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BGG.CON - Games I Would Have Played

November 13, 2006

400 lucky BGGeeks just got done with four amazing days of gaming at what sounds like the most wonderful convention ever, but that doesn't mean that the rest of us can't dream. So what would you have played if you'd gone? My list is a mile long...

After arriving late Wednesday night, my first game as soon as the doors opened on Thursday would have definitely been the Notre Dame prototype. I would tracked down Valerie Putman faster than a bloodhound and begged her to let me try out Alea #11 until she took pity on me and caved. Stefan Feld may have found few fans with Um Ru(h)m und Ehre, but it sounds like he's likely to find a boatload with this upcoming release. I know it's silly, but if it says Alea on the box, I just can't resist (I mean I already admitted earlier this year that I'd buy a turnip peeler if it was made by Alea, and I don't even like turnips). Larry Levy's right that Alea never really fell from grace to begin with, but even if this isn't technically a return to the glory days as Rick Thornquist suggests, I'm still psyched!

Ah yes, I forgot to mention, that when I was registering with Aldie and his lovely wife, I didn't pick one of those plain ol' blue tickets, or whatever other colors there are, for some "regular" prize like a measly copy of Shogun or Die Macher, but instead I picked out a shiny golden ticket! They didn't even know it was in there, that's how surprised they were. Well, it turns out the golden ticket winner got copies of Roads & Boats, Full Métal Planète, Poisson d'Avril, and Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage. Needless to say, I was pretty psyched about my golden ticket (even if it, and one of these games, don't exist).

After thoroughly enjoying Notre Dame, I would have tracked down one of those nifty Crokinole boards with the BGG logo on it. I don't really understand the attraction of dexterity games (e.g., Crokinole, Carabande/Pitch Car, Polarity, Villa Palleti, Nacht der Magier), so that's why I'd have to try them at BGG.CON where I could see what they're all about before buying any of them. I don't own any dexterity games, and I'm slightly confused as to why some of them are so beloved by hardcore eurogaming fanatics, but if they're as good or better fillers than my standard fare (e.g., Liar's Dice, Can't Stop, For Sale) then maybe I'll have to become a dexterity fan too. I would secretly hope that I didn't like Crokinole because the price for good board is staggering, but I'm sure I'd fall in love with the game and just have to have a high-end board, although I'm not sure where it would fit in my NYC apartment, but I wouldn't think about that until after buying it of course.

Of course, I'd follow Crokinole with Carabande, because this is another game that I'm utterly perplexed about, but would just have to check out. I'm not sure what the appeal is of flicking little discs around a track, but you were all collectively right when you suggested Puerto Rico, Tigris & Euphrates, El Grande, Princes of Florence, Ra, and Age of Steam, so I'll just have to take your word for it on this flicking game. That is, until I tried it at BGG.CON, where I would of course have become immediately enamored with it, and rushed out to buy Pitch Car, and probably the Extension too I'm guessing.

Having followed the gamer's game of Notre Dame with two dexterity games, I would have gotten back to what I know and love by digging through the staggering library of games to find a copy of Martin Wallace's Liberte. For some reason this game has always appealed to me, so I would have just had to try it out. I mean, Morgan looks to be having a good time, and his tastes seem pretty reliable. Not to mention the fact that Martin Wallace's other game that I've tried is absolutely and unbelievably fantastic, and while I don't like every Knizia or Jurgen-Wrede or Kramer game I try, I'll trust in a designer's name until they disappoint, that's what these being "designer games" is all about, right? After getting whomped in Liberte (how do I know? Because I stink at Age of Steam, so I'm just assuming), I'd probably have to take a quick break for some sort of food, I'm not sure what I'd eat, but I know it would be quick, that's for sure!

Martin Wallace games are like those potato chips (what brand were they again?), you definitely can't play just one. So I'd have to follow Liberte with Age of Steam on the England or Ireland map. I know I'll never get my hands on this expansion, so I'd have to find someone at BGG.CON with a copy that they'd let me play, and a couple other BGGeeks to kick my butt. I'm not sure why I love this game so much, but I think it has something to do with the fact that I'm massively in debt from student loans, and I just adore the feeling you get when you finally make that first dollar around turn 4 or 5. It's so utterly satisfying, it's amazing, nothing like any other game I've ever tried! I don't care if I come in last every time, if I never get to urbanize, if my locomative is always puny, and my shares are always staggering, I still love it.

