TBGT 2016 Part 2: The First Days

On Wednesday morning I got up and started loading my car full of games, before grabbing coffee en route to That Board Gaming Thing. Luckily it’s not a long drive, so soon enough I had my badge, had said hello to folk, and was getting the games on display. But why attend if not to game, and so I sat down with Adam O, Jon, & Rick to play Grand Austria Hotel. I really like this game, but this was definitely NOT my best showing as I stalled out on cash and stayed floundering towards the back. Hopefully next time I try to run a hotel will go better.

After GAH, I was able to sit down with Adam O, Janna and Ken to learn Endeavor, a game I’ve been wanting to learn for a long time. This went much better, i.e. I won pretty decisively. I really enjoyed the game which is unfortunate as now I’m pretty sure it’s going on the list of out-of-print games I really want. Luckily for now, I can just play Adam’s copy.

We then added a fifth to the table and settled in for some Pillars of the Earth. It was somewhat shocking to not be playing this game at midnight, but we rallied to the unusual timing and got down to building the cathedral. Again i started strong but stalled out towards the end, primarily due to one round in which I was crippled on resources. The game can be a little unforgiving, but that won’t stop me from loving Pillars.

Next up was War of the Roses: Lancaster vs. York with Chris Mitchell, Burke & Adam O. Adam sat decidedly in the lead for most of the game, but I was able to rally in the final round and steal the win by just 3 points. It’s a fascinating game of pre-planning, bribery, and war; once I wrapped my head around it, the mechanics were easy to comprehend as the real challenge comes in anticipating what everyone else is planning behind their (huge and very reinforced) player screen.

We then added Adam S to the table and leapt forward a few centuries to take part in Terraforming Mars. I’d been looking forward to this one after a few people I trust had thoroughly enjoyed their plays, and it didn’t disappoint. The graphic design is questionable at best and the inconsistent art assets are perplexing, but the gameplay itself is great. I don’t know that I need to own the game, but I definitely look forward to more plays and to putting different corporations through their paces.

We finished up Wednesday night with some Guilds of London. I’m enjoying this game more and more but this particular play was marred by some oddly directed aggression and player frustration. It led to a less than satisfying game experience, likely augmented by it being so late.

Thursday morning started with a chance to experience one of the Legends of Andor with Chris Mosley, Burke and Jessica. I’d been pretty curious about this one after seeing it on Chris’s twitter, and the game did not disappoint. I’ll definitely be looking out for a good deal on this beautiful co-op. We played the 3rd scenario which has a lot of random set-up increasing its replayability. It was a tough quest but we actually prevailed, winning at the last minute despite taking longer to complete our initial quests than would be considered wise.

We then played the bag-building, racing game Automobiles which was new to me. It was a super tight race, and right up until Burke grabbed the win, nobody was entirely sure how it was going to play out. I know people have been playing a good bit of this one online, but I have to think that doing so would greatly diminish the tension & feel of the pull. After the race it was time to eat, so we headed off-site to stuff ourselves full of delicious, delicious hot wings.

Once full, we decided to take on another co-op, this time traversing the mysterious Mansion of Madness. We were playing the Second edition but with the addition of Burke’s beautifully painted first edition components to increase the variety of tiles, monsters and investigators available to the app. This game was on my list of “must-do” items for this year’s TBGT and it didn’t disappoint. Burke, Jessica, Chris Mitchell, Wayne, & I had plenty of dramatic moments, “oh shit” dice rolls, and odd situations to puzzle out as we attempted to figure out what on earth was going on in the Vanderbilt mansion. We were successful, mainly due to the last minute help of “Ashcan” Pete’s faithful hound Duke, and I can’t wait to play again.

After a break to stretch legs and grab beer & food, Chris Mitchell and I sat down to heckle Burke & Jessica’s game of Dimension. In an effort to get us to shut the hell up, they restarted and added us as players. I enjoy this real-time puzzle game way more than I would have expected, though it’s more of a fun diversion than a must-play game for me. After Chris schooled us in ball placement, we decided to finish up the night by checking another Feld game off of Jessica’s list. After a quick teach, we settled into Notre Dame, vying for prestige and influence while keeping our borough’s residents from being too affected by the plague. It was a super tight game and I was glad to share it with another new player.

Unfortunately I had to work a 12-hour shift Friday, so I said my farewells and headed home to sleep before work. Luckily I’ll be right back at it Saturday and Sunday, so I should still get plenty more games in.


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