Every fall there's a little weekend convention in Rockville, Maryland that I've always enjoyed. Hosted at the unassuming Rockville Senior Center, Congress of Gamers features a series of Euro tournaments, an auction store, and a game design room. The Games Club of Maryland sponsored the convention, and Break My Game ran the prototype testing event this year's session, which convened last weekend.
Saturday, October 1, 2016
Friday, August 14, 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
A couple of years ago, I looked over my game collection and sighed at the number of games that hadn't seen the attention they deserved. I wrote a post listing games that I wanted to spend more time on, even as I realized that as long as leisure time is limited and the game collection is big, there will always be neglected games on my shelves. It's a topic worth revisiting from time to time - both because it's interesting to see how the list has changed (and how it hasn't) and because it's helpful to look at the collection with fresh eyes and think about resurrecting a few titles that might bear dusting off and playing again.
Friday, September 5, 2014
|(c) Queen Games|
Used by permission
Saturday, August 16, 2014
One quick go-back on my earlier posts recounting my World Boardgaming Championships experience this year: The very first thing that Keith Ferguson and I did Thursday morning, on our way to the registration desk, was to bump into Josh Tempkin of Tall Tower Games. He spent a good part of the convention demonstrating several of his games:
- "WarTime," which I've written about before as a fascinating, innovative real-time wargame involving sand timers
- "Throne Dice," which surprisingly I still haven't taken the time to play
- "Commissioner," which I learned at UnPub 4 as "Lesser Evil"
Thursday, August 14, 2014
|(c) Rio Grande Games - used by |
Friday, April 25, 2014
Last week I opened a discussion on my effort to quantify game characteristics. I had in mind that I would explore this question on my own, somewhat in a vacuum, based on my own experience and opinions, as something of an exercise to see what defensible conclusions I might reach.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
|(c) Rio Grande Games|
Used by permission
Saturday, November 2, 2013
|3M edition, 1968|
Sunday, February 24, 2013
|(c) Meridae Games|
Used by permission
Glenn and I met Doug Bass of Meridae Games for a demo of Garden Dice (designer Doug Bass, artist Joshua Cappel, publisher Meridae), which I'd seen on Kickstarter and which is now available. Garden Dice is an interesting game of dice allocation in which players use a roll of four dice to acquire seeds of various values, plant them in a garden based on grid coordinates from two of the dice, and subsequently water and harvest them for points. There are run and set-collection bonus scores at the end of the game. The most interesting part is the geographic element. Watering higher-value plants benefits adjacent lower-value plants, regardless of who owns them, so there is an opportunity to take advantage of an opponent's placement to get watering and harvesting actions for free. Players also can add a sundial to the garden to modify the grid coordinate dice rolls or a garden gnome to improve rolls for acquiring seed, watering plants, and harvesting vegetables. Players can further introduce a bird to the garden to eat other players' seed or a rabbit to eat vegetables before they are harvested, although seed can be protected by an upgrade of the sundial to a scarecrow.
Friday, February 8, 2013
PrezCon, happens in Charlottesville, Virginia, the week of President's Day. I've got a preliminary schedule laid out, which is pretty much carved in sand - except, that is, for Pillars of the Earth, which stands like an immense cathedral, a great pillar, on the landscape of my convention plan. (I'm running the PotE tournament, so I'm pretty committed to it.)
Friday, August 17, 2012
|Early in our game of Acquire.|
I had a majority holding in Worldwide
(the purple hotel to the right), but
that wasn't enough to prevail
Thursday, August 9, 2012
At WBC on Thursday last week, Joel Tamburo hosted his annual seminar on Ethics in Gaming. This was my second opportunity to attend.
I arrived a little late and found myself in the middle of a conversation on the interpretation of rules
ambiguities. Not entirely a matter of ethics, the question on the floor seemed to center around whether an unaddressed action in the rules should be allowed (because the rules don't prevent it) or prohibited (because the rules don't allow it or provide for it). Peter, an attorney, likened the question to that of Constitutional interpretation, whereby some people hold that rulings on Constitutionality ought to depend on the intent of the founders at the time that they wrote it, as best we can determine from other writings at the time. Others hold that interpretation of the Constitution necessarily changes with the times, and so it is with game rules: It doesn't matter how the game designer wanted you to play the game; what matters is how the players want to play. So, then, the question became, does the designer's intent matter?
|Signing of the Constitution of the United States|
U.S. Government. Public domain
Friday, February 17, 2012
PrezCon! I get excited just thinking about the name. My favorite convention. So convenient to northern Virginia, such a friendly and yet competitive gaming community.
I felt a little burnt out after five solid days of PrezCon last year, so this day I'm going for just four days; I'll arrive on Thursday and go through Sunday. My gaming friends Keith F., Brian G., and Tom S. will arrive a day ahead of me, on Wednesday. My buddy Grant plans to arrive in time for the first events on Monday evening and stay the entire seven days. Hard core, baby. I don't know how people do a solid week of intense boardgaming. People like that must pace themselves better than I do.
|Excerpt of my PrezCon |
schedule ... for now ...
I've written this before, but I'm not afraid to repeat myself. The best advice I ever got when approaching PrezCon came from Convention Director Justin Thompson: "Learn at least one new game; buy at least one new game." I have three demos in mind for games that I want to learn this year:
- Small World
- Command and Colors: Napoleonics
|1976 3M Edition|
Grant is running Small World (designer Philippe Keyaerts, artist Miguel Coimbra, publisher Days of Wonder) at PrezCon, and I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never actually sat down and played the game before. So I'm setting SW as a specific "learning goal" for PrezCon this year.
|Cover Design by |
Rodger B. MacGowan
As for buying at least one new game, well, I'll bring my wishlist, but there's no telling what I'll come home with. Here's my top seven, in no particular order:
- Fairy Tale
- Le Havre
- Chicago Express
- Traders of Carthage
- Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War
- High Frontier
- Saint Petersburg
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Sheila and Keith hosted a dinner party last night, and we got to play a six-player session. None of us had ever played before, so I read the rules beforehand. The game struck me as the perfect implementation of capitalism in game form. Railroad company shares are sold at auction. Company dividends are distributed among shareholders based on earnings. Stockholders - or board members, if you like - direct the investment of capital raised from the sale of shares to invest in railroad expansion and development to improve the company's earnings. I have never played an 18xx railroad game, but I have the impression that CE is a kind of "18xx light."
We had a really great time with this game. I was very pleased that it was a relatively easy game for all of us to learn even though we had no one at the table who had played before. (The only open rules question for us was whether money is "hidden" or "open"; the boardgamegeek consensus seems to be that money in any game is open unless the rules specifically provide for hiding it, as in St. Petersburg.) I think as we played, we all overbid pretty heavily for stock certificates. More players chasing a fixed number of shares, which were the only source of income - supply and demand at its finest. We had so many auctions that three railroads had only just reached Pittsburgh when Rebecca triggered game end with an auction of the last share of the New York Central after the Pennsylvania and B&O had already sold out.
Part of what struck me about this game is a complete absence of luck. I didn't really think about it until the game was over, but there is not a single card draw, dice roll, or bag pull in the entire game. As one reviewer mentions, the only "random" element (if you can call it that) is the seating order around the table and determination of starting player. The rest of the game is determined entirely by the decisions of the players at the table. Even more than Puerto Rico (which I consider a brilliant design), CE is entirely in the hands of the players.
The more I think about CE, the more excited I am about it. I've put it on my "must have" short list.
|1962 3M edition|
So many games, so little time.