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  • BGG.con

    Posted on November 26th, 2010 Jeremy 1 comment

    Carrie and I attended the annual BoardGameGeek Convention up in Dallas last week and had a blast. I met a lot of friendly folks, ate a bunch of sushi, and played a ton of games.

    First, check out the library (or at least the M through S section). There were thousands of games available to check out:

    BGG.con 2010 Library

    Here’s one of my favorite games that I played, Navigador. This is a meaty game where you play a 15th-century Portugese navigator exploring the seas. The heart of the game is the multicolor wheel, called a rondel. Each turn, you must move between 1 and 3 spaces clockwise around the wheel and take the appropriate action (like building more ships, or purchasing a building). By limiting you to just three choices, this mechanic keeps your brain from being crushed by a gigantic decision tree each turn while maintaining a significant amount of depth over the course of the game. Good stuff.


    My top 5 favorite new games that I played:

    1. 7 Wonders – Fantastic card drafting game that plays in 30 minutes and scales out to 7 players
    2. Navegador – See comments above
    3. Crokinole – Finally got to play this classic disk-flicking game (dates back to 1867)
    4. Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer – Interesting take on the recent deck-building genre, time will tell if it holds up as well as Dominion over multiple plays.
    5. Tobago – Wonderful ‘hunting treasure on a tropical island’ theme, with a great logical deduction mechanic.

    On Friday, I attended Proto Alley, a room set aside for playtesting raw, unfinished prototypes. I got my new game, Starboard, played twice, and have several pages of notes as a result. The good news is that both playtesters agreed that the core idea is sound and there is a potentially good game here. The bad news is that there is a lot of work left to be done. My new goal is to have the next version of the game ready to rock in time for Protospiel South 2011.

    Of course, no convention report would be complete without a photo of all the crap I picked up along the way (in my defense, the stack on the left was free):

    The haul

    Now, I just need to get all those games played. Time to start reading those rulebooks!

  • New Board Game: Dominion

    Posted on March 7th, 2009 Jeremy No comments


    At last night’s game night, Henry showed up with a new board game: Dominion. Now, being the game geek that I am, I had already heard some of the hype around this game. I was, to say the least, skeptical. After all, games aren’t supposed to just show up and rocket into the top 10 of the BoardGameGeek Top 100 within a month or two of their release. Let me cut to the chase here: I was wrong. After playing it twice, my verdict is that this game rocks. It plays quickly, has an excellent mix of luck and strategy, a smidge of player interaction, and a ridiculously high amount of of replayability.

    When you open the Dominion box, you will see 500 cards and a rule book. No board, no pawns, no dice – just cards. The 500 cards are divided into over 30 stacks: 3 stacks of Treasure (money) cards, 3 stacks of Victory (point) cards, 25 stacks of Kingdom (action) cards, and a few stacks for use with some alternate rules. Each game, you put all of the Treasure and Victory stacks in the middle of the table, and then select just 10 of the Kingdom card stacks to be used – that’s where the replayability comes in, since you can make every game different by changing out one or more of the Kingdom card stacks.

    Each player starts with an identical, small deck of cards. The initial cards are used to add better Kingdom and Treasure cards to the deck, which will in turn enable you to buy Victory cards. This is the meat of the game: deciding what cards to add to your deck, and then deciding how best to use them when they are drawn later on. Do you add more Treasure so that you can buy more expensive items, or do you add a Kingdom card that lets you do something advantageous (like draw more cards from your deck), or do you go straight for the Victory cards (which are useless in your deck, but required to win the game)?

    I will be the first to admit that, as is typical in many European games, the theme is rather thin, and I am not sure how the cards will hold up to the significant amount of shuffling the game requires. Those two quibbles aside, Dominion is a really great game, and you should definitely try to talk one of your friends into buying it so that you can play it. Thanks, Henry!