My BGG Con 2019
Bill H
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Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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My personal adventures at BGG con, probably not interesting to anyone but friends, family and people I owe money to.

The usual suspects (Jon, John and Bay):
Jonno Hand
United States
Missouri
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John Neff
United States
Leander
TX-Texas
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Bay Chang
United States
Hillsborough
California
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This year the convention moved from the Hyatt Regency DFW to the nearby Hyatt Regency Dallas.

Beautiful view from my room:
From gallery of Shijuro
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1. Board Game: Up Front [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:522]
Board Game: Up Front
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Tuesday

After far too little sleep (an annual tradition) and a smooth trip to the airport and an earlier flight to Dallas than I usually manage, I just needed to get to the new hotel.

I somehow managed to call the Hyatt Regency DFW instead of the Hyatt Regency Dallas and was directed to the shuttle. After a 45 minute wait, the shuttle arrived and I quickly realized it was going to the wrong hotel. The driver dropped me at a cab stand and I took a $50 cab ride through the beginning of rush hour to arrive about when I usually get here.

I met up with Bay and we Ubered to Lockhart Smokehouse for some barbecue: Brisket, smoked turkey and clod. I wasn't familiar with clod, but it's shoulder meat and resembles a smoked pot roast. Delicious! thumbsup


Afterward, we kicked off the con with a game of Up Front. The Yanks were assaulting a Japanese pillbox, but they rushed it and blundered into a minefield where they got tangled in barbed wire. They were cut down with some lucky shots from a unit on a hill near the pillbox that took out their squad leader before whittling down the others.



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2. Board Game: First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:1881]
Board Game: First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Wednesday

I had a "VIP" ticket this year, which saved me about half an hour in line for registration. I then joined the common folk to select my door prizes:
Board Game: First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet
Board Game: Mystic Market
Board Game: Bad Maps
From gallery of Shijuro


I've often looked at First Martians and Terraforming Mars and been unable to decide which to get. Now, thanks to BGG, I have First Martians!

At the time, the other choices for First Martians were:
Board Game: Guardian's Call
Board Game: The Walled City: Londonderry & Borderlands
Instead of Mystic Market:
Board Game: Abandon Planet
Board Game: Black Hole Council
Board Game: That's a Question!
In lieu of Bad Maps:
Board Game: Land Without End: The Barbarossa Campaign, 1941
Board Game: Lightning: Poland

 
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3. Board Game: Black Angel [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:691]
Board Game: Black Angel
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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I watched a game of this for a while.

Spaceship-themed worker placement dice-as-resources game.

Looked interesting; I'd like to try a game.
 
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4. Board Game: Formosa Tea [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:5014]
Board Game: Formosa Tea
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Played a game of this.

Worker placement, harvesting tea then taking it through the various stages to dry and prepare it before selling it.

Perhaps a little fiddly but many different paths to victory points. I kind of wavered with my strategy and came in last in a four person game. If I'd committed more to a strategy or two I believe I would have done better.

I enjoyed playing it but I'm not in a hurry to play again.
 
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5. Board Game: SEAL Team Flix [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:3415]
Board Game: SEAL Team Flix
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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John arrived, and joined us in a game of this. We enjoyed it enough to immediately play another.

Less flicking than I expected (or the name implies), this is an extremely tactical game. Shots are performed by flicking disks, but movement is a point system. Sniping is done on a separate mini-game board, where you flick onto an image through a scope of a target with tiny dots marking vulnerable spots -- cover one completely to take out the target. There are other minigames to defuse a bomb, decode a digital door lock, or shoot someone over the head of their human shield.

I was expecting a light flicky dexterity game loosely themed on Seals; I found an intense tactical game that nicely simulates high risk situations.

I think this one is a must-buy. Edit: Bought.
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6. Board Game: Hooplastack [Average Rating:4.80 Unranked]
Board Game: Hooplastack
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Played this in the dexterity area.

Fun for a few minutes.
 
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7. Board Game: Takla [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:13235]
From gallery of Shijuro
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Take turns stacking Jenga-like pieces to reach a bead suspended above the center of the play area. A test of mechanical engineering and elementary physics.

We all failed.
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8. Board Game: Star Wars: Outer Rim [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:296]
Board Game: Star Wars: Outer Rim
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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After a Brazilian barbecue, Bay taught us this.

