This weekend I had the pleasure of attending GobCon on behalf of NSKN. It was not the usual gaming convention, but rather a gathering of friends who shared one thing - the passion for board games.
My first evening (Friday) was dedicated to Exodus: Proxima Centauri. It had been a while since my last Exodus game, so I enjoyed it even more, especially since the one player who has not played the game before was the one to win our 6-player game. The game took about 3 1/2 hours, well withing the specified game time on the box. Even though I played Exodus countless times, I must admit that I still did not figure out the strategy for the win :)
On Saturday I enjoy a 7-player game of Battlestar Galactica with the Pegasus expansion. I am a big fan of the series and of the board game, but it was the first time I had the chance to see the expansion at work and to play as a revealed cylon from the beginning. It was a tight struggle between the humans and the cylons, teh humanity prevailed but everyone left the gaming table happy regardless of the result.
After a lavish Italian lunch, I play tested a prototype of Venetiae, the creation of an Italian designer. Venetiae is a 'stock market' game, in which the four of us bought and sold good in our attempt to make profit. The game proved to be very well balanced and a lot of fun. I enjoyed playing a well-made prototype which offered the feeling of a published game, without any clumsy mechanisms or unfinished rules. The game works very well and is in need of an illustrator's final touch and a publisher.
The last game of the day was Fief, a game of politics, war and ...treason. It was my first play and even though the rules explanation took almost an hour, I had a good grasp of the game from the very beginning. My ally and I proved to be less than inspired in our resource management and battle tactics, so we quickly fell behind also because we were not willing to break our alliance and side with the more developed players. Fief encourages making and breaking allegiances and a promise is valid as long as it benefits you. Overall, one of the best political games I played lately.
The final day of GobCon was Sunday and the highlight of my day was a 5-player game of Terra Mystica. I like Euro-games and I am willing to give any game a try, but I am not so easy to impress. However, Terra Mystica was wat above my expectations. The game mechanisms are clean, very well defined and brilliantly integrated. There are a lot of decisions for the players and each of them can push the balance one way or another. It is a combination between worker placement and city building, with a lot of interesting tweaks. The most impressive feature is the asymmetric game play, very unusual for German games. Each race has its strengths and weaknesses, mixed together in a very balanced game. With a game length of less than two hours for five players it is the game I am looking forward to playing again the most.
This concludes my short convention report, but not before stating one more time that visiting and playing in Italy is always a great experience.
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