Saturday, March 22, 2014

2014 Prezcon - Part 3

Time to wrap up this year's Prezcon coverage.  Saturday at Prezcon is always interesting tournament-wise...there's a few heats left, but mostly you're getting down to semi-finals and your day may be packed...or you may have lots of time for open gaming.  My day started by bringing my extra games down to register for the auction - or rather, the auction store.  I wasn't sure whether to register for the regular auction or the "store", but I didn't think I had anything that would start a big bidding war, so I just went with the store.  One of the games I put in was Kids of Catan, which is a beautiful game, but the mechanics are little more than roll and move, and my kids outgrew it a few years ago.  I was gratified to later in the ballroom to see that a young mother has purchased it, and was playing it with her young children. 

Picture courtesy of
Game-wise, first up for me was a 9:00 heat of Chicago Express - I was eager to see if I could put to use any of the lessons I had learned the previous day.  For a little while, it looked like it would just be a two player game between myself and another fellow - but Mike Senzig Jr. walked up at the last minute and joined us.  Mike is an excellent player, particularly at these types of economic games.  In the end, Mike beat me by about $10 or so...although I did the same thing to the 3rd player that had
been done to me the day before - diverting the red train just before it reached Chicago.  We finished in about 45 minutes or so, and we started a 2nd game "just for fun", and to try out some different theories, but we didn't get to finish as we had to run to other things.  If I'd only been in a 2-player game, I likely would have won and reached the finals cheaply...but I'm not too upset, as I'm sure I would have been far outclassed there.

Next up was the semi-finals for Carcassone.  My luck didn't quite hold up this year, and finished 3rd out of 4 players, failing to make the finals.  Which wasn't too bad, as that saved me from the dilemma of playing while running Lords of Waterdeep

2 games during the 2nd heat
At 1:00 I had my 2nd heat of Lords of Waterdeep.  I didn't play in this round, but just kind of hung out and waited for questions (there weren't very many), and did some browsing at the vendors.  I had 6 games of 4 players in the 2nd heat, and all the games went fairly quick.  After the heat, I did a quick tally
to get 16 finalists - I had 11 individual winners, and took the closest 5 2nd place finishers for the semis.  This in theory would set me up with 4 4-player semis, from which the winners would advance to the finals. 

I had some time before the semis, so I wandered to open gaming, and Paul joined me for a game of 7 Wonders with a group.  Again, names are escaping me, but there was one young guy there with his father and his future father-in-law, and Mark Crescenzi joined us as well.  I hadn't played 7 Wonders in a while, and I'd forgotten how much I like it.  The expansions are nice, but a simple game of the basic game is still a lot of fun.  We also had time to get in a game of The Resistance, although we aborted halfway through when the traitors became obvious.

At the Waterdeep semis, I ended up short on players, as some folks elected to play in Ra.  That turned into a little bit of an issue on Saturday night, as I was conflicting with both Ra and later Stone Age, which appeal to the same type of players.  For the semis, I ended up with 11 players, so we played 2 4-player games and 1 3-player game.  I was in the 3-player game against John Gaebler (who I had narrowly beat in Heat 1) and Jonathan Bartholomew.  I drew the building lords, Larissa, and I did a decent job building buildings without raising suspicion, and scoring 2 25 point quests in the final turns, but John Gaebler got the lieutenant early on, and then just got his euro-engine running, finishing with 198 points.  In the other games, Mahmooda Sultana and Tim Gleeson won, with John Emery being the highest 2-place finisher.  Again, however, we were conflicting with the final for Stone Age, which Mahmooda was in.  She begged me to move the final later, but I was looking to avoid what happened last year, when the Waterdeep final went until midnight.  So I told her she had to choose - she went with Stone Age, which put Mike Crescenzi in the final.

After a quick bio-break, we got the final started.  I drifted in and out, just making sure there were no questions.  John Gaebler was in the lead heading into the final round, but in a stunning play, Mike Crescenzi managed to used intrigue cards and build a building which allowed him to collect 4
wizards over the course of the turn to complete the 25 point wizard quest, and emerge with the victory.  It was a very dramatic ending to the game.  Overall the Waterdeep tournament went well again this year - although we were down to 41 players from 60-something last year.  At this point though, I'm 99% sure I'm going to turn over the GMing duties to someone else.  I enjoy helping out the con, but GMing Waterdeep caused me to miss some other opportunities I would have liked to take advantage of. 

The final - from L to R, Tim Gleeson, John Gaebler, John Emery, Mike Crescenzi 
Next up was Saturday night gaming.  I found the rest of the gang downstairs playing Cash N Guns, and joined in for the 2nd round.  I'd seen this one played, but had yet to play it myself.  It's a quick fun social game, and I think distills the essence of Bang! down into something more steamlined.  After that, we played The Resistance, and then pulled out our old favorite Citadels.  I love Citadels, but 2:00 AM after 5 days of Prezcon may not have had me at my best....

Meeple City being terrorized
Sunday morning there were still heats of 7 Wonders and Settlers of Catan happening, but I headed to open gaming, hoping to get Santa's Workshop in front of Chris Kirkman and Darrell Louder.  I found Ben Rosset and Josh Tempkin down there, and looking at the game library, we chose to play Rampage.  I'd played a few times with my kids, but I'd been wanting to play with adults.  We had a blast, but Ben and I could not overcome Josh's sticky tongue (I'll leave it at that).  Brian joined us after that, and gave one of Josh's prototypes a try.  Entitled Lesser Evil at Unpub, he had rethemed it with a police motif, where you had to clean up the streets of your district in order to become the new commissioner.  The new name is completely escaping might be Commissioner.  When I figure it out, I'll update the blog.  I very much liked the game, with a sort of dice-as-worker placement mechanic, as you tried to get rid of the "felonies" in front of you - and the use of cards to help you manipulate your dice.  However some actions may require you to increase the number of misdemeanors in your district, which, while not as bad as felonies, are still not good.  The objective is to be the player with the least amount of points in front of you by the end of the game.  I'd heard good things at Unpub about Lesser Evil, but I did hear complaints about lack of theme...Josh now has a theme...but I'm not 100% sure it's carried out that well yet...but he just has basic game pieces, I think some artwork on the various cards could help alleviate that quite a bit.  Mechanically, I very much liked it.

With threats of another snowstorm hitting the mid-Atlantic, that was about it for Prezcon 2014.  Overall, I had yet another great experience, though I think I learned a few lessons this year.  I was trying to stretch myself a bit thin.  I wanted to play in a bunch of tournaments of course, but I also enjoy the open gaming with our group.  The GMing cost me some opportunities to do some other things, and I was also trying to get Santa's Workshop in front of folks.  Unfortunately that only happened once, and I wasn't able to get it in front of Chris, Darrell and TC, but I did great feedback from the one play.  I don't know the attendance numbers, but it felt a bit down this year - I don't think they met their goal of 700.  I was very disappointed in the vendors this year - they seem to be getting fewer and fewer.  The most shocking thing may be that I only went home with 1 new game - Flash Point, which I picked up in the auction store.  In fact I actually made money on games this year, with my lot going for a little over $97 in the auction store.  There was also a bit of a stomach bug going around Prezcon this year - Mike Sr. fell prey to it on Wednesday, and Paul had a rough Sunday morning.  I understand a few people went the ER.  In the course of writing these blog entries, I will remind myself to once again try to remember to write peoples names down and take more pictures.  Next up is likely Historicon in the summer, and then WBC in August, but I look forward to next year's Prezcon.

1 comment:

  1. << I understand a few people went the ER. >>
    Other than that, how was the convention, Mrs. Lincoln?