All the Meeples of the Rainbow.

A photographic journey through board games...
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TotalCon! All The Games and All the Fun!

Steph Hodge
United States
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Well, it's no Ginkgopolis...

Hia Everyone!

I took a pic of all of the Convention badges and pins that I found recently. I know there would be more if I actually had them allllllll.

oh. Here is Fables - the best graphic novel series ever. At least for me.


Recently I got to try out an older title called Intrigue. New to me!

I mean, it is pretty crusty at this point - but not as crusty as most of Joe R's basement collection. laugh Anyway, this was described as a pretty mean spirited game and to not take it too seriously.

Each player has a manor, and each manor has five jobs in it that can be filled by other players. Each turn, you will collect income for the different jobs that are occupied by one of your ten tokens.

To place one of your tokens in a job, you have to bribe the owner of that manor. There is a catch though. The owner of the manor will take your money and they can slot you in any job they see fit. They might say, "oh yeah, if you give me THAT much money I will give you the best job", then take your money and put you in the worst job.

There are a lot of interesting choices to make and enemies to make as well. As the game continues, the job slots will be filled and you will start competing for the jobs that are already filled, thus giving the owner of the manor dueling bids. The owner gets all the bribes and decides which person will get the job. There is a lot of backstabbing going on in this game for sure.

In our game, I really thought I would win for sure. It was really hard to tell what was happening, but I thought I was doing a pretty good job gauging who was making what and who was the richest. Yeah, not so much. Dan and Geoff TIED!! They each had $150,050 and I was at $150,020 Just $30 away from being tied with them!! Man, it was a close game.

I actually quite enjoyed this game in the end and would gladly play it again. It is quick and devious. You can see the evil glimmer in everyone's eyes when playing which is always fun.


I got to play an awesome game of Medici.

Playing this again just makes me want to play it over and over. I love this game so much. I was just not pulling the cards I needed to get to the top of the tracks. I did manage to get there by the last round, but it was already too late for me.

I think I managed to come in 3rd place. It didn't much matter though. It only makes me want to play more auction games. I wish more were being created. They can be a hard sell, but when done right, it is magic! Love that mechanic and this is the best of the crop!


The final game of the night was another fav where Dan and I absolutely kicked some butt in Tichu.

MOAR! I WANT MOAR! We should have played 2 games of it. I have been loving my new cards. They are just so pretty!

I had a Mega Bomb in my hand...



The first game of the con was going to be a solo game of Dimension but Joe R was available to play with me.

I got to play this a few years ago as a demo at GenCon, I believe. I really like the idea of this game, but I think Uluru: Tumult am Ayers Rock does it better.

Joe hadn't played before so I taught him how to play. It is fairly abstract, but that is why it is so fun. Trying to puzzle out the different combinations to work is just fun for me.

I was so winning all game but Joe ended up gaining a few extra points in the final round that gave him the winners title. #math


A highlight and game I was hoping to play a few times during the con was Blackout: Hong Kong.

Star was interested in playing and I taught Jon how to play. He was prepared though and had studied up on the game with tutorials so he only had a few questions. That was awesome! I love teaching games where people mostly know the rules! So easy! I don't have time for tutorial videos though. Not really my thing to do (I gotta write a blog and all).

I am getting much much much better at this game the more I play it. It was not really a shocker when I won the game in the end. I mean, I crushed it. I was working my deck near perfectly and getting good combos with my cards. My bonuses were nutso - and awesome.

Really been enjoying this one and I am curious for my next play if I can play as well scoring 141 this game. I haven't seen a score that high before. #goals


There were a few people looking to learn Fine Sand.

I was happy to teach and play it. We ended up playing 2 times since the first game was really to wrap their brains around what was happening and how to play. I really enjoy playing this game twice in a row because you can change up the decks and see how all the next cards mesh while you are already warmed up with the play. It really makes a better game for me.

