The convention organizers have put together quite a massive (800+) game library that is open to attendees. You can check out any of the games, gather some people, and play the game. Or if you don't have the time to play all the games, you can at least open the box and check out what is included for any games that you might be looking to add to your collection. I took a look at several games that I have been interested in.
The venue was pretty nice with a decent amount of space for gaming. It got a little crowded at times, but that can be expected.
They had concessions on hand that weren't overly priced and were pretty tasty.
In addition to the game library they have a pile of games that are play to win. You can check these games out, play them, and then you are entered into a drawing to win the game at the end of the convention. I think they had about 70-ish games that were given away.
I played in a couple of organized games and several pick of games. Below you can read about the games I played and a very brief review of each.
Star Trek Ascendancy
Published by Gale Force Nine
This was a fairly heavy game. Not overly so, but there were quite a few rules to go over before we started playing.
Each player takes control of either the Federation, Klingons, or Romulans. You start with a fleet of ships on your home planet and then you are able to explore and find new systems. You can research new technologies and upgrade your ship's weapons and shields. Once you connect your explored areas to another players, then you are able to engage in space battles or take over their planets (using culture or combat to take the planets).
Each faction seemed to play fairly differently so I think there will be good re-play in the box. In addition, there are expansions for Ferengi and Cardassians and the other guy playing said something about a possible Borg expansion.
This game is only for 3 players out of the box. Not 2. Not 4. Only 3. That seemed kind of odd to me. We only had 2 to play it and decided that we could learn the rules and get a feel for the game with just the 2 of us. I'm sure the experience would have been different with 3, but for us it worked with 2. I'm not sure if the expansions allow for more players or if you just swap out the factions in the core box.
Overall, I really enjoyed this game. I would absolutely play it again. I don't think I will be purchasing it, mostly because one of my friends already owns it. I think I will try to get him to break it our for one of our game nights in the not to distant future.
Published by Touch Paper Press
The game played quickly and we played a couple of games in about 20 minutes.
It was interesting, but probably not one I will be adding to my collection. I would play it again, though if someone were to suggest it on game night.
Legendary Encounter: An Alien Deck Building Game
Published by Upper Deck Entertainment
This is normally a co-operative deck building game where each player takes the roll of one of the characters from one of the Alien movies and you play through the plot points of the chosen movie.
There is an expansion however, that lets on player take the roll of the xenomorphs and plays against the crew. We played the Aliens scenario and had two members of the crew facing off against the Queen.
I've played this game a few times in the past and it is a very challenging game. I've never beat it. I'm not sure that we needed to up the difficulty and have the players fighting the Queen, but it was still a fun game. We did completed the first objective (of 3) and then were promptly killed.
This game is tense and the theme is very clearly presented in this game. I enjoyed the game quite a bit and it made me want to play some more.
I already own this game and am glad it is in my collection.
Published by Steve Jackson Games
Who doesn't love a game of Munchkin. I have 4 or 5 versions on my game shelf, but had not played this version. I'm not a huge comic book guy, so I don't know many of the references and didn't know who a lot of the characters were, but I don't think that mattered all that much.
Each player takes on the role of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and we go about saving the city from evil doers. You can acquire skills, equipment, allies, powers, etc that will help you as you fight off said evil doers. The first player to Level 10 wins the game.
This is a quick playing game that allows players to work together or to work against each other. In my experience, the players work together at the beginning of the game and then turn on each other as players start getting more and more powerful.
I enjoyed playing the game, but a copy will not be joining my other versions of Munchkin.
Published by Days of Wonder
We played one of the scenarios from the Sword of Stalingrad expansion. The Germans were attacking the dug in Russian line. We had 6 players and most of us had a fair bit of experience with this game.
The Germans made some headway early in the battle, but then their advance faltered a bit. The Russians were able to regroup and push back a bit, but in the end, the Russians couldn't recover from the early losses.
I don't think I have every played using the overlord rules before. It was a good time, though very frustrating when you couldn't get the cards needed to take advantage of a weak flank.
This was also my first game using the Russians. They have some special rules that require them to pick the cards to be played next turn, this turn. This makes it hard (impossible) to react to the enemy. You kind of just have to make a plan and hope it works out. I wouldn't want to use those rules in every game, but it does make for a different experience and fits with the Russian forces.
This is one of my favorite games and I have several copies of the base game and most of the expansions for it. I get to play it quite a bit, but have not played everything as there is so much. I'm glad I got to play this scenario and will be pulling out some of the big maps that I have for my game group to try out.
7 Wonders Duel
Published by Repos Production
This is a 2 player, small box version of 7 Wonders. I had heard good things about this game and got to play it against a friend I ran into at the convention that I hadn't seen for a while. So I got to play a fun game and I got to catch up with an old friend. Win! Win!
In this game, players are advancing their nations through 3 ages and trying to develop the most advance civilization. You can build wonders in the process that will provide rewards during the game and points at the end of the game.
Players have the option to focus on specific areas of advancement (science, military, etc) or work on a little bit of everything.
The game played very quickly, but was a lot of fun. I think this is one that you will do much better in after a few plays as you need a few plays to develop a strategy.
I might add this one to my collection as I think my wife might enjoy it.