Very thematic, multiple paths to victory.

The closest thing I can compare this to is Firefly: The Game in that you can trade, hunt bounties, attack other players, encounter events, etc. This implements many of the same aspects but in a slick little slice of the Star Wars universe.

We all had a blast, quoting characters and mocking each other and acting out some cool little stories (e.g., our Han Solo decided to collect the bounty on a Wookie named Chewbacca; in the end, another bounty hunter collected him and Han "freed" him and added him as crew).

Yes, this will be mine. And sooner rather than later. Edit: Bought.
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9. Board Game: Paranormal Detectives [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:2292]
Board Game: Paranormal Detectives
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Thursday

The dealer’s room opened today so there were plenty of new games to demo.

I had heard about this one but wasn’t sure how well it would work. I played a full game and... it works well!

One person is the ghost of a victim, and the others are the titular Investigators. Each investigator has several tricks (detailed on cards) for communicating (imperfectly) with the dead, and uses them to determine Clue-like facts about the death.

Methods include a 3-second charade, writing on a player’s back, guided writing (by holding an investigator’s wrist), a Tarot deck, and others.

I was surprised to see how well these intentionally ambiguous methods conveyed details.

I’ll be picking this one up. Edit: Bought.
 
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10. Board Game: Terror Below [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:2386]
From gallery of Shijuro
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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A Tremors-like theme on a puzzle game. Not as fast or shooty as I was expecting, more thinky and move planning with a general theme of roaming monsters.

I played a game of this with Jon. We thought it wasn’t quite as much fun as the (trademarked) movies it’s kinda like.
 
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11. Board Game: Letter Jam [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:954]
Board Game: Letter Jam
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Enjoyable word game with a Code 777-like mechanic of seeing everyones’s card but your own and deducing your letters from clues.

I enjoyed a game of this with John and may be picking it up, although I am a bigger fan of word games than most that I play with.
 
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12. Board Game: Undaunted: Normandy [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:335]
From gallery of Shijuro
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Bay taught Jon and me this, and we leapt into one of the scenarios.

Ours was a bloody game with many casualties, ending by pinning each other and tie-breaking with victory points (Jon led the entire game).

This was a lot of fun and an elegant use of deck-building mechanics to gain actions for your units.

I’d be happy to play again.
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13. Board Game: Letter Jam [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:954]
Board Game: Letter Jam
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Microbadge: City of Heroes fanMicrobadge: KeyForge fanMicrobadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Star Trek Online playerMicrobadge: Star Wars: Outer Rim fan
Jon watched some football in the hotel sports bar for a while and he and I ate wood-fired pizza and drank Guinness.

Alejandro joined us and asked to play Letter Jam, so we played this into the night.

Alejandro had one game in him before he had to head up to his room, the rest of us played another game as we got increasingly punchy.

We found that this game works when the players are half asleep and/or mildly inebriated, offset by the number of accidental spoilers.

Edit: Bought a copy.
 
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14. Board Game: Western Legends [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:257]
Board Game: Western Legends
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Friday

I wandered through the dealer room and picked up a copy of Letter Jam then watched a game of Western Legends, a “sandbox” game of the old West. Seems very thematic with many choices and interesting interactions. Several expansions are already available.

This one on my “thinking about it” list.
 
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15. Board Game: Battleship [Average Rating:4.63 Overall Rank:19510]
Board Game: Battleship
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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The Puzzle Hunt this year had the same format as one of my favorites from years past - Battleship. 100 puzzles, each labelled with Battleship coordinates. When we solved a puzzle we entered the answer in the puzzle hunt web page to score it and to find out if it was a hit or a miss.

Lots of fun and we stayed around for an extra hour solving puzzles we hadn’t gotten to during the event.
 
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16. Board Game: Ecosystem [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:4373]
Board Game: Ecosystem
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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After a hearty dinner of too much barbecue at Hard Eight, I played a couple games of this with John and the Nefflings.

It’s simple, fast and fun.

I’m probably going to pick up a copy.
 
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17. Board Game: Poker [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1004]
Board Game: Poker
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Meanwhile, Jon was playing Poker in the annual tournament. He finished in the top half before being eliminated.

I helped John and the Nefflings play Star Wars: Outer Rim.

