So, I know this is late in coming. But I wanted to sum up the weekend of March 11-13.
I spent the weekend at Tennessee Game Days. I wanted to be spending the weekend in Columbus GA at the 2011 NCAA Rifle Championships, but alas, it was not meant to be.
So, I got the consolation prize of Tennessee Games Day. As Consolation prizes go, this one is a pretty good one. I’ve been in a gaming lull for a good while anyway since I’ve taken up running. I’m usually an early exit now from our weekly game nights, those 5:30 runs come to early to be able to play games until midnight. RK and the Nashville Gaming Crew put on a really great show, and it has become one of the highlights of my gaming year.
So, on Friday I headed toward Nashville, TN. Kids in Tow. I got another bonus in that Ole Miss was playing Kentucky in the SEC Championship game, so I got to listen to the game for nearly the whole ride. It was a little weird listening to David Kellum for the first half and to Tom Leach at the end of the Second half, but at least I got to listen the whole way. ‘Twas a close one, but the Cats ended up getting the Rebs in the end. Unfortunate, It was nice that Kentucky went on to take the championship as well over the weekend. If Ole Miss can’t win the SEC Championship then I’d rather Kentucky does.
But I digress, so as I finally drop the kids off for a weekend with ‘Nana’ and head over to the hotel, I come in to find a large crowd. Being as it’s 8:00 or so on a Friday night, this wasn’t a surprise. I scope out the hotel, and the game library, and catch up with some friends. Then I drum up a game of Hansa Teutonica with a couple of people that were wanting to learn a new game. I first learned this one a few months ago at Gamefest South in Chattanooga. JN taught it to me. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t like it after she went through the explanation, but found myself enjoying it very much in the end. It’s a very, very euro type game, but it has a great many paths to victory, and all seem to be fairly well balanced, at least after only two plays. It’s not something I’d ever pick up for myself, too samey to everything else we play, but I don’t think I’d turn down a game for a good long while if someone asked.
After Hansa Teutonica, I wandered a bit, when I discovered that a friend had jokingly signed me up for the ‘late night’ tour of games. At TGD they have a little vacation theme to the whole weekend, and they have ‘gaming tours’ made up of blocks of different games, that have some arbitrary item or action holding them together; Well this particular tour has Dancing Eggs in it, which TGD and I have a little bit of history with, that I won’t get into right now.
I decided to stay in the tour anyway, because there was one game in it I really wanted to try. I’ll get into that in a minute.
First game of the Tour was Say Anything. I had this game in my collection at one time. I had picked it up as Schwag at BGG.con a few years back. I had played it once or twice, but it isn’t really my bag. I thought the premise was alright, but it really just didn’t work with any group I tried it with, or the players that I typically played with. It is a party type game, which can go in one of two directions based upon the players. If it’s a group that doesn’t really know each other, it’s an icebreaker introduction type thing, and if they do, then it’s an inside joke write these responses down kind of thing. In the end, like most party games, the score doesn’t really matter in the end, it’s all about the memories. I enjoyed the playing of this, but it is not something I’ll ever seek out and play. Telestrations is my go to party game of choice these days, and will likely remain so for a good long while.
Next up was the infamous Dancing Eggs. Unfortunately, I was not able to get through this Dancing Eggs game without incident either: You see, Dancing Eggs games can get pretty intense sometimes. We no longer play this at our house since the chandelier broke because of it. But personal injury is a very real possibility as well. Well luckily, nobody was injured this time, though I did unfortunately seemed to have crossed personal boundaries while trying to grab a bouncing egg. This game can be bad for that. At least the game ended soon after that and we moved on to the next game.
Third on the tour for me was A La Carte. This game was the real reason I wanted to stay on the tour after being signed up on it. The game is way cute, it has all kinds of good bits and gimicky components. It’s a game about cooking, and each person gets a stove and pot. Which you put recipes into. Then you have spice shakers that you must shake into your pots to hopefully get the right combination of spices into your pot without ruining your recipe.
