EUROQUEST V RECAP
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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As part of the EQ organizing committee, I was real pleased with the fact that we had a significant increase in attendance (from around 210 to over 240) for the third year in a row. The Con has grown from about 150 or so the first couple years, so continued future increases will probably mean consideration of a larger facility at some point.

This Geek list will feature the games I played, but first I want to acknowledge the winners.

HLS Top Individual Performance -- Rob Kircher with 25 HLS Points, but just one behind at 24 were Alex Bove and Mike Kaltman, two gamers from the Philly area who roomed together at the Con. It's by far the closest finish ever, and I had the pleasure of playing Rob in the Imperial final (more on that below). Alex had a four-point lead going into the last round of finals, but then Rob (who was second in the Settlers final on a tiebreak) gained five points while Mike (as previously reported here on BGG) got second in St Petersburg to wind up tied with Alex, third on the tiebreak which was most games won.

Wild Card -- Eric Freeman (also from Philly area) repeated his 2005 Wild Card triumph by winning again this year with a record 331 points, and he had such a huge lead by the last day that he took time off to play in and reach a main event final (Settlers) something that has been unheard of for our past Wild Card winners. But, like the HLS final, second place went right down to the wire and Raphael Lehrer needed a win in his last game (Vegas Showdown) to claim second place with 269 points to 248 for third place Tom Browne. Fourth place was Perriane Lurie, over 100 points behind Tom with a paltry score of 147, but Perrianne set a Wild Card record that may never be broken: She played in all 15 Wild Card games -- each game exactly once. So congrats to her for a unique feat and also to Eric for winning the Wild Card for a second time after missing the event last year.

Individual Game Main Event winners:
Caylus -- Peter Putnam (repeat winner from 2006)
Goa -- Alex Bove (repeat winner from 2006)
Power Grid -- Joe Jaskiewicz ("JJ")
Princes of Florence -- Lyman Moquin
Puerto Rico -- Sam Atabaki
Ra -- Tom Dunning (repeat winner from 2003)
St Petersburg -- Tom Browne
Settlers -- Brian Reynolds (repeat winner from 2003)
Thurn and Taxis -- Rob Kircher
Ticket to Ride -- Virginia Colin (repeat winner from 2006)
Hot New Game -- Imperial -- Peter Eirich

We had two English edition versions of Agricola and Cuba available throughout the Con, courtesy of Tom McCorry (who brought the Cuba games back from Essen), Zev of Z-Man (who brought his prototype for the English Agricola game he has recently announced) and Dave Fair (who worked hard to get a deck with English cards and paste-ups put together). Also, thanks to Thor of GameSurplus, Dominic for Wits and Wagers, and the other vendors (Our Games Table and Sherco) who helped make this year's EQ even better than ever.

My own personal headcount shows a total of 24 games (of those I can remember), 7 played in three main events, 10 in Wild Card games, the rest in open gaming. I learned three games that were new to me and was happy to teach games like Imperial, Cuba, Leonardo da Vinci, Kingsburg, and 1960 to others.

The fun part of the convention for me was not just the games, but seeing gaming friends from different parts of the country and also making new gaming friends. It was also real good to so many EQ first-timers in attendance, people like Malinda and her dad Barry, Mike K, Sam, Jason C, to name a few, hope to see y'all back next year.
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1. Board Game: Can't Stop [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:485]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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2 plays (both in Wild Card event)

I arrived later than usual this year (after finishing up the final of a series of tennis lessons in Laurel), got checked in, helped set stuff up for the scoreboard and was itching to get a Wild Card game in before my scheduled 3:30 demo of Leonardo da Vinci. I hooked up with Dave Denton from NY, a real Can't Stop fan, and we played a quick two-player that went down to the wire with Dave winning, 3-2. We turned in the scoresheet right away and the 7 points for winning the game put Dave in with a short-lived early lead in the Wild Card event. (Dave went on to become one of three people to "max out" their Wild Card points from Can't Stop.)

Played once more during the Con, can't remember the details, except this time it was a four-player which meant I got like 4 Wild Card points for second. The fun part of the game for me is the opportunity to make chicken-like sounds when people decide to stop, also reminding them that name of the game is CAN'T STOP. Of course, when they hit their numbers and go to the top of the chart, then everyone gets real quiet ...
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2. Board Game: Leonardo da Vinci [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:641]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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1 play (Wild Card event)

We had seven new additions to the Wild Card event, each one requiring a scheduled demo to teach new players (although informally anyone could learn a new game at any time). I gathered three newbies and one experienced player (Sara Hagen) and we decided to continue and play out a 5-player game. The end result was that I won and Sara was second, but frankly I was more worried about Sandy Scanlon, who wound up third, given she had four different invention types for 13 points at the end of the game.

