Boardgaming Retreat

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My buddy Oscar doesn't like roughing it at gaming conventions, sleeping on classroom floors, eating cup noodles etc. So for two years now he's organised civilised boardgaming weekends where he's gotten a bunch of gamers together and booked a small hotel for us (here's about last year's). It's 48 hours of gaming in good company with meals and nice rooms, all for a very reasonable off-season price. This past weekend. I played sixteen sessions of thirteen different games, as follows.

  • Innovation. Card game out of MIT, nominally about the rise of civilisations, where the cards keep interacting in novel ways.
  • Werewolf. Party game that opened our event, all 24 of us playing. Every night the werewolves eats a villager, and every day the surviving villagers lynches someone and hope it's one of the werewolves...
  • Stone Age. Worker placement / resource management game about the transition to agriculture.
  • Macao. Resource management among Portuguese traders in 17th century Macao. Innovative resource allocation mechanism using dice and a future-turn track. You can either get small amounts of stuff soon or large amounts in the far future.
  • Ubongo. Solve tile-laying problems against the clock and collect beads strategically.
  • Hansa Teutonica. Nominally about Medieval trade in Germany, but the abstract bones of the game mechanics are much in evidence.
  • 7 Wonders. Card drafting / resource management game where you select a card from your hand, give the remainder of it to the person to the left, receive the hand of the person to your right, play the card you chose, etc. No down time for anyone even when we played it with seven people!
  • Whist. Classic trick-taking game with everyday playing cards. Another practice round for next weekend's Regency LARP.
  • Dixit. Improvise captions to beautifully surreal paintings by Marie Cardouat. To win, make them just specific enough but not too specific.
  • Dutch Blitz. Sort cards faster than your opponents. I sucked basket balls through drinking straws at this one.
  • Brass. Resource management and route building in early industrial England.
  • Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck. Nifty dice mechanics by the great Dr. Knizia. And nice chunky mah jong-like plastic tiles. Has almost nothing at all to do with the title's "fuss at the barbecue worm corner".
  • Ablaze! Three semi-abstract games about forest fires played with the same cardboard hexagons and plastic markers.

All said, my favourites this time around were Innovation, Stone Age, 7 Wonders, Dixit, Brass and Heckmeck. I need to mark them as "Want to play" on Boardgame Geek.


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Memories of hours after hours of Avalon Hill games in college, leading to full weekend attempts to finish an "Axis and Allies" game (playing in shifts didn't help, we never made it through a full game).

Oh yes, 70s and 80s games took forever. I never play anything that takes more than three hours these days.

But Axis & Allies -- it isn't that long a game? Particularly not among experienced players, since it's a fairly unstable system that's not amenable to rebalancing. After half an hour you can tell pretty certainly who's won. A buddy of mine once conceded victory after only 20 minutes when something unfortunate happened to him in the Ukraine.

Werewolf is a much better name for that game than what we called it in college (Mafia), although we had a "cop" who had some kind of special mafia-catching ability.

I once finished a game of Axis and Allies. We had three people, so I played the USSR, and then it was island nations (Britian and Japan) against the big guys (USA and Germany). I think we declared the game over after we nuked South America.

I highly reccommend "Pandemic". It's a co-operative game against the board, and I've only won once, but it's lots of fun.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 11 Oct 2011 #permalink

Pandemic is a great game! I've played it so many times, though some of them were extremely short and brutal. Also check out the simplified sibling version for kids, Forbidden Island. Also an excellent game and beautifully produced.

Martin, I've no idea if we played the authorized version. Memories are kind of fuzzy, due to high beer consume during those nights.

I got the game "Pandemic", courtesy of Martin. Thanks!
-Here is a couple examples of "disease archaeology" using DNA:
"Researchers reconstruct genome of the Black Death" (Svante Pääbo's team at Max Planck institute is doing cool stuff again)

"Cloud computing and Argonne program help decode German E. coli strain" [that wreaked havoc this summer]…
More compuer number-crunching to decode the past: "Noted Physicist teams with anthropologist to create ancient linguistic tree"…

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 13 Oct 2011 #permalink