Update: I forgot to add Dingo’s Dreams to the list of demoed games. Added at 3pm 8/8/2016.
As soon as Gen Con 2015 finished I started looking forward to Gen Con 2016. It’s become an annual tradition to attend and we’ve had at least four of us go every year.This year we were looking to do things a little differently with mostly non-Gen Con activities on Saturday. Let’s get to the recap.
This was the first year that we decided to go Wednesday night rather than Thursday morning. In the past we would leave Wisconsin around 4am on Thursday, which would get us to Indy around 11. Then we would have lunch at Yats. Then we would finally get to the exhibit hall around 1 or 2 and only have a few hours in the hall that first day.
So we decided to go Wednesday night. When we got to the Marriott we learned that for the 5 of us we had a room with one king bed. Uh oh. Thankfully I had brought my airpad and sleeping bag. But they would only allow one roll-away bed so one of us was on the bare floor. It was about 1am when we hit the sack.
Our plan was to rush to the Plaid Hat booth and get SeaFall since we wanted to play it during the convention. We purposefully did not pre-order it since we wouldn’t have it at Gen Con. This completely backfired as Plaid Hat sold ALL their copies to the VIGs who got to enter the hall an hour before the peasants. The worst part was knowing that while waiting to enter the hall the game was sold out.
I waited at a different entrance so I could head to the Tasty Minstrel Games booth and grab a copy of Guilds of London. This game by Tony Boydell looks really good and I was so happy to get a copy. Special thanks to those VIGs for not buying all of them.
So we got one of the games we were hoping to snag right away. We would learn later that other games we were interested in also sold out relatively quickly, like Covert from Renegade Game Studios and Terraforming Mars and The Dragon & Flagon from Stronghold Games. It happens every year. More conversation about game debuts and how they are sold later this week.
After the initial rush we basically spent the day tooling around in the hall. We demoed some games, bought some games, and just enjoyed the fact that traffic in the hall all day Thursday was lighter than we knew it would be on Friday and Saturday.
Throughout the convention it seemed like copies were being sold! Thanks to everyone who has been enjoying Scoville!
Thursday evening we enjoyed some quality beer at The Yard House, a place with 130 beers on draft!
We had planned on Friday being a demo day. We had bought tickets for a bunch of demos and enjoyed the quieter pace of the open gaming hall.
Friday night we continued our tradition of walking to the Rathskellar, enjoying big German lagers, smoking a cigar, listening to live music, and having platters of German sausage, brat balls, jalapeno poppers, hush puppies, chicken cordon bleu rollups, and pretzels!
The Rathskellar is a fantastic escape from the rush of Gen Con.
We had a non-Gen Con schedule set up for Saturday that included Duckpin bowling and a AAA Baseball Game.
But Saturday got started for me by hanging out with the awesome Grant Rodiek of Hyperbole Games and designer of Cry Havoc from Portal Games. He and I hung out, chatted about life, showed each other some prototypes, and had a good time.
After that I went to pitch a game. This was a great experience for me as it was my first real “pitch.” I’ll keep you all posted if anything comes from it.
After the pitch it was time for Duckpin bowling. We drove over to Fountain Square and had a good time despite our terrible scores. In 100 total frames we had 5 spares and 0 strikes. Our scores averaged about 70.
When we got back to our hotel we sat down in the lobby and played Scythe. It was the first play for me and Ben and the second play for the other three guys. Ben and I took 4th and 5th place. It’s a great game that I think I’ll enjoy more on the second play now that I know and sort of understand the system.
After Scythe we went to the Indianapolis Indians game. I had been looking forward to it because they were giving away a Pop Bobbleheads Flash Bobblehead as a promo. I really wanted one to give to my 4yo son. They were giving them to the first 2500 fans. I’m pretty sure we were fans #2501, 2502, 2503, 2504, and 2505 (well maybe not quite that close). We just missed out on getting one and I was pretty bummed. But it was fun to watch the game, especially since the Indians pitcher had 8 strikeouts in the first four innings. Also, it was Superhero night and The Flash was there and the Indians were wearing special Flash uniforms.
