BGG.con/2007/sedjtroll Day 2: Friday 11/16/07
Seth Jaffee
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I slept a little later on Friday, getting up around 10 am or so. I headed downstairs to find that my L.A. friends Chris and Erin had gone to Chic-Fil-A and picked up food... and they had gotten some specifically for me! So while eating we played a short game...

BGG.CON 2007 - FRIDAY 11/16
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1. Board Game: Animalia [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:3255]
Seth Jaffee
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I played Animalia with Brian Yu, Chris Johnson (fnord23), and Erin Gerkin. They described it as a sort of cute and fuzzy Medici, and I guess I can see the mechanical resemblance. I liked it alright, but I felt like it was over way too fast. Brian seemed to agree. I wouldn't seek this game out, but if someone were playing it and I wasn't doing anything I would jump in.
 
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2. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:2001]
Seth Jaffee
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Prolix by Gil Hova

After Anamalia I finally got a chance to get together with Gil (IngredientX) and play one of his games, Prolix.

I first played Prolix at the Spielbany thing in New York, and I was excited to play it again at BGG.con. I enjoy this word game very much - I like word games in general, and this one has some nice tactical gamery involved, as well as flexibility for using whatever word comes to mind. In Prolix there are some letters on the board, and you can use whatever word you want, and you score for the letters you use that are on the board. So the more you use the better. The letters have a point value depending on which column they are in on the board, and some of the more rare letters also have a bonus point or two on them.

I commented during the game that I was averaging 13 points per word, and another player said their largest score was about that, so I guess I was doing well I interrupted maybe 1 time too many, and actually had to reduce my score a bit because of it. The interrupt system is very cool, if you see a word on another player's turn, you're allowed to interrupt them and take it. Each time you do that after the first, you get 1 fewer points than the last time (-1, -2, -3...) so after a while it had better be a really good word if you're going to come out ahead. You only get to count 5 words, and you MUST count your interrupts first.

Prolix is excellent and I hope it gets published ASAP so I can get my own copy!
 
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3. Board Game: Puzzle Struggle [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Seth Jaffee
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The puzzle hunt last year was very cool, but took way too long. This time was much better time wise, even if the puzzles weren't necessarily as cool. I was recruited onto a team before the con by Stephanie K (songlian) along with Chris Johnson (fnord23) and Edward Roske. I felt like we had a really good team and I was looking forward to solving puzzles.

We ended up 6th behind some really accomplished puzzle solvers - tanga regulars, people who construct puzzles and crosswords for a living, and generally really sharp people.

The puzzles each indicated some item, which was to be placed into a box and brought to the judges. The highlight of the entire puzzle hunt was when one of the clues indicated "underwear," so I turned to Steph and said "Ok, strip 'em off!" I mean, she was wearing a skirt, obviously easier for her than anyone else, right? She balked at first, and Edward said "C'mon, take one for the team" and then she shrugged and said "Alright" and ran off to the bathroom. At the end of the event I told the guy running it (Dave Arnott, a good friend of Steph's) "That puzzle hunt was a lot of work to get Steph's underwear off!" - that amused me to no end
 
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4. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:2001]
Seth Jaffee
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Wag the Wolf by Gil Hova

Gil showed me Wag the Wolf when I was in New York, and gave me the rundown on it. The basic idea is that the world is about to end, and players are fighting for media coverage. There are 5 different ways the world might end, and you have some information about which headline will be the "right" one, and you can deduce the rest over the course of the game. You auction for media outlets, run money through the outlets to get Media Points, and you "cry wolf" with the outlets to get income - which means you 'turn them off' so you can't use them for media points anymore, and instead you get some money and VPs.

For his birthday, Gil's friend coded an online implementation of the game which is quite good, and I've been playing Wag the Wolf online for a little while now. At first I thought it was pretty 1 directional, but the more I played it the more I found to like. This isn't the best game ever by any means, but I'm very much enjoying playing it online. There's not much that is wrong with the game, just that some people will want more variety in strategic options. I was happy to play this in real life at the convention... Though I didn't do very well.
 
