Granite Game Summit: Saturday & Sunday

On Saturday morning I woke up at 7am, groaned at the time, and went back to sleep. Unfortunately this resulted in my not making it out of bed until 10:30 which was later than I had hoped. I quickly got ready and messaged Bill to see if he wanted me to bring him a Chai latte since he’d been wonderful and brought me coffee the previous day. He accepted after I had actually placed his order (who turns down coffee, after all) and so I headed into the main room to find him. While chatting with Molly, who was beside Bill, we were approached by Chip Beauvais who asked us if we’d like to try Universal Rule. The idea of playing a 5-10 min 4x game the morning after an epic Eclipse game was somewhat amusing, so we headed over to see how this 18-card wallet game measured up. I really enjoyed the game and was excited to find out that it was a Play-to-Win game; I unfortunately didn’t win it but will be looking to get a copy.

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Afterwards, 8 approached me to see if I’d play her prototype. I agreed, but we needed at least one other player; while she was looking for another, Chip asked me if I wanted to try Chroma Cubes. I didn’t want to abandon 8, but Chip suggested he become our third and we play Chroma Cubes once we were done. We roped in Matt, who happened to walk by, and played a four-player game as aliens cooperatively trying to take over US towns and cities. Given that her prototype has a decidedly North-east bias and our invasion was successful, folks in New Hampshire might want to look out for extraterrestrials!

Chip and I grabbed Eric & Jessica and found a spot for him to teach us Chroma Cubes. I’d been wanting to try the game for years and it was a ton of fun playing a Roll & Colour game, though I was itching to have markers instead of crayons to use. Jessica beat both Eric & me to the win by a single turn, but since she did it by rolling the exact faces she needed on all SIX of her dice, I can’t begrudge the epic win. I really hope someone else picks up the game so I can get my hands on a fancy copy, but I’ll be using the files from BGG to put together a Print & Play very soon.

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I had promised to teach Eric Thebes, so I hunted down Daniel Newman who had graciously brought his copy to save some space in my luggage. Jessica hadn’t played the game either, so she joined Eric and me for some digging. I really enjoy teaching Thebes as it means sharing one of my favourite games with people, and luckily they both enjoyed the experience. Perfect timing too, as it’s actually on sale on Amazon at the moment…

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After Thebes, Jessica and I joined Ryan, Erin, and their friend John for a five-player game of Terraforming Mars, and thus I get to admit I might have been slightly incorrect in my first impressions of this popular game. I had left my first and only play back in September unsure why everyone was so crazy about the game. It was just “okay” and I just never felt excited or cared enough to give it a second try. I enjoyed it significantly more on this go round, so much so that I was happy to take part in a three-way trade later in the con in order to get the brand-new copy that Mike won in the G2S raffle. I’m still not crazy about it to the extent of some people (*cough* Jessica Wade *cough*), but I’m interested in playing more and seeing if it continues to grow on me. The graphic design is still ugly as sin and the art is oddly lazy-looking, but I can look past it’s superficial flaws.

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We were getting hungry, so after colonizing Mars we headed to the hotel bar for some food. Jessica then chose to be responsible and go upstairs to record a podcast while I chose not to, and instead changed into my lemur onesie for some pajama-ed gaming. I joined Daniel and Lou (also wearing onesies) and John (who wasn’t, but was wearing a fantastic Deadpool jersey) for Macao. Of those of us who had played I was the least rusty, so I refreshed my memory of the rules and got to teaching. I played okay but not great, but was left wondering once again why this game doesn’t get played more. I may have to start bringing it to every game night until people give in and play with me.

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Post-Macao, Daniel and I played a quick game of Noch Mal before realizing I’d probably been inadvertently cheating, calling the game a wash, and setting up for a second legitimate play. We then set up Navegador, a game I’ve been wanting to play for some time. Matt and his brother Zach joined us for the game, and it was a pretty close one, with Zach’s massive colonies beating out my churches and shipyards by just 2 points. It was a fantastic game, probably my favourite of the con, which of course means I know want a copy of my own. After we were done tidying away the game, I dropped in to watch the end of a game of Avenue before saying my goodnights and heading upstairs to de-lemur and get into bed.

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On Sunday, I got up and packed my bags since I had to leave for the airport around noon. I was super excited to get everything into my carry-on luggage before realising I’d forgotten that I still had to get my new Terraforming Mars from Mike. But it was almost 9am, so I headed downstairs for coffee and stumbled across Patrick, Mike, & Eric enjoying a game of Hue over breakfast. I watched the game while chatting with the guys before grabbing my new game and heading into the hall in search of at least one last play before I left.

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Ulm was on the Play to Win tables for Sunday and Eric had expressed interest in playing so I taught the game to him, Jessica, and Ryan. It fit perfectly into the time Eric had left before he got on the road and gave me enough time for something short afterwards. So Jessica and I joined Dan and Laura for some Sagrada which I was itching to play having seen it on the tables all con-long and having received my shipping notification the day I arrived in New Hampshire. The game is gorgeous and plays quickly and smoothly. I’m not a fan at all of the scoring chits so will be replacing them soon, but it’s a small complaint about an otherwise fantastic production.

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After Sagrada, I said my goodbyes and headed upstairs to fit Terraforming Mars into my luggage, which of course involved taking everything out to start over. I eventually fit it all in and headed for my rental car to get on the road to Logan Airport. Once there, I had a quick stop while the surprisingly friendly TSA officer checked out my terribly suspicious Haru Ichiban and waved me on my way to the gate. A quick flight (that landed 35 min early) and I was almost home, once the traffic on I-40 let Kit actually reach me. The it was time to snuggle the cats and dog, hurriedly record my podcast segment before Mike & Mason kicked me off The Five By, and then head out for some sushi to cap off the weekend.

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