Notes from Dickelfest

Over the weekend, I had a number of friends old and new stop by to get in some gaming. In the original invitation conversation thread during the run-up to the weekend, it was dubbed Dickelfest, as George Dickel whiskey was apparently involved in some NYE gaming shenanigans when most of the crowd was present. I missed that particular evening.

But it did mean that for this weekend some interesting concoctions were produced by a variety of attendees, including Slippery Dickel cocktails (though made with Bullitt), Jameson soaked banana chips, banana-infused Jameson, meteorite-filtered vodka, and the now-infamous Dickel Pickles. Apparently if you replace the brine in some jalapeno pickles with straight George Dickel #1, you produce something akin to eating solid acetone or gasoline depending on whose opinion you listened to. It was definitely more fun to watch the next victim taste-test them than it was to eat them, though I have no idea what to do with the rest of the jar since it was “kindly” left for us.

But at least the games weren’t trying to kill us. Over the two days, I got in 18 plays of 14 different games, as shown in the pages of my notebook pictured below:

Of all the games played, First Class might be my game of the weekend. I had picked it up on a whim at my FLGS based on the designer/artist combo and I’m so glad I took the chance. I taught it twice on Saturday, with the first time being based on a couple of rulebook reads only, and it went over well each time. The game plays really quickly without sacrificing interesting decisions for the sake of time, builds and escalates as the rounds progress, and retains a similar feel to Russian Railroads while remaining very much its own game. The games comes with five modules, of which you use any two each time you play. Because we were all new to the game, I taught both games using the A and B modules, and now cannot wait to get it back to the table using the other modules to see how they affect the game. I’ve added it to my 10×10 list, and I have a feeling it’ll be one of the first to be completed.


I also finally played Swinging Jivecat Voodoo Lounge – it only took me a year! This area-control game is like nothing else I’ve played and I loved it. From playing spells to tracking down the right characters for the latest trend to watching my opponents struggle to find a combination of cards to add & subtract to get just the right number, I enjoyed every minute of our game. The art’s amazing, the table presence is hard to beat, and hanging cocktail monkeys on a martini glass has to be the most satisfying way to store your points I’ve seen in any game. My board was unfortunately pretty dinged up & peeling in a few corners despite it’s never being played before, but that’s a small disappointment and easily overshadowed by the rest. We played with five and I can’t imagine playing with 2 or 3 but that’s true of a lot of area-control games, where the more people you have vying for spots, the better the tension and excitement. Hopefully it won’t take as long to play again.

Another highlight included getting in my second game of Nippon which just further underscored how much I enjoy the game. Both Nippon and Madeira are high on the list of recently discovered games I’d like to get copies of; clearly I just need to start picking up What’s Your Game titles as I also enjoyed my one play of ZhanGuo last year. I’m sure multiple local gamers will end up with copies of Railroad Revolution, and I’m worried that one will be just as good to play and thus, just as bad for my wallet.

Overall it was a fantastic weekend with an amazing group of people that even Jameson banana chips (aka “wet cardboard”) couldn’t sour. There were at least two games played at other tables that I’m sad to have missed out on, but as there wasn’t a single game I regretted playing, I can’t complain too much. After all, there’s always the next time.


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