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5. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:14]
Seth Jaffee
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After dinner I finally got a chance to play the big hit of the convention... Agricola! My friends had been raving about it all week, having bought a copy (on my recommendation ) and sleeving up translations. They'd played several times already, and have rated the game a 10 on BGG.

I understood the basics of the game play right away, but it was a little harder to keep together what I was trying to do. There's a lot of different things to manage! My cards seemed to synergize in such way that I decided to be a Baker - I could get a little extra wheat with one occupation, and with another I could turn it into 5 food without using an action. I also had an improvement that got me a free field whenever anyone else plowed a field. I wish I'd have gotten a little more wheat and planted it rather than baking my early wheat to feed my family, that would have made a big difference in my final score. I decided not to worry about getting a few negatives here and there, I went straight for family members as quickly as possible. I had intended to upgrade my house to Stone, but never got around to it. I didn't build ANY pastures and I had zero animals of any kind. I think I got 1 Vegetable, and saved it for the VP at the game end.

I got some points off of my improvements, I think I bought 2 Major improvements as well. I had a card that gave me 8vp if I didn't take any actions in the last round, so I tried to maximize my scoring in the 12th and 13th rounds and I played that. I made some mistakes in which resources I got, which cost me some at the end of the game, but I did finish 2nd with 35(?) points. The guy that finished first had about 50 points, and he won by a landslide. His cards seemed to give him tons of extra resources no matter what action he did.

I liked the game a lot, but I wonder if some card combinations can be simply better than others. But there are so many combinations that it's probably not that big a concern. Also, if someone doesn't play their cards to the best of their potential, they could look weaker than they really are.

I had bought a copy from Troll and Toad on Thursday morning, but decided I would rather have it in English so I sold that one to a friend who had wanted it and I put in a pre-order with Zev when I got home. I'm looking forward to the release!
 
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6. Board Game: Würfel Bingo [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:2951]
Seth Jaffee
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One of the L.A. people (Lincoln) had a birthday over BGG.con, so a bunch of us went out to dinner to celebrate. We went to a restaurant called Indya Fusion, which was alright I guess. I'm not too picky about how fancy my food is, unlike most people at the convention I would have been fine eating at Denny's all weekend. Everyone else seemed to like it though.

While waiting for our food we drew grids on our paper place mats and played Würfel Bingo. We also played some Fortune Cookie Charades after dinner.
 
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7. Board Game: Wizard's Tower [Average Rating:7.02 Unranked]
Seth Jaffee
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After Agricola I ended up talking to some people I've hung out with at conventions before... ceej and Jeff. I asked if they'd like to play Wizard's Tower - I think ceej had played it once at KublaCon last May. Justin (verve640) was looking for something to do as well, so he joined us.

I don't remember the game too well except for two things:
1. I kept inadvertently "attacking" Justin, didn't mean to it just happened that way.
2. I narrowly won over Jeff by 2 points.

I think they liked the game. I know Justin did because he wanted to play it some more later in the weekend.
 
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8. Board Game: California [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:2236]
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After Wizard's Tower we decided to play California. I had never played it, so I was interested to see how it went - but frankly I didn't expect much. Not really sure why.

Well, I wasn't wrong, it wasn't much. In this game too I kept inadvertently making plays that screwed Justin. I guess that's what he gets for sitting to my left!

After that game I was pretty much done for the day, but I saw that Guitar Hero was going on in the Oak Ballroom again. I played a few games, but was pretty tired. Steph humored me with a Freebird face-off on Hard, but I did worse than usual, and she's WAY better than me to begin with. Eventually I made my way to bed, another late night (or should I say early morning!)
 
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Seth Jaffee
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My BGG.con experience concludes with Day 3+4...
 
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