions.


                Cleopatra and the Society of Architects (2006) Amazing plastic bits, box as game parts, 1/2 cards reversed in shuffle, corruption! So much!Clue (1949) OK, there a better mystery games but this still is fun in my book. Rumors of a point system to replace roll & move interest me.


              Cyclades (2009) dudes on a map that isn't a war game - auction with awesome minis and graphics. Don't need any stinking expansions.

            El Grande (1995) This godfather of area control games is older than Zach in my play group but we still play it all the time. You should too!



            Guillotine (1998) - Art get's you past the macabre theme in this simple set collection game where you get to say "you look like the piss boy"





            Puerto Rico (2002) Action selection, tableau building. Ship that corn captain! A classic worth learning/playing. Except maybe the brown bits




            Race For the Galaxy (2007) Action Selection, Tableau Building, just cards in space! You can figure out those icons - I have faith in you!





            Seeland (2010) Who doesn't love dutch farming games w cabbage? Rondels and tile placement plus @MikeRisley has the best taste in games.




            Stone Age (2008) Roll dice for resources to feed your people & score points-fight for space in the love hut & smell that leather dice cup.






            Suburbia (2012) Sim City turned into a board game. Best of the Bezier games keeping it simple. As always, I question need for expansion.





            Ticket to Ride (2004) Rummy type set collection to lay down some tracks that connect route cards for points.504 versions of the base I think

            Ticket To Ride the Card Game (2008) - It is garbage, no wonder I got it it in trade for such a deal. You want it?








            Tobago (2009) - logic puzzle find the treasure game with awesome trucks & Easter island heads that you get to make noises when you move