Leonardo was a close runner-up for Hot New Essen game at last year's EQ, and we put it in this year mainly because it was the most requested addition at last year's Con. I still enjoy the game although it can get real tense heading into the last few turns, wondering if you have the necessary cards to get the last invention(s) done. In this game, everything worked well and I got two inventions in the later turns to wind up with a score like 57 pts, which I think is pretty good for a 5-player Leo, which can be a rough game.
 
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3. Board Game: Imperial [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:81]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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3 plays, all in Main event tournament

This was one of two main event tourneys I had circled on the schedule (the other being Puerto Rico, where I am the GM), and I must admit using some "pull" with the scheduler to minimize conflicts with PR. However, in hindsight it may have hurt the Imperial attendance, because there were mucho conflicts with other games. At least, Dave B (the GM) and Beth (his assistant) had a relatively easy time of doing the pairings as there were just two games in heats 1 and 2, one game in heat 3, 12 players overall which means, at next year's EQ, Imperial will likely be dropped down to Wild Card status.

I managed to win both my games in the first two heats to advance to the final. In the second heat, there were three of us (Beth, Dave D and myself) and one new player (Pete Eirich) who we patiently taught the game as he had missed out on the earlier demo. I won that game and I think Pete edged Beth for second -- then Pete won in the last heat to join me and the other winners (Bill Duke and Rob Kircher) in the final. I was a bit nervous going in as this was my first EQ final table in a long time (I made the Princes final back at EQ I) and I thought I had a good chance to win based on my record in 25-30 pickup games plus a win at WBC (where I couldn't continue due to schedule conflicts) earlier this year. We played in a quiet side room (called the Harbor Room) that was reserved for all final tables, a new innovation given the death of the Breakout Normandy mini-Con from previous years.

As the game developed, I thought Rob (who eventually would win the HLS top prize after reaching three more final tables at EQ) was going to be my toughest competition, as he took over Italy from me and wound up in control of UK and France as well. Pete (who had really taken to the game like a fish out of water) took control of Russia and AH while I had Germany. Bill decided not to try to control a country to get those extra bond buys after Rob took UK from him. I was feeling pretty good when Italy and Germany started moving up the chart. But then England and Russia blew the Germany navy away, leaving me with just four factories and one tax chip. Then Pete made the key move of the game, just when I was about to invest even more in Italy to take it back from Rob. He got all six A-H boats on the board, used five of them to convoy armies in the Adriatic, and wound up shutting down three Italian factories after eliminating the protective units. Pete's move literally blew me away to the point when I had over 25 mil to buy an 8 bond I bought the wrong one -- Russia (which only made it to 4) instead of France (which made it to 5). When we totaled the final scores, I was 8 -- the difference between the two -- behind the winner, Pete. But the game was so close that being 8 back put me in last. Pete won by 153 to 152 over Bill with Rob a few more points behind in third. Since Rob was stuck with the investor card at the end, he chastised me for not moving Russia there after my "analysis paralysis" said it would help Pete more than me. However, Rob cheered up a bit later in the day when he won Thurn and Taxis and particularly after he got the news about the HLS results.

I was disappointed not to do better but even more disappointed with the low turnout as Imperial is, in my view, the best game from last year's Essen and probably the best game to come out since PR in 2002 -- which I know is saying alot. I was pleased to see Pete (who is a member of our local GCOM gaming group in the Laurel/Elkridge area) win the top prize, and happy to say "I taught him everything I knew" except for that brilliant move to shut down the Italian factories which, of course, brought down Rob and me (the big Italy investors) on the scoreboard.
 
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4. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.14 Overall Rank:5]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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3 plays, all in Main Event tournament

After two years with an experimental format, PR this year used the three heats, best two finishes, two wins to guarantee advancement format -- same as all the other main events. Also, I decided to give my long-time assistant GM, Barb Flaxington, a rest so there would be a better chance we might play each other. I got my wish in the first heat as the random draw put me with Barb and Kevin Walsh, another strong PR player who was runner-up at PrezCon this year after trouncing me in the semis. Since I got back at Kevin with a win in the quarters at WBC, this was kind of a "rubber match" for the two of us. Fourth player was Virginia Colin, the TTR champion who was branching out to try PR. Random draw for seat had Kevin in #1 corn, me in #2 corn, Barb and Virginia with indigo. This game was alot like that QF game at WBC where everything went right for me, I got the early factory, Guild Hall, a second large, and closed the game out before the shippers got going, scoring 50 to 41 for Kevin in second -- Virginia even nosed out Barb for third.

