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What I Played and Bought at Gen Con 2012
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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Another Gen Con has come to a close, and I once again had a blast. I know that over the next couple of days, there will be several similar geeklists being made by a variety of different users. Other than my personal experience, I do not have much to add to the overall conversation.

This was my 5th year at Gen Con, and I feel like this year I got the balance between events, dealer hall, open gaming, etc closer to right. I also felt like this year Gen Con revolved around doing things with friends, since I was able to do activities and events with friends a lot this year.

I enjoy reading about other people's Gen Con experiences and thoughts, so please feel free to make comments. I tried to be as detailed as possible while staying concise so I hope it is an enjoyable read
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1. Board Game: Quoridor [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:775]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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For me, Gen Con started on Wednesday. As a youth pastor, I was able to participate in the Trade Day program as an educator. I need continuing education hours anyway, and I thought this would be a good way to get them.

As part of the trade day, I went to a seminar on creating a family game night program. At the end of the program, the presenters let people sample some of the games.

I taught this game to someone and played it with them.
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2. Board Game: Beowulf: The Movie Board Game [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:1545]
sean johnson
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Edinburgh
Indiana
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After the Trade Day stuff was over, I had to hang around to deliver several games to someone coming into town. In the process of doing this, I ran into my friend Scott. He was up for playing a game. Since the games were technically still mine, we broke out this one and played it.

I was doing really well, but got hosed with negative points in the final round and Scott got the win.
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3. Board Game: Village [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:77]
sean johnson
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Edinburgh
Indiana
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One of the fringe benefits of taking part in the trade day, was that I got to get early access to the dealer's hall early on Thursday. As a random side note, there are hundreds of people who have early access, and I was kind of surprised by how many there were.

Going into Gen Con my wife and I had decided this was going to be one of our big main purchases. We did not know what kind of stock or rush this game might have, so I made sure to go and get it immediately.
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4. Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:24]
 
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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With a reduced crowd I made sure to get a play of this game in. I really liked it. Going into Gen Con I read a lot about this being like Wings of War, but these are vastly different games. I really, really liked the customization of this game. If I thought my wife would actually play this with me, then I would have bought it.
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5. Board Game: Heap [Average Rating:5.84 Overall Rank:7375]
sean johnson
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Edinburgh
Indiana
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Before the dealer hall opened, I managed to demo this game as well. The guy doing the demo described it as "Uno on steroids." That description did not give me a lot of high hopes for the game. However, the description fit, and I was pleasantly surprised by the game. It was a very accessible, enjoyable, and over the top "take that" battle card game.
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6. Board Game: Four Taverns [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:8587]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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As the dealer hall began to fill up (and the Fantasy Flight line began to wrap around the entire convention hall), demo tables also began to fill up. I had never heard of this game and it happened to be open as I walked by.

The premise of this game is that players are tavern owners who are hiring heroes to complete quests and earn their tavern renown. It is a very vicious and mean screw your neighbor card game. Players are competing for the same quest, and action cards are all very powerful. I like being married, so this is a game that I would never play with my wife.
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7. Board Game: Down in Flames: WWII-Guns Blazing [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:3727]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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One of the booths was effectively an outlet store where everything was $5 (on Sunday the leftovers dropped to $1). They mostly had RPG books, but they had a scattered selection of board games.

I feel like finding this game for $5 was a steal. For the most part my experience with card war games has been a good one. This company has another war card game that we really like (Frontline: D-Day), so I have high hopes for this game.
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8. Board Game: Freight Train [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:2306]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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I also got a game for my wife for $5. She likes Ticket to Ride a lot, and this game is made by the same designer. Plus, this game is all about set collection and that is a game mechanism that my wife really likes.
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sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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One of the experiences I was most excited about going into Gen Con was doing True Dungeon for the first time. I was in a group that consisted of people from our game group as well as friends and family of a couple of the other people.

I played a monk character, mostly so I could wear my alb (think Medieval monk outfit) and actually come in costume. I was not quite sure what to expect, but I liked the experience. Solving the puzzles together was fun.

It was kind of annoying that for one of the puzzles we were literally seconds from solving before time ran out, and the final combat room was a bit of a let down because time ran out on us. However, that was in part because there were two fights going on and one guy running back and forth between both trying to do all of the math calculations.

Despite, that it was a lot of fun and I am very glad I got to do it.
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10. Board Game: Star Wars: Epic Duels [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:622]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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After True Dungeon I had an event to go to. Someone took the card based minis system of Epic Duels and used it to make a Super Smash Bros. version of the game. I loved the concept and really wanted to try it out.

I got to play two team games of 2 vs 2. In the first game I played as Marth with Link/Zelda against Kirby and Picachu. I really liked the way the Marth deck played, and we won that game.

In the second game I played as Bowser, and I do not remember who my team mate had. We were playing against the Pokemon trainer and Lucario. That one did not go so well and we lost.

The game was great though, and it made it evident to me just how badly Epic Duels needs to be republished.
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11. Board Game: Battleships in Action [Average Rating:5.63 Unranked]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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Last year one of the things my wife decided that she wanted to do this year was spend more time in the auction hall. She really likes the atmosphere and the excitement of getting good deals.

There is a long story to it and it is a bit of an inside joke, but my wife is always trying to find cheap war games for me. It is especially ironic because she does not even like war games. As it turned out, while I was playing Smash Bros. Epic Duels war games were being auctioned off.

