Two very long days followed by a day of decompression meant I didn’t have much time to continue posting. So here, in one giant rush, is how the rest of Dice Tower Con 2015 went for me.
- Game #8 and #9 — Bring Out Yer Dead: This was a bit of the new hotness at the con, with demos going on all weekend and copies for sale ahead of its release. You’re vying with your opponents to bury your family members in the nicest graves possible (i.e. the ones worth the most points), going in order depending on what cards you play. Sometimes your relatives don’t fit on the cart and get dumped in the river. Really light but fun enough that we played it twice in a row.
- Game #10 — Scoville: AKA WE HATE COLORBLIND PEOPLE. You plant little wooden peppers of one color, then harvest them to create little wooden peppers of other colors so you can eventually complete various recipes and score points. I might have enjoyed this better had I not been asking, “Is this green or brown?” every five minutes.
- Game #11 — Elysium: I’d been dying to try this one for a while and I wasn’t disappointed. You take turns drafting cards representing various Greek deities, but as soon as you get a card, you have to discard one of the very things that enable you to draft the cards in the first place (little Greek columns with Greek letters on them matching symbols on the cards). You can easily find yourself unable to get what you need if you don’t plan carefully. Ended up buying this one before we left.
- Game #12 — Glory to Rome: A card game where the card can be one of four different things, depending on what role (Thing #1) you choose to take each turn. You’re trying to build buildings (Thing #2) using resources (Thing #3), all the while trying to score influence points (Thing #4). That sounds confusing, but it’s not once you get the hang of it.
- Game #13 — Cyclades: More Greek gods, this time in an area control game where you have to bid on which god you’re choosing to ask for aid each turn. I unfortunately dumped a bunch of my resources into a play that jumped me out into the lead, but left me begging for scraps in the later bidding rounds. Still, this older game was a pleasant surprise for a lot of us.
- Game #14 — The Ancient World: An impulse buy on the first day of the con (a combination of praise for the designer’s previous games, an under $30 price tag and it being out of stock in a lot of places online). It’s a civilization builder where you’re trying to gather your forces to fight titans who award you banners. Most banners wins, but each banner a titan has allows it to possibly damage your civilization, so there’s risk with the reward. Still engaging even after midnight, so I was happy with the purchase.
- Game #15 — Taluva: A very light tile and building laying game where you can use volcanoes to destroy your opponent and allow yourself to build on higher terrain. My friends were rather taken with it, but I thought it was just an okay filler.
- Game #16 — Kemet: Cyclades‘ angry brother (the two games actually share an expansion that allows pieces from one game to be used in the other), this time with an Egyptian theme. Much more combat than Cyclades, and much less random, as you choose combat cards to play rather than rolling dice. There are also RTS-like tech trees you can purchase from if you advance your tech level — represented by three four-sided dice — high enough. Another previously overlooked game that won us over.
- Game #17 — Lords of Scotland: More filler, but deliberately so, as we used it to kill time while two games of Forbidden Stars were being set up. Very light card game where you play various Scottish clan figures from your hand to collect victory points.
- Game #18 — Alien Frontiers: Since I’d given about twelve hours to Forbidden Stars the first two days of the con, a friend and I skipped the next play of it and tried this, a dice-rolling game of space colonization. Different spaces require different combinations of dice to use, and while this was okay, I think two players really isn’t its sweet spot.
- Game #19 — The Ancient World: Ran a couple of new players through this, and liked it just as much as the first time.
- Game #20 — Nations: The Dice Game: The dice version of the board game Nations, a game so intimidating no fewer than three of us have owned it for some time and have yet to play it (it’s pretty deep). This one is positively breezy; you roll dice for icons used to buy upgrade tiles in a straight-up race for victory points. Not a brain burner but fun nonetheless, and another purchase for me.
- Game #21 — Kremlin: This was a late night, “Well, let’s just play something” choice. And it was taught to us by two people who clearly wanted to play the game more than they wanted to teach it. But once we were rolling for the health of members of the Soviet politburo and were knocking them off like flies, it started to get pretty fun. There’s lying and backstabbing and all kinds of deviousness that I might have been in more of a head space for at an earlier hour.
- Game #22 — Whacky Wit: Pac-Man on a board. Pretty much it. It was there on a table, we played it, that’s that.
- Game #23 — Abyss: This game’s reputation as all art, no play didn’t have me expecting much, so maybe it was lowered expectations, but I really liked this. You’re trying to collect the lords of various undersea kingdoms for victory points, using resources that are bid on by all players, with the costs going to the current player. So do you buy that thing you want and give your opponent money, or do you hold out but lose a card you might need? And yes, the art is pretty gorgeous. I would have bought this had there been a copy available at the con.
- Game #24 — Forbidden Stars: I gave in and gave this one last play, this time setting aside the beginner set-up and using the actual set-up rules. Which led to a much quicker game, because we inadvertently set up one of the players for a pretty quick win. Still fun as the other times though, and probably the game of the con as far as I’m concerned. Deep, engaging, holds up to repeat plays and is pretty to look at. That’s worth the money right there.
- Game #25 — Nations: The Dice Game; The final game of the weekend, a quick run that was more, “We don’t want to leave yet” than, “We really want to play this.” I still liked it, but you could tell people were just about done.
And so ended Dice Tower Con 2015. Twenty-five plays of twenty different games, four games purchased (the fourth being Ophir, a game raved about on the Dice Tower podcast but that we were unable to get to the table), and way too many Doubletree Hotel Oh Nuts! cookies consumed. So much done, and still didn’t feel like enough. But not to worry; I’ve already booked a room for Dice Tower Con 2016! Now to wait for tickets to go on sale….