Second heat I was paired with Sam Atabaki, who had come all the way from California for EQ, and Lyman Moquin, a former EQ Champion. I had not played Sam before but knew him from this year's WBC where, like me, he had finished second in a semifinal game. I drew the worst seat -- 2nd indigo -- whereas Sam, seated to my left, had the best seat, first corn. Sam won the race to 10 and got the Guild Hall while I tried to balance shipping and building. In the end, I only lost to Sam by four-- 43 to 39 -- which was OK considering. The second win put Sam directly into the final. Looking around at the other results, I was pleased to see Barb win (beating Kevin in a rematch) along with two strong MD gamers, Andy Gerb (2006 EQ runner-up) and Raphael Lehrer (2007 WBC Champ) whom I had brought in to sub for Barb as assistant GM for this event.

For the third heat, I decided to pair the one-game winners at three tables to determine Sam's opponents for the final -- that way no one could say they sneaked in via a lucky draw. So, for me, the third heat became the equivalent of a semifinal -- and I drew at least two tough opponents, John Kerr, a former EQ and PrezCon PR champ and Chris Moffa (Barb's husband) who won WBC in 2006. I offered everyone the option of bidding but the consensus at all three tables was (to my surprise) to go with the random draw -- perhaps because everyone wanted to move things along. It turned out I got the favored corn seat while John K got the second one, with Chris stuck in first indigo -- same two seats John K and I had when I lost to him in the 2005 EQ semi. The game didn't go quite as well for me, particularly since Craig (the player to my right) was a bit of an unknown quantity and his moves were less predictable. John K got the early Factory, I remember having a couple of gut-wrenching decisions -- one, on a role selection where I wound up taking Prospector because everything else seemed to help John -- and then a big building buy when I got the Guild Hall instead of the Harbor, mainly to keep John from the Factory-GHall combination. Of course, he snapped up the Harbor and it became a big shipping game. He then got the Customs House for 7 VP bonus and while I managed to get a second large, it wasn't even close -- 60 for John to 50 for me, 41 for Chris who also seemed out of synch the whole game.

The win put John at the final table at PR at EQ for the third year in a row, and Barb (a former WBC champ) also made her third PR final at EQ having been runner-up twice before. Joining these two and Sam was Alex Bove, who was known more for his Goa results in recent tournaments. So it was two Philly area gamers (Alex and Barb) against John (from VA) and Sam (all the way from CA). I started the final with the mandatory bid for seat position. Same as last year, John bid 1 1/2 for the favored the #1 corn seat. Sam got #2 corn for 1/2; Alex paid 1/2 VP not to be second indigo and Barb (who doesn't believe in all these stats on seat position collected from 100s of PR tournament games) was happy to get the worst seat for free. I didn't stay to watch the game, but when I peeked in later it looked like Sam (who complained of a headache before the game started) was on a roll -- he had the Factory and the Guild Hall, and the big shippers (who turned out to be Barb and John) just couldn't get it going. So, after taking into account the bids, it was Sam by a whopping 10 points, 45.5 to 35.5 for Alex in second, the second largest winning margin (John won by a whopping 14 with first corn in 2005, which was the final straw that caused me to institute the mandatory bidding system starting at WBC in 2006).

Overall, very pleased with a bump up in attendance to 44, still far below the high-water mark of over 50 in the first EQ when the game was still new and everyone wanted to try it. Also, one win and two seconds for me was not back -- particularly considering I finished ahead of two former WBC Champs (Barb and Chris) and an EQ winner (Lyman) in those games. I was pleased to present Sam with the winner's plaque, a well-deserved reward. Hope he was feeling alot better as he made the plane trip back to California!
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5. Board Game: Cuba [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:272]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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1 play (Wild Card event)

After the first PR heat, I was eager for some Wild Card action (at this point I was like #4 in the early standings) so I arranged a five-player Cuba game. Don't recall who all was in it, I remember Jerry Hagen (Sara's husband) being there -- Jerry had made a strong run in last year's Wild Card after downing me (and others) in a high points-value (Class A) Railroad Tycoon game.

