Because of the kid, we spent almost the entire day at Calliope Games. They are running a thing where people who do 15 demos (unique games, each with its own button) with them get a Calliope pin. He took this as a challenge and gleefully accepted. The staff there were awesome about it and loved him, even when we had to do three demos in a hour to make the cut (because it was his last day going and we had to get home). They rushed us through the last two so he could get his buttons and pin.
Also got to, briefly, see Steve “Evil Stevie” Jackson before he began a massive, 12 player, Ogre game.
Evil Stevie himself
Excellent, relatively simple, tile laying game. We’ve had a copy for years and play it often. Basically, players are dragons flying around. The goal is to stay alive (e.g. on the board) without running into other dragons . . . and, if possible, forcing them to run into each other or off the board. The last one standing wins.
With the Tsuro fez. Fezes are cool!
Hive Mind (Calliope)
Fun little social game, sort of a clean version of Cards Against Humanity, in some ways. Players are bees in the hive. The Queen says the hive is too big and some bees need to leave. So, she moves to a different space each turn to determine how many people move down (or up) the hive’s levels. Players draw cards, choose one of six questions, and write down their answers. Answers are scored based on how many people respond the same, and the lowest total points move down the hive, until someone is booted out. Quick fun, “party” game.
Roll for It (Calliope)
Nice little dice game. Simple and a lot of fun. Three cards are drawn face up. Each player rolls six dice. They can then bid on the card (ex. if a card shows 1, 2, & 4 and the player rolls a 2 & 4, they can place those dice on the card, until they get a 1 or another player takes it). Each card has a point value determined by the difficulty of acquiring the dice shown on the card (2 to 15 points each). The first player to reach 40 points wins.
King of Tokyo (Iello)
The precursor to King of New York. Also much simpler as there are no buildings to smash, no military units attacking you, and no real movement at such. Still, it’s a lot of fun. Son played as Cyber Kitty and I took Space Pengwing (in honor of Bartram Cumberland). It was a quick and fun match for two players, obviously longer with more involved.
Menu Masters (Calliope)
We played this last year, but did it again for the buttons. Players are chefs who send their minions out to purchase ingredients, take over stores (to get money), or to the bank (small money). The goal is to complete three menus, with scoring based on the star value of each ingredient involved (ex. salad could be 2, 3, or 4, stars/points). It’s so fun we’ve played it multiple years and enjoyed it.
Capital City (Calliope)
Interesting card building game in which players take on the role of a random family of settlers represented by animal cards. The players build the town over the course of a set number of rounds, and place workers (from their family and others) in the town buildings to get money (to build other buildings) and votes. Placing workers in the buildings activate them, generating money or votes (but not both). The end goal is getting the most votes to become mayor of the town.
Kind of strange, but fun, game of family trees. The goal is to build the best family, following five lineages (Asian, African, European, American, Middle East). Mixing lineages is necessary as the number of generations you have from each line determines base victory points. And some members (descent or marriage) carry wealth, with gold being a one to one point ratio. The final element is counting the number of marriages formed, for additional points. There are a number of interesting strategic elements involved, and the game seems like one that will change a lot through play. It’s definitely one I’d like to look in to further and try again sometime.
Hounded (Atlas Games)
Two player game in which payers take the role of fox or hunting party. The fox moves fastest (up to three spaces, any direction) with the dog pack and hunt master having more limited movement, but a 6:1 advantage in numbers. Face down tiles get flipped by the fox or a specific dog (terrier) landing on them, with different effects from nothing to dens (allow teleports). If the three day phase tiles flip, the fox wins. If the fox ends its turn next to the hunt master, the hunting party wins.
Another that we played simply for the button, as we’ve had a copy for years. Fun little resource building and balance game that, after 21 games in 11 hours over 2 days, I’m not going to say more on.
Players are photographers looking to get the best photos of cryptids for their newspapers. They travel the country trying to get the photos one of their two newspapers want within 8 rounds of play. It’s kind of fun, requires some strategy, changes almost every turn, and does require some resource management to get the necessary cards to ensure the needed photos and quality.
Promo cards (second set)!
Tsuro of the Seas (Calliope)
Variation of classic Tsuro. In this one, players are ships trying to navigate the sea, avoid colliding with each other, and evade the dragons. The dragons are independent beasts controlled solely by dice rolls. If dragons collide, one is removed. If dragons go off the board, they’re removed. If they meet a ship, the ship is eaten. If they cross an empty tile (a ship’s wake), the tile is removed. It’s a cool modification of the base game.