This had hit my radar because my older daughter seems to enjoy trying to learn how to cook, and at this point wants to be a chef or something when she grows up. However, the components are much better than the game. It’s not bad. But I’m very glad I got to try it before seeking it out. I won’t be adding it to my collection unless it’s on clearance or out of a math trade or something.
Last on the tour was a game of Loopin’ Louie. I really like Loopin’ Louie, I have a copy, though it sometimes doesn’t get played enough. This one was a tough game that came down to the final play with all four people at one chip each though, so it got really intense and really quiet. I like to blame my getting knocked out to the Loopin’ Louie professional sitting to my left though. That ended my evening.
I was up early Saturday Morning. I’m up early every morning anymore these days. I wanted to get down and set up a few games I had brought for the flea market. Since the trip was so last minute I didn’t have the time to go through my shelves and really look for things to cull, so most of what I took ended up being the stuff I had set aside previously for other flea markets, or trades. I figured anything out of that pile was a plus. I did okay. I didn’t sell a whole bunch, but definitely a few games here and there. I did pick up three games though. Got a copy of Wyatt Earp. I likes the Mystery Rummy games, and Wyatt Earp is essentially Mystery Rummy zero, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Also got a copy of Bürger, Baumeister & Co. It was only $5 and a Michael Schacht game which I usually kinda like those. We’ll see what it’s like sometime soon maybe. Lastly ended up with a copy of Trias for $7. It gets high praise from some of my geekbuddies, and at that price, I couldn’t pass it up.
After the Flea Market. TG decided to show me Endeavor. I had not played it yet. I sort of avoid new Euro games for a while because I think they are all going to be the same. Collecting sets to buy sets, to trade sets for Victory Points, etc. Well, Endeavor had a little bit of that going on. But it also had a little bit of combat going on as well. So, while it wasn’t great. It was enjoyable, easy to learn, and quick to play. With a slight bit of ‘take that’ to it. I’d play it again, I had some fun with it.
After Endeavor another friend wanted me to try Puzzle Strike with him. I agreed despite my disdain for Dominion. Dominion is not a bad game, but I’ve never really enjoyed any playing of that game. It’s slightly better online at BSW since you don’t have to shuffle the cards all the time. Well, Puzzle Strike is basically Dominion, but instead of cards, you have cardboard chips about the thickness of Carcassonne tiles. So you shuffle the chips by throwing them into a draw bag. Also, unlike Dominion, you aren’t collecting Victory Points. You’re fighting each other by throwing Gems at each other. (Super Puzzle Fighter used to be a favorite of mine on the playstation. This game was loosely based upon that.) To win the game you have to knock out your opponents.
Well, the game didn’t go over so well with me, there were some interesting decisions, but really, it still felt too much like Dominion. Also it seemed that there wasn’t much you could do to prevent dying by the clock coming around with your ante every turn, no matter how well you built your ‘deck’. (Apparently this was because we got a few rules wrong though. As I’ll find out in a little bit)
After Puzzle Strike, We had scheduled a game of Age of Steam on the brand new Time Traveler Map. Age of Steam in all forms is essentially my favorite board game and has been for a few years. The plethora of maps coming out also means you’re never without new or interesting challenges and the game can stay fresh for a long long time. Time Traveler was an interesting map with some interesting ideas. It was marred a little bit by spotty rules, and a few ambiguities which we tried to work through. In the end, we had to abort the game due to time constraints, and likely some rule clarifications. I feel like I was doing alright though. I’d have preferred a more standard map, just to get the game played though. Still always happy to get Age of Steam to the table.
Later that day, coming in from lunch and a group of players were beginning a game of El Grande and needing a fifth. I love El Grande and was happy to teach the rules and get a playing of that in. Great area majority game, and one that actually hits the table a lot in the Memphis Group, so I’ve had some experience with it.