I'd cap the night off, by trying two more expansions that I doubt I'll ever get to own. The first would be Mississippi Queen: The Black Rose. This would be a nice counter-weight to Age of Steam, and a great way to discover whether this impossible to find expansion actually improves the base game significantly or not. Werner Hodel didn't exactly wow me with this game, but the expansion is something I've always longed to try. I'm sure I'd enjoy it, and finally be willing to pay what's necessary to get a copy, what a shame, heh.

Elfengold would be the final part of the trilogy of expansions I don't own and probably never will. I'd dig and dig in the library of games until this magically appeared, or I'd beg people to bring it weeks before the convention. Somehow I'd make a copy appear in Texas magically, and I'd play it as my last game on Thursday evening. Here's another game I'm not particularly enamored with, but for some reason I can't get the idea out of my head that it will be fantastic with the expansion. I'd find a few other young elves to travel around the world of Elfenland with me, visitng as many cities as possible on unicorns, dragons, and of course troll wagons (they look suspiciously like dwarves), but this time with economics and money management involved, whoa! It's madness, and a great way to end a great first day of my imaginary convention.

I'd wake up early on Friday (early being 11:30am for me), and realize I'd only played one new Essen release on Thursday. I'd slap my forehead, and rush back downstairs to my imaginary convention to find one of the few and far between copies of Gheos. Even though I've already pre-ordered this from Thought Hammer, I'd have to try it now, rather than wait another week or two. I'd find Z-Man Rep. Simon Hunt, and promise to try Take Stock, as long as he first lets me play Gheos. I'm sure I'd enjoy it in my imaginary world because how can a combination of Tigris & Euphrates and Carcassone not strike my fancy, those being my two favorite games. Friday would be off to a great start after beginning with Gheos, even though I forgot to eat breakfast in my haste.

I love it when the radio station does a "Two for Tuesday" double feature, so I'd have to follow up Gheos with another Essen release. I'm sure there'd be a copy of Yspahan readily available in my imaginary version of BGG.CON, and I'd round up a bunch of other Ystari fanboys to try out their latest and greatest with me. We'd all ooh and ahh over how Ystari is the new Alea, and how they're 4 for 4, and how we want to have Cyril's baby. Okay, I might have gotten a little carried away there, but in case you haven't heard, there's dice, but they're not used in the normal way, it's madness!

I'm not sure exactly when Thought Hammer's Hammer Time prize drawings were, but from the early reports coming in, it sounds like they constantly handing out free games throughout the four days, and that everyone walked away with ten free games. Well, might as well be Friday afternoon in my imaginary version of BGG.CON, and of course, I'd win this! Settlers was my gateway game years ago, and while I don't play it as much any more, I think it would rise up my games played list after winning a copy of this. I'm not sure how I'd get it home in my luggage from my imaginary trip to Dallas, but I guess I'd get bumped up to 1st class for free on my imaginary trip home, and there'd be plenty of room to spread out and bring this with me. I guess I might as well win Blokus Trigon on Friday afternoon while I'm at it because I'd love to try that out too, but don't really see myself buying it, since I already own the original and Travel versions.

There's time for one more game before dinner, and having played a couple brand new games already, I'd have to play this 70's classic to balance out. I'm a huge fan of the original six novels (and a huge enemy of the newer prequels of course), and I've enjoyed the Game of Thrones game based primarily on my love of the novels, so I'm sure I'd find a similar love of this game based on its gameplay and theme combined! I don't really mind being labeled a eurosnoot, or whatever it is you kids are calling it these days. I'm admittedly pretty picky about games and quick to criticize the games of my childhood (Monopoly, Life, Risk), but I also like to think that I'm willing to try pretty much everything. I've surprised myself with how much I enjoy Nexus Ops, even though I've been crushed 5 times now at it, and I'm glad I picked it up in the Toys 'R Us blowout sale, so I'm sure I'd find it in my hear to love this ameri$*%@# game (censored to avoid controversy).

After dinner, it would be time for a Fragor Brother party, where I'd play both Shear Panic and Hamlen back-to-back. I've only ever seen photos of the components in these two games, so after a day and a half of imaginary convention, it would be high time to actually see them in person. I'd have to try out both of these Scottish games to see if there's really a game behind the chrome or not, and I'm sure I'd be pleasantly surprised by both. I guess I might as well try Leapfrog while I'm at it, and really make a Frag-tastic bo(h)nanza of it!


Friday evening would end with BattleLore. I don't really have much experience with the Richard Borg system, but I imagine it has to be one fantabulous game system if it gets three games and counting, with themes ranging from WWII to ancient warfare to elves and dwarves. I'd discover a beautifully hand-painted copy of BattleLore tucked away in the games library (of course including the notorious Hill Giant figure) and bust it out. I'm not sure what to expect with this game, and I'm certainly not sure it's my type of game, but what better way to find out whether this $70 behemoth is for me than at my imaginary BGG.CON. I'm sure it would be a great way to end my second day on my first ever trip to the Lone Star State.

