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GAMESTORM 11 - Games played and overall assessments
Ubergeek
United States
Camas
Washington
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Gamestorm 11 was held at the Hilton in Vancouver, WA this year. Overall, it was another success with even more gamers in attendance. The location venue IMHO is one of the best yet. The open partitioned rooms for gaming were well ventilated and overall everyone had their own sections. The high ceilings in the boardgame rooms and good ventilation were a breath of fresh air (no pun intended) over last year's location.

Pros: The games, the people, the location. My thanks to the Gamestorm staff for putting on another great convention.

Cons:
- The stench of cheap, frozen pizza pushed on players by the hotel causing rooms to smell like day old barf drying in the sun until the ventilation came on to get rid of the smell.
- The scheduling did not allow for 1/2 hour segments of time. As such, many games run right up to each other. This causes some problems I encountered.
1. If a game runs right up to the end of it's time limit, there no time for the next GM to set up without running into their own time.
2. There's no margin for a game to run over if required.
3. There's no way to accurately request time for a game that typically takes 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, etc. hours to teach and play. You're forced to add the additional hour to the schedule to cover rules instruction when only 30 minutes may be required.
4. If you run a game exactly within the time allotted, there's no time to clean up and put it away without delaying into the next time slot or rushing to finish early.

This should be an easy fix to future schedules to allow for an hour between games scheduled at the same table. Fortunately, this was the case for some games, and there were plenty of open gaming tables to resolve any issues of conflict.

Anyway, getting to the meat of the Geeklist, feel free to enter what you play, and what you thought were the highs and lows of Gamestorm 11.
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76. Board Game: Lost Valley [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:836]
Eric Mowrer
United States
Vancouver
Washington
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Glad I got to get this one out. Lucked out and got a 4 player pick up game going. Still love it! The left side of the river sucked, so all 4 of us ended up on the right side. Epic fails, followed by ultimate dissapointment hunting what turned out to be a small rhodent.
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77. Board Game: Byzantium [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:999]
 
Wilhelm Fitzpatrick
United States
Seattle
Washington
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I'm a Martin Wallace fan, but I missed out on trying this when it first came out, and since then I haven't really pursued it due to generally lukewarm reviews. MY MISTAKE! This was my first game of the con this year, and I absolutely loved it. It's moving into my MW top bracket, and my eBay saved searches!

As often happens with a Wallace game, the rules don't give you any clue as to what you are trying to accomplish, but by the mid game I began to have an understanding for the mechanism. The decisions are tense, and the situation fluid, much like I find Empires of the Ancient World, but with less chance to be victimized by luck. I found it less dry than Perikles (which I like), and more evocative of its theme.
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78. Board Game: Container [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:416]
Wilhelm Fitzpatrick
United States
Seattle
Washington
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I wanted to try this last year, If for no other reason, than it has cool toys, but all the games were full. There were lots of games of this last year, and only one this year, so it seems like it lacks staying power, but I enjoyed my outing with it. We had a table of all new players except for one person with a few games under her belt, which was nice since we got to discover the game together, rather than feeling like a guppy in sea of sharks.

The mechanics seem intriguing, and I like the idea that players can specialize into niches (we had one guy who did very well by just focusing on reselling). I definitely want to try more of this.
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79. Board Game: Canal Mania [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:878]
Wilhelm Fitzpatrick
United States
Seattle
Washington
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I brought this, and popped it out for open gaming on Friday evening. Always enjoyable, it's a train game with some unique twists. We were playing second edition, which is definitely slightly easier to teach (scoring is more straight forward). A close finish, I managed to squeak out a come from behind win with a couple of goods stored up in a private section of the network.
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80. Board Game: Fortress America [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:931]
Wilhelm Fitzpatrick
United States
Seattle
Washington
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Hadn't played this classic in a decade, but it is still the good dumb fun I remember. The host played the US, and we had 3 invaders, so the full experience. I played the Eastern invader, and though I had to leave before it was fully over, the US was pretty much on its last legs.
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81. Board Game: Attack Vector: Tactical [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:2960]
Wilhelm Fitzpatrick
United States
Seattle
Washington
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Matt Picio (who runs demos of this and Saganami Island Tactical Simulator at Gamestorm every year) and I try to play a "full rules" game of this every year, and we are slowly getting into the full experience. I was worried because last time I played I'd been overwhelmed by the ballistics rules, but apparently flying a spaceship is like riding a bicycle, it came back surprisingly fast, and by the end of the night I was whipping through coilgun calculations with no worries. A passer-by asked "how long does it take?" and I responded "we play till we are told to stop", which is pretty much how it went this year. The Gamestorm folks kicked us out at 2am cry So much for 24 hour gaming

 
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82. Board Game: Attribute [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:1623]
howl hollow howl
United States
Hillsboro
Oregon
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Because of my cold, I ended up bailing on most of my events Saturday and Sunday. I sat down Saturday night for a quick game of Attribute. I don't think the table was in sync with each other, but we managed to not take it too seriously and still have as much fun as the game allows. Although, when faced with the word "Challenger", and having the adjectives "American", "poor", "buoyant", and one more perfect match in my hand, I knew that I'd get shit for putting "buoyant" out there after the person who chose the word took my card. And that's just one of the many reasons why I think Attribute is a poor excuse for a game. I'd rather play Apples to Apples and have more social exchange.
 
