Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Con of the North: Day 2 of 3

Saturday I hosted a few games at Con of the North.  This is Roam by Ryan Laukat.  He does Above and Below, Sleeping Gods, Near and Far, and a bunch of others.  All of them good.  But this is one of my favorites because it's easy to teach, uses the same nice art, and is more of a bar game at heart.  You're playing Tetris with your roster of characters who each have a unique pattern.  By using those patterns you fill up the cards which "wakes up" another character who had succumbed to a sleeping sickness plaguing the land.  They bring a new pattern. Mix in some artifacts that do particular things, a bidding mechanism for ties trying to control a card, and a coin mechanism/s, and you're pretty much ready to go.  One of the best parts is the way your patterns work depends entirely on where you sit and, unless you have an artifact that's good for a 90 degree turn [and only 90] your pattern is not the same as another player's pattern.  I warned the guy sitting near me that he had to be spatially acute to play from that angle.  With four players, it takes roughly an hour.

The first game they all sort of figured out WHY you'd want the various artifacts and how to force a bid in their favor.  The second game...much more cuthroat with the artifacts.  The guy on the right side of the photo used his to early flip his characters giving him a bit of a coin generation edge because character flipping flips the artifacts as well.  He actually did well both games and, in the first one really shafted the person to the south who was ready to win when he basically slid her off her landscape and put her in limbo for a few turns that let someone else grab an edge.

I played Final Strike which some folks are trying to get Kickstarted.  With four of us we played teams.  It's based on the idea that the last person to hit an RPG critter before it dies is the one who gets the experience.  Reminded me of my D and D days with Bob and folks in Monti and Chicago.  So you're timing your hits to make sure you get the glory for being the last strike....or, strike I guess.  The strategy is expanded because some baddies can only be hit by certain weapons or people unless it's peripheral [cleave] damage.  You can upgrade your weapons using other cards that allow you to pick an adjacent card from the tableau.  Might be left right/up down.  Might be diagonal.  Might be all directions.  Depends on the smithing you do.  Other cards trigger on play or reshuffle or let you discard and cycle faster.   It was a lot of fun with teams, but not a game I'm going to back.  It's similar to others I've played.  Although I could definitely see hauling it along to Arbeiter or something.

I bought a game.  Shores of Tripoli.  I would have preferred Votes for Women by the same company, but both were on my list as historical-based games and it was on sale at the Con.  My understanding is it's more of a learning event than a playing event in some respects.  Even reading the rules I learned all sorts of things I didn't know about that historical event/s.  Amusingly, I was reading the rules at the local bar between games and, when I left, the guy next to me who'd been giving me side eye for an hour asked if it was a book or a puzzle.  I said it was a board game about the events and he got truly excited and knew something about the time period and what happened.  I probably created a board gaming convert at the counter at Red Robin.

The other game I hosted was Obsession.  I set aside four hours because I wasn't sure how long four players would take including set up and teaching, including a bit of tactics I wanted to make sure they all had.  I'm glad I did, because it took the guys playing Space Hulk before us an extra 10-15 minutes to clear out.

That's Aeryn to the right helping me coordinate as there was time before their next game started.  They seemed to have a great time.  That guy to the north really got an engine going, cycling prestige for more prestige and gentry.  The guy to his right had an exceptional cycle going as well.  The guy to his left, not so much, but he did much better than he expected and made more goal points than the rest of them together.  The fourth player just couldn't quite catch a break/groove although she did just fine.  She just couldn't create an angle for herself.

Servants went quick.  I was expecting someone to steal someone else's at some point, but it never came to that.

I used my new coins for the first time.  They're from Viticulture.  Obsession comes with 100 pound and 500 pound coins [worth 7000 and 35000 USD given inflation].  These give me 1, 2, and 5 so they're a nice match, and even have the pound sign on them.

My last game of the day was Trans Europa.  It's a bit of a proto Ticket to Ride.  You get dealt a hand of cities and you try to attach them, trying to use other players' rails to do your heavy lifting  I won, although I will say my last hand of cities was pretty optimal and I knew I wouldn't have to play as much as the others and they'd hook up one end for me.

Aeryn and folks got a round of Blood on the Clocktower going ad hoc.  They had something like 16 people there to play, maybe more.  It was pretty raucous when I finally found them downstairs.

They're over there in the corner, although some of them are milling around. I have no idea how that near table managed to play/concentrate with a group of 16 engaged in a social deduction game.  Good on them for their ability to stay focused.

While Aeryn was finishing up, I hit the hotel bar for a drink and some fries.  A UPS Tech guy who traveled sat next to me and struck up a conversation with the waitress.  They were a fun pair.  I'd been explaining the convention to her [apparently no one else had] and him and talked local Minnesota beer.  He wanted to try one and I noted Furious was on tap but he wouldn't like it.  He had a pint and exclaimed, "This is what they drink in Minnesota?" I said I'd warned him - I find Furious isn't always for out of towners.  One of my favorite interactions was when he told the waitress she reminded him of his daughter, and she said she was older.  He nailed her age precisely and she sighed and said, "Yeah...old enough to start turning gray.  Like my mom says.  It's never your head first."  Good humor to close out a good day of gaming.

No comments: