Day one (really day two, but my day one) was a little bit of a mixed bag, but largely good. Registration has been pretty well streamlined and quick, especially on a Thursday when there aren’t that many people there. Took my seven year old son again this year. We got over to the Steve Jackson Games room early, technically before they opened, but they waved us along with a couple other parent-kid pairs) in to play around beforehand.
Always fun to walk around a bit, but we didn’t spend much time sightseeing today. Instead, we focused on game demos. And we tried out the Origins Arena—boffer sword fighting. Kid did pretty well for his first time at sword & board fighting.
Simon’s Cat (SJGames)
A fun game that we’ve had at home for years. The mechanics are basically Uno, with artwork from the Simon’s Cat YouTube videos. The tricky part is that there are several suits (cat, kitten, dog, garden gnome), but they don’t all have the same number of cards (ex. cat has 10 cards, gnomes only have 2) and they aren’t numbered the same (ex. cat has 3-12, gnome has 1-2). So, while it is Uno based, it has its own strategy. It’s a family favorite around here, is quick to play, and has simple rules.
Munchkin CCG (SJGames)
Translating Munchkin to a CCG is interesting. In some respects, the mechanics are similar to Magic: The Gathering, with card tapping and such. On the other hand, the rules allow for cheating, er, bluffing. And attacks from monsters are not simultaneous, so you can attack with a weak monster to trigger your opponent’s defenses, then send the big monster in to take them out. All in all, it was a fun experience, and would be high on my list if I ever wanted to get into CCGs again (which I really, really don’t).
Settlers of Catan (Mayfair, now Asmodee)
The classic, but the kid’s only played Catan Junior, so we tried out the full version to see how he did. Much ink has already been spilled on this game, I won’t say any more.
Dicey Peaks (Calliope)
A new game from Calliope, it’s an interesting dice and resource management game. The goal is to ascend the world’s tallest mountain without running out of oxygen or being caught by the yetis, before the other players. Sets of dice are optimized for climbing, resting, or balance (or can cause avalanches or yeti attacks). Tiles get flipped when landed on and can push the player along, reduce their oxygen supply, or send them backwards. Fun, quick, and fairly simple game.
Played this last year on my own, but had to have my son try this year. He loved it. John Kovalic’s art brings out humorous cavemen, pets, and living spaces. Each card has a number value and the goal is to collect sets of three (caveman, pet, house). Each card value in the set is multiplied, then sets are added together at the end. Then there are the Ugh! Cards, that do bad stuff. Fun, simple, and fast game. We picked up a copy this year to join Thieves and Tsuro.
Running with the Bulls (Calliope)
Played for the third year running, because the kid wanted to again. It’s definitely growing on me the more we play it.
Super Kitty Bug Slap (SJGames)
Basically a variation on Egyptian Rat Slap (or other, less PG, names). Each player gets a card with a cat and a bug on it. The goal is to be the first to slap any card that matches the color (orange, green, purple) or shape (round, square, triangle) of your cat, or your bug (ladybug, fly). The person with the most cards at the end wins, but misslaps dock points from your score (ex. if you have a green, square cat with a ladybug, and are first to slap a card that has none of those things, you lose a point).
King of New York (Iello)
Variation on the famous King of Tokyo. Good game, a little disjointed in the demonstrator’s explanation, but still played fairly well. We’ll have to try it again sometime to get a better feel for it.
Dungeon Raiders (Devir Games)
Fun card game. Each player is a member of an adventuring party delving into a five layer dungeon. Each level has two visible challenges and three face down challenges. The players have to work together to defeat the challenges, while also ensuring that they have more gold and fewer wounds than anyone else. Every players gets five cards (numbered 1-5) that they can only use once per level to get past challenges as a team (or to screw other players, as the case may be). And each character class has its own special item that gives a different effect or power (one time only).
Rabbit Island (Infinite Heart Games)
Apparently, this is a recently Kickstartered game that will be out in August. The rabbits sail to an island where they explore and set up both the island and initial settlements. Play then continues to see who can acquire the most victory points by building burrows and towns. The player with the largest harvest and the player with the most carrots also get bonus points. Movement cards let rabbits move around the board, action cards help them or hinder opponents. It was interesting and fun, and the movement cards can be arranged in order (a number on the bottom) to tell the story of the rabbits. And it includes rabbit meeples. But, at around US$50, it’s a bit expensive for my taste.