Having attended Tucson’s RinCon 2013 in October, I was compelled to make the 2-hour journey back down to Tucson to hang out with some of the great gamers I had met 4 1/2 months ago. The experience was great – 13+ hours of gaming split among published and prototypes. Here is a brief recap:
Lords of Waterdeep w/ Skullport expansion (Wizards of the Coast): our agreed upon first game of the con, and my first play of Lords of Waterdeep. I know it was highly regarded, but just hadn’t found the opportunity to play until this day. In preparation, I did download it on iOS and played 2-3 games. Dan/Will/Dillon/Jon and I had a great game and really had a great time. I believe that I wouldn’t want to play without the corruption expansion now – such a good mechanism!
Isle of Trains (pre-published design by Dan Keltner/Seth Jaffee through Dice Hate Me Games) – I had met Dan last fall, and already knew Seth, so playing their newly signed game on this day was a given.Your hand of five cards contains engines, box cars, tankers, and cabooses. There are different levels of each type of car, which expands their speed or capacity. Players attempt to construct a train and load it with enough goods to fulfill the contracts required by the isle. The isles themselves have a 2nd side that is another contract worth additional points. Isle of Trains packs a lot of punch for a 54-card game. I was impressed with how much Dan and Seth fit into the game and look forward to many future plays once it comes out. Look for this on Kickstarter soon!
Pay Dirt (pre-published design by Tory Niemann through Crash Games) – I had seen Patrick Nickell and others play testing this design a few times in the past year, but had always been 15-30 minutes late in getting in on a game. Tory has struck gold (pun intended) again on this design. Really enjoy the worker placement nuances in this simulation of the Alaskan gold rush. Having to divide up your workforce between moving dirt and keeping your equipment maintained gave my mental faculties some great exercise! Looking forward to the Kickstarter campaign for Pay Dirt!
The Great Heartland Hauling Company (Dice Hate Me Games) – my first play of Jason Kotarski’s cube hauling card game with adults (usually play 2 player with my daughter). It was great to finally play with a higher player count. The extra players really tightened up the locations for pickup/deliver. Such a great game – glad it is getting a 2nd printing this year!
* Update: Jon Peoble (@peoblej on Twitter) reminded me that I also played a game of Keyflower with him (and I happened to win). Feels good that I didn’t make that the focus of the day! 🙂 *
Notre Dame (Rio Grande Games) – I am pretty fond of Stefan Feld games, and this one did not disappoint either. Probably good that it is currently out of print – otherwise I’d be making a trip to the local game store for a copy. This one certain has some of the “punishment” mechanics associated with Feld’s games, but is truly a game that fits the “elegant euro” classification.
Gold West (prototype by J. Alex Kevern) – given that I had the 2-hour ride back to Phoenix, I almost passed on the opportunity to play “just one more”. SO glad I stuck around for this! Kevern and his artist Adam McIver had been tweeting about Gold West for a few months (nice PR work guys). The game was nothing short of fantastic. I loved the mancala planning aspects (slightly reminiscent of Trajan) and the territorial expansion (reminiscent of Terra Mystica). These mechanics, along with the other aspects, make for a brilliant design. I really look forward to this one getting published!