First, a shout-out to Charlie Hoopes, whom I mistakenly failed to mention in my "WBC 2013 Thursday" post. Charlie is the designer of the family game Fill the Barn and has a work-in-progress abstract two-player called "AtataT." I'd seen "AtataT" at UnPub 3 but missed out on playing it. Charlie made a point of catching up with me during the Trains Planes and Automobiles tournament, and we had a nice chat about our respective game designs. I look forward to seeing more of him.
Sunday morning provided an opportunity to catch up with the representatives from one of the vendors and talk a little about "East India Company." This company is a well-known publisher with a line of games to which I think "EIC" would make a valuable contribution. The fellows I spoke with weren't the people who make decisions about which submissions to evaluate, but they do much of the playtesting. We talked a little about the wide variety of quality and maturity they see in some of the game designs that they are given to check out. I thought it might be valuable to pass on to them a copy of the rules of "EIC" with my contact information, just as an indicator of how far along I've developed the game and to help with their company's evaluation of whether to get a closer look at it. There's no telling what will come of this contact, but I was glad at least to have reached out and pursued a potential relationship.
Keith Ferguson had won the Conquest of Paradise tournament, and with it a coupon toward a game from GMT. One thing Keith and I are very good at is convincing each other to buy games, and it wasn't hard for me to get him to pick up a copy of Battle Line (designer Reiner Knizia, artists Rodger B. MacGowan and Mark Simonitch, publisher GMT), which Kathy and I really like. I had read some reviewers call it "better than Lost Cities," and I think that was the line that pushed Keith to make the purchase. It's so much easier to make buying decisions when it isn't my money at stake.
Keith and I headed down to the open gaming area for one last round before the end of the convention. While we were there, we ran across Eli Persky and Ben Rosset. They were playing Friedemann Freise's Furstenfeld. Later they told us that they were very disappointed in it, and in fact Ben was a little irked because he felt it was a very poor treatment of a beer production theme, which is the subject of his Brew Crafters that Dice Hate Me expects to Kickstart this fall.
|(c) GMT Games|
Used by permission
Brian Greer joined us, and we played Spartacus: A Game of Blood and Treachery (designers Aaron Dill, John Kovaleski, and Sean Sweigart; artist Charles Woods; publisher Gale Force 9), which I'd played only once before and was eager to try again. I ran into a serious money problem after about two or three turns and just wasn't getting the intrigue cards to pull off some money-making schemes. I had a great gladiator at one point and was eager to get him into the ring, but Keith's gladiator was faster and had a net, which gave him a huge initiative advantage. He got a couple of unanswered attacks, and my dice luck failed me, so that my great warrior lost his first fight and was put to death by the host. How ignominious. Keith pretty much dominated the game and won handily.
We wrapped up with one of the hits of the convention for us - Pirate Dice (designers Sean Brown and Clint Herron, artists Raymond Tan and Herwin Wielink, publisher Gryphon), which I think out-Robo-Rallies Robo Rally. Keith won that one as well, so Sunday was really Keith's day at the gaming table.
So all in all, WBC was a huge success this year, with a lot more open gaming, not so much tournament play as in years past, a few contacts, a few acquisitions, a great deal of sleep deprivation, and just a great four-day stretch of boardgaming immersion.