Early Sunday morning, I did what any self-respecting human being would do when faced with a day of sitting around playing games and eating wings and grilled meats: jogged/walked eight miles. Hey, I had to burn off the calories I was going to pack on somehow. In a way, it’s like playing a game; if I want to eat this, I have to expend that many calories, but if I want to eat that, then I have to go a little farther. Frankly though, I prefer my games with less sweat and soreness.
None of which were to be found in my first game of TroyCon Day 2, Steampunk Rally. I literally stumbled on to this game, as it was just starting when I walked in the door and they had room for me. This is a racing game where you take on the role of famous inventors like Edison and Einstein and Bell, only instead of inventing — or taking credit for inventing — practical things, you’re inventing outlandish steampunk racing vehicles. You do this by drafting cards that add all different kinds of tech to you ride, like rockets and spider legs and auger bits and tons of other fun mad science-y things. These parts usually let you either accumulate or spend differently colored dice in order to move around a track. The trick is that some parts of the track make you take damage, and damage, unsurprisingly, is bad; you lose a part off your vehicle for every damage you haven’t repaired at the end of the turn. So your super-charged speed machine can suddenly become a steam-powered unicycle if you’re not careful. This was a ton of fun. The game has a perfect whimsical art style, the drafting forces you to make all kinds of agonizing decisions, and you end up building these sprawling contraptions that really feel like something out of Jules Verne. I didn’t even mind finishing a distant, dead last.
Next we played London, which was fine by itself, but rather funny taken in context. By completely random chance, every game going on at the time was a Martin Wallace game: London, Steam, and A Study in Emerald. I feel like we owe the guy a royalty or something. For this game of London, I tried a strategy that saw me be a brutal slum lord, raking in the penalties but having a lot of buildings at my disposal, with the idea of using all that space to eventually build things to get rid of those penalties. Yeah, not so much; I ended up losing seventeen points at the end of the game because my people were living in abject squalor. In very nice surroundings, mind you, but a Dickens character every last one of them. Oh well. Not my city.
And then, sadly, came my last game of TroyCon 2015. But not that sadly, because I won! And because it marked the end of around six hours of almost non-stop gaming. I wrapped up with Deus, a civilization game where you play cards to build different types of buildings in order to take the actions printed on them. Whenever you build another building of each type though, you take all the previous actions again. So you have to pay attention to the order in which you do things, or you could be missing out on some valuable synergy; you don’t want the action that gives you money for every stone you have to come before the one that actually gives you stone. On top of that, you also have to place these buildings on to a map when you build them, and the only way to get more tokens is to discard their matching cards. You’re competing for space with your opponents and trying to get your resource engines running, all before someone triggers the end of the game. It’s one of those games that seems complicated but after about five minutes becomes elegantly simple. My victory was partly due to some good fortune — I stumbled into a couple of scoring opportunities, one because no one saw I could take it, the other because I didn’t even realize I had it — but I also had some good combos going. All in all, it was an enjoyable way to finish off the day.
As with any kind of con, I left TroyCon 2015 feeling like I’d both done so much and not enough. Here’s hoping we have many, many TroyCons for years to come so I can someday get it just right.