This is Part 3 of 4 of my gaming report of Gamestorm 13. Each part will be posted over the next few days.
Saturday was the day of the math trade. For some reason I woke up early so I got up, showered and dressed, then headed down for breakfast. I went to check out the trade room but it was closed although a couple of people were already lined up. So, I went and got Wes's stuff and got in line with them. Soon after security came by to open the door and I went in and got all the games out and waited for everyone else to show up. I got 95% of the trades done in a reasonable amount of time. There was one individual whom we were supposed to meet up with the day before (but didn't notice the note until too late on Friday) so I took those back with me as well. Eventually we met up late Saturday evening and exchanged.
Anyhow, Chris was still waking up by the time I was done and he had a nice filler ready to go...
- Mosaix (x2) - I love puzzly games and this fits the bill superbly. I had read about it and Chris pulled it out when we finally got together after the madness of the math trade. He explained the rules quickly and off we went. There are 4 dice that have 3 symbols on them - X, O and (triangle). On your turn you roll the dice then arrange them together in any configuration you want. Then, both players add the pattern to a small whiteboard with a grid on it using a wipeoff pen. The pattern can go any direction on the board and can even go off the board (you just don't draw those symbols). You are trying to maximize distinct groups of 5 (or more) of each symbol. You keep going until one person fills up their board to the point they can't add anything more. Then, you count up the number of groups of each and multiply by the total number of symbols in those groups. Groups of less than 5 don't count towards either total. Add up your totals for each of the 3 shapes and compare scores to see who wins!
This game is akin to FITS or Take it To the Limit where you are all doing the same thing but in a slightly different way to try to maximize your score. My first game I thought I did good but lost by about 20 points (60-80 or thereabouts). We played again and I won by about 40 points once I learned the trick to a high score (80 to 120 or so). Loved it and will get it when I have an opportunity.
- Circus Maximus - Chris stumbled upon Circus Maximus while I had gone off to check on the dealer room for some deals. When I returned and saw he was hanging out there I knew what we were playing next. He's been jonesing to play since forever and this was his chance. An exuberant guy named Seth was running it and he had drawn the map on a large canvas sheet that was draped over a long table. He had some cool hand-painted chariots (done by his wife) that looked spectacular. He mentioned he had forgotten his camera so I offered to snap some pics and send them to him (this was the only time I brought out my camera). Here are a couple of them:
Start of the race looking down the long canvas track.
Moving the chariot.
Yes, this game brings a lot of laughs!
Seth helping Chris work out his movement.
Dan coming up fast looking to attack.
Heading into the first corner.
Chris moving his chariot down the backstretch.
I had played this once before about 7 months ago so kind of knew what to expect. We set up our chariots and then started racing. I helped out with rules a bit, but he and his buddy had been playing for years so I was just throwing out reminders or helping out Chris. I had a light chariot and my color was drawn first 3 turns in a row. I was able to jump out to a good start but my first roll sucked, so not good enough and a couple of heavier chariots tried to take me out but I just evaded. Everyone had a great time encouraging everyone else to take out some other competitor. Seth's chariot flipped on the first straightaway (in a 3 lap race) which is exactly what happened to me when I played my first time. He later took over for someone else's who had to leave later.
There was some good battling and evading going on, but nothing too serious happened (although I lost my whip and also got jostled in the 2nd turn which slowed me down a bit). We played for about 3 hours and completed about half a race. I was growing a bit weary of it and eventually stepped away to get lunch and then Chris and I had to leave to play FFF (below) which we had signed up for. I like the idea of this game and enjoy playing it for a while, but it needs to be run quickly (I would suggest a timer) to make sure it moves fast and doesn't take forever. This is just a general comment as Seth did a great job running it and pretty much knew what he was doing, but I lose interest in it with a full complement of players (8 here) if it takes too long. But now Chris knows how to play and that was the greatest advantage to giving it a go.
- Fische Fluppen Frikadellen - This was a game I knew I wanted to play and made sure I signed up as soon as I could. It is a game by Friedemann Friese and apparently is designed primarily to be played as a 3-table game. Each board is an island economy of selected vendors that can buy and sell goods, trade certain goods for other goods, etc. You run around trying to buy, sell and trade until you finally have the right combination of goods to obtain a 'fetish' of some sort. Once you do then you head off the island and move on to the next island (table). The first fetish requires 3 goods in a certain combination (2 of any1 kind, and 1 of another as one example). Each next fetish requires 1 more good (so 4, then 5). The first person to get all 3 fetishes wins! I placed something like 9th out of the total 15 players. Not bad I guess. Our first table was really tough and it took me a while to move on to the next table. The second table was quick for me (only a few turns to get off) but my 3rd table I was just getting started when the 1st place winner got his 3rd! Ah well, it was still a fun and different experience.
- Terra Prime - Next we headed into outer space. It took a while for us to figure out a good 5-player game that everyone wanted to play. I was hoping to learn something new but I finally just brought this out to teach. Terra Prime is a game where you explore the space around...ah...Terra Prime! You colonize planets, avoid asteroids and meteors, fight with aliens and deliver goods. You can also upgrade your ship in a variety of ways depending on if you want to focus on delivering goods, fighting aliens, colonize, or some combination of these. I suppose my experience of having played before helped me to win by quite a bit, but everyone seemed to have a good time trying to take out the aliens.
- Asteroyds - Ah, more outer space action! I had wanted to try this for a while so was excited to give it a go. As soon as it was set up and I heard the first rules about how the asteroids moved I KNEW I was going to like this. I used to play Asteroids Deluxe (the video game) a lot - one of my favorites in fact. We actually owned a stand-up arcade version of Asteroids Deluxe and I got to keep it in my bedroom for several months one year. I remember staying up late many nights during my summer vacation playing it. Anyhow, I could see this was like Robo Rally (another of my favorites) but in outer space. You roll 3 dice and these determine which way the asteroids all move. Each asteroid has 6 sides and each is numbered 1-6. Some asteroids move just once and some move twice. Also, certain ones push things around. At first it seemed daunting but after the first turn I realized you just had to focus on your area of the board and try to navigate in that area. You have to reach each of 4 gates to win. I'm really excited about this game now and hope to get a copy sometime in the future.
- Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game - The first of three 2-player games with Chris. I have in general been a bit unsure about wanting to play this - only because I knew it was a long game, especially with more people. With 2 I was willing to give it a try and boy am I glad I did - I had a great time and would love to try it again. I've never played the computer game of this, but we had several people come by and say "Hey, that looks just like the computer game!". This game reminded me a lot of Through the Ages but I think I liked the maps and the movement of this game better. I got a lot of early military and started stomping on him. He got really worried so started building up his forces. Unfortunately, he was in a better position to do this having built a stronger city producing more and I started to fall behind. We ended up calling it after 3 hours - it was obvious it was going to take another 2+ hours and we wanted to move on to some other stuff (plus I felt like it was going to be a huge uphill battle for me). But, this was a great introduction to the game for me. Very fun and one of the convention highlights for me.
- Haggis - Played 2 player with Chris. He seemed to pick up on the play quickly and walloped me good. And, I think he had bombs in the first 4 hands which didn't help me one bit! I will note that we played to 250 instead of 350 (I think) - I'm learning that 350 is the only way to play though so perhaps we need a rematch :)
- Factory Fun (x2) - Chris and I played 2 games of this. We find this is one of our 'last game of the night' games, particularly when it's just us two. This is a great puzzly game with a little bit of competition in grabbing the tiles and trying to get the best score. I rarely win against Chris on this game and this was the case again for both games (although it was very close - 54-64 and then 59-64). The last game I thought I had it, but Chris grabbed a great machine for himself and got enough multipliers to put him over the top. (insert appropriate swear word here) :)