What a whirlwind of a week! After finishing up Gamehole Con we needed to take a bit of a breather to catch up on life, but not before creating this post to let you know how our week was! You’d miss us too much if we did that, we know.
Friday, November 3rd
It was the first official day of Gamehole Con and we decided to start our time nice and early, getting in a game of 51st State. Made by the same designer as Imperial Settlers, 51st State has a lot of similarities to the Imperial Settlers design. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily the EXACT same game as Imperial Settlers, but by golly it’s pretty darn close. One very obvious difference is the theme. 51st State is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland with different tribes building up their areas, trying to prevent other tribes from becoming too powerful and gaining more resources and people. 51st State seems to build up a bit quicker than Imperial Settlers as well, allowing players to begin building their engines more quickly. But, overall, if you know the mechanics of Imperial Settlers, this should be an easy game for you to pick up, especially if you prefer the theme.
We moved on afterward to play a newer game, Fate of the Elder Gods, with designer Richard Launius himself! In this game, players take on the role of the cultists, worshipping one of the great old ones and trying to release their old one onto the world. Not only do players have the other cults to worry about, but some in-PEST-igators are trying to prevent the release of these wonderful beings. Different than other Cthulhu based games not only because you’re playing the “bad guys,” this game also features a board that acts somewhat like a clock, moving a play around without being able to stay in one place. One mechanic that was a good struggle in this game was the use of spells as movement as well. In order to move to a different realm, you must discard a card with the realm’s symbol onto your current space. On the back of these cards are spells of differing abilities, so you must decide if it’s worth it to discard the spell to go to that particular space. With the theme alone I really liked this game, and I’d like to give it another go with a different Old One to see how play differs.
Another session over, we quickly popped over to our next session to play Clans of Caledonia, a sequel to the popular game Isle of Skye. To me, this game was a bit of a combination of Kingdom Builder and Feast for Odin, in that you place your resources on the board and there are quite a few things to choose from! Each round, players take turns performing actions, trying build up resources for the unique round scoring. After each player has passed their turn, we score the round and move on to the next, playing 5 rounds before the end of the game. This game would be a nice addition for anyone who has and likes Isle of Skye, as the mechanics are familiar, but not too similar.
After three rousing sessions of gaming, we took a break. Which means we got together with our friend Eric and kept going on our Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 campaign! We were successful from January through March, but hit a snag on the first game of April, losing on the turn right before we would have won the game. This campaign is a bit of an addiction, so fair warning to those who start playing it!
We ended our Friday night with a rousing game of Pathfinder, leading the session a bit astray but ultimately succeeding before heading home to get a few hours of sleep.
Saturday, November 4th
After a restful night’s sleep and a bit of breakfast, we jumped back into Gamehole Con feet first. We started off by playing Flipships, a popular game in the Rockford Pegheads group, with designer Kane Klenko and his wife Carrie! In this cooperative dexterity game, players flip their ships off the edge of the table, trying to hit enemy ships and do enough damage to the mother ship to win the game. Enemy ships get closer to the players each round; if the players don’t fight them off they get hit, which results in loss of hit points. Players lose the game if they take enough hit points to die or do not defeat the mothership before the final round, which we decided was the best route for us. I have this little thing called “really bad aim,” which makes it hard for me to do well at dexterity games. However, after a couple of losses, I felt a little more in the groove and able to better aim my flicks. Unless you’re really dexterous, this may take you a few tries to get the hang of it.
We skipped off to play Betrayal at House on the Hill next with the wonderful Elisa Teague! As the designer of the Widow’s Walk expansion, she gave us the choice of forcing one of the new haunts or letting the haunts happen organically. We choose the organic route and jumped into the game. In this game, players take on the roles of typical horror movie characters who have happened upon a creepy old house. And the obvious next choice of action to explore said creepy house! Players take turns moving to new rooms exploring the mansion, unlocking hidden items, events and sometimes Omens. Omens can be good, as they will often give you items or abilities, but get too many omens and you may trigger “The Haunt.” When the haunt triggers, typically the way the game is played will change in some way, often times with one of the players becoming the “traitor.” The players will then work together to either end the haunt or lose as result of it. During our game, I became the traitor, working hard but ultimately failing, causing the other players to win the game. Elisa was kind enough to offer a raffle prize at the end of the game, which we opted out of, as it was a game we already owned.
Scurrying back down the stairs, we joined up with designer Kane Klenko again, this time to play a new game called Flatline. Taking place after the events of the game Fuse (which we got a chance to play after Flatline!), this dice rolling game has players trying to care for patience in an ER, giving them the treatment they need and bringing new patience in, all while trying to balance emergency situations and trying to prevent patient loss. This game is action packed and pretty tense in the same way Fuse is, but with a break between rounds, there is a way to recuperate and talk with your team about the best course of action. With Fuse, which we played after a successful game of Flatline, players are trying to defuse bombs, but needing certain numbers, colors, or a combination of both! This game is more real time, with players passing the dice bag and rolling dice, with all the players grabbing the dice they need. Both of these games are a delight!
We had a bit of two-player time before our final session of the night, so Ethan pulled out a few small games that he brought with him that day. We first played FLY, one of many “Pack o Games” that are small enough to fit in your pocket. In this game, players are trying to swat flies, collecting flies with similar colors and shapes to score more points. This game has a bit of dexterity in at, as you’re dropping your fly swatter from a few inches up, trying to land it on the flies you need. This game and other games in the Pack o Games path are fun and worth the price despite their small boxes. We moved on to play Rocky Road: Dice Cream next, another mini game from the makers of Rocky Road a la Mode. In this game players are working to fulfill customers’ ice cream orders, trying to get ahead of the competitors and get to a certain amount of points first. This game pairs nicely off of Rocky Road a la mode and put us in the mood for ice cream! We finished up our games, then moved on to finding more paths, finishing the night off by not killing our characters.
Sunday, November 5th
Remember, remember the 5th of November, where Pandemic Legacy lost. After a rousing morning Pathfinder win, we met back up with Eric to continue our Legacy campaign. After a win in April, we moved on to May, which proved to be just as challenging as the month before. In May we lost the first game right before we would have won AGAIN, causing a bit of frustration on our team. We pressed through and worked on the challenges best we could, catching a break on our second play through of May. We said goodbye to Eric and finished our con by playing Captain Sonar. We’ve had some sad experience with this game in the past, always signing up to play a little too late, so we were so happy to finally get a chance to try it out! Sometimes called a “real time” Battleship, players choose different roles on a Submarine, working together with their team to try to find and defeat the other team. This game gets complicated as the Captain moves the submarine around the board, calling out their directions, the first mate powers up the systems while the Engineer prevents the systems from failing, all while the radio operator is trying to track where the other team is. This game was HILARIOUSLY fun and very difficult, but I recommend everyone give this a try.
Thank wrapped up this week for us! Thanks to everyone who played with us at the Con.