I ended up winning both games, and I think it was since I am more familiar with the cards from playing more. I look forward to going through the deck again with the same group of people so we can all grow with the game together. Right now I am playing with a mix of people and usually teaching the game when I play it.

Loving it so far though.


Over the next few days, I managed to get in a few games of That's Pretty Clever. This is a great filler and has been requested a bunch. I was really hoping someone would have Twice As Clever to play but no one did.

I ended up winning the first game I played against Star, but then later in the week, he took the win when we were playing 4 players. The 4 player game was not great since I was teaching it and it was late at night. I don't really enjoy it as much with 4 players.

I have since bought the Twice as Clever app and have taught myself how to play. I have played about a couple hundred times now and just love it! I can't wait to play against real people! More on that game when I do, but I recommend the app.


Riley had a game I had been wanting to play called On Tour. New to me!

This is a roll n write game where you are trying to tour the USA with the best possible route to score the most points. Each turn, three map cards are revealed. The map cards each display a region of the US. The two D10 dice are rolled and all players will choose 2 of the 3 map cards to write the two possible number combinations. For example, if 2 and 4 are rolled, all players will write the number 24 in one card's region and 42 in another card's region. The map cards will then be replaced and another turn is taken.

The game will end when all of the locations on the board are filled up. The catch is that you have to make a connecting route in ascending order. There are ways to score bonus points along the routes, but the more spaces you hit, the more points you will get, generally.

It is a pretty solid game. I was definitely stressing out because I needed a very specific number range and it was not rolled in the final turns. So it totally went the wrong way for me.

I had a pretty good time playing this. But I was definitely more interested at the beginning of the game than by the end of the game. Great production quality and interesting gameplay, but probably not one I have to own. I would play it again for sure.


Next, we played a 4 player game of The Quacks of Quedlinburg. Riley hadn't played this before and I felt he would really enjoy it! We decided to play with the backside of the player boards.

Riley is just like me - we will push our luck each and every time. Despite busting over and over and over, I managed to push the potion droplet to completion. Because I did so well with that I was able to score quite well at the end of the game. I ended up 2nd place to Adam who was just 1 point ahead of me! I will just surrender and know that I will never win this game.

Still having a great time playing this one! Good times.


The final game of the night was epic! We had 4 players for a game of History of the World. I can't seem to get enough of this game. I also wanted to play another game with Joe and Len so I managed to convince them to join in.

Oh, it was a tricky game. I was always hitting up 1st or 2nd in the round and I never got a last-first advantage. It was pretty funny how Joe would always seem to roll really terrible. He did manage to find a card that scored him battle victories for rolling so low, and that was really great for him.

It didn't much matter though, because Len ran away with the game. But I had a pretty decent final turn and scored nearly enough to win. It was a super close match with Len on top at 155, I scored 154 and Matthew was 152. Joe was a losah at 123. I still think that was the closest game of HotW that I have played thus far. Just talking about it makes me want to play it.


The next day, I found Lexi and we played a few games. I picked out a play to win game called ROLL for Your Life, Candyman!. New to me!

I like the concept of play to wins in general. I think it is good for publishers to support some conventions with their titles. It really gets people focused about playing their games, or at least getting their games noticed, which is great!

This game is so cute it is hard not to want to play it. This is a speed dice-rolling game. You are trying to destroy the other gingerbread men at the table. In order to do that, you have to roll all 4 of your dice until they show the same symbols. If you do this faster than the other players, then you grab the candy cane and take the appropriate action of the symbols you rolled. The action might be to destroy another players arm or leg, to protect yourself, or to remove another player's protection. In order to attack the body, you have to get rid of the arms and legs first, and all the protection has to be removed. If you remove someone's protection, you get to claim it for yourself, and it will give you a power of some sort.

It is a pretty fast game that plays out in about 20 minutes. I ended up reading the rules and we played pretty quickly with 2 players. Lexi wasn't really rolling the best, and I seemed to get the matching 4 symbols right before she did. I ended up with about double her score.

