Monday, October 21, 2013

CastleCon Recap

I want to make Andrew sad, so here's what went on for me this weekend...

I played a bunch of games, some new, some I knew before. In particular I believe I played Mage Tower (x3), K2, Timeline (x2), Suburbia, Viva Java, Bora Bora, Galaxy Trucker, Dominion (x5), Pack and Stack, and The Capitals. Sadly no Battlestar Galactica, though.

I didn't sleep terribly well. I'm not sure if that was the air conditioner making a racket, going to bed too early, or just a consequence of setting an alarm on Friday to wake up in time to head in. But I was still around for a lot of games, so it was all good.

We ordered out for Swiss Chalet one night, and I ate stuff I brought with me the rest of the time. In particular I found some gluten free mushrooms muffins that were surprisingly good, and I brought a couple granny smiths along. I didn't get sick, which beats Niagara earlier in the year. Woo!

There was a problem in the venue of there not being enough garbage cans and no one emptying the ones that were there. I've noticed gamers tend to be pretty good about throwing out their trash when they can, but we're really not interested in going above and beyond. So we filled up the garbage cans, and then we just built a pile of garbage beside the cans... Ew!

The new games to me this year were Mage Tower, Viva Java, and The Capitals. They were all very different, and all had flaws, but I had fun with each of them. Mage Tower is a deck drafting game that simulates a tower defense game in that you get swarmed by monsters until you die and you're just trying to outlast the other players. Viva Java was a team game where the teams changed every turn. You had a tech tree, and you were trying to accumulate resources in order to spend them with your current teammates to randomly build poker hands. The Capitals is a more complicated take at Sim City: the board game than Suburbia where you draft a new unique building every turn which gives you points on different resource tracks and has a special ability that might combo with other buildings you have.

Mage Tower had the flaw of forcing every card in the draft to get played in someone's deck which meant Robb had a completely unplayable card one game and we were stuck playing attack cards with no personal benefit which only served to accelerate game end with no way to avoid doing so. Viva Java had the flaw of requiring the ability to track the public private contents of 7 other player's bean bags in order to figure out who you wanted on your team. The Capitals suffered from random tiles coming up each turn so the ability to plan ahead wasn't really a thing. Close your eyes, cross your fingers, and hope the buildings you want show up when you need them and when you're high in drafting order. I also fear it may suffer from the flaw that optimal strategy will involve just paying 6 points per turn in order to always go first. And it's a first printing of the game and had a lot of misprints and there was no way to tell what colour each player was. Fortunately three of the four players in my game had 'known' colours to me (Duncan is always black, I'm always green, Sara is always purple/red and the last colour was blue and left for Robb).

That said, all three games were fun, and I want to play them all again. And I think Andrew wants to play them all, too.

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