The Games We Played: BGGcon Part 2

So, the con itself started. Registration actually started 20 minutes early. I was pretty close to the front. You got some nice schwag just for showing up. A free copy of one of three Queen Games (I got Robber Knights, the least of the three) then you drew a ticket which either entered you in a drawing for some really great games, or guaranteed you a game from the free game room (full of a lot of good but not great games.) I got the free game, and wandered the room for 20 minutes trying to decide. I finally went with an expansion deck for my favorite party game Times Up. This time, all the cards are names of board games. Should be fun with my gamer friends. (Of course, part of the reason I chose it, was that it was among the smallest choices, and luggage space was at a premium.)

And so the con began in earnest. I did a circuit of the main room. Almost 100 tables set up for games. The library of games that you could check out numbered well into the thousands (including many rare games only seen in Germany). My first game was a happy coincidence, a game that I would never have chosen to play – Railroad Tycoon, with 4 people I had never met. The game itself is (ironically – given my comments about Age of Steam in my last post) sort of Age of Steam Lite. It has very pretty bits, and forces some interesting choices on the player. Not a game I would buy (it takes up way too much table space for what it is) but it was fun to get a chance to play it. This game also started the happy tradition of playing games with total strangers that became good friends shortly thereafter. In fact, after the game, I went out to a BBQ lunch with two of the players. We went to a great place called Hard Eight BBQ in Dallas. You actually ordered your food right from the smoker. It was outstanding!


I particularly recommend the "Poppers" which were bacon wrapped turkey stuffed with jalapenos, onions and cheese.

Suitably fed, I returned to the conand bought several games from the vendors. This was a rookie mistake in some ways. Even for the really big titles, they weren't exactly running out of copies, and I could have saved myself from lugging around a couple big boxes for most of the day. I was surprised at how many of the shiny new games that we all covet they had at the con. Definitely a good way to get things as fast as possible, without paying too much of a premium.

One of the games I bought was Tobago. I had seen it being set up the night before, and loved the look of the components (little Easter Island guys? What's not to like?) It might be my game of the con, narrowly beating out Dungeon Lords for non-game related reasons. The game is a treasure hunting game that involves playing cards to narrow down the location of 4 different treasures. Each card also allows you a stake in the eventual take when the treasure is found, which brings a nice little blind auction sort of mechanic into the game. It's a deep game with lots of replayability. It's tough to explain, but after playing two turns, every one gets it. I really loved this game. I played it twice teaching the game both times.

The next moment of beautiful serendipity made me declare that I would come to BGGcon every year. My friend Dave found a copy of one of the games I was most looking forward to (BasketBoss) in the library and we set to learning how to play. I had looked for this game in the dealers room, but none of them had it. As we were starting to play, a complete stranger came walking by and asked if I wanted to buy a copy of the game, because he had an extra that he had brought straight from Essen. Needless to say, I jumped all over it.

The game itself is a clever bidding game, where each year you are trying to take your team to the championship by buying players. You play 6 years and your players will age (some improving, some going the other way, and some retiring all together) each year. This game lent itself really well to metagaming. I already have a player I will never draft, because he torpedoed my team the first time I played. The theme really helps the game tell a story, and (with some good players) you can have a lot of laughs. This game created the best stories of the con for me. Especially the time a crooked referee robbed your Texas Snakes from being the backtobacktobacktoback champions. I played it three times over the course of the con and had a great time each play.

Another play of Tobago and dinner and then it was starting to get a little late. I went for a brief walk to try & get some exercise, and then came back to find another of my games of interest Carson City being set up. I decided to jump in & give it a try. It's a tile laying game, and a mean one. You often end up in direct conflict with the other players just to take an action, and if you lose the conflict you don't get an action. Maybe it was just because it was late, but the game did not click with me. I want to give it another chance at some point, but it definitely slid down my want list after that play.

And so ended the first day of the con. Coming up, a day where I play all day and only play 2 games!

Last 5 posts by Ezra


  1. Rougman says

    Hey, I really like these gaming reports.

    Every year I attend a gaming weekend with a group of six high school friends and we have been doing it for 16 years now. It started out as a weekend thing only but has since evolved into a Wed-Sun gaming marathon (rumors have surfaced that Wed might not be a quick enough start.)

    We play many of the games you mentioned over the course of the event but probably put more time into the Mayfair railroad games (at about 5 hours per game with 6 participants.)

    Oh, we never discuss politics.