Just got back from Geekway to the West 2015. It was my 3rd year and it was amazing. Far better than the previous year, and reminded me a lot of the year before that, which was my first board game convention.
The Play and Win collection was far better than last years, and I found so many new games that I just had to buy. I spent far more money than I should have. Between my girlfriend and I we got a huge stack of new games to play:
The star of the convention was Mysterium. Dixit meets Clue, and fixes all of the issues I usually have with Dixit. It’s 100% cooperative, with one player acting as a spirit. The spirit is unable to talk, and must use morbid and creepy dixit-like cards to give “dreams” to the investigators in order to give them hints to solve a what/where/who Clue-like mystery. At the end, if all the players have completed their mystery, they have a shared dream in order to find the true murderer. It’s difficult but extremely fun.
Unfortunately no one in my game group won it, and it’s not out in the US yet. I’m very tempted to hunt for a polish imported copy, which is what we were using at the convention. The play and win contest had a total of 207 plays recorded, which is approximately 9315 minutes (155.5 hours, or 6.5 days) of play time.
My next favorite was probably Castles of Mad King Ludwig. If you’ve payed Suburbia, it’s essentially a streamlined and far more fun, interesting and unique version by the same designer. The turn-order mechanic is really interesting, as is the tile drafting. The first player gets to take the available tiles and pick which order they appear on the price track. Then, the second player gets first pick of the tiles. Any tiles purchased from the first player. The first player picks their tile last, and buys it from the bank. Whatever tiles aren’t purchased in a round get a “bribe” placed on them to entice future purchases, but after first player is passed, the new first player gets to choose the new order of the tiles. Tiles with lots of bribes on them might be constantly pushed to the most expensive position.
From a board game nerd perspective my girlfriend and I fell in love with Viticulture, and had to purchase it. Miniature Market even had Kickstarter editions of the expansion for sale, so I bought it too. We had it on the table and were playing a game, and talking about it and Euphoria and how much we enjoyed them, when the guy we were playing with told us that Jamey Stegmaier was literally sitting right behind us.
I briefly interrupted the game he was playing (which I felt awful about) and asked if he’d be willing to sign our copies of his games when his game was done. He agreed, and he ended up telling us a little about an expansion for Euphoria that is in the works (!!!!!!!!) and about the new game he’s designing (Scythe: Something about mechs and farming. It sounds pretty awesome, but we didn’t get to play test it).
At the end of the convention Play and Win drawings were done, and I ended up with a copy of the re-release of Saint Petersburg. I’ve never played the original, but had a great time. We played it once without the market expansion and once with the expansion. It was definitely better adding the market. I’m a bit disappointed in the art though. All the people have really creepy dead-eyed stares and it’s got a bit of an uncanny valley problem.
A friend from my local game group won a copy of Istanbul on the Play and Win, which was amazing because we only got to play it once and finished it right before Play and Win was closing. It was likely the last play of the entire convention for that game.
My total plays for the weekend are listed here: