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Saturday, April 2, 2011

CONVENTIONS - GAMESTORM 13 Gaming Report (SATURDAY, Mar 26th)

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4


This is Part 3 of 4 of my gaming report of Gamestorm 13. Each part will be posted over the next few days.

SATURDAY

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...

  1. 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.
  2. Circus MaximusChris 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:

Friday, April 1, 2011

CONVENTIONS - GAMESTORM 13 Gaming Report (FRIDAY, MAR 25th)

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4


This is Part 2 of 4 of my gaming report of Gamestorm 13. Each part will be posted over the next few days.

FRIDAY


Friday started out rather uneventfully - I woke up somewhat early despite having stayed up late. I took my time getting up then headed to the hospitality room for breakfast.
  1. Biblios - Again. Chris was teaching to Jon when I got back from breakfast and jumped in to play as well.
  2. Die Sieben SiegelAnother card game. This was actually "Wizards Extreme" - a 'nasty' trick-taking game with an interesting twist - you must guess exactly how many tricks AND what colors you will win by selecting chips of those colors in the numbers specified then putting them back when you win an appropriate trick. Left over chips are negative points. Only one card suit is wild. Not sure who won the first game, but the 2nd game I won by trying out the evil wizard dude (where you try to screw everyone else by giving them negative chips). 
  3. HaggisI taught Rog and Chris. My review says it all about gameplay. I will say this was my first time playing 3 player and it's tougher in some respects because either player can have really good cards and it's harder to tell how strong your hand is. Rog did extremely well for his first time and my cards sucked (or I just bet and played them wrong). Chris has already purchased his own copy.
  4. HabitatRog taught me this game. It's fairly light but has some interesting decisions and is fun as well. The cards are nice with various animals depicted. Basically, you are trying to build up an eco-system by getting cards on the table with number values 1 thru 8 - getting multiples/duplicates doesn't help. You have to start with base prey cards then build up from there. There are also special events that affect the game in different ways and you can also steal columns of cards when playing predators in a certain manner. It's tougher than it sounds, but the rules are not all that complicated. Note that a copy of this was at the flea market but Chris bought it before I had a chance. I think my kids will like this game and will probably get a copy.
  5. ShowmanagerChris and I had about 1 hr before our next game that we had signed up for. We had 6 so were looking for something that could take that many but was also relatively short. I suggest Showmanager. Some were skeptical due to the 1 to 1-1/2 hr timing but I said I could teach it quickly and if there was no AP we could do it. And, somehow, we managed to get it taught AND played by 6 players in under an hour! This was only my 2nd time playing (and was my first time teaching - the rules are pretty easy though). The main idea is to collect cards (actors) and, when the right set is accumulated, put on a show! Your total value is your score. You must put on a total of 4 shows. Any show you complete is available to borrow money against to be able to hire good actors for the remaining shows. Points are determined by how much money each show garnered compared to all the other shows. There is LOTS of moaning and groaning in this game because with 6, by the time it comes around to you the cards you wanted are often flushed out and you are left with crap. I found this game to be just as fun compared to the first time I played. It is OOP and hard to get and the reprint artwork is not very good so I'm glad I got a copy last year before it came out.
  6. Industrial WasteThis is a great economic game with an interesting card drafting method where sets of cards are dealt out with no duplicates in each. You pick them up in turn order and then play cards one at a time around the table. It also has a chart along the lines of Goa where you must try to improve your company in efficiency in several ways which also increases your functionality and gives you more points in a triangle scoring way (1, 3, 6, 10, 15). The struggle for points is a biting/clawing affair trying to eek out that next level to get ahead. The other interesting feature of this game is to earn money you have to fulfill contracts, but to fulfill contracts you have to have resources AND you produce dangerous waste at the same time. The resources come from auctions you can put up (which also earn you money or let you get the resources you need). In fulfilling contracts, you have to balance the risk of too much waste (and having an accident which costs you money and loss of income) vs. how much time you spend making yourself more efficient and/or cleaning up the waste. I made one small mistake near the end which took me out of the running of a very tight 3-way race for 1st. Lynette was kind enough to teach and we had a great time as usual (I played 2 years ago as well with her). Thanks Lynette!
  7. High FrontierSpace. The final Frontier. These are the voyages of rocket stacks flying through the solar system to eek out a small living in a hostile environment fraught with danger and claim jumping Chinese. Phil Ecklund does it again with another true-to-life simulation/game. This was my second time playing and I finally had some idea of how to get a rocket into space pretty much all on my own. Doug made terrific use of his solar wing to get himself onto Mercury and also had a successful landing on Mars. Rog got stuck trying to figure out how to land on Jupiter and Chris had to inefficiently fly 2 missions to the same location before he could land on some rock in the outer belt. Outstanding game and fun just for the experience and effort as much as anything.
  8. Garden CompetitionAttack of the weeds! This is a somewhat heavy game for something about flowers with players vying for their neighbor's attention to receive flowers as gifts, bribing the competition judges to reveal what they are looking for to score higher, and attacking the other players with weeds via the next door neighbor's yards. It's garden warfare at it's finest!
  9. Jet SetLoved this take on route building with the huge layout of routes available and interesting mechanics of balancing the earning of money with trying to make more points than the other players. I focused too much on the routes out on the table and not enough on my vacation route (which scores 20 points if you complete it first and forces the end game). This one needs another play so I have a shot at the win next time!
  10. Coloretto - A nice filler - one of the first gamer type games I learned 3 years ago and still enjoy playing it with it's tense set collection mechanic. Great fun for end of night gaming.
  11. No ThanksAnother fun filler that I haven't gotten to play much before - I thought I had the win, but didn't amass enough coins by the end to compensate for other's hording.
After a long day of gaming it was about 2AM and time for a bit of sleep. Just a bit is all I needed...really!