I thought I was going to bed, but it turns out I wasn't. I got roped into a late night game of Werewolf with all the Werewolf pros from BGG. I've only ever played it once online in arkibet's Afterschool Special, and while I found it an interesting experience, I know for a fact I would be completely terrible at this game in person. I just have absolutely no poker face whatsoever and am completely obvious when lying (hence why you don't see the ever so popular poker tournament anywhere on this list, I stay far far away from that game). I wouldn't end up having to stay up much later than expected on Friday because the villagers would discover my wolfish tendencies pretty quickly I'm afraid, and I'd be off to bed quickly after apologizing to my wolf partners (which would accidentaly ruin the game, whoops)! I'd have to go to bed quickly though because the flea market starts tomorrow at my imaginary convention.

I'd wake up early on Saturday morning (real early, not "Tom early") and rush downstairs (once again forgetting to eat breakfast), so I can find all those great deals at the flea market! First, I'd find someone selling Chinatown for $3.75, which is the missing piece to my Alea big box puzzle, and I'd be overjoyed. Of course it would be in shrinkwrap, since it's my convention, and I get to decide. I'd also love this negotiation game because it would fill a whole in my collection between Traders of Genoa and Bohnanza, it really is the missing link in more ways than one.

The person selling Chinatown would also just happen to have a copy of Vinci as well, and they'd be running a Buy 1 Get 1 Free Sale, so I'd just toss this one in my basket as well. Philippe Keyaerts didn't wow me with Evo, and the Ludagora interface is inscrutable, but I'm sure this game would knock my socks off, and at that price, how could I refuse?

You'd think I'd have run out of luck at this point, but you'd be wrong! Next, I'd find someone selling a shrink-wrapped copy of Stephenson's Rocket for $1.49, and I'd quickly pounce at the chance to try Knizia's take on trains. I'm not sure quite why I want to try this game so badly, especially since it seems to get very mixed reviews, but it appeals to me for some reason, and I can't stop wanting it until I try it, so Saturday morning would provide the fix I've been looking for.

You didn't think the guy selling Stephenson's Rocket only had one game did you? Of course not! He also had a copy of Medici in shrink-wrap as well, and wouldn't you know it, he's also got a Buy 1 Get 1 Free Sale. Just my luck! I walk away with these four games for $5.24 and consider myself a very lucky (if slightly delusional) man.

Ahh, I almost forgot. As I was leaving the flea market area, I tripped over a brand new copy of La Citta lying on the floor. I swear I tried my darndest to find the owner. I had Derk make an announcement and everything, but no one claimed it, so I stuffed it in my magical luggage that somehow can hold Roads & Boats, Full Métal Planète, Poisson d'Avril, Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage, Settlers of Catan 10th Anniversary 3-D Special Edition Chest Set, Chinatown, Vinci, Stephenson's Rocket, Medici, and La Citta... go figure. Saturday was a very productive purchasing day indeed!

Sunday was the final day of my imaginary BGG.CON, and it was a time for trying a few things that have always intrigued me. First on the list would be the "Calvinball" of games:1,000 Blank White Cards. I have no idea what the deal is with this game, but that's what BGG.CON is for after all, so I promptly rounded up all the usual suspects, and played this game, whatever it involves, on Sunday morning.

Of course I couldn't leave Dallas without finding out what the deal is with this thing. It seems to be the talk of the town, but this seems like a try-before-you-buy kind of deal to me. So of course I tried it on Sunday, and tried it again, and again... I think I may have tried it one too many times, as this imaginary recap of my times the convention took a lot longer to type with only 9 functional fingers! I've learned my lesson, I guess you really can have too much of a good thing, except for games of course.

Wow! My imaginary BGG.CON really flew by! There are so many games I didn't even get to try! I never got to travel through time with Khronos, I never had the chance to get totally stressed out with Space Dealer or massively perplexed by Factory Fun, I never got to rehash area control with Kreta, I never got to see Richard Breese try his hand at lighter games with Fowl Play, I never got to put any games in wicker baskets, I didn't make it to any of the Orange Brigade's meetings, or have a chance to feed Jingles the Pony. I guess I'll just have to go back next year for all these things, and much much more... maybe even for real this time, although I suppose that might mean a slightly less successful flea market, slightly less golden ticket, and slightly less hammerful thought hammer time.


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