International Tabletop Day 2017

Like many gamers around this great, wide world, Ethan and I spent April 29th surrounded by tables, cardboard, and groups of loud, passionate people.  Because yesterday was International Tabletop Day!  Yesterday we travelled to Beloit, WI on the advice of the leader of our Rockford Pegheads Group to a company called Acculynx.  They are a software development company that builds services for other companies (at least, that’s what I figured they do!) who were gracious enough to let a few dozen geeks come hang out and play games for the day.

We started our day off with a bit of Mystic Vale.  It’s a game both Ethan and I had played before, I was personally not super impressed with it the first time we’ve played.  This deck building game has a mechanic where instead of adding more cards to your deck, you build on top of your preexisting cards.  The clear cards required for this mechanic seemed gimmicky at first, but was a bit more enjoyable my second play around, even though I lost terribly.

After a few rounds of ping pong (hey, it was tabletop day!), we played Sagrada, the game of “dice drafting and window crafting.”  We recently received our Kickstarter copy of this game in the mail and needed some time to play it, so we decided to give it a go just the two of us.  The mechanics were fairly simply to pick up on and the game overall was very pretty to look at.  It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays with more people.

Next up was Libertalia.  I’ve played this game on Board Game Arena, so I was slightly familiar with gameplay but needed to have the game I hand in order to really understand what was going on.  With everyone starting off with the same cards, it was interesting to see how everyone played out their cards differently.

Then we decided to do some party games, starting with Two Rooms and a Boom.  This game pits two teams against each other, the red team and the blue team, in a battle of trying to keep the “bomber” away from the “President,” or getting him in the same room as the President depending on what team you’re on.  We’ve played this game before with our home game group, but adding the special roles to the game this time made it much more interesting than just using regular roles.

After that, we continued our hunting adventures with Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, a game we love and have reviewed.  We haven’t played this game with our group as much lately, but it still holds up as a fun deduction game with the Inspectors trying to find the murderer while the Forensic Scientist gives clues.

Next up was Unfair, a TOTALLY FAIR game of building the best amusement park you can.  However, the game isn’t really all that fair.  It starts off pretty nice, but a most businesses come to understand, you have to follow code, get inspections, and may have shut rides down for a turn.  We’ve played our copy just the two of us, so it was nice to be able to try the game with three.

Building amusements parks is hard work, so we needed to cool down with a little Incan Gold, a press-you-luck treasure collecting game.  In this game, you must decide if you will press further into the temple in hopes of collecting more gems and possibly an idol.  But if you press too far and run into the same hazard twice, you leave with no gems.  Press your luck is a mechanic I love for the adrenaline rush of it, so this may have to be a game we add to our collection.  I’ll definitely be adding it to the list of games I play on Board Game Arena!

We ended our day at Acculynx with a game of Codenames.  It’s always interesting to play this game with new people, as it’s fun to tap into people’s minds and try to figure out why they gave the clues they did.  Our team had a respectable loss and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of the new Codenames modules that’ll be coming out this year.

 

Amber’s Most Embarrassing Moment: A GenCon Story

Because we’re super pumped about GenCon event registration, I must tell this story.

So I have to preface this by saying while I love board games and know the names of lots of different games, but I have a terrible time remembering the names of game designers.  It’s not that I don’t want to know their names, but my memory for names is really terrible; hell, I hardly remember the names of characters in my favorite books.  Here’s an example of all the game designers I can name off the top of my head:

Bruno Cathala, Vlaada Chvátil, Jamey Stegmaier, Stefan Feld,  Isaac Blah Blah Blah (you know, the Dead of Winter Guy), Jerry What’s His Name (Mice and Mystics), and Ted Alspach.  Ted is the most important, at least to this story.  Ted’s name is actually the first designer’s name I recognized and remembered; we played Werewolf at our first NMA, learned Suburbia the same day, and picked up Castles of Mad King Ludwig as soon as it came out.  So Ted’s name is a regular in our household.  His face, however, is a different story.

It’s GenCon 2015.  I’m so excited, I just can’t hide it.  I’m about to lose control, but I don’t, so we’re all good.  Being the nice friend that I am, I think of our Peghead leader Rob, and say to Ethan, “Gee Ethan, wouldn’t it be so great if we picked up someone Werewolf Cards for Rob at GenCon?  How cool would that be?”  Because Ethan’s my husband, he knows that I’m right, and we head over to the Bezier Games booth.  There stands a tall, dark man peddling Bezier’s wears.  We’re looking over the Werewolf items and having some general chit chat when I start asking the man if he knows what’s in each pack. “Do you know what’s in that one?”  He tells me the answer.  “What about that one?”  Gives me the answer.   I ask about one more pack when Ethan leans over to me and “whispers,” “He probably knows what’s in them.  He designed them.”  I look up quickly at the man’s name tag.  “Ted Alspach.”  My face looked a little something like this.

Shocked

I quickly thanked the man now known as Ted, who was laughing because he HEARD what Ethan said, and beeline the heck out of there as fast as I could.  Ethan caught up to me and was all like, “What?”  I replayed the entire conversation and said, “THAT WAS  EMBARASSING!”  I promptly avoid Bezier games for the rest of the day and only went over to the booth again when the coast was clear.

The next day, we were at Plaid Hat’s booth and good ole Jerry What’s His Name was chatting with us about Mice and Mystics.  He walked away and Ethan leaned in and said, “That’s Jerry, he designed…” I stopped him and said, “I KNOW WHO HE IS.  I read the name tag this time, ok?!”

The Plague of the Unplayed Game

It’s been a year and a half since we seriously started board gaming and it’s been intense to see how fast our little collection has grown.  Before, we had maybe 50 games, all classics (and Ethan’s Hero Quest found in a beautiful bargain find).  Now looking at our board game collections (Ethan has the most up-to-date list, you can check it out here), we have 266 different games, expansions and promotional material.

This large collections comes with a price (let’s not talk about the literal price, that might make our wallets hurt).  We have a “pile of shame.”  This is what we call our unplayed game list.  It didn’t mean to come to this.  We had every intention of playing every single one of our games multiple times.  But then GenCon happened and there are lots of new and shinies there, plus, Kickstarters that I didn’t know were coming in the mail and the “OH YEAH THAT’S BACK IN STUFF ON COOLSTUFF” buys.  It just kind of happened.

This seems to be a problem with many of the gamers I know, there are games in their collections that they haven’t had a chance to play, or have only gotten to play once.  What is there to do about this issue plaguing gamers?  The first solution would be to, obviously, stop buying new games.  But that suggestion is utterly ridiculous and should be highly ignored. (Unless you’re my husband. Ethan, listen to this suggestion.)

What if the problem is that you just don’t have the right player count to play the games?  Then host game night!  We try to bring games we can’t play two players to our game nights, this helps with the pesky problem.  There are also times that the Pegheads host an “Unplayed Game Night” specifically for this problem!

What if there simply seems to be no solution for this problem?  Try as we might, we still have games we haven’t played; on my last count, we have 26.  We bring them to meetups, we try playing them at home, we simply just don’t get to them.  So, we’ve set them aside in a neat little pile right beside our game table.  You practically have to trip over them to walk into the room.  We’ve also said we will not buy anymore games until we get to less than 10 unplayed games (a rule in which I broke today, oops).  We’ll get this problem solved, eventually.  How do you deal with unplayed games?