It is a cute and harmless game. I am not really one for real-time dice throwing games like Escape. I could play again, but it is not high on my to-do list.


Lexi hadn't played Russian Railroads so I ended up teaching that game to her and Chris who stopped by and was interested in playing.

Two people who hadn't played RR! I am not a big fan of the base game, but I was still happy to teach and play it. I really do love the game and think it needs more love and a reprint. Bring back German Railroads!

The game went well and seemed to go by pretty quickly. I was totally focused on Lexi and Chris understanding the game versus my actual strategy and playing of the game, but I still managed to win. I did well with the industry, but there was still some competition for that and it wasn't totally easy for me.

I gave some strategy tips at the beginning of the game, which Chris chose to ignore, but by the end he was fully understanding what I was talking about. He ended up going top track by the end of the game and had a strong late game top track score. If he had focused on getting the white tracks out sooner, he would have destroyed us both.

Awesome game and one I will happily play.


Star and I signed up for a game of DinoGenics. New to me!

I actually didn't know much about this game other than you are making a dinosaur park. I am so into the dinosaur-themed games and was intrigued by this new title hitting the scene.

This is a worker placement game where you try and build up your park by gaining DNA samples to create dinosaurs, build up your cages for those dinosaurs, gather hotels for holding more guests, and building lots of buildings. There are a lot of ways to score points in the game, but they are mostly coming from the dinosaurs you are holding each round. Points are cumulative, and the longer you have a dinosaur in your park, the more points you will end up earning since there is a full scoring at the end of each round. The more common the dinosaurs, the fewer points you will earn. Creating dinosaurs will also gain you reputation, which is really great for determining turn order, and you want to go first, so you want that best reputation.

Each round you will get to place 3 guys until the halfway point where you will automatically gain a 4th guy (at least for a 5 player game). There will also be an event that was revealed the previous round that will then be active in the current round. You will always have one round to plan for that future event. I like the events because it changes up each game and you can't really know for sure what will happen.

Since we were playing with 5 players, the game went on far too long in my opinion. I knew it would be a problem for me before I sat down to play, but I wanted to play with Star and Nate, so I ended up trying it anyway. I would definitely advise not to play with 5 players. The rounds get muddled since turn order is always changing, and it is hard to keep track. Spaces fill up quickly and you can't really plan for locations to be available on your turn.

All in all, I had a decent time playing the game. The mechanics are fine and the gameplay is fine. But there is nothing outstanding at all.

I found one card to be insane and it really hindered my enjoyment of the game. The card allows a player to take a 50/50 roll to copy another player's dinosaur into their own park. I literally spent 9 actions over 3+ rounds trying to find the right cards to create my awesome dinosaur. Then another player took just one action to copy my dinosaur - just like that. I can understand if there was like a MAX dino to copy, but my highest valued dinosaur... so freaking mad. If I were to play again, I would consider removing it because, even two weeks later, I am still ticked off about the situation. Anyway, because of that, it left a sour taste in my mouth.

Besides my sour experience, I think the game is adequate. I would definitely play again with fewer people and without that card. It seemed to have very strong runaway leader problem, though - Star was winning all game and totally took home the win. It's not the worst game I've played, but I don't think I would request this.


Next up was a 3 player game of Teotihuacan: City of Gods. Star taught Matthew how to play and we got to it.

I like this game with 3 players - it is very snappy. However, it is a beast to teach because there are a lot of small rules that can easily be overlooked.

This game, I was trying a new strategy collecting masks that didn't work at all for me. It was a mess. I just couldn't collect enough to make it worthwhile. I think this was because Matthew was pushing the end of the game so quickly. Star was working on that too because he had a sweet tech that allowed him to double boost his guys if he paid cocoa. Yah, it was an accelerated game and it was just too fast for me to push the mask strategy. Star ended up winning that game with 158, and I was 153, so I wasn't too far behind. It was all around a low scoring game compared to my others.

