Greetings, dear readers! It’s been quite awhile since we’ve gathered around The Crowded Table, but thanks as always for stopping in! In this edition, I take a quick look at a few games that we played at The Gamers for Cures 24-hour Marathon at The Gamer’s Armory in Cary, NC. For those not familiar with the marathon and its excellent cause of raising money for The Turner Syndrome Society, check out gamersforcures.com and consider contributing to the cause next year!
Just a small note: Many of these titles are recent Essen releases, but they’ll be headed into U.S. circulation before too long.
Sometime in the not too distant future, Antarctica has become a hot bed of scientific activity, and several nationalities have started to mine resources, build kelp farms and power turbines, and just generally try to save mankind by monetizing the ice caps. You know, like you do. At its core, Antarctica is essentially an area control Euro but with a fairly interesting turn order mechanism that is a bit reminiscent of Expedition: Northwest Passage. Each round, the “sun” progresses counter-clockwise around the board, thawing ships that might lie in port and letting the player first in line there move their ship somewhere else to take an action. At that port, the ship will head to the back of the line (if any ships are there) and won’t be able to move again until it’s first in line and the sun has made its way back around again. This creates some extremely interesting placement decisions, as the more popular spots tend to score a bit higher because of all the scientists and buildings congregating there, but heading to a more open spot might allow you more actions and consecutive turns. Because of the variable turn sequence, downtime can be a bit unpredictable, so some gamers who like patterns and control might end up flipping the table. I quite enjoyed Antarctica, but I thought the end scoring was a bit crazy, with fairly large disparities between first and second place players in each area.
Over the years we’ve had many great guests on The State of Games, and we’ve been lucky to have become friends with pretty much all of them. Such is the case with Matt & Ben, designers of Dice Hate Me Game of the Year title Fleet. If any of you dear listeners get a chance to meet and hang out with these guys at a convention go for it – they are not only great designers, they’re also amazing and fun people.
We love it when fans of the podcast send us topic ideas, and this time around Nat Levan took over the show with a fantastic outline about game names. We may have gotten a little carried away, but we think you’ll all have fun, nonetheless. Keep sending us those ideas! After all, this is your show, too, dear listeners.
Although summer has passed and that means the end of the big game conventions here in the US, autumn brings even bigger things overseas; that, of course, is Spiel in Essen, Germany, a ginormous show where everyone who is anyone bring their wares to show off and sale. I’ve been wanting to go to Essen for most of my adult life and I’m finally getting my chance – although I have absolutely no idea what’s in store for me – except for beer and brats!
We typically do a good job of podcasting via Skype, but the best results come from when we are all in person. Thankfully we had the opportunity while taking care of business in St. Louis this past weekend. If I had my druthers, we’d record in person all the time, but that could only happen if we managed to organize that board game compound we’ve talked about for the longest time. One day, maybe – but, for now, we’ll settle for the joy of looking each other in the eye while we record for special occasions, even if they are few and far between. We hope you all enjoy one of those special times like this.
Remember what I was saying last podcast about it being nearly-impossible to schedule a podcast with four incredibly busy hosts and a lot of sickness? I should have knocked on wood. Just when it seemed like we had a full slate once again I get food poisoning and Stephanie catches strep. Thankfully, TC and Darrell are pros, and newcomer Jessica Wade deftly picked up the slack.
Let me tell you, organizing a podcast with four incredibly busy hosts that live in four different states is often crazy difficult; throw in some sickness a week after a major convention and you’ve got mission near-impossible. Still, with so much to talk about from the massive GenCon 2015, the show must go on.