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83. Board Game: 2038: Tycoons of the Asteroid Belt [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:1832]
Wilhelm Fitzpatrick
United States
Seattle
Washington
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This is my only venture into the world of 18xx, and much like AV:T, I only play it at most once per con/year. It almost didn't come off this year, but at the last minute a new player stopped by the table and expressed interest, so we had a three player game. We didn't make it though the full game, but I felt like I am starting to grok more of the moving parts, so it was still a good experience.
 
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84. Board Game: Nautilus [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1607]
howl hollow howl
United States
Hillsboro
Oregon
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My last event as GM was Nautilus. It was also the only event I ran that was in danger of running over its timeslot, due to a false start (I had the starting tile tilted 45 degrees, which wasn't caught until someone tried to launch a sub) and a slower-than-usual pace. Fortunately, the game had an early end as three of the first red and pink tiles discovered were the 13, 14, and 15 tiles, which trigger the final round!

This early ending had the effect of falsely rewarding those who spent money early on for Sonar and using others' research modules, and we missed the tactical struggle to ensure the "3" tiles. The players still had fun with it. I think it is a fantastic game, but I have an irrational preference for games with map/movement and exploration.
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85. Board Game: Leonardo da Vinci [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:630]
howl hollow howl
United States
Hillsboro
Oregon
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Almost forgot about this one...

My first time playing. I liked the action bidding mechanism, but something about the scoring failed to light a spark in me. Thumbs Up, unlikely to get to Top Shelf.
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86. Board Game: 18AL [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:1098]
Michael Bachelor
United States
Washington
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The person who set this up was Chris - (I am assuming Schaffer but I might be wrong); However it was another assitant who led myself and 3 other novices into the world of 18xx. I have played the old PC 1830 game and I have made a print and play copy of this game, so it was nice to finally play a game.

I really enjoyed it and considered it the highlight of my Gamestorm 11 experience, so thanks for making it available.

While I won the game it was such a learning experience that I can't be sure I did everything the way it was supposed to be.
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87. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:144]
Michael Bachelor
United States
Washington
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First game I played Thursday evening. For me it's one of those classics that never grows old...
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88. Board Game: Dune [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:129]
Michael Bachelor
United States
Washington
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Played a relatively short game of this. It has been 15 years since either I or the person running the game had played so we spent some time looking up and questioning rules.

After 5 turns alliances were made that ended the game quickly. I was on the losing side - but as the Bene Gesserit I did not think I had much of a shot anyway.

Would love to play this again now that I have the game rule fresh in my memory
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89. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:135] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Michael Bachelor
United States
Washington
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The only place I tend to play Arkham Horror is at Gamestorm. I like the theme and cooperative play and it is pretty difficult to win. Our party closed enough gates to stop great Cthulhu from taking over the world. As it stands I still have lost more times than I have won this game...
 
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90. Board Game: Mystery of the Abbey [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:847]
Michael Bachelor
United States
Washington
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I was able to convince 2 other to play this with me. I have yet to play this game with 6 people. Maybe next year I will set up a slot for it.

I set up table next to the designers playtest area which lead to an interesting discussion with one of the workshop runners about games of deduction. Serendipity; Without this discussions happening I would have boxed up the game before 2 other people came along....
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91. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:1526]
Michael Bachelor
United States
Washington
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I thought it interesting that the game playtest workshop was set up right at the room entrance. I played one, and noticed that the table always had people trying out the games.
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92. Board Game: Crazy Kick [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:2226]
♫ Eric Herman ♫
United States
West Richland
Washington
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I was only there from late Thursday night until about 7 pm Friday, but I had a great time and hope to come back next year. I wasn't able to get into a lot of new games, as the timing didn't work out, but that's alright... I enjoyed playing some favorites of mine like Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game and Battlestar Galactica and Fast Flowing Forest Fellers, and did try some new games including Risk Express, Pack & Stack, Chicken Feed Stampede (my friend Andy's fun prototype) and probably the most memorable, Crazy Kick, which had a group of us yelling out names and cheering loudly late Thursday night.
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93. Board Game: Big City [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:651]
Sean Ahern
United States
Spokane
Washington
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I've been wanting to try this one out since I heard it was going to republished. Thanks to Pete, Rita, and Doug for a great game.
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94. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:1526]
Sean Ahern
United States
Spokane
Washington
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There were quite a few of these being played from what I saw. I played Andrew's beer drinking, monster fighting game and had a good time. Andrew's attitude was great and breaking down what we liked and what we didn't like afterwards was rewarding.
 
