#BGGcon2015 – Nicole’s first BGGcon!
This past week was spent in Dallas, TX (well, kinda between Dallas & Fort Worth) at the Boardgame Geek (BGG) convention! For those who don’t know, BGG is the main resource online for board game information. Sure, there’s loads of review sites, podcasts & the like. But BGG is a massive database of information and a huge hub for the community to boot. I’ve got friends that have been going for a while and it sounded like an awesome way to get together with them, meet other gamers, and have an excellent time.
My wrap-up post contains a little bit of everything and everyone! ❤
The con takes place in the Hyatt Regency DFW, which is a huge hotel/convention space. BGGcon takes over – with something like 2800 attendees – and the whole basement space, plus some other areas set aside on other levels of the hotel, is for the con.
I arrived Tuesday night, to get some extra hanging out in with folks, and then got up very early the next day to be lined up for registration! We gamed and napped and ate.
There’s now 2 vendor halls, packed full with game publishers, sellers, designers and more. I hit up Funagain Games, Meeple Source, the Broken Token as well as the BGG promo store for my goodies! I caught a glimpse of a lot of demos going on, but I was so overwhelmed by the browsing choices I never ended up actually sitting down for demos. I wish I had! I feel like I missed some of the buzz of the con by missing out on those demos.
Meanwhile, the other larger parts of the basement are the library, and the main gaming hall. There’s hundreds of games in that library. As well as the basic library, there’s a hot/new section with more recent releases.
The main hall also had a section dedicated with consistently set up ‘hot games’ which were always bustling. The rest of the main gaming hall is just tables set up for gamers to sit and play. It’s glorious. And unless you were there in the VERY wee hours of the night/morning, it was usually bustling like this –>
So, what games did I play? Not as much as I’d have liked, but I got a good few checked off my “want to play” list for sure. And the rest of the time was spent well, regardless.
- Royal Goods (to be released as Oh My Goods! in North America) – a really interesting small card game that’s San Juan-ish in some ways, with a little worker placement action in the mix. Would definitely play again.
- Firefly! Well, part of it. I underestimated how excited everyone would be to be seeing each other, hanging out, chatting. I thought it’d be a quiet night with few folks. No! So we played out the intro game to the first objective and then rolled around in friend enjoyment instead.
- Dino Twist – Holy, this is fun! Cute little simple card game of trying to outbid other players to gain better value dinos for your little play area – ‘island’. I hope this gets an English release.
- Can’t Stop – great for a 6am line up, this classic.
- Loopin’ Chewie – once you realized what you’ve done getting up so early for registration and you’re delirious, go for this one!
- Pandemic: The Cure – I love this version of Pandemic, and had fun playing with my pals who had never tried it before, even though we got MASHED.
- Pharaoh’s Gulo Gulo – the re-implementation of the fantastic kids game Gulo Gulo. Love the changes they’ve made to create more of a game.
- Nile DeLuxor – simple and fun hand management/resource speculation/drafting card game. I’d love to try this again.
- Sushi Go – One of my all time faves, and a great con filler!
- Bountytown – I was happy to get to try this, a game designed by my pals Kyle & Michael! The game is a Western-themed hunt for bounties in a grid of cards that make up a town. Moving around can get you cool things, and also the chance to throw down to try and take a bounty by combat with poker hands. Pretty damn neat!
- Shadow Hunters – I know this is a good game, I just can’t wrap my brain around it. I love social deduction but I just get all “I have no idea who is whoooo!” and end up randomly guessing stuff. Haha.
- Rattle Battle Grab the Loot – While I enjoyed aspects of this game, it was overall just too long for what it is, and there wasn’t enough enjoyment/ability in the building up of ships and special stuff quickly enough. But I did get to play with a couple of my friends from the Gathering, it was great to see them 🙂
- Deep Sea Adventure – Always a fave! I love this game so much.
- Terra – So excited to try the final English printing of this! I had a great time with my pals giving this a whirl. Thanks to my big con bro ACE for this pic of us all 🙂
- Dead Man’s Draw – Super quick push your luck card game, fantastic filler.
- Fake Artist Goes to New York – Finally tried this hella fun Oink game! So good. Pictionary but with a hidden ‘traitor’ of sorts 😀
- Detective: City of Angels – My pal Evan has designed this game, still in prototype stage. I loved it to bits. I described it as a sort of TIME Stories meets Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective in noir LA. So excited to see it published!
- Prodigal’s Club – Woo! Not ‘Castaways Club’ like it was when I played at the Gathering. All polished up and great. I had to muddle through a teach of it, which was excruciating.. but the game was fab!
- Mafia de Cuba – A fun new kind of social deduction game, with a cool prop aspect to it. I was terrible the first couple of times, but was getting the swing of it after a while. Great for huge groups!
- Coconuts – What do you do when your pal’s learning the X-Files game? Play Coconuts!!
- The X-Files– YESSSSS!! A licensed game that’s not rubbish! This is actually a terrific ‘one vs many’ gateway-weight game that we had a lot of fun with. And not just because I got to pretend to be Scully. I’ve got to grab this game.
- Eggs of Ostrich – A really great bidding/push your luck game for 3 (and only 3!) players. So good. My pal from Halifax, Kyle, taught me!
- Ka-woom – dropped in on a game of this (being brought to NA as ‘Ka-Boom’ by Blue Orange). SO FUN. One person is building towers to try and get points while the other players catapault dice their way. Muhahah.
