Genghis Con 2016 – Review

If you want to read about my plans prior to attending Ghengis Con this year, check out Genghis Con 2016 – Preview. I had created a long list of games that I wanted to play; primarily to see if they were good 2-player games for Lori and I. The list was long since I didn’t know which games would be in the library. Many were, so we had very little downtime – except when our brains or stomachs needed the break. Below I list all the games we played with my current BGG rating for the game. Since I have only played many of these once or twice, these might be considered first impressions and not an extensive evaluation. A low rating (<7) probably indicates that I won’t play it again unless it is offered up by someone else who wants to play. A higher rating (7-9) probably indicates that I will try to play it again and the rating might change (up or down) with more plays. In some cases I have noted if I expect my rating to go up or down (+/-) with more plays. A note about my ratings: Since the BGG rating scale is based on whether you want to play a game or would suggest it over other games, I tend to rate low because there are so many games competing for my attention. I certainly wouldn’t rate a game a 10 after just one or two plays. The only “10” below is Puerto Rico, which we played because it is one of my favorites that I don’t get to play often.

Thursday

My regular game group meets Thursday night, so I was ready to play games. Unfortunately, one of the members of the group works the Con, so wasn’t able to play and another couldn’t come. So we weren’t able to get the whole gang together. The other member (there are 4 of us) is my wife and we made the best of it. We arrived around noon and immediately hit the library. We browsed the library a while to get an idea of what they had available and then went to work on my list of games.

Lost Cities(7)– Since one of our primary goals was to find games that the two of us could play, several games in the KOSMOS 2-Player line of games were on the list. Looking for a light start, we played a few games of Lost Cities. Lost Cities is a quick card game that we both enjoyed. Chuck, a gentleman who was awaiting the arrival of his train game group sat in on a game with me as well.

Puerto Rico(10)– Now we were ready for a meatier game. Although we have Puerto Rico in our game group, we don’t get to play it as often as we’d like. So we checked it out of the library and invited Chuck to play this great action selection game. We all had a great time – the only negative was that we were reminded of our dismay that it isn’t a good 2-player game.

Eurorails(7+) – Tammy from Chuck’s train game group showed up with Eurorails, so now we were really getting rolling. This is a long game, especially with Lori and I being new to the crayon Rails system, so it was our last game of the night before making the long drive home. It was enjoyable and I would like to play again. I expect the rating to go up because I don’t think I can separate the actual game play from the fact that it was a long game that ran past the time that I really needed to start driving home.

Friday

After having to drive home Thursday night and back to the con Friday morning, we sure were glad to have a room at the hotel for the next two nights. We walked the vendor room for a while and then went back to the library and back to my list.

Viceroy(8+) – This game was high on my list to play since it has been described as a bidding game that is good for 2 players and appeared to have enough in common with Splendor, one of Lori’s favorites, to draw her in. The version in the library had a mat for the cards in the auction which was very cool. I am sorry I passed on the Kickstarter for this one. Viceroy was everything that I was expecting and will certainly find its way into my collection soon enough. Lookout Splendor.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf(7), Coup: Reformation(8-), The Resistance(7) – I had volunteered with Envoy to run a social deduction games table for 6 hours, so that consumed most of the afternoon and evening. Fortunately, there was a nice group that really wanted to play everything several times. This made the time go relatively quickly. Lori sat in on their games and I did as well when I wasn’t teaching and/or moderating. My rating for The Resistance is probably lower than it should be simply because I also have the Resistance: Avalon (8) and much prefer to play it over the original. Lori was also able to get in a game of Survive: Space Attack! I was able to watch about half of the game – it is pretty much Survive with a new theme and a couple new mechanics that are interesting, but don’t change the game significantly.

Patchwork(8+) – As I was concluding my duties for Envoy, Lori checked out Patchwork and learned the rules. I thought this would be a game that she would like – being of the home crafts type – and that would entertain me as well. We both enjoyed it; surprisingly I did more than she. I would add it to my collection if Lori enjoyed it as much as I did.

Dimension(6)  – This is a real-time puzzle game that was in the play-to-win collection. It wasn’t on my list, but looked interesting. We played it with Jenny. I think I enjoyed it the most, but Lori would have been happy to win it – saying she would have to practice. I can see how the game would be a good tool to help develop spatial reasoning. I would have been happy to win it, but probably won’t add it to my collection.

Qin(7+) – This game was also not on my list, but in the play-to-win collection and probably the hottest game there. Lori and I played this a couple times toward the end of the night with a couple guys whom I had met in previous years. It is a tile laying, area majority game very simple rules, but interesting decisions – a great gateway game. I probably won’t get it for my collection, but would easily give it to someone who is just getting into the hobby.

Saturday

Although this was the busiest day of the con and probably the busiest con since I have been going, the layout and the abundance of games in the library made games and a place to play still very accessible. This was a big day of playing.

Cacao(8) – This game was on my list because I had heard that it was good for 2-4 players  (not just labeled that way) and a new tile placement game would probably get plenty of table time with Lori and I and when we play with other couples who are newer to gaming. Cacao did not disappoint. It was quick to learn, but provided plenty of decisions and strategy. Nothing to burn the brain, but enough to keep it interesting. I’ve already added this game to my collection so we can play it when we meet with friends in about a week.