After El Grande, another game of Puzzle Strike was starting up and I decided to give it another shot. I’m glad I did, because after clearing up a few rules and strategies; the game really began to work. I had much more fun playing it this time, and could see the potential in something like that. I ended up picking up a copy of this one later the day to play with my own group. Can’t wait to show it to them.
The same crew of people followed up Puzzle Strike with a quick game of The Resistance. I have talked about this one on this website before, but it’s a fast werewolfy style game that really is a lot of fun. At least, for those that enjoy that style. The game had one glitch in a mistake I made while refereeing the game and mixing up two cards. I don’t think it had a huge impact. But I think everyone playing at least got the gist. Not sure if they were converts though. I’ll have to try better next time.
Followed up that by quickly being taught The Magic Labyrinth by a passerby that heard I had young children and was always looking for games for them. I thought the game was okay, but a little bit too gimmicky, and didn’t really have anything as far as game strategy goes beyond the gimmick.
I had been carrying around Triumvirate most of the day as well, and finally found another that volunteered to learn it with me. I like trick taking games, and a two player trick taking game just doesn’t seem like it would work. Well after some rules glitches and two games, we finally got to playing it right, and I’m happy to report that this game is a two player trick taking game that actually works! Now if I can just get Val to try it with me.
For the end of the Day, I had my two entries in both the Singles and Doubles Crokinole Tournaments to play. Sadly, I only got to round two in both tournaments, and my Crokinole Championship still remains out of my grasp. I did have some really close games in both of those rounds though, so it was not a total failure on my part…. Alright, I guess it was.
After my early exit from the Tourney, I managed to squeeze into a game of 7 Wonders before heading to bed. It’s a great game, that really lives up to the hype. Fast playing, handles loads of players, easy to teach, easy to learn. Not sure how much staying power it will have, but at this point, there are lots of good things going for it.
Woke up early Sunday Morning to get a quick run in before cleaning up and eating breakfast, and getting in a last game or two before having to meet Nana and pick up the kids. Headed down with TG soon after getting back and the room was still fairly empty as it was still pretty early. So I decided to introduce him to Triumvirate so that I could get a little more practice in teaching, and play a full game with the correct rules. He had actually played the game before in its previous incarnation, but seemed to enjoy the production values on this new version. After getting all the rules straightened out finallyt. I still very much liked the game and will hopefully get it back to the table really soon.
Followed up Triumvirate with Jump Gate. A new independent game, I had not heard of it. But was told it won Games Magazine Game of the Year. (That can be hit or miss though) It’s got a space theme, but really was a card management euro collect sets to gain victory points with tactical movement based on card play. I won’t play it again. It’s not worth the time and effort. It had no soul.
Had a little bit more time before the last event of my weekend, so a friend MB wanted to learn Dungeon Lords. I love Dungeon Lords, but it can definitely be a tough game to teach and learn. But once you get past that learning curve, there is a lot of fun to be had in that game. It was sort of a tandem teaching of the game, I hope we didn’t muck it up too bad as I haven’t had to practice teaching that one in a while. But I think everyone enjoyed it, and it was a nice close game in the end.
Finally ended the day with the Take it Easy tournament. If you’ve never played it before. It is sort of like ‘Geek Bingo’. It’s very random in the tiles that get called, but there is skill in placing the tiles for maximum score based on what you get. And it can handle an infinite number of players. This is the highlight event of Tennessee Games Day for me, since I’ve played in it every year, usually I finish in the lower portion of the crowd. Even taking home the Booby Prize of last place in 2007. (I think it was a copy of Fact or Crap, which I traded nearly immediately to one of the three winners for Dead Man’s Treasure, but I digress again). Well, This time despite my board looking bad, I did end up with 149 points. So when the winners were revealed, I was stunned to find out I was actually in fourth place. Just out of the prizes, but at least a respectable showing. Maybe I’m finally getting it now!
After this, My TGD ended and I said goodbye and left. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it back again next year.