Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Stuff other than the games

I commented a bit about the non-gaming aspects of the Gathering, but
thought I'd put in a few more specific notes here.

I feel like I met fewer new people at this year's Gathering than I
have in the past, but looking at the numbers, that probably isn't
true. Several people, I was especially pleased to meet.

I finally got to meet Mike Gray, from Hasbro, who I am frequently
mistaken for in online forums. He's a great guy, but I don't think
the error would ever be made in person.

Buckeye Blitz Ice Cream from Graeter's

As mentioned earlier, I met and played several games with Matthew
Monin who I am especially greatful to for introducing me to Descent,
which I bugged him all week to Overlord for us. He was in high demand
in this role. On Saturday night, starting after midnight, we got a
game together and as I mentioned earlier, he altogether crushed us.
We also had the pleasure of going out with some other folks to
Graeter's Ice Cream, always a treat. Matthew makes a rather different
impression in person than he had online to me. In both environments,
he is a pleasure to interact with. Further, he is perhaps the only
other Matthew I have met who is as insistent on being "Matthew"
rather than "Matt" as I am.

Another BGGer, Ava Jarvis stands out as another person I'm
particularly glad to have met. She has a remarkable breadth and depth
of experience that is somehow surprising given her unassuming nature.
Plus, we played a rather entertaining game of RoboRally when she had
gotten far too little sleep and she managed to jump into three
different pits over the course of the game, enjoying every moment of

Geek Admins

Speaking of BGG, it was great to have nearly all of the admins together in one place. We even went out to dinner, took a group photo and Scott let us in on all of his super-double-secret plans. I can't say more, but set your keyword filters to "Aldie", "Coup", "Uzbekistan" and "Boardgamistan". We considered that in the future, perhaps we shouldn't all cross the street at the same time, and avoid the risk that a runaway bus deals a serious blow to the board game community. I also had the fortune to play games with most of the admins, particularly Matthew, Daniel, Sterling and Fabio.

The first couple times I went to the Gathering, I always felt a bit
odd traveling all those miles to game with people who live within 20
miles of my home. I've gotten over it. Miller and
(temporarily-displaced-from-Boston) Anthony joined us for dinner at
"Quaker Steak & Lube", which is a very oddly named restaurant that
turns out to be a decent wings place with a motorsports theme.

The Prize Table

As for the prizetable ceremony, we apparently used up all of our
early-pick karma last year, and got two late picks this year, but as
always, were very happy with what we walked away with (Carcassone: The
City, Times Square, Familienbande and Boomtown).

Engineer Aldie playing Battlestations

And, while I said this post would be about non-games stuff, here's a
final game-related comment. In past years, I've felt it was difficult
to balance the conflicting goals of playing lots of shorter
games and taking the opportunity to play the rarely-played longer
games. In general, I prefer the shorter games but do enjoy some
longer ones. This year, I felt I managed to balance it essentially to
the exact degree I'd hoped. I predominantly played short games, the
vast majority under 90 minutes, but I did play, and enjoy a few longer
games. In particular, the above-mentioned Descent was good enough to
rush out and buy, and I had a great session of Battlestations with
Aldie, Sterling, Anthony and Miller. Those two games alone consumed
about 7 hours. I only played two games the entire event that I really
felt like went on too long: Zepter von Zavandor, which was
reasonably good, but a bit too mechanical and way too long, and
Glory to Rome, in which our game apparently went anomolously
long. I didn't get to play things like Indonesia, which many enjoyed
a great deal, but I don't feel I missed out much. My "total
enjoyment" of four 45-minute games is almost always greater than what I get from
a single 3-hour game. It's only the "experience" games like Descent
and Battlestations that even have a chance.

I may or may not post more game thoughts later, but this may be the
end of my notes for this year. More likely, I will post more detailed
reviews in the Games section of this blog.

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