What Did We Play This Week: Special GenCon 2017 Edition

As we continue to recover from our post-con exhaustion, we’re excited to bring you a special edition of What Did We Play, where we recap not only our normal gaming nights, but the things we played at GenCon as well! Because we split for part of the con, Ethan has made a seperate post about our experience, so that everyone gets the full con experience. Go grab something to drink (we’ll wait) because we’ve got a lot to tell you!

8/13/17 — As per tradition, we had a mini pre-Game of Thrones party by playing a game.  This time, we decided on Exit: The Abandoned Cabin. The Exit Game series are like mini escape rooms in a box, were players solve the riddles given to them, at times destroying the pieces and booklets provided by the game. The game is playable only once since some of the game items are destroyed, which means it cannot be passed on to other friends. However, for a price point of only about $15, it’s well worth the one time play.

8/15/17 — In our last excited night for we head out to the Best Four Days in Gaming, we headed on down to our weekly game night with the Rockford Pegheads.  We started off with one of our favorites, Race for the Galaxy, when we had a brand new player join us.  For those of you not familiar with Race for the Galaxy, there is a lot of symbology in the game which can have a steep learning curve for even experienced players. This new player got thrown in to a game, having played only games like Risk, with new mechanics and symbols and was able to keep up just dine. We commend you, new player! Afterwards, we got into a bit of mischief and mayhem playing Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem. In this game players control rival gangs who swap drugs and guns, while attempting to take control of areas from other players.  The player with the most money wins!  I get worried playing games with IPs that I’m not interested in, but this game holds up solidly despite being based on a TV show.  We ended the night by going from drug dealing to escaping from headhunters in the game Fiji.  In this game players spend jewels to fulfill the wants of the headhunters, who are fickle and often change what they want.  The heads that are collected may look familiar to some players, which adds a layer of giggles to the game.

8/16/17 — The morning was early, the breakfast was sweet, and the drive was uneventful. And then we made it to GenCon! We settled up in our hotel for a while and after grabbing a bite to eat,  we headed down to the convention center to check out the pre-con happenings. After an hour or so of making fun of the people waiting in will call, we grabbed a seat at a near by table and got a few mini games in.  We started with Save the Cupcake, a two-player 1v1 game where one player is trying to protect their cupcake and the other player is trying to smash it.  We’ve played this game once before with myself as the saver, so we switched it up and had me be the crusher instead.  I can now proudly say that I am undefeated in each position! After a bit more wander, we decided next to play Morels, a two player set collection game where players are trying to gather and cook the most high quality mushrooms. This game has been on our wishlist since we borrowed it from the Gamehole Con library a few years ago, so we were very excited when we won it in the math trade! Getting close to dinner time, we met up with some friends of ours and knocked out one more game for the night, Mint Works – The Minty Fresh Worker Placement Game! This game works well to travel because it’s quite literally the size of a mint tin! With a few games in, we turned in for the night, ready to take on the official start of the con.

8/17/17 — Ahh, Thursday morning of GenCon. Where fools like us think it’s wise to line up in front of 10,000 of our closets friends and *walk* to our favorite booths to pick up the new hotness. We navigated swiftly and efficiently through the hall, then making it to our first event, Giant FlowerFall. FlowerFall is a dexterity game where players drop cards with flowers over a table, trying to create paths to gain points. Giant FlowerFall is much like that, except much bigger! After working up an appetite dropping giant cards, I made my way to the nearby Crowne Plaza to Intermediate Sushi Making, where I learned to make Nigiri, Sashimi, and handrolls! I also took the opportunity to try yam cake, which we weren’t really supposed to eat . . . after a bit more walking (I needed to walk off all that sushi!), I hit up our next event, the 7 Wonders: Duel tournament. This is a game I feel I’m pretty good at, so I went into the tournament with quite a bit of confidence. Something happened, however, and whether it was over-confidence or nervousness, I did really poorly.  There were moves that I immediately regretted and accidentally played a rule wrong, putting me at a huge disadvantage.  However, the gaming was fun and everyone was nice, so it was well worth it.  After a brief moment of sadness and some quick dinner, we headed over to one of our favorite GenCon events, An Evening of Nerdlesque Burlesque.  This 18+ show is always a lot of fun and has pushed some person boundaries of mine, so if you have any open mind and don’t mind a bit of nudity, I highly suggest you check out The Glitter Guild.

8/18/17 – 8/19/17: Combining Friday and Saturday?!  I mean, I did, so you should too?  One very interesting (i.e. dumb) choice we made when picking events for GenCon this year was to take part in Paizo’s overnight Pathfinder events.  This means I had five hour events at 8:00 am Friday, 2:00 pm, 8:00 pm, 2:00 am Saturday, 8:00 am, 2:00 pm, and also a tournament at 7:00 pm.  Spoiler alert, we didn’t make the 7:00 pm tournament.  Things were going really well playing these Pathfinder sessions, we made it through a great Season 9 opener, and things all went downhill from there.  I was super grumpy at 2:00 am, slept for an hour between sessions, and was so tired at the 8:00 am Saturday table I was nearly falling asleep.  I’m very thankful for our super patient GMs who probably wanted to throw my mini across the huge ballroom, as well as thankful for Sugar-Free Monster for getting me through my last session.  I feel bad that we missed an event because of our brave planning, but it was definitely an experience to have at least once.

After the best nap of my entire life (I told everyone that I thought I literally died for a few hours), we were feeling awake enough to meet up with people for a few late-night games. Meeting up with 5 friends that traveled the same path, we started out with 3 Secrets, a cooperative game where players are working together to figure out the secrets of the named person.  Three clues are highlighted on each card, giving some hint to what the secret might be, but some of the secrets were so ridiculous that not were they hilarious, but freaking hard to guess!  After guess 5 different people’s secrets, we moved on to Custom Heroes, a card-building game where players build up a shared pool of heroes, battling each other to gain the most glory (and victory points) to come in first place and win the game.  Card building is a mechanic that I’m still not sure how I feel about yet, and this game didn’t solve that riddle for me.  The concept was intriguing, but the game play fell a little flat for me.  I’d definitely play it again, but I don’t think we need our own copy.  Since we weren’t quite done building, we ended our time with The Climbers, an abstract where players are racing to get to the highest peak, all while preventing their competitors from doing so. This is one of the few abstracts that I can say with confidence that I actually enjoyed; there was something about this game that just clicked in my brain.  Which was interesting, because I was definitely still tired and beginning to miss my bed a bit.

8/20/17 — Like previous GenCons, we began our last day with a bit of breakfast at Waffle House.  Slowly making our way to the convention center, we attended our final event of the con, Learn to Play Exit: The Secret of the Premiere.  Having played 2 Exit games before, we were pretty excited to try out a new scenario.  Upon arriving, we were told that the fastest times of each day would win a prize.  Taking that challenge personally, we ripped open the package and got right to it.  Finishing quickly, I was so excited to get done that instead of pressing “pause” on my timer, I hit “reset.”  I remember vividly that the countdown read 53 minutes and some amount of seconds, making our time less than seven minutes.  However, without this proof, the volunteer allowed us to put 7 minutes and 30 seconds as our time, which still seemed pretty impressive based on her reaction.  We wandered the hall a bit longer, picking up some last minute games, and completing a wonderful, exhausting, fun week of gaming.

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