A Friedemann Friese game I had heard about. There were two set up in Hot Games, I didn’t realize they were different, I was at the Explore one, not the Route Delivery one which was good. We got a teacher, after he explained most of it a German guy came buy and answered questions, he was the developer. He said design by FF took 4 years, then the developer spent eight months on the rulebook. The point is that there are 504 different games that can be played, the rulebook is cut into sections so that parts of the pages mix and match.
We played an introductory scenario, where you place workers to claim hexes, and expend workers to produce goods. There were points for a set of 5 different goods, and for sets of 3 of the same good. The other players started on the other side of the board, so I expanded easily – I had extra money because I started last – then added in production, and won. Then we found out that we played it all wrong, you can’t start workers from anywhere you want or multiple locations, which I had wondered about, and you’re limited in number of workers. So I don’t think I would have won. No one thought that we would have benefitted by spending more time playing a longer game correctly. I agree with the other players, no one needs 500 mediocre games with the same components, even if it’s cleverly done. Me 26, 25, 20, 15
I walked around the vendor areas, checking back several times to get into a game of this, and stayed to watch the game finish. One player who didn’t do as well said he should have placed gold pieces. I didn’t understand all the details or how they interrelated when we started, and the game is too short to make up for that. I selected a gold character first round, which was a mistake, one of many. The game is OK, but not that interesting.
New mechanics are that you can only reuse one action that you used in the previous turn, and you bid for turn order with actions, least actions goes first, so there is good interplay with planning those together. There are restrictions and positive and negative effects affecting all players for some actions. I don’t like negative effects though you have some control, and the game should be better when you know the cards, but I didn’t like it that much, neither did the other players. The theme is not integrated, nothing related to specific plays or actors, no quotations. It doesn’t need to be a trivia game, but could have been done much better, and I didn’t find the art attractive. 18, 16, 12, me 12
I ran into Abe by a door in the main room, playing Times Square, which he said was a good light filler.
The King’s Abbey
A successful Kickstarter being demoed by the designer / publisher. I asked about the theme and component names, seems like he skimmed and selected historical terms somewhat randomly. I didn’t take crusade cards and wasn’t into all the crosses, but played anyway. A conglomeration of mechanics from other games, he unabashedly kept saying, ‘like in Agricola,’ ‘like in Stone Age,’ etc. I’m not sure what made people support the game, probably the theme. He didn’t play, he helped us by suggesting which buildings to take, which moves to make. We played a short intro game, I can see that there would be more tension in a real game, we didn’t have a hard time building enough Defenses in case of Viking attack. It seemed pretty straightforward – get resources, build either buildings that give you privileges or tower buildings that you start with, which give more points, place on crusade cards, and some other side actions. 87, me 76, 68
I hadn’t been up to the 11th floor which had playing and event rooms in the executive offices, I had heard it was nice, mostly it was nice and quiet. They had trouble setting up due to internet issues, but I was near the front of the line, and people dropped out due to the wait. I haven’t tried virtual reality, Oculus was demoing. The demos were short due to the delays. I was at the sitting one as opposed to standing, with a computer screen, mouse and VR glasses. I forgot to have a picture taken while I was trying it. It is pretty cool, you’re immersed in an environment and can move around, control objects and interact with other players, you feel like you’re in the actual space.
People were running around talking about Heavy Cardboard which I hadn’t heard of. I saw people with a game and asked if I could join and they said fine, they were 3. I had played with some of them before, one was the price reducer in Food Chain Magnate, he hadn’t liked how long the game went with the unbalanced Milestones. They told me to go get a Heavy Cardboard raffle ticket in the larger room, it felt like a very in-crowd of geeks. They hadn’t all played before, I understood the mechanics of the game, but not the implications of actions.
It’s an excellent game, with good tension between immediate actions and longer term investment, and there are different strategic options. The choices are interesting and positive. In addition to not strategizing well, I had bad luck with heralds, I needed certain ones that matched my track to show up. This can be mitigated by being on multiple tracks, which I wasn’t. You’re training sons and sending them off to cities, and marrying off daughters into those cities. In 15th century Italy so it’s not sexist. Cute girl and boy meeples, nice art, boards and components. I think my favorite new game that I played. Dice placement from a common pool for actions, a bonus if you use a low dice total. 202, 178, me 162, 131
We took a break during the game for the Heavy Cardboard auction of sets of games, shirts and other items, I said my number was one away, the other players all said the same thing, because it was a small auction.