We left about midway through and went to our hotel room to play a few games. We played Order of the Gilded Compass and Paperback. I thought Paperback was a fun version of a deckbuilding game. In it you buy cards that have letters on them and then on your turn you use the cards in your hand to build words. It was fun, but the end of the game meant that our Gen Con 2016 was coming to an end. Sunday morning we packed up early and hit the road.
One of the highlights was in the First Exposure playtest hall where I had a chance to see a new capability of The Game Crafter. They recently announced that you can order custom cut components. Here is an example of what you could possibly do:
Another highlight is seeing the “Big” versions of games. This year they had a big version of King of Tokyo, which I knew my son would like to see.
Seeing the huge Pickachu was cool too…
But one of my favorite highlights is simply reconnecting with people that I only get to see once or twice a year. There are so many awesome people in the board game world and it’s always a pleasure hanging out and seeing what’s new in their lives. My next con is Grand Con in September and I’m looking forward to meeting new people there as well!
The games we demoed during the convention included (I’m positive I missed some):
- Beyond Baker Street – This is a Hanabi-esque clue-giving and deduction game with excellent artwork. The gameplay was a little too similar to Hanabi to make us want to buy it but if you don’t already own Hanabi I recommend checking this out.
- Order of the Gilded Compass – We really enjoyed this remake of Alea Iacta Est enough to buy a copy. There is a lot of replayability in the game. Unfortunately there are a few issues with the production includind copy/paste problems with the rulebook, and color issues with the red and orange dice looking too similar.
- Oceanos – The artwork is awesome and the gameplay familiar. We only demoed the first round but I can imagine that the second and third rounds are just as fun. I would have bought this if they still had copies left.
- The Grizzled – We randomly sat down for a demo of this and almost beat it! But we lost. It’s a tough game.
- World’s Fair 1893 – I really liked this game. The design is elegant and the gameplay is simple. But getting what you want is tough to do. The artwork on this one is really appealing as well.
- Quartz – I was really hoping this would be great because the artwork really drew me in. Unfortunately the thrust of the game is not the collecting of gems but the messing with other people’s gems. My gaming group isn’t much of a “take that” or “screw your neighbor” group so I was a little disappointed with this one.
- Mythe – I hadn’t even heard of this one (which released in 2012?) but Scott Morris in the Passport Booth was happy to demo it for us. In the game you are pressing your luck to move your mouse toward the dragon to defeat him and take back the cheese. You draw cards from other people and decide whether to stop and move or keep going and risk gaining nothing. It had this pretty neat pop-up folding board.
- Covert – Kane Klenko is the designer and a friend of mine. It was awesome to see the final version of the game and I was happy for him that Renegade sold out of all their advanced copies. One of my favorite parts in the game is that you can set up awesome combinations of moves to complete missions. Go check this one out or pre-order it today!
- Stockpile – Despite this being from local designers my group was finally able to demo this stock game. We enjoyed it since you have limited knowledge of what the market is going to do. The game worked well and I’d like to try the advanced version and the expansion.
- Boomtown Bandits – This game was disappointing. One of the players lost almost all the battles and only had one card after four rounds. We didn’t enjoy the gameplay very much.
- Klask – In each of the previous Gen Cons we attended we would do a little Weykick tournament in the exhibit hall. Weykick is no longer available so this year we went in for a Klask demo and used that for our tournament. Klask was fun and had more strategy than Weykick. I was glad I could snag a copy since they only had 50 per day.
- Mystic Vale – I didn’t get to demo this but the other guys did. The consensus was that the mechanic is really neat but the gameplay was too much solitaire. We are looking forward to seeing what AEG does in future games with the mechanic.
- Captain Sonar – This was fun chaos! Players are on a team that is controlling a submarine trying to hunt down the opponents submarine. We had a big crowd around us while demoing and we almost had the opponents. There was a lot of shouting and listening and general craziness. It was pretty fun.
