My two days with Junior at the LinCon gaming convention in Linköping turned out even better than I’d hoped for. I had lots of fun myself, and as a geek dad I was extra happy that Junior took to the whole thing with such gusto. On Thursday evening, for instance, he was play-testing a convoluted unpublished sci-fi board game with some guys in their 20s and 30s while I sat at another table some ways off and played simpler games with my friend Hans and others. Dad proud.
Everybody at the convention was uncommonly friendly and open, as gamers often are. Most of us looked pretty geeky, but not everyone was a bespectacled male, by far. Plenty of ladies and children too. And I was amused to see that the rave-synth-Goths attending the convention managed to look a little nerdy too despite being in full sub-cultural panoply.
One group of charming people had set up camp in the entry hall, treating everybody to free tea. Another group grilled humanely priced burgers for the conventioneers on a charcoal fire outdoors. And the people at the free S.A.R.Z. board game bar amazed me with their friendliness and willingness to teach us games. The acronym means Swedish-Asian Roleplaying Zone (though these days they do board games instead), and as a member of a Swedish-Chinese household I felt right at home with the Cantonese Swedish guys.
I played twelve different games. My favourites were:
- Alibi Saknas: Herrgårdsmordet. Story-telling card game where the players collaborate at piecing together an exceptionally lurid whodunnit plot. According to the rules, the player who has the most fun wins.
- Hey! That’s My Fish! / Pingwin. Jumping from one hexagonal ice floe to another collecting fish. I like the way all the penguins finally end up in the drink.
- Ticket to Ride. Build a railroad network. Ranked #56 on Boardgamegeek.com.
- Tigris & Euphrates. Dominate Bronze Age politics in Mesopotamia. I brought this myself. Ranked #10 on Boardgamegeek.com.
And eight others were also pretty good:
- Badaboom. Card game where goblins get shut up in a dungeon and have to live-test bombs for their Overlord.
- Enkounter / Kaleidoscope Classic. Abstract, tiles.
- Munchkin. Card game, fantasy parody.
- Kogworks / Mechanix. Abstract, cog wheels.
- Pentago XL. Abstract, 5-in-a-row on a mutating board.
- Rabbit & Carrot. Card game demanding fast addition skills and reflexes. Gets the adrenalin going.
- Spank the Monkey. Card game, build absurd junk towers to discipline an unruly simian.
- Through the Desert. Sex toy-coloured camels divvy up a hexagonated desert, scoring water holes and oases.
Organisation wasn’t great at LinCon this year. The web site advertised a bus service between Stockholm and the convention but never told us when or whence the bus would leave. The program folder told us roughly what was going to happen when, but in order to learn where you had to visit the reception desk. Definitely a problem at a large convention like this. But thanks to Hans, the S.A.R.Z. people and many friendly gamers, we kept ourselves pleasantly occupied.