Tom McCorry had procured two English edition copies of Cuba for this year's EQ and after one playtest (where I managed to defeat Tom, 84-80) we decided to add it to the event. We went back and forth on the game length, but after several more plays, decided it wasn't that long once you got the hang of it so it became Class B (two hours) instead of Class A (2.5 hours) -- leaving Age of Empires as the only Class A game this year. Tom was nice enough to loan me the second copy so I get some experience with the rules and teach others in the two weeks prior the Con, something I think helped boost the Cuba games played count.

Can't recall that much about the game, except for the fact that I got beat and didn't even get top three which would be worth a few points. (Actually I am thinking the winner might have been Kevin Walsh, with Phillip White in second.) Cuba seemed well received and both games were in play constantly during most of the time. For me, I still haven't figured out the right building combinations and have a lot of trouble figuring out where to place that worker dude. Eagerly awaiting delivery of my copy from GameSurplus which, despite everyone's best efforts, were not there in time for the Con. Perhaps some time before Thanksgiving...
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6. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:95]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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One play (Main Event)

Second day of the Con, got down around 9 AM as I had a good four hours or so before the next PR heat. Looking for some Wild Card action, but it appeared most of the Wild Card folks were night owls and maybe still asleep, so I joined a heat of one of the shorter games (Ra). Turned out to be a tough draw as I was matched with Tom Dunning, a strong player at many games who has served as RA GM at EQ having won the tournament back at EQ I in 2003. Things didn't go well for me and Tom racked up an impressive win -- OK, since Ra was a "filler" game for me. Tom, of course, went on to win the tournament -- not a real surprise to anyone.

I enjoy RA but don't rate it as high as many others at BGG because I feel there's too much of a luck factor in the tile draws -- something that's less of a factor in Traumfabrik, a similar bidding game by the same designer with a much stronger theme (see report below).
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7. Board Game: Vegas Showdown [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:274]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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2 plays (both in Wild Card)

One of the things we do in the Wild Card event is to bring in new games each year -- games that you might not see at other conventions. Last year we added Vegas Showdown and while it made the cut for this year, I was disappointed to see it was one of only two Wild Card games not played the first day of the Con. So I arranged a game with Eric Haas and three others, and it turned out to be a strong game for Eric who seemed to always have enough money to get good stuff. I managed to win second by a razor-thin margin, on the tiebreak I think.

My second Vegas Showdown game the next day featured another Eric, Eric Freeman, the Wild Card points leader, along with Eric's dad (Jim), Pete Staab and we were pleased to be joined by none other than JP Roberts, co-director of the Con. As the game wound down toward the end, the scores were close but Eric had a Theater and a Fancy Lounge off to the side without the pre-requisite Lounge. Fortunately, there were still about three or four left. I bid 21 once just to keep Eric from getting it, but next turn he had more money, then the game lasted long enough for a Renovate action to bring on the other two tiles to win the game. So Eric padded his Wild Card lead at the expense of all of us, Pete came second and Jim third. I guess I "took it for the team" as the 21 I spent for the lounge was way too much -- but I did benefit from a Lounge Lizard card.

JP, who was playing Vegas for the first time, said he really enjoyed it. My copy of the game is getting pretty dog-eared from being played so often -- something I can't say for other games I have bought that are less than two years old.
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8. Board Game: Dream Factory [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:381]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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1 play (Wild Card)

This was played with the original Hasbro Europe edition with the real actors -- we played with Eric Freeman's copy as I had only brought the new Uberplay edition. This may have cost me the game, as I got real excited when Marilyn Monroe came out and probably bid way too much for her. Chris Moffa, who at the time was in the top three in the Wild Card points, won the game and Eric came second. The Wild Card scores show I got no points from this game.