- Skyliners – Nifty, simple spatial game where you’re building up a city to try and gain points from your vantage point, versus the other players’!
- Lift It! – Yes, trying to build structures by moving pieces with a hook attached to your head IS as ridiculous and fun as it sounds.
- London (Victorian) Masterminds – Eric Lang & Antoine Bauza’s work in progress. So cool. Worker placement to take over the wooooorld!
- Splash! – Draft your little pieces of wood at the beginning, and then try and build a structure bit by bit as you’re handed pieces of the player to the right’s choice. So hard and amazing fun! I need it.
- Walk the Dogs – What do you play while waiting for a copy of probably the heaviest game you’ll play at the con? 2005’s Major Fun Award Winner: WALK THE DOGS. WITH LITTLE DOG FIGURES. I was (and still am) verklempt. Alan Moon, you need to get me a copy of this, stat. And not for playing with Paul Dean ever again. You should have seen what he did with those dogs.
- The Gallerist – As I’m in the progress of developing a museum game, I wanted to see if this would overlap it in any way. Really this is more about wheeling and dealing in the art gallery world! It was complex and interesting and somehow I managed to win? Thanks for teaching, Maggi xo
- Above and Below – Worker placement/resource management with a dash of storytelling thrown in, and gorgeous art? Right up my alley! Can’t wait to play this again. But I’ll be sad to not have Eric there with his dramatic reading.
- Dark Moon w/ prototype expansion – Because I have the best friends, they got up early on Sunday to play this with me! I love Dark Moon, and my pal Evan’s developing an expansion so we got to try it out. It was worth it, getting up after only a couple of hours of sleep 🙂 Especially for the “aah we got beaten at the last minute” jumping around from Evan. Really looking forward to seeing this published.
Other than the loads of gaming going on, there were some cool events that I went to or took part in. One was a small little coffee exchange with some other coffee nerds – we each brought some beans roasted from our city and swapped! So fun.
I was part of the Spiel-a-thon, which is a little trivia/game show type of thing that is a fundraiser for the Spiel Foundation. Here’s the OG team, thanks to Rodney for the selfie! (My pal Maggi joined me and Kris in the 2nd round, where we eventually bowed out).
I also had a LOT of fun going to the screening of one of the new Board with Life episodes (3rd of season 2), with an intro from the cast and crew and a great Q&A afterward. Such a lovely group of folks who are really passionate about the fun and quality of the content they are making. I had the chance to chat and hang with a few of them, and it makes me happy to know there’s rad folks like that in my hobby! And wow, the new season looks so fantastic! Equipment makes a difference 🙂 Really fun also to see Rich Sommer in his guest role of absolute hilariousness.
And on the Saturday night was the big closing ceremony. A chance to thank the VIP guests, staff, and volunteers. There was also a huge prize draw in which somehow loads of my friends managed to win stuff, and I left empty-handed! It was worth hanging out to see the entertaining MC-ing from Rich Sommer, though.
While not strictly an event, I did head to the Plaid Hat office’s party, which was part anxiety (I hate parties, they’re full of people I don’t know but am supposed to interact with!) and part excellent (where I got over the interacting anxiety and met some really great new people). Best part was the sneak peek at some cool new Ashes/Dead of Winter stuff, and snagging this adorable Mice & Mystics Colin plushie which I then proceeded to wander around getting people to sign, because it’s a sweet memento.
Last, but not least – what I ended up cramming into my suitcase to bring home. Hauuuuul!
My freebies for registration included the WWE Showdown game, Neuroshima Convoy, Dead Drop (plus expansion) and Yardmaster Express, plus a tiny little Reiner Knizia game (Dragon Master). Nice! I got Looney Quest in the DFW Nerd Night auction, which was fun. Dead Man’s Draw has been tough to find in stores here, so I got that direct from Mayday. My friend Chris gave me a copy of the Jenga-based RPG Dread, which I’m so excited about. I got a Suburbia insert and some meeple snowflakes from the Broken token. Cute skellie and dog meeples from Meeple Source (and some cute holiday gift tags!). Promos from the BGG store for Castles of Burgundy, La Granja, Cacao & Five Tribes, as well as little games Eggs of Ostrich and A Fake Artist Goes to New York! I also picked up …and then we held hands sight unseen based on all the hype (haven’t had a great time with it yet, but we’ll give it time).
My little Plaid Hat and my Colin are also pictured, as is my ribbony con badge and my pal Hunter’s Youtube channel promo sticker. And the big box there is a board game advent calendar, which I’m really looking forward to opening up next month! SO much fun in one picture, there. It reminds me of the excellent time I had. It really was a con where I couldn’t fit everything in if I wanted to, but I got to go and have some great vegan eats with people, hang out in hotel rooms chilling and chatting, and generally just have a blast with terrific friends.
It was so great to see Tiffany, and meet Steve! I got to hang with my good pals Maggi, Stephanie, Suz, Brittanie, Hunter, Kyle, Matt and Eric. I met new friends ACE and Chris! There were all sorts of wonderful Twitter people I got to see and meet even if briefly. I got some great playtesting in of wonderful games. I met really awesome people connected with Board with Life and Plaid Hat, along with DFW Nerd Night. It was happiness and it was overwhelming. I can’t name all of the folks, but it was a gift to have them all there with me.
BGGcon, I’ll see you next year. And I’ll be dragging people with me 😀