Still loving this and I can't wait to try out the expansion!


Another play to win game was Istanbul: The Dice Game. I got to play this game last summer on the BGG Cruise. It was cool enough where I thought, "oh I wouldn't mind winning that". I ended up teaching 3 people how to play.

It is a cute push your luck game. It can somewhat drag with 4 players though. I anticipate it being better with 3.

I got a major rule wrong, so a few rounds into the game, we decided to start over. So this game took a bit longer than I might have liked, but I think everyone was enjoying it.

I thought for sure Nate would win this game, but he wasn't able to secure the win the round I thought he would. I managed to collect 2 final gems needed to win the game in the round before 2 others might have won.

It was pretty good and I could play this again, but I don't think I will request it in the future though. I didn't win it.


The next morning, Riley and Nate were around so we ended up playing a 3 player game of Rococo with the cool Jewelry Expansion.

I really like the expansion for this game. I think it really gives you more to focus on and goals to set for yourself. There are even a few different modules to the expansion so you don't have to focus on all of it, but some of it will really work out for you. I like that it also adds in a bunch of new cards that you can work to try and claim.

This game I was all about trashing cards from play. I was collecting so many cards and then trashing them using an early card that I got from the row. I had a ton of decorations and I collected a lot of jewelry tokens for some heavy end of game scoring.

All of this ended in my favor as I won the game with 87 points. This was much higher than Riley at 69 and Nate at 68. I was feeling pretty good. I think I did so well since I was collecting a lot of in-game points as well as end-of-game points. #toteswon


We picked up a few more players so I thought it would be cool to play another play to win game. We ended up playing 2 games of Skull King.

I can't seem to get enough of this game. There is something so compelling and interesting and will always put a smile on my face each time I play. The first game we played was just with 4 players. Everyone was so cut throat and trying to screw each other up. It was hilarious. Jared even had to leave at round 8 for a tournament, but he still managed to tie me for the win at 40 points. Too funny!

In the second game, we picked up 3 more people for a 6 player game. It was pretty awesome. I love playing this game with 6 players. It is just total chaos and so much fun to see what people bid and what happens. This time I played much better and ended up winning with 240 points. I am pretty sure everyone had a great time playing though.

I will always play this game if asked. Love it!


We played a 5-player game of Kerala: The Way of the Elephant.

This is always a great go-to game for 2-5 players that is quick and easy to teach. Everyone seems happy when they are playing and no one has ever disliked this game. It is a solid choice when selecting a game to play.

Riley ended up winning this game in the end. He had a final score of 47. I think he just picked up a bunch of elephant points. I was going for more 5-point bonus tiles and I couldn't quite make them work to my advantage because of tiles that were in the wrong places. It was not optimal for me, but I love trying!

Drafting games are always high on my list of favorites. I am glad we had the chance to play this one.


Next up we played a 5-player game of Lords of Vegas with Lords of Vegas: UP!. New to me Expansion!

This is awesome. I have been wanting to play this expansion for quite some time now. The expansion adds the ability to play with 5 players, but it also adds tiles that you can buy to make your casino higher. By increasing the height of your casino, you will generate more points. I think this was a clever addition to the game since the property color tiles run out so quickly, and you can't generate those high points that you would need to get to the next bracket on the score chart. This will allow for that to happen. Now, these new tiles are not cheap, so you have to make some money first before renovating your casinos.

It was a fun play and I know I definitely lost this game. I was doing well in the early game but then lost momentum mid-game. I also kept losing my money when I gambled it away in another players casino. Jared was in the same boat as I was, so we ended up losing that time.

So fun to get this game played. I am glad Riley brought it around.


Four of us played 3 games of The Grizzled. Several were learning the game so we just played the base game.