When Jon joined us, we played another game of SEAL Team Flix.
 
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18. Board Game: Western Legends [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:257]
Board Game: Western Legends
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Saturday

I had breakfast and kicked around the dealer's room, then Jon and I tried a game of this.

It is a wild west "sandbox" game. Each player takes a historical figure and is making their legend (which may be radically different from the historical one).

Characters can wrangle or rustle cattle, fight bandits, mine for gold, play poker, rob the bank, etc. Occasionally, a story card will add a (very) short narrative and provide minor rewards for the players who contributed to activate the story card.

We had some questions that the rule book didn't seem to resolve so we ran down to the dealer's room several times to ask the guy demoing the game.

Jon played a Jesse James, spending his time playing poker, rustling cattle and robbing the bank and me while avoiding the (NPC) Sheriff. I played Kit Carson, and spent most of my time mining for gold and spending it at the theater. It was a very close game in the end, the location where one bandit spawned made the difference -- had he appeared in the narrow pass between towns I wouldn't have been able to heal up, and wounds cost victory points.

We both enjoyed it. I'm thinking about getting it, but so far have been able to talk myself out if it. I wish we'd gotten a demo of the "big box" expansion that adds a third town and extends the railroad. If that adds anything particularly compelling, I might be all in.
 
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19. Board Game: Alien Frontiers [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:223]
Board Game: Alien Frontiers
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Microbadge: City of Heroes fanMicrobadge: KeyForge fanMicrobadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Star Trek Online playerMicrobadge: Star Wars: Outer Rim fan
We couldn't get the game we wanted from the library and this was vaguely similar, so we took this one out and played.

I think Jon played this years ago and I know I did.

It ended up a fairly close game and when it appeared inevitable that I would win the following turn, we played out various what-ifs for Jon to see if he could wrest the victory away... in the end managing a tie.
 
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20. Board Game: City of Chaos [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:5641]
Board Game: City of Chaos
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Microbadge: City of Heroes fanMicrobadge: KeyForge fanMicrobadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Star Trek Online playerMicrobadge: Star Wars: Outer Rim fan
After some more barbecue for dinner (Pecan Lodge this time) and fresh pie for dessert, we had a late-night game of this very weird game.

I think I oversold the danger of the game when I said that I'd played half a dozen times but never lived long enough to get very far.

We had 6 players (the Nefflings teamed up and played a single character) and got further than I've ever gotten with respect to exploring the city, but we uncovered very few clues in that time as to what was going on in the City of Chaos.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
My character did die after falling in love with a Naga, becoming a vampire and attacking the most prepared and skilled member of our group. I got respawned and nearly joined a guild before I got saddled with escorting a character all the way back to the main gate.

The Nefflings had their eyeballs boiled in their sockets then contracted the plague on their way to rescue a beautiful girl imprisoned in a witch's mirror.

John contracted the plague.

Jon contracted the plague.

(There was a rabid horde of plague-ridden rats surrounding one of the buildings).

Our friend Wayne didn't have a lot happen either good or bad.

Bay did the best of all of us. He watched some naked women dancing for a couple turns, joined two guilds, found a cudgel laying in the street, and had just gotten a job that was set to earn him some groats when we called the game.
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21. Board Game: Airlines [Average Rating:4.54 Overall Rank:18713]
Board Game: Airlines
Bill H
United States
Absecon
New Jersey
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"Shijuro" in Awatum (Serpent's Tongue)
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"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation." LP Jacks
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Microbadge: City of Heroes fanMicrobadge: KeyForge fanMicrobadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: Star Trek Online playerMicrobadge: Star Wars: Outer Rim fan
Sunday

For the first time, I had to leave before noon to catch my flight.

After staying up so late playing City of Chaos, I overslept and didn't have time to do much of anything before heading to the airport to return home.


So ends what I think is my favorite BGG.con ever.

The new location is superior in almost every way to the previous; for some reason BGG couldn't negotiate wifi in the the play areas (we had it in the rooms, of course, this isn't the Dark Ages). But the hotel, the food, the location, the facilities, and just the space available were all great.

I think the game of the con for our little group was Star Wars: Outer Rim -- we seemed to be trying to sign it out, playing it, teaching it, or talking about it throughout the convention.

Thanks to all the fellow BGGers and especially our little group for a week of fun!

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