I hadn’t planned on doing any kind of Dice Tower Con recap, but I have so many thoughts that I want to get out and put into writing before they go away.
First, an admission: this was our first “big” convention. We’ve been to our local Falls Con, which was an enjoyable experience, but attendance was under 100 people each day. We didn’t know what to expect going into this, just that it’s something we’ve wanted to do for a while now.
I’m not going to bore with step by step details of what we did, I just want to share some highlights I don’t want to forget.
5. Pandemic Survival
We’re big Pandemic fans, it’s no secret. When we had the opportunity to play it competitively in teams of two, we couldn’t pass it up. Although, we probably should have practiced more. In Survival, you and your teammate are trying to either be the first to cure all four diseases, or last the longest in the game.
I am proud to announce that we were not the first team eliminated! We were the second. However, it was an exhilarating experience and highly recommended if you are a Pandemic fan of any kind.
4. Game Demos
We had the opportunity to play several games before their retail release dates. It’s really great to know what’s coming before it hits shelves and if it’s worth acquiring when it does. Here’s a list of what we demoed, in no particular order.
- Century: Spice Road from Plan B Games
- Flick ‘Em Up: Dead of Winter from Pretzel Games
- The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire from CMON Ltd.
- Whistle Stop from Bezier Games
- Flip Ships from Renegade Games
- Sentient from Renegade Games
- Viral from Arcane Wonders
- Pit Crew from Stronghold Games
- Immortals from Queen Games
All were interesting and unique games, and we give major props to the demo teams at each vendor booth. If you are able to demo new games be sure to thank the person who teaches them to you. They are under a lot of pressure to get the game right and also make it as fun for you as possible.
3. Dice Tower Awards
With us being Dice Tower contributors, we had the honor to be involved in events at this particular convention. The highlight for us was getting to introduce the award for Best Two Player Game of 2016 at The Dice Tower Awards.
Unfortunately, we haven’t played the game that won (Star Wars: Rebellion) so we couldn’t really have a discussion of the game.
However, it was still neat to be able to do that and we are very grateful for the opportunity to share the stage with many people we look up to.
2. Magical Athlete
The last night of the convention we were spontaneously roped into a game with other Dice Tower Contributors called Magical Athlete. Now I had heard Tom talk about this game on The Dice Tower, and it just sounded dumb. I was a little hesitant to do this, but we went anyway.
In Magical Athlete, the game begins with a round of drafting. Everyone has a chance to select 5 “athletes” with a ridiculous ability to partake in a roll-and-move race on an unremarkable board. There will then be 5 races, each with a different character from each player. We had a group of about 7 or 8 playing, so there was a lot of variety in the abilities.
To give you an example, my first character’s ability was: Every time another character passes you, they move back two spaces (or something like that.) Dan Hughes’s character’s ability was that every time someone used their ability, he got to move forward a space. It’s just silly stuff like that when looked at alone seems dumb, but when combined with the other abilities makes the game so much more unpredictable, zany, and a blast to play.
It also helps if the group of people you are playing with people who are unpredictable and zany.
I thought my favorite thing about this convention would be getting to play games. After all, it’s a board game convention. I just knew I’d get tons of plays in and get to try dozens of different games.
But on our first and second days I realized something. We weren’t playing a whole lot. And I was having a blast. It struck me that we were having more fun meeting people.
People would say hi to us in lines and we’d strike up conversations. We spoke with the demo teams and publishers at each of the booths. We played games with complete strangers and came away friends.
Then we met people who we’d only interacted with online and finally were able to say hello face-to-face. We came away from Dice Tower Con with genuine friendships that we hope will continue.
And when it comes down to it, that’s really what board games have always been about, isn’t it? Board games bring people together around a table, regardless of how different their personal lives may be, for a relatively short amount of time. What comes out of that short amount of time can lead to a lifetime of friendships.