Too Many Cinderellas(6) – Grail Games has a number of light, fun, uniquely themed card games and this is one that I thought I might want to add to my collection. I have One Zero One and Elevenses already. We played a few 3-player games with Jenny and enjoyed it. I’ll keep it in my CoolStuff wish list and toss it in my cart sometime when I need the cart-topper to get free shipping.

Dead Panic(6) – We played this with Jarrod and Jenny and a friend of theirs. None of us had played before, so didn’t know the rules well. Having played Castle Panic a bunch probably added to the confusion more than alleviated it, since the mechanics were quite different. I rated this low because, if I have the desire to play a tower defense game, Castle Panic with the Wizard’s Tower and Dark Titan expansions (8 w/both expansions) will beat out this version every time.

Village(8+) – This was near the top of my list of games to play since My Village is coming out soon and I wanted to get a sense about the original. I thought Lori and I would both like it and was right. Fortunately, as we were setting up the game someone came by and asked if we knew the rules. We said no and they offered to teach us. We invited him to play and Jenny was added as well. This one is definitely on my Love to Have list, but I will wait for My Village to come out to see if it might be the better choice for the two of us. Maybe I will need to have both.

Bears!(4) – We had about an hour before I needed to get in line to play Roll for the Galaxy, so we grabbed this simple dice game from the play-to-win collection. We played one very quick game and were done – so much for burning an hour. Martian Dice (6) or Zombie Dice (which at least sounds more interesting) would likely have filled the void with multiple plays. So we didn’t need to win this one. I wouldn’t mind having the dice in my prototype kit.

Onirim (second edition)(7+) – Figuring that we probably didn’t have enough time, but maybe had enough to at least learn this solitaire card game (with 2-player variant), we checked out Onirim. We were able to play a partial game before I needed to head out, but we played enough to know that we’d like to get this game. It has been in and out of my CoolStuff cart many times. Next time it goes in, it won’t come out until it is delivered to my house. I expect my rating to go up, particularly as a solitaire game. Hopefully, the rules in the second edition are clearer!

Roll for the Galaxy(8+) – One play of this game was enough to see that I really liked the mechanics. Though it was not enough for me to see why I would play it instead of the very similar games: Eminent Domain (8) which uses cards instead of dice for actions, or Tiny Epic Galaxies (8) which has the added mechanic of competing for worlds which I like.  Roll for the Galaxy might go up in rating for me after a few more plays, through which I expect to see the value in playing it over similar games.

Sunday

Every con must come to an end and the end of this one was much like I expected; sorry to see the time go, but thoroughly tired and ready for a break.

The Castles of Burgundy(9+) – After just one play I can see that this will be one of my favorite games. It turns all the dials for what I like in a strategy game. There are so many options requiring small, incremental decisions, strategies to pursue, and opportunities to milk a little extra out of a turn. Even though Castles of Burgundy is available online and I hope to play it this way, I will also buy a copy so we can play it at the table.

Kill Doctor Lucky(6) – This game wasn’t on my con play list, but it is one that I’ve wanted to play in general. Lori and I had finished The Castles of Burgundy and a couple people we had played social deduction games asked us to join them. The game was about what I expected; fun enough, but a little dated and a little swingy. I had built up enough spite and a two-card strategy that might give me the win, so went for it. (I figured that I was probably going to lose, but was ready to give it a go). Sure enough, I was stopped, but I drained every one of their Failure cards so the next player had a cake walk win with no Failures played from any players except me. I am glad I played it, but now I don’t need to play it again.

Kahuna(7) – This is another solid KOSMOS 2-player game that was on my list to play. Although Lori was getting tired, she still held her own and I squeaked out a win. I will gladly play again, but don’t feel the need to add it to my collection.

Summary

Genghis Con provides an opportunity to play many games that we do not have and otherwise would not be able to play and to test drive a few that we might want to buy. The availability of the GenCon library (over 2000 games) this year significantly boosted my ability to play new games. I hope this is a permanent offering of the con. Additionally, Envoy provided about 30 games for Play-To-Win, several of which we were able to enjoy. (Though, we didn’t win any of them). All tolled I was able to play 20 different games in 29 individual plays; of which only 4 games representing 6 plays were games that I have played before. Several games were added or adjusted on my BGG and CoolStuff wish lists. I was able to add a few solid games to my wish list: The Castles of Burgundy, Viceroy, Cacao, village, and Onirim.

This year’s con was especially good because Lori attended the whole time as well. So we were able to try many games together to see which ones we might want to play as a couple and we were able to chalk some up as good experiences, but rule them out as ones we want to play on a regular basis. All in all this was a great con and next year’s is already getting penciled into our calendar. I was pleasantly surprised when Lori asked about going to one of the other gaming focused cons that have been on my wish list; Dice Tower Con and BGG Con.

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Event Date: 
Thursday, February 11, 2016 to Sunday, February 14, 2016