The holidays are upon us, and that means it’s time to gather friends and family for fun gaming festivities. And what better way to celebrate the diversity that comes with these gatherings than with a party game? Whether your group has a tradition of egg nog and Pictionary or getting down and dirty with Cards Against Humanity, the underrated party game is often the hero of the holidays.
Ah, October. The best time of the year. Fall leaves, decorative gourds as far as the eye can see, cool temperatures… oh, and board games. Lots and lots of board games. Especially if you happen to be in Germany. Essen, to be exact. You see, that’s where the world’s largest board game convention is held each year – and it is awesome.
Yep, beer. We has it. Come and gets it.
Hello, dear Shmoes! Some of you that follow @dicehateme on Twitter or listen to The State of Games and The Geek All-Stars podcasts have heard mysterious mentions of Shmoes and Shmoecon over the past few weeks. What exactly is a Shmoe and what does it have to do with a con? Well, a Shmoe is just a regular gamer who wants to play games with other Shmoes – so if you love playing games, you’re already a Shmoe! More specific to our gaming group here in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, the Shmoes came together for the first official time this past weekend at Shmoecon 0.5. Some Shmoes were invited to a local con while other Shmoes were left out. So, we did what any sensible Shmoes would do – we held our own con in the hotel lobby!
Over the course of five days, we Shmoes played a lot of games, got little sleep, and generally had a great time. The following is a breakdown of the games I personally played and a few brief words about some of the more memorable games to hit the tables. Enjoy!
Games played at the con:
- Black Spy
- Belle of the Ball
- Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
- Nothing Personal
- Downfall of Pompeii
- Lords of Waterdeep with Scoundrels of Skullport expansion
- DC: Deckbuilding Game
- Castle Dice
- Holiday Wars: Slugfest
- Hot Rod Creeps
- Last Will
Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
When this two-player version of Agricola was introduced to the gaming world last year, I was a bit skeptical. The game promised rich and fulfilling Euro-style gameplay in under thirty minutes – certainly a tall order. Having played Agricola: ACBS three times over the course of Shmoecon I can say, definitively, that it delivers on all promises – plus, there are animeeples! Agricola: ACBS basically distills all the fun bits of big brother Agricola into a tiny package that plays fast, easy and yet surprisingly deep. It is certainly one of the best two-player games I’ve had the pleasure of playing, and it makes me want to check out Le Havre: The Inland Port as soon as possible.
Thanks to most of you, dear listeners, The State of Games has thrived for over 50 episodes. This episode marks the turning point for the state of The State of Games for the next year, for sure – not only in terms of participants, but also in terms of scope and vision. This podcast will most assuredly be a haven for unpublished games news, as well as the spot to hear about the coolest new games to hit the table, both in a refined published view and those that have yet to find a publisher!
Hello dear readers! The summer’s biggest North American show just wrapped up in Indianapolis and it was, in many ways, better than the previous year. Many pundits were grumbling about the lack of “showcase” releases at the show, but I ended up nabbing three times as many games this year as last, and have – so far – been disappointed with none. Of course, there were a slew of titles only available for demo at the con – their releases are slated for that even bigger show in Essen, Germany – but even those demos made the price of admission worth every penny.
Without further ado, here are a few pics of the people, games and talking points from my experience at the con. Enjoy!
Thursday, 9:50 a.m. The masses converge on the Exhibit Hall, chomping at the bit to nab their favorite titles before many of them inevitably sold out. I love social media at GenCon – I posted this pic on Twitter minutes before the gates opened up and game designer Grant Rodiek noticed the location, turned around and I was right behind him!
You can’t navigate the Exhibit Hall at GenCon on the first day without a plan, and I certainly had one. I mapped out the optimal route from the first stall I figured might sell out (Gale Force Nine with Firefly), all the way over to the other side of the hall where I could grab up some Game Salute titles I knew would be available. After 50 minutes of the best dash and grab of my con-going career, this was my haul (I also picked up a few other titles over the course of the con – probably spending way too much in the process!)