Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Con of the North: Day 1 of 3

I had a long weekend.  I had Friday off as vacation and Monday off for Presidents' Day.  In retrospect, even if I hadn't had Monday off, I should have taken it off.  Aeryn and I spent three days gaming at Con of the North and I was exhausted by Monday.  I think I'm still exhausted.  That's simply a lot of sitting and mental activity to engage in for three full days.

We usually do Gameholecon in Madison, but we've never done a Minneapolis board gaming convention.  So this was the first.  And it was the first I've hosted a game/s at, although Aeryn hosted Carthage at Gameholecon before [with a rather problematic table of old dudes].

We had a great time and I'd drop it all here, but it's a little much for a single post - and rough on my typing implements - to string it all together.

The white board welcoming people to the convention  A handy place to find some ad hoc games, although there were several rooms where people were kicking up non-scheduled games. A semi-official at the event told me this year they had 1300 people register.  Fewer were there on Friday and Sunday, but Saturday was definitely packed.


Aeryn and I both started on Lifeboats.  I joked that this game needs a lot more alcohol.  It's a voting/positioning game.  Basically you want to get as many of your survivors to the islands as possible.  Islands are worth varying points.  Your survivors come in two flavors, one vote and two.  Each turn you vote for a boat that leaks.  You vote someone off the boat if there's no space for everyone plus the leaks.  You vote for a boat to move.  You all hop out of one boat each and have to enter a different boat. There's a trumping mechanism with the cards if you think everyone is out to get you.  So not so exciting with a group of strangers.  Likely much better with a group of people where you have an inkling about their decisions.

I played 5 Tribes while Aeryn went off to run some games [probably Wingspan].  I love this game.  It's got a mancala style of play where you pick up all the meeples on one square and then drop them one by one and the last one you play has to match a meeple in the target square and you take all of the meeples of that color and the color then determines a specific action, as does the square itself.  Some genii with special powers and set collection round out the point grabs.  A great group which made it that much more fun.

Arkham Horror 3rd Ed.  We played from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and pretty much used up the whole time.  Your characters are trying to power up with skills and implements and find clues and stomp "doom".  Too much doom, bad things happen.  Find the clues, good things happen in the story line.  We failed hard at getting the clues earlier, although they just dumped on us later.

This is me, roaming the hood cleaning up doom and not doing much clue finding or monster ass kicking.

I loved this guys' character.  I joked that he looked like Joshua Jackson from Fringe running around shirtless.  One of the cards I read out loud for his encounter noted that it had rained on him and water and light were glistening off him.  Much funnier when he's shirtless.
Eventually this giant toad demon starting eating all our neighborhoods.  Not adventurers IN the neighborhoods.  But the hoods themselves.  As well as anyone in them.  At the end, almost everyone was et and I was down on that far end in an orgy of monsters, but not toad food.  It took us a long time to lose.  I liked one of the players noting, "We are a feast for someone's horrid master."

Ark Nova.  I'm not playing this one.  Klund tells me it's great.  I'm of the opinion I will never, ever play something with this many pieces and this wide of a layout.  Ironic when you see the Memoir 44 game in tomorrow's post.  But I didn't set that up and didn't have to worry too much about the other 10/12 of the board.

There was a Con of the North room specifically for gamemasters.  There was a ring to lock a chain to and disinfectant.  I don't know how the other gamemasters prep, but it seems scary.

There was role playing and Space Hulk and various mini games going on all over and several of the groups sponsored rooms and events.  This guy was upstairs.

 A nice closeup of him.

The vendor area wasn't too exciting, although I did get a game and Aeryn bought Pollo our cat a catnip infused 20-sider.  This was for sale.  I can't imagine owning this game.  When I was in high school and went on a bicycle trip, Joe came out of an outhouse laughing and laughing and muttering "Here Kitty Kitty".  The outhouse was papered in risque images, including a well-endowed mouse looking for cat love.  I wouldn't get two minutes into this without thinking about that.

The Medical Games room sponsored by one of the groups.  I like the baby.

I don't know what they're playing here, but it's very reminiscent of Circus Maximus.  I probably should have asked, although the difference wasn't likely enough that it really mattered.  Cool setup and they were having a great time.

The Con was kid friendly and there were a lot of families and teenagers there, including a bunch dropped off for the day by parents.  The whiteboard was proof of that.

I don't know who Ishmall is, but the minds of teenager gamers [and teenagers in general] are weird places to see translated to a whiteboard.

Another case in point.

Overall we gamed from about noon to ten p.m. the first day with a short break for dinner and a pre-con brunch at the Original Pancake House.  5 Tribes and Arkham were a lot of fun, even with the Arkham loss [although that really seemed to throw the game organizer, at least the magnitude of our loss seemed to], and Aeryn met someone who had been involved in planning an aborted Blood on the Clocktower event at my Arkham table, so they talked and made plans to get it going the next day.

More subdued than Gameholecon which was nice.  I think it may have been that there were about a tenth as many [or less] role players at Con of the North.  Solid family crowd and a lot of women playing at most of my tables.

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