As noted previously, I much prefer this game (even with the phony names in the new edition) to Ra by the same designer (Knizia). The theme is strong, you have to balance going for the early completion versus quality, and the fact that you can see what's out there for each turn makes the luck factor considerably less than in Ra.
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9. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:312]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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1 play (Wild Card event)

After the Traum game finishes, a bunch of us had about an hour before the next event, and we finally settled on Alhambra, not one of my favorites but what enticed me is the game included Eric F, Chris M, and Tom Browne, who were at the time the top three on the Wild Card leaderboard. Add Tom Dunning to make five players, and I was pretty sure I was destined to come home last. To my delight and surprise, I wound up in the middle of the pack, but Eric had wall scores of like 11 or 12 twice to wrap another win. I am pretty sure Tom B was second, which probably kept him in front of Chris in the competition for the second prize in the Wild Card.
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10. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:6]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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1 play (open gaming)

After the second heats of PR and Imperial, I was attracted to the Z-Man demo area where they had the English version of Agricola. My roommate, Alex Brown, had clued me in on this, so I reserved a seat at a late night teaching session along with my EQ Wild Card Co-Coordinator, Brian Stallings. Our "teacher" was Jerry Hagen, and the other two would-be farmers were Jeff Kahan and Jerry's wife, Sara, whom I had played in the Leo game earlier.

I had scoped this game out once the English rules and cards translations got posted at BGG and was kind of overwhelmed by the scope of the thing -- which seemed to be alot of stuff for such a simple building game. The game dragged because of the four newbies and also the lateness of the hour -- not including rules explanation, it seemed to last about three hours. I was getting hosed alot early in the game by not taking Start Player. But I came on strong at the end, taking start player the last two turns, getting up to a fifth person on the final turn in addition to filling out all my fields. I figured this was the key to getting alot of points, and I finished second only to Jeff (whose score of 45 everyone told me was a really high one) who had some real nice cards.

Right now I am about the only person to post a negative initial impression on this game at BGG. I just feel it's too much for what it is. I can't see the need for three types of animals when one will do. Way too many cards. Way too much luck on the cards. The $60-70 Zev is talking about for the game also seems way too much. Fewer components and fewer cards for less money might seem to make for a better game -- hey, I can already see a dumbed-down sequel in the works ...

That being said, my view right now seems to be in the minority not only at BGG but of those who played the game at EQ. However, some did share my view that it was a tough learning curve with all those cards. I probably won't have the opportunity for a second play for several months, but frankly I am alot more interested in seeing the other Essen releases, games like Brass, Hamburgum, Container, Kingsburg and the game that topped them all in the Fairplay charts -- Tribune.

I do however, want to thank Zev for letting us play the game after he went to bed and for trusting me to keep it overnight and return it to him the next day -- I am sure the game is likely to be a big money-maker for him.
 
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11. Board Game: Blue Moon City [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:361]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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One play (Wild Card)

A game I had only played twice -- about a year and a half ago -- before the Con, even though I own a copy. It was the 15th and final addition to the Wild Card list (well, actually the 14th if you consider Cuba, the hot new Essen release, which was a last minute addition).

Played with Eric Freeman, Barb Flaxington and Eric's dad, Jim. I felt like I wasn't that far behind but was inefficient in my use of cards. Barb wound up winning, with Eric in second. I saved up a couple of +1 cards but never got enough crystals to make two deliveries at once, which I think is the key to winning (based on my very limited experience).

Bottom line: Not a favorite, but would certainly play it again.
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12. Board Game: 1960: The Making of the President [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:111]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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1 play (Open Gaming)

I was trying to unwind early Saturday evening after the tough loss in the Imperial final when a serious MD gamer, Chris Burke (formerly from the Columbus CABS group) approached me and asked if I could teach him this game. I ran out to the card and got it, and we played across the hall from the room where the PR final took place. The game dragged because of this and some other constant interruptions, but I think this inured to Chris' benefit as it gave him more time to study the cards.

I was Kennedy and Chris was Nixon since I have yet to win with Kennedy. I was feeling pretty good when all the favorable debate events came out, as well as several election day events. I creamed Chris in the debate after conceding the first issue, forcing him to place cubes first. We had a good time, and I did imitations of both Kennedy and Nixon (I am old enough as this was the first Presidential election I recall when I was a kid). I thought I was in good shape when I sewed up NY, CA, PA, NJ, and had Mayor Daley helping out in IL. But Chris had eroded my strength in the South, plus Unpledged Electors was out. In the closest finish in any of the games I have played thus far, neither of us made it to the 268 needed to win, and Chris won by virtue of Nixon having won more states.

After four plays now, my initial impression is that the game is tough on Kennedy given that Nixon is likely to win more States. To win, Kennedy has to carry just about all the big industrial States and hold onto most of the traditionally Democratic South -- which, of course, is what happened historically.

I like the game, see some minor flaws in it, think it's probably not as good as Twilight Struggle.
 
