Tibs Manor

Saturday, November 12, 2005


I attended my first GameGathering this afternoon. This is a spinoff of SoCalGamesDay, it's in a smaller space but a lot of the same people were there. I played four new games and won or tied for the win in three of them, not too shabby.

First up was the auction game Vegas Showdown. This is the latest release under the new Avalon Hill label. It felt like a combination of several existing German games, there were elements of Princes of Florence, Alhambra, and Amun-Re in this. Nothing wrong with that, most German games are derivative of others, and even if there was nothing particularly novel about this, it all came together in a nice package with a good theme. It's mainly of interest because this is a game that actually will show up in mainstream stores due to the Hasbro connection, and for that space it is a very good game. I tied for the win here.

After grabbing some lunch, I played Pallazo, another auction game. Much like Vegas Showdown, there wasn't all that much new to me here, but it came together nicely. I took some risks and managed to win in a game against three others who had played before, which is always a nice accomplishment. It was playable in about 40 minutes or so which is a plus. I probably wouldn't buy this but I'd be happy to play it again.

I played about 20 minutes of a second game of Vegas Showdown after that, filling in for someone who bailed to play in a tournament that was starting up. I won this one as well but the other guy should get most of the credit!. Following that I got to play my favorite game of the day by far - Ubongo. This feels like boardgame Tetris, you get various puzzles and Tetris-like pieces and fit them into the puzzle shape within a time limit. Finishing faster gets you first crack at gems of different colors, and you're trying to amass a majority in a color to win. Who cares about the gems though - the puzzle solving was fast and furious and so much fun I barely paid attention to the gem collecting. In the end I lucked out, I misunderstood the scoring rules but did so well in the puzzles (I solved every one, finishing first about 3/4 of the time) that I came away with the win here. This is a very fast game, it only took about 20 minutes, but it was so fun and different. Not sure if I want to pick up a copy, as it is a little bit expensive for what it is, but I am going to give it some thought.

Finally I played Dragon Delta. This is a program-your-moves simultaneous-selection game akin to RoboRally. This type of game is fun and all, but the main strategy seems to be second-guessing, like the "which cup is poisoned" game in The Princess Bride. Still the other aspects of the game were cool, and it was fun balancing the little bridges. I did not win this one but I had a good time losing!

After that I headed home with only two small regrets. I had brought Traumfabrik because someone on the mailing list had requested it. He never showed up so I didn't end up playing. The other disappointment was that although there were at least two copies of Caylus there, the timing didn't work out and I wasn't able to try it. No big deal though. All in all it was a very fun day, the people were cool, I got to learn a few new games, and most importantly they were all a lot of fun. Winning so much was just gravy; this was much better than I usually do at these things!


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