- Dingo’s Dreams – I originally forgot about this demo. It is a Bingo style game where you play your animals onto your 5×5 grid to try and match the reference card that was drawn randomly. First player to match the pattern wins a point. Play to a pre-determined number of points. A friend said it was quite “zen.”
Gen Con 2017
One of the things I think I’d like to do next Gen Con is to pitch more games. I enjoyed that experience and that there is potential from it. Participating in the Publisher Speed Dating would be a fun option.
Another thing that I didn’t really do this year was stay up late in the open gaming hall with all the game designer folks. I just didn’t feel like it this year but I regret that decision. I’ll definitely do more of that next year.
No matter what, I’m already looking forward to Gen Con 2017!
Tomorrow marks the start of the International Spieltage in Essen, Germany. It is the grandest of board game exhibitions in the world*. While I won’t be attending I thought I would share some things to pay attention to or look forward to regarding the convention. To learn more check out the official website: http://www.merz-verlag-en.com/
*Some may argue that Gen Con is the grandest and I would not fault them for that.
For the remainder of this article I will refer to the convention as “Spiel.” There are hundreds of games that are released at Spiel and the awesome, talented, and overworked W. Eric Martin of BGG (Board Game Geek) News has been compiling a list of those games ever since Gen Con concluded. You can find that list here:
I want to point out a few titles that look intriguing to me, but I’ll get to that in a moment. One of the highlights of Spiel, as a non-attender, is watching the BGG live feed. Game designers and publishers sit down with someone from BGG and explain or teach or describe their games. This is always such a great thing because it allows us to learn about the game in great detail. I’ll update this article tomorrow with a link to the live feed, otherwise you should be able to find it on the BGG website.
UPDATE: Here is the LINK to the live feed.
Use this link to see the schedule of games they will be covering.
Games of Interest
If I were attending Spiel I would be interested in these games. For the sake of my bank account it is a good thing I’m not attending, as this is a pretty long list. This list is in my order of interest with the most interesting being the first two and then decreasing interest as the list goes on.
Rome: City of Marble
Rome: City of Marble is a must-buy for me. I am personal friends with the designer, Brett Myers, and I had the privilege of playing this prototype. I couldn’t be happier for this game to come to market via R&R Games. It is a solid mid-weight Euro style game that is easy to teach and play. I can’t wait to get a final copy on the table!
The hook with this game is how players use tiles to create different type of buildings. I’ve never seen such an awesome use of Rhombuses in a game before!
Gold West is also a must-buy for me (which I will likely do since it has been released here in the US). I am also friends with the designer, J. Alex Kevern, and had the privilege of playing this prototype. It is also a Euro-style game. This game, by Tasty Minstrel Games, utilizes a fresh twist on the Mancala mechanic where you drop resources in bins and get to use all the leftover resources for your actions.
There is a great amount of strategic planning to be done with the options available to you. Planning your moves with your resource bins is a lot of fun!
Karuba: (BGG link) I love when a game offers the same information to players and allows them to use it differently. Karuba does just that. Plus, this game looks light enough to be able to get it to the table quite a bit.
Taverna: (BGG link) The artwork on this game looks amazing. The colors really pop and it is vibrant. I am a sucker for good artwork. That said, there are a few cards with some scary or revealing images. Overall, though, this looks like it could be a fun worker placement game.
Grand Austria Hotel: (BGG link) I love Euro style games and this one seems to fit that mold, especially since it has artwork by Klemenz Franz. There isn’t yet that much information available for the game but I’m intrigued none-the-less.
Burano: (BGG link) This looks like another good Euro-style game. It has some cool color mechanics and the board art is visually stunning.
Istanbul: Mocha & Baksheesh Expansion: (BGG link) I love the base game of Istanbul. This expansion looks like it will add quite a bit to the gameplay while perhaps relaxing some of the interaction on the board.
