$10.00
Family Gencon '12
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Well, this is my third year bringing the family to Gencon. However it was the first in which we went without another family (friend or related). So, that meant that I had the wife and 3 kids for all 4 days at the Con. We normally spend one full day (Thursdays) browsing the exhibit hall. But now I had to make sure to include the entire family in my gaming plan.

Below is a list of those exploits, as well as my own gaming and purchases
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1. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:8.19 Overall Rank:7]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Played & Purchased

Well, we made it to the convention center by 9 a.m. That gave us enough time to meander our way to a decent starting position at the gate to run to FFG's booth and pick up the latest hotness.

I had missed out on Netruner back in '95, but was intrigued by the new edition. I made a dash for FFG while the family came in more calmly with the goal of taking my place in the payment line while I ran to entry #3 below.

Well, turns out that I made a tactical error by coming at the booth from the SW corner and maneuvering counterclockwise. The stack of games was in the NW corner. By the time I made it to the Netrunner pile, they were down to 10 copies. I snagged one, but soon thereafter found that my daughter had gotten a copy before me. Thinking I could use the second as a gift to friend, I set my wife in line with some X-Wing stuff too. Off I went to the next hotness. We ended up selling the second copy to a random gamer who came up to me while still in line (took about an hour to pay) and offered $60 for my copy.

I did end up demoing this game in the last hour of the last day of the exhibit hall. I am so glad I did. The game play blew me away. I loved the asymmetry & integration of theme in the mechanics. Looking forward to more games soon.
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2. Board Game: Nightfall [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:883] [Average Rating:6.62 Unranked]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Purchased

While waiting in line to buy Netrunner & X-Wing, my wife saw people walking around with the biggest shopping bag she'd ever seen. Naturally, she needed to get one and was instructed to buy something at AEG to obtain it. She sent my daughters who bought the cheapest thing there, a $1 special on the Nightfall base game. Score!
 
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3. Board Game: Sentinels of the Multiverse [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:138]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Picked Up

I had Kickstarted this edition of the game (and the Infernal Relics expansion) a few months back. I sat in a slow moving line (not nearly as long as FFG's) watching a dealer hawk Dominion: Dark Ages. The wait was worth it. The box is perfect for both expansions and the Kickstarter bonuses. I have played this game several times, but did not do so at Gencon.
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4. Board Game: Tsuro of the Seas [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:970]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Played

We walked the exhibit hall for most of the day, trying to get our Cheese Wheel raffle cards stamped by numerous vendors. Running around learning about numerous games from small publishers was interested. I had not heard that a Tsuro-variant was being released. My family loves Tsuro, so we sat down for a couple of games of this. I found this monster variant interesting, but not enough so that I would buy it.
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5. Board Game: Pass the Pigs: Pig Party Edition [Average Rating:5.39 Overall Rank:9091]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Played

As part of the raffle ticket, we needed to sit down to play this game. The novelty of this game wears off really quickly. It is a pretty lame game. My kids and wife did not like it either.
 
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6. Board Game: Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland [Average Rating:7.91 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.91 Unranked]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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After the exhibit hall closed and we ate dinner, my daughters had a tournament session of Ticket to Ride: India that I set up for them. They had never played this map, but dived into it well. My second daughter won, but only because my eldest shuffled her completed tickets at the end of the game and could not account for all of them.

While they played this, my son and I went to play...
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7. Board Game: Smash Up [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:405] [Average Rating:6.99 Unranked]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Played & Preordered

I was not expecting enjoy this game, but it did come across as something simple enough that my 8-yr old would like. Well I ended up really liking this game and so did my boy. We played as Wizard / Dinosaurs and came in second place (to a Ninja faction, who I think might be a tad stronger than the rest). The area majorities is like El Grande, but the card abilities are so over the top that it is refreshing. Yet, every faction's wacked out powers balance out.

I would end up playing this again with my eldest daughter on Friday night. She loved it too. Thus, I preordered at Cool Stuff.
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8. Board Game: Hibernia [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:3834]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Played & Traded For

Friday began with some more event hall, raffle ticket punching at the booths. But soon thereafter began my day of gaming. I started small with Hibernia. It is a confrontational, area control game that is pint-sized, thus limiting playtime. Combat is a straight-forward, no-luck affair. The luck comes in the form of rolling a dice to see what color territory one can expand into (in addition to the free expansion to anywhere one also gets). Uniquely, the territories one wants to hit is dictated by the scoring track. I am glad I traded for it.
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9. Board Game: Cambria [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:2626]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Played & Purchased

Hibernia's sister game shares many of the same redeeming qualities, i.e. brevity, compactness and fun! It is a different type of area control that proved refreshing in its execution. The luck of the die can be mitigated through a novel mechanic. I liked it enough to buy Cool Stuff's last copy.
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10. Board Game: Rise of Empires [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:536]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Played & Owned

Now began my run of trying out Martin Wallace games. I had traded for this one some time ago, but never got a chance to play. I think it compares best to Keyaerts' Olympus, but I find RoE superior.

Unfortunately, the three of us had to teach ourselves the game as Mayfair had a policy of not providing assistance for gaming outside of their exhibit hall booth. That meant we only got half way through the game in our 2-hr slot.
 
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11. Board Game: Aeroplanes: Aviation Ascendant [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1659]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Played & Preordered

I have played Brass and Age of Steam, both of which I liked (though I prefer Wallace's war/conflict games more than his economic ones). I found Aeroplanes to be an enjoyable, more stress-free take on an economic engine. I liked the random turn ordering and the other dice rolling elements. Fortunately, our group of 5 had a pair of gamers (who had played it the previous day) help instruct us on the rules, as none of us had played it before.
 