We had to play 3 times because we were just so bad at it. The first game we lost almost instantly. It was just a train wreck. It can be difficult explaining this game, so playing out a few rounds to show how it works, is usually easier. It was a disaster from round one though. We ended up playing the second game better than the first, but it was still a train wreck. By the time we got to the 3rd game, it was much much better. I think we played out like 5 or 6 hands that game before losing.

In the end, we lost 3 games in a row. It was pretty sad, but we had a good time. This game is so difficult! I hear there is a campaign game now. I MUST check it out! I have to know more about this game! Love it!


Next, I found myself playing a 3-player game of Ludus Senatus. New to me!

We had a 4th player who was teaching the game, but he decided to sit out.

In this game, you have 3 hidden cards that will read Yay or Nay. Each card will also have an action on it. Each turn, you will reveal one of your cards and perform the action on it, or you will place one of your cards in the council area (in the middle of the table), then draw a card to replace it. You are trying to get the majority of votes in the council to match the majority of votes in front of you. When enough cards have been placed in the council (7 in a 3-player game), the votes will be tallied. If your vote matches the council's vote, you get 1 point, or 2 points if you are the only one to match. First player to 5 points wins.

It was a pretty simple game and I think it is going to KS this week. I could easily play this game again. There wasn't much to it, but for a small 5-minute game, it was fun with an interesting reveal at the end of each round. I would gladly play this one again.


Chris and Derek wanted to show off their updated version of Comic Auction! I learned this game last TotalCon and really enjoyed it then. Man, the game has come a long way since then. Derek and Chris have really refined and developed the game to be a great auction game. I really hope they find a publisher for the game. I do think there needs to be more auction games out there. I think publishers are too scared to produce auction games. Maybe the general feeling is that the auction mechanic is not good? I don't know, but I love the auction mechanic.

In this game, you are collecting comic books. This game is great because of the interesting choices that you have to make. Do you hold on to a set of comics until they are more valuable, or do you sell them to get more money to get other comics? It is clean and simple.

I ended up winning this game since Jared made a pretty critical mistake in the game early on and gave me lots of money (evil laugh). Loved it and looking forward to a final product sometime.


The final game of the night was Dinosaur Island with Dinosaur Island: Totally Liquid. New to me Expansion!

Wow, there is a lot of expansion in that box. So many new modules and of course Derek taught us each and every module. We played with the whole shebang. It was a lot to take in.

We had to draft a couple new things at the beginning. I ended up getting a special worker that could gain me excitement for learning new recipes for dinos. My excitement this game was through the roof. I WAS SO EXCITED! I also ended up drafting a tile that gave me hotel space for my guests and it was just one more addition that would allow me to keep guests overnight. After playing the game, I know now that was a terrible combo and it didn't work well at all. I had all the guests from being very excited, and I didn't have enough room in the park for the hotel guests and all the excited guests. #mistakesweremade

There was a blueprints module that gave everyone a blueprint of a park and if you managed to match enough of the features, you would gain a few points at the end of the game. I kinda felt this was just an add on, and I focused much too heavily on it for so few points. Again, #mistakesweremade.

I can't even remember everything else that was included, but the water dinos were seriously awesome. Awesome in that they totally make you re-think making them. I had some seriously crazy water dinos that were just insane. They drew in so much excitement to the park, but I was so far over the threat level I was losing like 10+ points a turn for having them in my park. It was just a mess. Even though I was gaining each round, it was not enough to make up for the 0-point dinos at the end of the game.

It was a rough balance for me all game, and I was having a hard time making it work, but it was certainly fun playing. I will have to pick Jon Gilmour's brain a bit when I see him next. I want to hear some stories about the balancing of some dinos.

It was so much fun exploring the new additions. I very much look forward to my next play!


It was the final day of the con, and I was sad to see it come to an end. Fortunately, Shrey was able to come that day and we got in a few great games. While waiting for everyone else to show up, Shrey and I played a game of The Mind.