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95. Board Game: Fische Fluppen Frikadellen [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1416]
 
Sean Ahern
United States
Spokane
Washington
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I got to play in the 12 player game of this and had a great time running back and forth between tables.
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96. Board Game: Age of Steam [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:58]
Matt Riley
United States
Portland
Oregon
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I've been running this one for the last couple years at GameStorm. I don't get many other plays in cry

We had 1 shark, myself and another experience player and 2 newbs. Unfortunately, one of the new players went bankrupt on turn 4, but I think he liked the game OK. The shark won.
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97. Board Game: Chicago Express [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:255]
Matt Riley
United States
Portland
Oregon
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After Rachel taught me this last year, I got a copy from Winsome. I ended up with 5 players so I just taught the rules and ran the game. It went great. I continue to be impressed by variety of strategies available in this game.
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98. Board Game: Steam over Holland [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:1260]
Matt Riley
United States
Portland
Oregon
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This was one of my highlights at the con. It arrived from Holland on Thursday, and I didn't think I would have time to read the rules and get a game in. But then Chris Brooks suggested I bring it to his 18xx 'workshop' on Sunday morning. He had played at BGG con. So I taught our table some of the basics of 18xx games while he got the 18AL game going. Then he came over and told us about the specifics of SoH and played with us. Myself and another player went bust 4/5s of the way through the game, but we all really enjoyed it. thanks to Chris!
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99. Board Game: Viktory II [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:1750]
howl hollow howl
United States
Hillsboro
Oregon
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Whoops, forgot another one! Unfortunately, only me and one other joined the GM in this multi-player conquest game (MPCG), and I don't think it really worked with 3 players.

One of my problems with a lot of modern MPCGs is that they layer too much busy stuff on such that players don't focus on the important stuff, like attacking, alliances, etc. VII gets rid of all of the chrome and focuses on the core mechanisms of expansion and combat, ensuring that turtling is not rewarded and focusing on the importance of terrain and combined arms.

So, while it didn't work with 3, the session introduced me to the game, the company was good, and I got a feel for what was good with the system. I would play this at a future con if I knew that 5+ others were joining in.
 
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100. Board Game: Advanced Civilization [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked]
True Blue Jon
United States
Vancouver
Washington
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My dad and I played this on Friday from 9-5. My dad came in 3rd and I came in 4th.

I also grabbed email addresses so I can setup a Basic Civlization game sometime later this year.

Anyone else interested?

After dinner, we (also joined by my niece, Lani) then all played Chris' 2-layer tournament which was fun. We played 24/7, Drive, Lost Cities, and Choice. I already knew Lost Cities and liked 24/7 and Choice but I'm not a Drive fan. I ended up winning a prize in the tournament, a party game: Handy. Afterwrds, we played Modern Art then went to bed.

Next morning, we started with Agricola which ran long so I was running to the math trade and then running back to finish my turn. I would have liked to have had time to stay at the math trade table and talk to some people but just couldn't without abandoning the game. I like Agricola, it seems like Puerto Rico with more options and more randomness. I then went on to play Dominion which seems like a neat filler. After Dominion, I played Wabash Cannonball and let everyone else bid like crazy the first round while I held back and did my purchasing after everyone was low on money. That seemed to work as I ended up inning the game (but only by $1!) After that, I played Samurai Swords which after eliminating 2 of the players, there was a crazy all-out push which I succeeded at and won the game. Then I went to bed.

On Sunday, I tried out Handy with my family at home and enjoyed it! (So thanks Chris!) Then we went back to Gamestorm just before 11 and I played the new FFG Cosmic Encounter. We didn't play with tech but I really like what they've done with the game: it seems like the best edition to me. I then got a chanc to lay Netrunner with Doug (and I've been waiting for a year to play it with him!) He is awesome to play with and is a great teacher. (Doug, I need to play more with you!) After that, my dad and I tried out Stephenson's Rocket as a 2-player game just to learn the rules and then Lost Cities: the Boardgame. LC: the boardgame seems to take out the tension of the card game but maybe it's better with more than 2 playing. My friend Andy then sat down with us to play Stephenson's Rocket and we got to play with 3, which is much better. It's a very cool game.

After that, we went home, watched a movie (RV) and went to bed. A very merry Gamestorm!
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