GenCon Day 1
Holy crap. After sleeping about 12 hours straight upon my return to the real world, I might just be ready to talk about all the awesome things that happened at GenCon this year.
Might as well do a list of all the awesome things, because who doesn't enjoy a good list, every now and again. Also, I'll probably do this day-by-day, because, otherwise, well, way too much awesome to handle.
1. Getting to go with my best friend Adrian from California:
He flew in for the con on Monday and having somebody to share in all the greatness with you makes it even greater.
2. Demoing Seasons with Adrian:
All right, so I had played Seasons before, but I had always been itching to play it again. Also Adrian had been wanting to play it, so we sat down and had a blast! He liked it so much, he acquired it (through nefarious, drunken means) two days later. A good start to a great weekend.
3. Running into Rodney Smith of Watch It Played directly after Seasons:
Adrian had a real nerd moment here, as he is a huge fan of Rodney's and they both had small children and were able to bond over that. We made very tentative plans to play a game with him later, as that was apparently a backer reward that Adrian had yet to receive through Rodney's funding campaign.
4. Talking to Steve Avery about Nothing Personal right after that:
We made plans (again, very tentative) to play a game of Nothing Personal with him later that day, but sadly the stars did not align for that.
5. Demoing Planet Steam with Adrian:
I really enjoyed the short 2-turn game we played of this, but fear that a full 5 or 6 turn game might overload my brain on the math front (and that's saying a lot coming from me). Nevertheless, it was a cool theme with cool components.
6. Demoing FORGE WAR for 8 (mostly willing) participants:
Okay, so this was really great and incredibly stressful at the same time. I was running 2 boards concurrently with Adrian demoing the other board. Technically he had the first table and I had the second, which was actually important because of how tables were populated. Potential playtesters were herded in and on a first-come-first serve basis were allowed to look at the descriptions of the games and pick which ones they wanted to play. So the first table usually filled up with people who were interested in the descriptions, and then the second table could potentially fill up with people, well, maybe it wasn't their first choice, but it was the only game left. "Complex economics? Well, I've got this ticket, so I guess I should play something..." It wasn't BAD, but some people at the second table were much less enthused than others. Demo slots were 2 hours, and in this first instance, Adrian and I were both still relatively new to this demoing thing, and it took us a while to even get through the instructions and get the game started up. Plus we only even got the players to our table 15-20 minutes after the hour, making the time to play the game and then clean up for the next person very tight. Neither of us got even close, but (some of) the people at my table really wanted to keep playing, so we switched to a table that wasn't going to be used in the next block and kept going for another hour. One guy disappeared at the 2-hour mark, though, so I had to take his place. I think they had a good time, though complained about weird things, one of them encouraging me to change things that would have made the game incredibly unbalanced. The feedback (throughout the week) was super-helpful though and I have much better idea of what needs to be done with the game before it goes into production. Adrian's table of first-stringers also seemed to have a really good time, so that's good, too!
7. Playing a Kickstarter copy of King's Forge with Adrian:
King's Forge is a game currently amassing funding on Kickstarter and it actually looks pretty cool, even with the extreme prevalence of dice. I had been wanting to give it a try ever since I discovered it during my "Forge" searches on BoardGameGeek when I was trying to figure out what to name my game. I was slightly
underwhelmed, but there were 3 mitigating factors: I came in with pretty high expectations; it was a 2-player game with Adrian and he seemed distracted throughout the entire game; I'm pretty sure some of the gather cards we played with have already been or will be rebalanced before the actual release. I think a lot of people will get a lot of enjoyment out of the game, but it might be a little too random for my own tastes. Not just with the dice rolling, but some of the gather cards are extremely powerful, and it's completely random on whose turn they come out.
8. Playing a game of Love Letter with Rodney Smith and Marco Arnaudo of MarcoWargamer (and Adrian of course):
We were able to find Rodney again later that evening in the game library, and Adrian called in his debt. We played a very entertaining game of Love Letter, where, after an early 3-0-0-0 lead by Rodney, Adrian came back to win it 4-3-2-2. Afterward I made a bit of a fool of myself trying to pitch my game to these two very respected reviewers. Not to review a Kickstarter version or anything, but just keep it in mind and mention it when it comes out if it's something that interests them. I hope I got that across at least a little bit through all my fumblings.
And that was Day 1 of an epic 4-day journey through Board Game Land. It only got better from there!
...except for that game of Love Letter. That game was pretty boss.
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