Leaving Israel, when we thought we were ready to depart everyone had to get off the plane, they said it was to fix an electrical problem, but people thought they were looking for someone. It was about an hour delay, not so bad for me because I had a long layover in Newark, but many people missed their connections. In Newark I found kosher sandwiches which was handy. A girl who had seen me on the previous flight started talking to me, she lives up north, her dad’s from LA. So it turns out that she’s David Rothberg’s daughter, also celebrating a family 60th wedding anniversary.
First thing in the morning my laptop powercord broke, leaving me with my airplane mode phone for communicating. We went down to get in line at 9:15, the line was already up the stairs. But it wasn’t because there were more people lined up than last year, but because the con had less downstairs space for the morning. They wanted us to line up out the door but it was too cold so we went the other way, but a bit later a congeek came over and told us we had to go out the door because we couldn’t have the line in the lobby. We were outside for about 5 minutes and then our section moved back in, but there were people in line all around the building.
We registered at about 10:30, on the way we admired the signs and talked with people about which free games to pick.
Gili took the games and some Texas souvenir shirts she bought up to our room, I went to hot games. It was a section of the large main room, which I don’t like as much as when it’s a separate room as it was the past two years. There was a also a vendor game demoland area next to it which was interesting. I wanted to play Glass Road which wasn’t available, I figured it could take days til I got to play.
I played Bruges, which I had also heard about, but it wasn’t in hot games. It’s the best new game I played – short but interesting choices and good interaction. There is attacking of a sort, you can cause negative effects to other players, but they do see what you’re setting up. I came in third out of four, I stayed ahead in influence but barely built to 3 canals.
Then I got into a game of Lewis and Clark in hot games. A serious Eurogame, long with thinking and planning. Less interaction than Bruges. And un-PC with Indians as a main mechanic. They’re helpful and important, but still. I came in third of four again.
After that I took a break for lunch and then visited the vendor area. Not as good as last year – the Funagain store was much smaller, but I think there were more vendors which is good. There was a big wheel for a drawing to win prizes. I met Josh Neiman, head of development at Victory Point Games, he worked on Candle Quest, and Stephanie Marroquin in PR and Marketing, and Joshua Gottesman, who works with distributors.
I saw people reading the rules to Power Grid, so that was good for me. They both caught on well. I thought they were getting too many interim plants, but they both beat me by about $100. A 3-way tie powering 17, I think Amanda had about 13 more electros than her husband Daniel. Amanda said they have all these games at work that she hasn’t played – they own Geek Chic. Fun to play on their tables, and they brought me a cup holder when they saw my water bottle.
After a dinner break I was pretty jetlagged at 10, but walked around the main room anyway. Of course that’s when there was a game of Glass Road starting, so I played. It wasn’t what anyone expected, it’s pretty light. The mechanics don’t seem to work so well. The moving wheel is cool but confusing – some goods get produced, some are reduced, and you need to plan while you’re selecting cards, and some goods are on two wheels. I wasn’t the only one who had a hard time and wasn’t so impressed. The other mechanics weren’t so good either – the building were weak, all except maybe one, most were maybe half a point more than the goods needed to pay were. There aren’t many points in the game, but you don’t feel like you’re getting very far that way. You’re supposed to guess and piggyback onto what others play, but it actually reduces your choices because you’re required to play matching cards. Our scores were 15, 18.5, 19.5, 20.5. I came in third.
One of the players is a blogger, Roger Hicks of todayinboardgames.com. I mentioned my prototype and that it wouldn’t do well due to the Biblical theme, he said he was interested in those, so we played my prototype and he liked it, he said it’s a game he’d play with his son. They wanted the orange pawn to match the orange robe on Moses, and the blue one matched the blue on Pharaoh, so I switched them for the publisher meetup.