Come back tomorrow for Part 3 of 4 in this series...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

CONVENTIONS - GAMESTORM 13 Gaming Report (THURSDAY, Mar 24th)

Part 1 - Part 2Part 3 - Part 4


This is Part 1 of 4 of my gaming report of Gamestorm 13. Each part will be posted over the next few days.

Wow, it's been 8 9 days since my last post! Probably 9 10 by the time I post this! I've been trying to be consistently posting at least every 2-4 days since I started on Jan 1st. Alas, I have failed this one time - BUT, I have an excuse: GAMESTORM in Vancouver, WA, last week from Thursday to Sunday and I had a terrific time!

Well, here's the general scoop: I was lazy and didn't bother taking any pictures (except on Saturday when we played Circus Maximus). And, I didn't do much else other than play games even though I stated previously that I would try to branch out more. I DID make an effort to go into the dealer's area and I spent some time asking a few questions, looked for Thunderstone promos for my friend Bob, and tried to spot any good deals. Also, I had a few dollars burning in my pocket and thought I'd spend it, but ultimately I ended up not buying anything there.

I DID attend the flea market (which took place after the Gamestorm Math Trade exchange where I handed out and collected games for my friend Wes). At the flea market there were some interesting games and some decent prices on some. I inquired about several and finally settled on a mostly complete copy of Dungeon for $10 and a practically new copy of Day & Night for half price as well.

I used to have Dungeon when I was growing up but apparently it found it's way into a garage sale or thrift store while I was in college and my parents changed houses, so I was excited to find myself another copy that I can play with my kids. There are a few missing cards and it's likely playable as-is, but the complete-ist in me says I have to seek out the rest of the missing pieces. I'll be hitting the BGG Parts Resource list as soon as I do a proper inventory.

First, my overall impression of Gamestorm: It was fun!

Next, my slightly more detailed impression of Gamestorm: Registration was a breeze (I got there Thursday afternoon before the onslaught of gamers hit). Room check-in was easy and game unloading wasn't a problem as I parked in the garage and took the elevator up. My room was right near the elevator so carting games back and forth wasn't a big problem. The rooms are fairly standard, clean, comfortable and in good condition.

Gaming overall was busy and boisterous. Lisa Steenson of Gut Bustin' Games was there as guest of honor and there were several tables of her games being played: Trailer Park Wars and Oh Gnome You Don't mostly. To promote Gnome there were several people with large Gnome hats running around. I also saw a couple of large stuffed Gnomes and there was a lot of chanting of Gnome! or Brawl! (or something similar - I couldn't tell exactly) on at least a couple of occasions. (I never did get in a play of any of those games :( ). There were also several LARPers running around adding color to the environment with various costumes on (cloaked vampires, eye patched pirates,  swords and fighting gear, people with various ears and tails protruding, etc).

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