Sunday, April 17, 2005

Gathering 2005 Photos and Summary

Louis XIV, one of the Gathering favorites

David Hansel goes for worms to go with his 4's in Heckmeck

Genevieve Gray watches a game, kindly avoiding pointing out her father's strategic errors

James Miller, Greg Schloesser, Patrick Korner and Herby Levy play Dorra's Kreta

As usual, the Gathering was a great experience. I played many fewer
games this year (about half) partially because I played longer games,
but mostly because we had to spend a lot of time with Genevieve. I
still managed to play over 50 games and over 30 new-to-me games and
had a great time gaming, socializing and visiting some sights around


As previously mentioned, the big hit for me was Fiese Freunde Fette
Feten. Other games ratings, though many of these are based on a single play:

Very good games I expect to have some longevity: FFFF, Amazonas,
Heckmeck, Carcassonne: The Discovery, Diamant, Fjorde, Jambo, Louis
XIV, Ticket to Ride Europe.

Games that have potential, but I didn't play enough to be sure:
Dungeon Twister, Farfalia, King Arthur card game, Kreta, Manila, Oltre
Mare, Submarine, Tower of Babel.

Not bad, but probably nothing special in the long run: Adventure
League, Boomtown, Dancing Dice.

Not impressed: Montanara, Oriente, Walk the Dogs.

People & Sights

Genevieve was very good in general and spent some time in the hall,
playing on the floor, playing on the table and socializing with and
charming everyone in sight. She didn't win any tournaments though.

Gorilla at the Columbus Zoo, expressing disappointment in Knizia's "Tower of Babel"

Genevieve Gray meets a sea turtle at the Columbus Zoo

We didn't spend all of our time gaming though, and visited the
Columbus Zoo with friends at the Gathering who also brought their
kids. Genevieve enjoyed the zoo and loved the aquarium portion
with manatees and sea turtles.

21st century baby monitoring

I'm very glad we figured out the baby monitoring solution, and it substantially increased the amount of
gaming we could do. Genevieve wasn't so thrilled with the hotel room
and a couple times we had to run up to the room and comfort her back
to sleep, but she did well. I suspect she just wanted to be
downstairs gaming with us.

Graeter's ice cream is very very good

We also went out to Graeter's Ice Cream which is delicious. In
particular, their "Buckeye Blitz" is a chocolate peanut butter ice
cream that is among the best ice cream I have ever had. I can see why
Keith Lockhart gets it shipped in to Boston.

Fabulous Friedemann Friese

Gaming glitterati - Rick Thornquist and Greg Schloesser

Back at the event, I got to talk to a lot a lot of folks "in the
business". While I remain mostly uninterested in being in the
business of games (I like keeping my work and hobbies separate), I'm
always interested to know more about it. Jay Tummelson and Stefan
Brueck are always interesting to talk to. And, as always, Friedemann
Friese is always a real pleasure to talk to. I gushed profusely to
him about FFFF and it was interesting to get his take on some of the
cards and bits from the game. It'll be interesting to me to see which
things get changed in the US edition other than some discreet
obscuring of any exposed nipples. For example, one of the cards is
"Kutterpullen", or lifeboat racing, a hobby that Friedemann apparently
has done. It sounds like it may change to "Bowling" or "Softball
League" or the like.

Some board game geek

Scott Alden of boardgamegeek
and I got to play a few games and talk quite a bit. With luck, some
of the stuff we talked about will make it to the geek soon. Scott
spent a lot of time recording GeekSpeaks at the Gathering, and
everyone should keep an ear out for them.

Lots of Heroscape on the prize table

At the prizetable, we got very lucky. Tournament winners get first
picks, followed by everyone drawn randomly. My wife's name was second
among the non-tournament winners. We got "Piratenbilliards", a great
dexterity game I first played at the Gathering in 2002. Then, the
luck of the pick ended, and my name was picked second-to-last. I
still got Zendo. Maybe the luck handn't actually run out.

Overall, it was a great Gathering. For me, only one standout hit
game, but overall one of the best Gathering experiences I've had and
they've all been quite good.

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