The Prodigals Club: (BGG link) I love Last Will. It’s probably in my Top 10 games. This game, while a stand-alone game, is designed within the Last Will theme and can be integrated with Last Will. I’m looking forward to trying this one.
Nippon: (BGG link) By What’s Your Game, this looks like an excellent and deep Euro-style game.
Signorie: (BGG link) Also by What’s Your Game, this looks like yet another excellent and deep Euro-style game.
Side note: If you enjoy Euro-style games you should probably pay attention to the games that What’s Your Game is coming out with. I previously owned Zhanguo and I am wishing I hadn’t traded it away.
Trickerion: Legends of Illusion: (BGG link) I wish I had backed the Kickstarter for this. I love the magic theme and the way it’s integrated into the game. It sounds like it takes a while to play, but I think it’s probably a lot of fun.
Camel Up: Supercup Expansion: (BGG link) I love Camel Up. It is easy to teach, quick to play, and so chaotic that it leads to crazy moments of fun. This expansion looks like it adds quite a bit to the awesomeness in the game by offering more betting opportunities and more chances for camels to mix it up.
Liguria: (BGG link) I like the game Fresco and this is a prequel to Fresco so I’m hoping for good things from it. Russian
Favor of the Pharoah: (BGG link) Despite the uninspiring artwork of Bezier Games, the games themselves are a lot of fun. I expect the same from this Tom Lehmann game from Bezier.
Russian Railroads: German Railroads Expansion: (BGG link) Russian Railroads is a fantastic game. It’s kind of long so it doesn’t hit the table very often. But it’s so good, so I’m definitely interested in this expansion.
Quartz: (BGG link) I really like the artwork and theme of this one so I’m interested in seeing more about it.
Ticket to Ride Expansion #5: United Kingdom & Pennsylvania: (BGG link) Whether you are a completionist, a train fanatic, or just like the Ticket to Ride series of games, you’ll probably wanna pick this one up.
That’s list “short” list of interesting games that are available at Spiel 2015. What games are you most looking forward to?
Well I am recovered from Gen Con week. Gen Con is always amazing. It’s huge and full of all sorts of different experiences but I think our group had a great Gen Con. One of our focuses this year was sitting down for more demos in the exhibit hall. The tables always seem to fill up, especially Friday and Saturday, so on Thursday we tried to do a bunch of demos. I think we did pretty well with our goal.
What follows is my day by day recap of Gen Con 2015 with pictures…
We arrived in Indy around noon, grabbed a quick lunch at Yats, and then headed right to the exhibit hall where we hunted down demos. Here are the pictures worth sharing from Thursday.
The next morning we wanted to get to the exhibit hall first thing to try and snag a copy of Mysterium. We failed miserably. They only had 100 per day but we were close enough to the front that we thought we had a chance. Here are Friday’s pictures:
Saturday was our last day so we tried to make the most of it. Here are Saturday’s pictures:
My purchase of the con was Francis Drake. I’ve been wanting it for two years but never pulled the trigger due to the $80 price. But I found it for $45 at a booth and snagged it up! I’ve also looking forward to both the Imperial Settlers expansion and the Five Tribes expansion. Those are two of my recent favorite games. I got Nations, Akrotiri, Tokaido, and Escape in the Math Trade. So I didn’t really buy that much this year. Maybe next year! Thanks for checking out my recap.
Today I right a wrong. The wrong is that I’ve never blogged about Craftbeer.com. It is a traveshamockery that will be resolved today.
Why today? Because yesterday my buddy, Brett Myers, tweeted about some new awesomeness:
One of the questions I get asked frequently, and also ask of others, is, “What is your favorite beer style?” I often answer that anything Belgian is my favorite. I love Dubbels, Tripels, Saisons, etc. Then people ask what those are like. I usually mumble something about a floral character and distinct taste. But now I have a sweet resource to which I can refer people.
