The Games We Play

To be honest, I didn't like the name "Getting Dicey."  Going with this much simpler, to-the-point title this time.

So, I have not played many games this last month.  Weird.  It's like I had something else occupying all my time.  Not sure what that was, but it may be the subject of my Father Knows Best coming next month.

Anyway, I wanted to share a little bit about Gaming Conventions.  Last year I went to my first gaming convention: Geekway To The West in St. Louis, MO.  IT. WAS. AWESOME!!!

I've been getting heavy into board gaming over the last 2-3 years, ever since my friends introduced me to games like Ticket To Ride, Shadows Over Camelot and Talisman.  When they told me about Geekway last year, I thought it sounded like a lot of fun.  It was.  I played so many new games like Euphoria (Build a Better Dystopia), Coal Baron (great worker placement game), Firefly (based on the TV show - shiny!), and also got to play a 60 player game of Werewolf.

This year, I'm going again, but I it's different for a number of reasons.  First, I know what to expect.  Last year, I really didn't know how to get into games when I didn't know anyone around.  This year, I not only know how to use the Meeple "Players Wanted" signs, but I also know a bunch more people going.  Also, after listening to several episodes of The Dice Tower over the last year, I'm aware of many of the latest games to get a lot of buzz.  Games like Mysterium, Dead of Winter, and XCOM the Board Game.

My favorite part of the convention is the Play and Win.  There are about 50 games (3 copies of each) that you can play throughout the weekend, when you do, you put your name into a drawing to win a copy of that game.  Last year I won a copy of Tzolkin: The Mayan Calendar and its expansion.  I already had the base game, so I sold the base for cash and bought Terra Mystica instead.  Oh... and you get a free game just for registering.  Last year I got a roll-and-move game called Bakong that I thought was mediocre, but my son sure liked it.  They did have some gems last year, and this year I'm hoping to get King of Tokyo of Sons of Anarchy.

If you love Board Games, Conventions are a great way to try a bunch of new stuff out, or get to those long drawn out games that you have a hard time getting to the table.  Conventions are becoming more and more popular.  To find one near you, I suggest looking here, or try Board Game Geek.

What have you been playing lately?

15 thoughts on “The Games We Play”

  1. I'll share another tidbit about one of the games I actually did play this month. I got to introduce my wife to Catan. My wife is not a gamer. Occasionally I can get her to play something like Ticket to Ride, or No Thanks. She'll play Wits and Wagers and Apples to Apples and other casual games, but deeper strategy games are just not her thing.
    It all started when our daughter made a friend in her viola class. Her friends parents were gamers and have been to Gen Con many times. We invited them over and they brought their Super Deluxe edition of Catan, with textured hexes and super fancy components. Let me tell you, it was quite cool.
    The husband of the other couple crushed us, but my wife seemed to enjoy it well enough. Our not-quite-1 year old was being a little fussy, which took away some of the enjoyment, but I'm hopeful that I might be able to try some other games with her. I still need to introduce her to Pandemic, Forbidden Island, and Forbidden Desert.

  2. I'm excited that you mentioned Tzolkin. That game took far too much to figure out the first time we played it, but it was lots of fun. I think we may have only played it once, but I certainly want to try it again.

    I've played a decent amount of Ticket To Ride in the past month. It's just a solid game. Nothing fancy, but I can get people to play it because it's easy enough.

    1. The gear mechanic in Tzolkin is so unique and fun. But there's a LOT going on in that game and can cause serious Analysis Paralysis. I haven't played it since last year at Geekway. I keep trying to get my son to play it, but he hasn't been receptive.

  3. I bought a copy of Pandemic: The Cure at a new board game shop in Winnipeg after getting a coupon from them at this pop culture expo thing J & I went to. I'd wanted to try it pretty badly, and after 4 plays I really, really enjoy it. It isn't quite as cool as Pandemic, but the dice are very pretty and it plays fast. It's still nerve wracking the entire time, but it plays in about 30 minutes so when you inevitably get your ass kicked it doesn't feel quite so bad!

