Over the weekend I attended the World Board Gaming Championships in Lancaster, PA. This event is put on each year by the Boardgame Player’s Association and is basically a week long gaming extravaganza. They run tournaments for 100 or so games and that’s their main thing, but they have a beautiful open gaming room that lets people like me play games all weekend long! Seriously, just about any game you want to try and play will get played during WBC and most of the variety is going to be found in the open gaming room.
What I go for is the people and the prototypes.
Here’s what I saw that you’re going to be hearing about soon!
The first game of the weekend for me game from Paul Owens. He’s the designer behind Trains, Planes and Automobiles and this new game, East India Company couldn’t be any further from that game if he tried! East India Company is an economic game of shipping in the time of pirates. I would frequently say I’m not a fan of economic games, but I’m thinking about changing that tune. This one really felt good to me. There was a lot of strategy to be had. It was interactive in some really good ways, you need to outmaneuver your opponents and get there first. If you can’t get there first, then get home first. …and that’s going to involve bidding. One of the keys for me is the passive interaction of the game, just keeping track of what your opponents on doing and how they’re choosing to play the game. The key is in the money you make, but more importantly turning that money into dividends, profit to points. It’s a really challenging game, but it was worth it. It didn’t feel like it took as long as it did, which is good. Great game. I’m looking forward to where this one goes next.
Saturday I got into several prototypes including The Great Heartland Hauling Company from Dice Hate Me Games (I’ll be posting a full review on Cartrunk.net soon.) Heartland was quick and simple. Someone said it was easy to learn and difficult to master, I’d agree. It’s a card based pick up and delivery game, a mini-euro. I enjoyed my trucking about the country delivering cubed pork and found it a satisfying challenge. You should seek this one out on kickstarter!
I tried a new game from Benjamin Rosset. His first game, Mars Needs Mechanics, will be coming soon from Nevermore Games and he has several other titles in the works. Saturday he presented something brand new. It’s an economic game based on buying and selling fruit. This game dealt with pre-planned moves and involved really trying to get into the heads of your opponents. It sounds like we were his first public test, so this one’s a long way off from being the next big thing, but there’s a lot of potential in his ideas. Ben will work tirelessly to make this the greatest game it can be.
At the same table moments later we tried a game called Diseases from Joe Hopkins. You may remember Joe from games like Space Shipping, Companies Inc. and Traveling Salesman. I really appreciate Joe and his theming of games. This title makes you the disease that’s trying to kill Healthy Harry (I think that’s his name.) You’ll either strengthen or spread as you make Healthy Harry not so healthy. It was a lot of fun to play with a dynamic turn structure and a unique method of interaction. Keep your eyes on this one.
Josh Tempkin was out at WBC with some of his titles. I got to speak with him, but not really play any of his offerings this year. He had Wartime, which appeared at Unpub2. I quite liked Wartime and I was hoping for another shot at it…but didn’t get the opportunity.
Another big prototype at WBC this year was Visible Hand Games upcoming title City Hall! Michael R. Keller’s great bidding and building game had a strong showing prior to it’s upcoming kickstarter campaign! People who played the game liked it (as they should.) It’s a complex and engrossing city planning game where you must out-think your opponents and be victorious. I’ve really enjoyed watching this game grow over the last few months through the Unpub Program and all the other events that Michael has presented this game to. We’re proud supporters of City Hall!
TC Petty III had his abstract strategy game with the title I can never remember out at some point. I didn’t get a chance to play this one again, and didn’t even know it had happened until after the fact. I had been trying to get into a game of Rock Babies… but missed any opportunities that presented themselves. …Just another two games hitting the table at WBC.
In the Vendor hall we ran into a game called Moriarty that was inking a deal with a publisher. That’s exciting for him, and we spoke about his next title which he wants to present at upcoming Unpub events. We’re glad to grow with new talent.
Three Upcoming games were also present at WBC. …Well, I’m sure there were more than three, but three with Unpub history were there.
Oh My God! There’s An Axe In My Head. was presented in the Unpub area at Origins this year, and it made an appearance at WBC. I met Dave Fooden at Origins and this time I met the game’s other designer Chris Adams. I played a really great game of OMGTAAIMH (which is a mouthful even in abbreviation!) It was fun and faster than I thought it would go. We had laughs and tried different strategies. I wasn’t big on the treaties, but that’s what almost cost me the game. I won by one point in a tight fun 3 player match. This game is up for pre-order on the Game Company 3 website. You might want to consider it.
As you know the Dice Hate Me Games crew was out in full force. I know at least one game of VivaJava hit the table under the direction of designer TC Petty III. It was a huge game with a lot of well known players, designers and bloggers who just haven’t had a chance to give it a shot yet. I was off trying different games so I missed all the fireworks. But VivaJava was a hit, as always.
Jason Tagmire played at least one game of his upcoming title Pixel Lincoln. I heard about it, but didn’t witness his side scrolling shenanigans with the digital version of our 16th President. It was on my list of games to play/re-play and I just didn’t have the time to do so. We also heard some pretty awesome news from Jason that we’ll be announcing soon!
I’m sure there are plenty of prototypes we missed. Remember, Unpub had nothing to do with WBC, but it seems a lot of designers and games that have been in our program were out on the tables and making people happy. We’ll take a little pride and that and congratulate the designers on their successes! It was a great event and we’re looking forward to next year already!
…and we’re looking forward to GenCon in two weeks! More on that very soon!