Whew. Thanks in part to Who’s Yer Con this weekend, I was able to play 7 games off the list. I even got to play a game that I have backed on Kickstarter as a demo. All in all it was a productive week. I made it home a bit on the tired side and I am completely not prepared for anything this week, but I do love conventions!
Starting things off, I played Agents of Smersh. This game is a storytelling game, but instead of just moving about the board telling a good story, players are agents of the UN trying collectively to stop Doctor Lobo from world domination. I must admit that I really enjoy this game over Tales of Arabian Nights (which is back in print and it’s on the list as well) since you are not only telling a story, but you are working together at a common goal. In my opinion, it makes everyone more engaged in the action. That and since it uses a dice mechanic for success means you always have a chance to succeed even if your skills don’t really match (even if it is a 1 in 6 chance).
Next is Toc Toc Woodman. This is a fantastic dexterity game that has players trying to knock the tree bark of a stack of tree cores using a plastic axe. There isn’t much to say about this one except it’s a blast. The newest edition is called Click Clack Lumberjack I believe. Well worth the price if you enjoy dexterity games.
Moving right along is Betrayal at House on the Hill. This gem starts with every player on the same team exploring a large mansion (the use of tiles ensure that the house is always different). At some point in the game, fate will have someone turn on the other players. What follows is a race for each side to complete separate goals (be it the traitor or the survivors). Due to the combinations of omen cards and rooms, there are over 50 different scenarios provided. To date, I haven’t ever played the same scenario twice. Unfortunately the second print run was done with substandard components in my opinion and really has affected my enjoyment of my copy of the game. If you can find a first edition copy though, I recommend it.
If it wasn’t for Who’s Yer Con, the final game of the week would be Escape: The Curse of the Temple. Players are working together to find the exit of the temple pausing long enough to activate gems on pedestals in certain rooms. A manic dice rolling cooperative game that has a strict 10 minute playing time (it come with a soundtrack) – sign me up. There are at least 4 expansions for this game ensuring a fun diversion whenever it hits the table. Just watch out for curses!
I don’t get to go to many gaming conventions during the year. It just always seems that I can’t make the time for them. Don’t get me wrong, the main two in the area (Gencon and Origins), I wouldn’t miss for the world. I ensure that I have the time off work come January. That being said, Who’s Yer Con is a small scale convention in Indianapolis, but don’t let the size of the convention fool you in thinking it isn’t a fun and professional. I couldn’t tell you the number of players that attended, but games were being played from the time I got there at 6pm on Friday until when I was leaving at noon on Sunday. Conventions allow you to play games that you might not be aware of or play games that you enjoy with a different set of people. Don’t forget to get out of your comfort zone and play in a miniature game or role playing game as well.
Games played that aren’t on the list:
Heroes Wanted – A great game that is currently on Kickstarter right now. Each player creates a B-list Superhero trying to get the notice of the main superhero team in the city. By combining two cards, you get some wacky heroes. When I played, I was Beef Hedgehog and managed to win the scenario of the jaywalking villain (a friend of mine was Hobo Beard). I recommend taking a look at the game.
I also played Eldritch Horror – A cooperative board game that pits the players against the horrors of the elder gods! I feel like this is an updated version of Arkham Horror (which is also on the list). The game play is more streamlined and everything just works. My only complaint is that there just aren’t enough cards for some of the decks (we are always having to reshuffle some of the decks fairly early in the game). I’m told there is an expansion that will fix this and I can’t wait.
Never fear, I did get a couple of games off the list. First for the convention was Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game. Players are working together in this game to complete a mission on a derelict ship filled with genestealers. This game is brutal. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have been completely destroyed by this game. My win/games played ratio is no higher than 10% (and I’m being generous). This game was no different – after three turns, half of the space marines were killed in action and we were in the second room. We never did make it to the final room – we did run out of genestealer cards for the blip stacks. It was pretty funny to have a swarm of 15 genestealers slowly moving up the line killing at will (you see if a swarm is 5 or more cards, it will automatically kill a marine pending no special abilities).
Still on Friday night, I played Roborally. This is my favorite game of all time. Players take the roles of a robot maneuvering on a factory floor. Depending on damage, each player is dealt between 0 and 9 program cards (move forwards, turns and the like). These cards are placed in a program of five steps. Once all players’ programs are complete, each register is flipped and the actions of all the robots are carried out depending on their action’s priority. If that wasn’t enough, once all robots have moved for the resister, board elements (conveyer belts, pushers, gears and crushers) activate and finally laser fire – note that each robot is equipped with a forward firing laser of their own. Continue that until one player has made it to each flag in order to determine the winner. We played a 7 player game and everyone knew what they were doing and it was a hoot. I didn’t even come close to winning, but I did have a whole lot of fun!
Lastly for the games off the list was Level 7 – Omega Protocol. I actually ran this as a scheduled event for four players. This game unlike Level 7 – Escape is a tactical board game where one player is controlling the aliens and the remaining players each get a commando. The cool mechanic for this game is that the commandos generate adrenalin when they perform actions. The following turn, that adrenalin is given to the alien player to fuel his actions. Play proceeds until one side is victorious per the scenario. It was a great nail bitter of a game with the commandos barely getting the win after I missed 3 key rolls (easy ones I should add). Still all players had a good time and in the end that it what scheduled events should be about!
Until next time – Attend a local convention!