We are pretty good at this game, and we made it easily to rounds 10/11/12, but by the end of the game we had a bunch of friends just hanging out and talking to us, so we were losing focus a bit. I think we ended up losing on the final round by one life, however, it is hard to say. I think my app says we won the game, so I could be remembering it incorrectly.

Regardless, we did very well, and it was a good filler while we waited for everyone else to show up.


Next up, Star, Shrey, and I played a game of Underwater Cities.

I was so happy to play this game again since everyone knew how to play already! No teaching required! We ended up playing with the advanced boards, which are super easy to add into the play, and we got going.

I was getting all the combos this game. My combos and end-game scoring cards just soared me into first place with an incredible score of 147. I mean I am getting really great at this game. I am finding combos and actively seeking out the best end-game scoring cards I can.

The 3 of us did a very good job taking the Special Card space this game. I think that space should be taken every turn because those cards are WORTH IT! If that space is not taken, then everyone is playing wrong. It should always be taken because those cards are just too good to pass up.

It was an awesome game and I can't wait until it gets a US printing for everyone to be able to play it. So good!


We didn't have Joe C, but Star was willing and wanting to play Ginkgopolis with me and Shrey. You know I am always down for a game of Gink!!

This game Shrey was doing a very good job of hate drafting cards away from me. I was just not getting the cards I needed or wanted to generate in-game points or end-of-game points. It was all pretty lousy for me this play.

Shrey won this time! Star was very out of practice and handed Shrey all the good cards, I am sure of it. haha I kid I kid! maybe.

It was awesome and I am glad Shrey took the victory. I can't win them all... it was super close though. Shrey 71, Steph 69, Star 64. Good times!


Shrey brought along Yokohama.

I always seem to be left out when this game is being played so getting it to the table was awesome. We were playing with only 3 players.

We included a little mini-expansion promo which was kinda neat. If you complete all of the objectives, you get to gain a promo bonus token which might be a flag symbol or a foreign agent.

Shrey and I were doing very well in the game. I was racing him all game for all of the goals. The major problem we had was that no one wanted to end the game. He could have done so a few times, but chose not to. It was a mess and the game went on far too long. Because of how long it took, Star was able to build up his engine, and he totally took home the victory.

Shrey and I just needed that game to be like 3 rounds faster for either of us to win. It would have been pretty close. Since that didn't happen Star totally crushed us! whoops! It was awesome - I am always reminded of how much I love this game whenever I play it.


The final game of the con was a 3-player game of Fuji. Star had to take off, and Shrey and I convinced Randy to join in. Shrey and I were both curious how this would play with 3 players since we would all be actively trying for different cards each round.

Let me tell you! It was a SUPER DIFFICULT GAME!! We were also playing on level 3 difficulty and taking a lot of damage on top of competing against each other.

I am actually surprised at how well we managed to play. I thought we were dead in the lava on turn two. We were just not having much luck. Mid-game we ended up doing better, but by the end of the game, it was, "okay baby this is it, all or nothing". Haha, it ended up in doom and despair, but we managed to try our hardest. Shrey and I made it out safely, but Randy barely got caught. But this isn't an every-man-for-himself game. We lost!

This is the first time I've lost this game. Makes me want to play it again right now! It was a lot of fun. I think Randy had fun too, which was important. We always seem to get in at least one game at TotalCon, since he is mostly tied up in the train games. Glad we could make it happen.


TotalCon was fun since I got to play with some friends I don't normally get to see. I picked up some great games in the flea market on Thursday (list below). I got to play some play to win games, though I wasn't lucky enough to take one home. Thanks to everyone who played a game with me!


New to the Collection:
KUNE v LAKIA: A Chronicle Of A Royal Lapine Divorce Foretold
Scratch House
My Fair Princess
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Deck-Building Game
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Deck-Building Game
Time's Up! Title Recall!

Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!


I made a FB group for the blog if you are on there and want to chat up some games! Check it out!

All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Thank you.
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