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12. Board Game: Maharani [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:2149]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Played

After dinner, my eldest and I went to the gaming hall and tried out this good looking, tile-laying Queen game. We both enjoyed it. The lazy-susan mechanic in the middle was a great idea. Better was Queen's decision to have a demo-assistant present to help people new to the game!
 
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13. Board Game: Gears of War: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:234]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Traded For

I participated in the Gencon Math Trade that met on Saturday morning in the gaming hall. It was quite a lot of us. It was fun to meet some fellow geeks. Here is a list of what I picked up:

Gears of War
The Adventurers
Bombay
Hibernia
Ticket to Ride
Test of Fire
The Ares Project
 
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14. Board Game: Star Wars: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:218]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Played

After the Math Trade, we went into the exhibit hall for some gaming. I ran into an open chair at the Star Wars LCG demo table and took advantage of it by learning how to play as the light side. I like how the Jedi had goals they needed accomplish, but I am not sure about those goals always needing to be aggressive attacks on dark side locations. Recruiting factions / allies (perhaps away from Imperial influence, alla Middle Earth CCG) would also be thematically appropriate.

Nonetheless, I appreciate the mechanics. They were solid and engaging, as is most games designed by Eric Lang.
 
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15. Board Game: La Strada [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:1915]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Played & Traded For

My daughter and I played this connection game as a 2-player. It took a bit, as I realized that I had not incorporated all of the 2-player rules until the end of the game. However, she liked it and I thought it was decent.

We were amassing quite a few Mayfair ribbons by this point (along with the generosity of others). We would end up both becoming Knights and Defenders of Catan (without playing a single Catan game!).
 
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16. Board Game: Cranium: Disney Family Edition [Average Rating:5.77 Unranked]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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After La Strada, I had signed the family up for a pair of games while I played some more challenging ones on my own. The first was Disney Cranium. They have always liked Cranium, so I figured this would be fun for them. I was right.
 
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17. Board Game: Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 1 – Team Asia & Legendary Asia [Average Rating:7.77 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.77 Unranked]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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After Cranium, my daughters went to the game hall to play their first game of Team Asia. They did not fair as well as in India, but came in second. They enjoyed and I hope they teach me how to play this team variant soon.
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18. Board Game: Test of Fire: Bull Run 1861 [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:2786]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Watched & Traded For

I had picked this up in the Math Trade earlier, so was looking forward to a demo. Mayfair was demoing two copies, but both had just started when I walked by. The demo gent offered to teach me as I sat and watched a game, while still earning a badge toward my knighthood. I got to see how the game worked. It is a simple wargame with some interesting dice-driven mechanics.
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19. Board Game: Discworld: Ankh-Morpork [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:328]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Played & Owned

This game took chaos to a new level for me. I had barely wrapped my head around how to achieve my goal when it ended. I did not help that I played against experienced players. I like what it has to offer and want to try out my copy at home.
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20. Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:24]
 
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Played & Purchased

I got a chance to play this improved Wings of War by sharing some Tie Fighters with fellow Imperials. I really wanted to try it to validate my earlier purchase, made with the intent of playing with my son who liked Wings of War (a game I found too simple). The added fighter customization by pilots and gear is great, just what I was looking for. The models are top of the line, and the upcoming (A-Wing, yeah!) ships look great.
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21. Board Game: Theophrastus [Average Rating:5.88 Overall Rank:4339]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Played

This was the final Mayfair game in our quest for Defender status. The theme was unique, though I would have preferred a more pleasing art design to the game. I would not go out of my way to pick it up however.

With our reaching Knight & Defender status, we picked up:

Penn/Jersey Catan map
New York Catan map
Thuringia Catan map
Ocean/port frame upgrade for my old 2004 ed. of Settlers.
 
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22. Board Game: World Without End [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:310]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Purchased

I used only one of my two 50% off Mayfair coupons at the Con. I loved the Follet novels and have Pillars, so I figured I would finish off the trilogy of games by buying this (my least enthusiastic buy of the Con, which means I probably shouldn't have bought it). I look forward to playing it and Pillars.

The Mayfair game I was truly interested in buying was Aeroplanes & the coupon could not be applied to it.
 
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23. Board Game: Hoplomachus: The Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:3229] [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Played

I got to meet the designers of this gladiatorial combat game. The two were quite the friendly types who did a great job explaining their game. We had good discussions about design decisions and future plans. I recommend the game.

Surprisingly, they both live within an hour of my new home in central Minnesota. I look forward to the gaming opportunity this might open up!
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24. Board Game: Amateurs to Arms! [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:2443]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Purchased

Sunday morning always begins with a run of the exhibit hall looking for sales. The kids bought several souvenirs like geeky shirts, swords and Legos. I came away with this excellent Clash of Arms game on the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Cool Stuff had this on sale for $50 from a retail price of over $90. It was a great deal on a great game.

Cool stuff had several wargames on sale on Sunday, as the Gencon crowd is a bit deficient war gamers. There were great deals on Proud Monster, A&A 1941 and some other MMP & Compass games.
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25. Board Game: Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:204]
Henry Rodriguez
United States
Long Prairie
Minnesota
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Purchased

This was unexpected purchased. I like the show and the theme, but like many geeks, I worry about games with licensed IP. However, having heard from multiple sources over the first 3 days of the Con how exceptional this game was, I caved in and bought it on Sunday. Let's hope its as good as advertised.
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