Craftbeer.com Style Guide
Yesterday Craftbeer.com posted a news release marking the launch of their new Beer Style Guide. This allows people to search for beer styles based on SRM (color), IBU (bitterness), and ABV (alcohol by volume). Here is a glimpse at the style selector:
By adjusting the sliders you can hone in on the styles that fit what you’re looking for.
Clicking on any style brings you to a page with much more information about it. Click here for the Belgian Dubbel page. The information pages are great. They tell you the average ranges for SRM, IBU, and ABV. They show the type of glass in which to serve that style. It’s just pure awesomeness.
In the past when I wanted to learn about beer styles I would visit Beer Advocate. Their style guide is nice and was my go-to source for years. In fact, I will still reference it when I need information regarding American Adjunct Lagers.
Have a great weekend and enjoy a brew or two!
Hello Ladies and Gentlemen. With people posting pictures of their copies of Scoville on Twitter and Facebook I figured I should post something about Scoville. This has been an extremely fun ride from the start of the design process all the way through to this point. I can’t wait to start reading reviews and hearing what people think.
So today I have a few tips regarding the game and the components. I will also link to a different version of the cross-breeding chart for those who are more equation oriented.
Before we get into the tips, if you have received your copy, please go ahead and Tweet it, Facebook it, Instagram it, BGG it, or anything else. Let’s spread the word about Scoville and make it a big hit. (Disclaimer: if you don’t like it, please keep your mouth and social media shut. 🙂 Thanks!)
OCD vs. non-OCD: The board has pepper punch-outs so that the peppers can be “planted” and all line up perfectly. This is great for people who want things all orderly and such. HOWEVER, if you would prefer to be able to put the peppers on the board in any direction, then just don’t punch out the pepper punch outs.
Pepper Punch-outs: “Pepper Punch-outs” is not the name of an expansion I’m working on (though I suppose it could be!). These are the little cardboard pepper shaped pieces you can punch out of the board. I mention them because they come in really handy if you happen to run out on any specific color of pepper during the game. I recommend saving these little cardboard peppers in the box, just in case you need them.
Sleeve the Cards?: Some people sleeve cards for every single game they own. Others sleeve them for games with high-use cards. The cards in Scoville are what I would call “low-use.” The cards are only handled when obtaining them and scoring them at the end. Otherwise they just sit around. So I personally don’t feel they need to be sleeved. However, if you prefer them sleeved, check out this thread on BGG which can give some guidance about the right size of sleeves. The recipes are 44x67mm and the market cards are 51x51mm.
One of the biggest issues I hear from new players is that the cross-breeding chart is too much to grok. So I made a new version that is simpler to read and lists the rules of thumb for cross-breeding. You can download the doc file from Board Game Geek. Or you can save this picture and print it:
That should help you out in case you don’t like the 10×10 grid version.
As I designed the game I struggled mightily about choosing the form of the cross breeding chart. This equation version was easy to read and put things succinctly. But the grid put every breeding combo right in front of you. So I went with the grid. If you prefer this equation version, please let me know.
Bonus Plaques and Market Orders: Recipes are mighty appealing, and they should be. But don’t count out the bonus award plaques from the town mayor. Also, don’t neglect the market orders. Many of the afternoon orders are worth 4 points. So if you can get a few of those they really add up.
Bonus Abilities: These are worth 4 points each if unused, but I recommend using them. They can be used to create a huge advantage in the game. One way I like to use them is to gain multiple phantom peppers at a time while preventing all other players from getting any. Plus, the game is meant to be played for fun and I believe it is fun to use those special abilities.
Block other Players: I love how you can block other players from spots on the field. Use this to your advantage. Plant a good combo in a spot only you can reach and then end your turn there even if you’ve only moved one or two spots. This can induce frustration from the other players, which can be fun.
Thanks so much for your interest in Scoville. I believe copies will be moving to retailers and online stores in the very near future. If any of you have issues with your components in your copy, please let me or Tasty Minstrel Games know right away. And if you enjoy the game, feel free to rate it a 10 on BoardGameGeek.com!