My wife was determined to get a game for $5 or less for me, and she ended up with this small game. It looks to be rules light enough to be a game that my wife might actually play, and it looks like it cold be a lot of fun. I am really looking forward to playing this one.
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12. Board Game: A Touch of Evil: The Coast [Average Rating:7.96 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.96 Unranked]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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Before we left for dinner, our last big purchase of the game was this new expansion. A Touch of Evil is one of my favorite games, and a large part of that is because I think the first expansion, Something Wicked added a lot to the game. I am really looking forward to seeing how this expansion (and the third board) really enhance the game experience.
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13. Board Game: Manoeuvre [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:416]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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I signed up to run two events at Gen Con this year. The first one was Thursday night, and the plan was to do a double elimination Manoeuvre tournament.

However, only one person showed up. We played the game with him as the British and me as the French. For most of the game, it was fairly close with a lot of back and forth. However, I ended up losing more units, so when it came time to count control he had the majority and one 9 to 2.

The positive side to the whole thing is that the he lives in the same town I live in, so we will hopefully get to play some war games together again.
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14. Board Game: Zombie in my Pocket [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:4060]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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While I was doing my Manoeuvre thing, my wife was playing Giant Settlers of America. My game ended first, so it was my turn to hang out in the auction hall. While there, I picked up this game for $6.
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15. Board Game: ElfBall [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:4575]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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This gets us to Friday morning, and I got to begin the day by meeting up with my friend (and former college room mate) Stephen to play ElfBall. He took the Timberline Elves and I played with the Divine Wind. We had a lot of back and forth in the middle of the court. I threatened his goal once, but fell short. He got the ball in the hands of one of his Dryads and looked at making a run, but a Sumo defender took care of that problem.

We were playing with a deck of cards as a timer, and the time expired before anyone scored.
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16. Board Game: Snake Oil [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1109] [Average Rating:6.91 Unranked]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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After ElfBall ended we headed to the dealer hall to spend some time checking it out in detail. We ended demoing several games at the Out of the Box booth. The first was this party game.

Snake Oil is in the same party game genre of Apples to apples. Players have a hand of cards with random words on them. One player draws a role/occupation card. The other players then take two of their cards and combine them to create an imaginary product that the role/occupation needs. Players then pitch their item. For example, one of the roles someone had was "clown" so I created the Fingerbeard as a product a clown needs.

I liked the concept of the game. While I will play these kind of party games, that are not usually my first choice.
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17. Board Game: Pirate Versus Pirate [Average Rating:6.07 Overall Rank:4626]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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It was very clear to everyone how much my wife disliked Snake Oil. This led the demo person to ask what kind of game she does like. This led us to playing Pirate vs. Pirate. I think the guy working the booth was working really hard to make sure my wife won the game by targeting me. I got down to one pirate, but my one pirate got the gold back to his boat and won the game.
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18. Board Game: Bug Out [Average Rating:5.36 Unranked]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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So what got us to stop at the Out of the Box booth in the first place was Bug Out. My wife saw it and thought it would be a good game for our son. We played it to find out if it was.

This is a matching game, that can be scaled really well based on ability level. It also has a low price point, so we got it for him.
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19. Board Game: Steam [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:52]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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Before leaving to get lunch, we demoed this game in the Mayfair area. I was really excited we got to try this because I know how highly regarded this game (and related games) are.

I really liked the game and how it all works. However, the static board makes me nervous about playing people experienced at this game. I may be wrong, but It felt like this game would have some standard opening moves that experienced players always try competing for.
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20. Board Game: Dominion: Dark Ages [Average Rating:8.17 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.17 Unranked]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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After eating lunch, our goal was to go back to the dealer hall and finish wondering through it. However, one of my friends texted me asking if we wanted to play a game.

We met Peter and Allison in the Rio Grande room, and played Dominion only using cards from the newest expansion.

This was the first time for Peter and Allison to come to Gen Con, and they had all kinds of questions about it.

I really liked what I saw from this new Dominion set. Several of the cards have a benefit that a player gets for trashing the card. This is a new mechanic for the game, and one that opens up a lot of new possibilities and combos. At this point, we have all of the other Dominion expansions, so it is only a matter of time before we get this one as well.
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21. Board Game: Warhammer: Invasion – Portent of Doom [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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We returned where we left off in our walk through the dealer hall. I stopped to get the most recently released expansion for Warhammer: Invasion. They had all of the battlepacks in order, so I grabbed the one at the end. I did not realize that this is the one that has not been widely released yet.
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22. Board Game: Warhammer: Invasion [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:263]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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I am fairly big into this game, and it is my most played game. On Friday afternoon the North American Championship Tournament was at Gen Con.

There were four people from our Indianapolis area group playing in the tournament, and we all won the first round. In the second round, I lost to an Empire rush deck. However, it was very close for all three games. I then rebounded for my third match. This was good enough for me to make it in to the top four, where I had to replay the deck I had already lost to. We once again went to the third match in the best two out of three. I lost the third match, with him having one zone burning and the other zone one damage away from destruction.

My friend Adam went on to win the tournament, so that is cool. It was nice to know that I am at least competitive in this game, and the competition was a lot of fun.
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23. Board Game: Nippon Rails [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:1726]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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While I was playing Warhammer: Invasion, my wife split her time between getting Mayfair Ribbons and the auction hall. In the auction hall, she got this Crayon Rails game that we have been talking about picking up.
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24. Board Game: Airships [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:1206]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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In the evening my wife was not feeling well and was tired. While she rested, I went to the open gaming room. I ended up meeting up with my friends Cody and John. John has this game, but has not played it so I taught it to him. He then went on to win the game.
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25. Board Game: Timeline: Inventions [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:645] [Average Rating:6.82 Unranked]
sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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I continued to game on with Cody and John, by playing this little card game. I had never played it before, but I really liked it. The game has a very simple concept of putting inventions in order chronologically on the table. If a player gets it right it stays in the timeline, if not they draw a replacement card. The first player to play all of their cards wins.

The game works very well,and I found it fun and engaging.
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