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13. Board Game: Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:80]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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1 play (Wild Card event)

Played Monday morning -- last day of the Con and my last "official" game as it wrapped around the 12 Noon deadline for starting Wild Card games. Played with fellow GCOMers Karl Musser, Brian Stallings and Mike Marshall. The game was played mostly for fun, but had I won, I would have wound up with 99 Wild Card points and 10th overall. As it turned out, Karl won and made it to the top 20 while I managed second to move up to #15. It was a really close game, Karl and I got two really good Age III buildings and Karl beat me by a point or two. I still enjoy this one although it doesn't get played quite as often as in the initial month or two. I think the four methods of scoring (buildings, colonies, trade good income and discoveries) are fairly well balanced, something that cannot be said for the four favor tracks in Caylus.
 
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14. Board Game: Kingsburg [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:199]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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1 play (open gaming)

If an Essen release looks like it is going to take a long time to reach the States in an English edition (as happened last year with Pillars of the Earth) and there's enough of the game components posted, I will make a hand-made copy. I did this recently for Kingsburg, although I "guessed" at most of the cards in the Enemies deck. After the AoE III game, the four of us (Brian, Mike, Karl and I) hooked up with Chris Burke to try this game. Although it seems like a simple dice game, there's quite a bit of strategy in figuring out where to place the dice. It also has very smooth game mechanics and is fairly straightforward, something I appreciate in games like Traumfabrik and Vegas Showdown (and even in Imperial) but I don't see in some of the other Essen games, notably Agricola with all those cards and Race for the Galaxy with all the icons.

Anyhow, Chris did the tightrope act between gaining soldiers and building stuff better than the rest of us and won the game. Looking forward to seeing this one available in the States, right now it's my favorite of the Essen games I have tried, but keep in mind I have only tried five or six so far...
 
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15. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:24]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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1 play (open gaming)

This one is chronologically out of order-- played the final Sunday night of the Con after that long 1960 game with Chris B. Kevin Walsh was the teacher -- Steve Cameron and I were the students, and we were joined by Aalok Mehta (hope I got his name right), a DC-area gamer. Kevin is from NY and Steve from PA, so this shows how great Cons like these are where you can play with people from different areas. (Most of the locals were playing the late-night Werewolf game at this point.)

I have to admit a huge bias against games with icons on them, so I fell behind early in the game and never caught up. I like San Juan, realizing it has a significantly greater luck factor than its progeny, Puerto Rico. So, late at night, lots of cards, lots of icons, I was really kind of overwhelmed. I kind of think this game would be better presented as a themed board game with components to represent the goods, instead of just sort of copying from San Juan. I have not been impressed by Lehman's recent design efforts, such as Phoenicia and the dicefest game (Court the King), but I am pre-ordering this game along with Cuba to give it a try.
 
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16. Board Game: Get Bit! [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:1430]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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2 plays (Open gaming)

Back to the final day of the Con, which was all open gaming for me except for the AoE III game in the Wild Card event. Brian Stallings introduced our group to this quick-playing filler, which (along with Race for the Galaxy and Agricola) were the only two games that I played for the first time at EQ (believe me, there many others I wanted to try but didn't get the chance).

Anyway, I won the first game and was in the final two in the second. Seemed to have a fairly good strategy of simply matching numbers that had been played to avoid getting bit. Haven't figured out yet how to be first in the final two, though...
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17. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:162]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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1 play (Open gaming)

Brian and I had tried to get this one in after the 1960 game the night before, when it would have counted as a Wild Card event. So, since most people had packed up and left, this was an open gaming three-player game with Brian, myself and Sybil Buckwalter, wife of Scott, the convention co-director.

I got an early Guild Hall but didn't get the Smithy to go with it until fairly late in the game. Brian was able to pound us down with a fairly early Library, taking Prospector a couple of times and striking it rich with the Gold Mine, for a lopsided win.

But, unlike Brian, I still had my body parts intact after the "Get Bit" game.
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18. Board Game: R-Eco [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:1010]
John Weber
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
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1 play (Open Gaming)

This was my final game of the Con -- while this was going on there was only one other game going on. Players were Beth, Nicole, Eric Haas and myself -- all GCOM locals. I managed to have my best game ever as just about everything fell my way -- no dumping, no -2s, points in two colors, 18 pts overall.

R-Eco has become my favorite "filler" game in the past year -- the kind of game that can easily fit in the bag and fit most time slots. Also, it was nice to end the Con on a winning note although I sure could have used some of that kind of good flow in the Imperial and PR games I lost!
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