    I also tried a couple of other games with my friends: Dominion (very fun, but I had 100 less games under my belt than the guys I played with so it was a bloodbath) and Castles of Mad King Ludwig (enjoyable, but I'm terrible at special thinking). I also joined a D&D group with my core group of friends who realized they'd left me out and wrote me into the game. It's 5th ed which I'm enjoying a lot more than any other D&D experience I've had prior to this.

    I wish I could add something about video games, but I haven't played much at all. I played half the new courses in the new Mario Kart 8 DLC and they were awesome. I need to play the rest. I'm gonna bring something to play in my hotel room this weekend, just haven't decided on what.

    1. I love Dominion. I picked that up last year. I love that there are so many different combinations with the kingdom cards. It truly makes every game unique.

      1. My friend has all the expansions and used some app to determine all the correct decks. He said two of the decks we played with he'd never used and he had played it like 300 times. Ridiculous.

      2. Yes. Yes yes yes. Dominion is amazing. I don't love all of the expansions, but I don't think there's a game with more replay value out there.

  4. For the first time in ages, my wife and I played a game last night: Qwirkle. I have never beaten her, but played a solid game last night and finished closer than usual, and my two "mistakes" weren't the game-breakers.

    Part of it is that I'm color blind and the blue & purple and orange & red colors on our set don't really jump out at me - I really have to work hard comparing my blocks to each other and those that have been played before making a move. Sometimes I still get it wrong and have to pick up a block or blocks I've played, having already shown my "hand" to the opposing players and not getting those points.

    The other part is strategy - I'm more willing to set up a Qwirkle (6 identical shapes of different colors or 6 different shapes of the same color) in hopes that I'll get the piece necessary to get the 12 (or more) points. She will always take fewer points if it allows her to prevent the other players from getting the Qwirkle, even if it means she won't get it either.

    Seeing as how I've never beaten her using my strategy, I may have to adopt hers or come up with something else.

    1. Qwirkle is good. Kids can play it pretty young, but I think a thinking-plotting adults playing against each other would be rewarding as well.
      Which makes it a lot like Dominoes.

      Colorblindness may be a major hindrance. I might suggest adapting your set with patterns on each color. Or even dots, letters, or words. A white-out pen and a sharpie may come in handy.

      I really like to mess with things by turning the orientation. It's typically columns of colors and rows of symbols (or vice versa, depending upon which side of the table you're on).
      But there's nothing in the rules (we checked) stopping you from crossing a color grouping with another color grouping. That can really foil some well-laid plans.

        1. For graphs I make for work, I print a lot of drafts on the B&W printer, so I make sure that there's clear-enough point-markers on lines, and I use patterned fills. (Those went away two versions of Excel ago - the first one with the Ribbon, it was so annoying. They're back now though.)

  5. On the video game side of things (since none of my friends do much in the way of board games, I don't ever have much to add to that conversation), I began playing Heavy Rain a couple of weeks ago, and I'm looking to get back to it soon. I'm pretty sure I'm about 3/4 of the way through it.

    Though I like the game a lot, it hasn't yet congealed into love. It's a lot more fluid than Fahrenheit, and so far, the story is extremely engrossing. The trials are all tense and very well put together, and I like the little bit of sci-fi elements that come into play with ARI.

    Actual Spoiler SelectShow
    1. Once we buy a house, we'll invite you down to play games. After you scrape paint, or somesuch.

  6. I haven't been able to play any board games lately, though I'm hoping to get a game night scheduled with my buddies sometime soon.

    I did start paying Jade Empire again recently. I had forgotten how great that game is. After that, i think I'm going to give a replay to Knights of the Old Republic. Damn those early 00's RPGs were great.

  7. Has anyone here played Time's Up? I'm more of a fan of party games than I am strategy games. I think it's because when I'm with family, we want to laugh. Time's Up is non-stop laughs but also requires a decent amount of strategy if you want to win. It's one of the highest rated party games on BoardGameGeek, so those guys are pretty into it as well.

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