I’ll apologize in advance for the early post today–it’s going to be a very busy evening, and I’ve got a little bit of time right now. Russ and I arrived at the Host at 8:50 AM and jumped right in. I attended the Sampler Showcase and was placed into a five-player game of Small World. This game has been getting a lot of buzz recently, and it’s well-founded! Small World is a Euro-ish game of various fantasy races all vying for a limited amount of territory on a very crowded map. You essentially play your race, which has a few special abilities, until you can’t expand anymore, and then you allow your race to “decline” and activate a second race. You get points by taking over territory, and some races get bonus points for taking over particular territories (farms, mountains, etc.).
What’s neat about the design is this: there are many races, and even more special abilities. They hook into each other; some hilarious combinations we saw this morning included “Diplomatic Skeletons” and “Mounted Dwarves.” This means that each play of the game contains a really unique set of combinations. You begin by bidding for your race; I picked up DragonMaster Giants pretty quick. This gave me a dragon token to eliminate huge enemy stacks early and bonuses when attacking territories adjacent to mountains. When I had extended to my limit, I moved over to Stout Orcs, and then Pillaging Humans. However, I was beaten rather badly (fifth place out of five!) by Brian, who won with a nice combination of Wealthy Trolls and Marsh-dwelling Tritons. None of us had played before, and it’s safe to say we all had a lot of fun. Thanks to John, Brian, AJ, and Tom, my opponents. This is definitely going on my “to buy” list.
After a short five-minute break, I attended a demo of Battlestar Galactica. There were probably twenty people crammed around the table, listening to the guy teaching it, but there were only two copies. But I had a huge stroke of luck; some guys found a third copy and, as I was at the back of the crowd, they tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to play. This let to a three-hour teaching game. Our teacher (sorry, missed his name) was ver knoledeable, and we had a good time watching all the various sub-mechanics interact. This is a strategy game where there are a few humans players and a few “secret Cylon” players. The humans try to get humanity to the planet of Kobol (watching their morale, fuel, population, and food), while the Cylons quietly sabatobe them. During all this, the ship gets jumped to various planets and Cylon ships attack the Battlestar Galactica. While this game seems to have too many sub-mechanics to really appeal to me, it was pretty interesting. I played Admiral Adama and had control of the nukes, which I used to blow up a Cylon Basestar (neat!). However, our secret Cylon (Starbuck this time, played by David) did various things that caused us to run out of fuel and the humans lost.
I also had a few moments to peak into the auction room. Now I’ll be dropping by our hotel to make some bag dinners, and return to learn Britannia from the 2008 world champion. Then it’s off to the Here I Stand tourney (7PM-?). Today has been a really good day so far–let’s hope it continues!