Published by Portal Games
This is a card driven war game with asymmetric forces trying to take control of areas on the map. It had a lot of impressive art and miniatures in the box.
Each faction has very different powers and played quite differently. I'm not sure how different the tactics of each faction will be from game to game, but there are some variations to the skills they can have so maybe there will be more variety than what I say in this game.
It was an interesting game and would definitely require at least a couple plays to build a solid strategy.
I won't be adding this one to my collection either, but would play it again.
Published by Kosmos
Each player takes the roll of a builder in ancient Egypt. On your turn, you can take one action. You can take up to 3 stones from the quarry and place it on your sled, load a stone on a boat, sail a boat (if it has enough stones on it) or play a blue card. Not a lot of choices, but sometimes it is really hard to decide on which action to take.
There is a happy balance between making good plays for yourself versus making plays to block your opponents. The game mechanics are simple, but I found it very enjoyable to play.
I was very impressed with this game and purchased it at the convention. I'm pretty sure this one will get a lot of play with my group and with my wife.
Published by Facade games
This is a deduction game where the players are trying to determine who the witch is and kill them. It reminded me of Werewolf, but not as well put together.
I really thought the rules were laid out poorly and we didn't enjoy this one all that much. There are quite a few games that already exist of this type and I don't see how this one added anything that would make me pick it over the others.
I won't be adding this to my collection and I would not play this one again.
Castles of Mad King Ludwig
Published by Bezier Games
This is a tile laying game that also includes drafting, set collection, and pattern layouts.
In the game each player is building "an amazing, extravagant castle for King Ludwig II of Bulivia...one room at a time". Each turn, the players can choose from the available rooms to add to their castle. The available rooms at the start of the game a randomly drawn and as they are purchased, the newly available rooms are also random, however, the starting player each turn gets to set the value on the rooms and the players pay the starting player for the room they choose.
There are restrictions on how some rooms can be placed and various bonuses for which rooms are placed to which. You get bonuses for completing rooms (connecting or covering all doors) that can allow for bonus points, extra money, an extra turn, a bonus points card for end game scoring, etc.
Once the draw deck is depleted, the players score bonus points based on the cards they got during the game and the directives from King Ludwig at the beginning of the game.
This game got a little crazy at times, but was fun. I enjoyed this one quite a bit. There are several rules about room placement that makes me thing you need a couple of plays to fully understand all the options in this game, but it is worth the effort.
It turns out I have a copy of this one at home, that I had forgot about. Now that I have played it though, I will be opening my copy and taking to game night in the near future.
Published by Bezier Games
Each player is working to establish their colony after the world has gone through some sort of apocalypse. You will have a number of buildings that can effect the supplies you gather each turn.
The supplies are represented by dice and the number on each die represents the type of resource it is. Adding buildings allows you more/different supplies each turn and/or allows you to store more supplies from turn to turn.
There are lots of different cards in the box and you will only use some of them in each game. Some cards you use in every game, but several are different from game to game. Each card has an upgrade that improves its points and/or impact on the game. Players need to use the supplies they find to construct new buildings and upgrade existing buildings.
I played this as a solo game as I got to the convention early on Sunday and wanted to give this one a try and there weren't many others there yet. I think it would been have a very different game with multiple players. As a solo, you are just trying to see how many points you can earn. I used the basic game set up which includes quite a few cards that have player interaction, so they weren't really usable in a solo game.
There is a lot of luck in this game based on the roll of the dice each turn. You can start to mitigate the luck factor as you start building up your colony, but one player can really get an advantage early and then hold that moving through the game. However, as the game plays fairly quickly, I'm not that worried about the luck factor since the playing time is only about an hour on the top end.
As I said, this game has a post-apocalyptic theme, (which is what drew me to the game), however, the theme is very thin and I would call it more of an abstract game.
I'm on the fence about purchasing this game. I think I need to play it again before making a decision about buying it, but I would like to play it again.
Published by Fantasy Flight Games
This is a co-op game set in the works of HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos in the mid 1920s. In this world everything is terrifying and trying to destroy our world. Each player takes the role of an investigator that is doing their part to stop the big, bad, terrifying monster from destroying the town/country/world.
Each turn the players can travel around town looking for clues, equipment, spells, allies, etc that will help them battle the monsters that are popping up around town and ultimately stop the Ancient One. Hopefully. Odds are you're all gonna die.
This is a challenging game that is very thick with theme. It is easy to see yourself as your character and feel real sadness when your character gets beaten up for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It seems like bad things are always happening in this game, but throughout you have chances to find artifacts, trinkets, weapons, etc that will help you along the way.
I like the variation of encounters that you run into in this game. You can't just deck your character out for fighting and hope to win as you will run into and encounter that you need to sneak through, or have some luck for, even use your willpower in. There is a constant balance of what stats you want to bump up, but you always have to consider what you bumping, because when one goes up another goes down.
I had a great time playing this game and would absolutely play it again. I own two other games in this genre (Eldritch Horror and Arkham Horror: The Card Game) so I won't be purchasing this, but it is still a fun one to play when I get the chance.
I had a lot of fun at the convention. I got to play a lot of great games, hang out with fun people, and see some old friends. I'll definitely be making plans for next years convention as well at encourage you to stop by if it isn't too long of a trip.