Monday, October 21, 2013

Cabin Con II: The Encabining

So this time last year we started what we hoped would be an annual gaming tradition. Five charter members of our gaming circle, Andrew, Chad, Dean, Mike and myself travelled to a remote cabin on the shores of Lake Aislie in beautiful Cape Breton for three straight days of gaming.

Although things went pretty durned good last year, we certainly learned a lot from our inaugural run. Here's what we wanted to do differently this time out:
  1. Don't bring so many damned games! You might think that you have enough time to play thirty games in forty-eight hours but you gotta sleep (or pass out) some time.  
  2. Prep the damned games! By doing this one simple thing we hoped to avoid protracted amounts of down time plowing through rule books.
Armed with these two valuable take-aways this year's Cabin Con turned out to be even better than the first. But, alas, I'm getting way ahead of myself here.


On Friday, October 4'th Andrew picked me up at 9 am to fetch the rental car. The process went super-smooth and by the time 10:30 rolled around we'd already gathered up Dean, dropped Andrew's car off at his wife's place of employ and hit the highway! We made a brief pit stop in Truro for a Subway sammich, a act which represented the final vegetable consumption for some of us over the next few days. After a quick nosh we were on our way again, arriving at the cabin at record time around 2:30 pm.

Pretty cool digs, huh? For those of you out there who think this is the perfect set-up for a horror film you'd be forgiven since, at various times, the site has been known to feature:
  1. An official-looking Ashley James Williams-approved Evil Dead axe hanging on the wall by the door.
  2. Deadite chickens.
  3. A Crystal Lake look-alike within a stone's throw.
  4. An odd, musty, lingering, crypt-like smell that adheres to your clothing, possessions and flesh  for days. 
  5. More houseflies gathered in one place then The Amityville Horror. 
  6. A graveyard within shambling distance. 
Regardless of these spooky trappings I've always felt nothing but good karma there. Such was the case Friday afternoon as we loaded all of our bags, games and victuals into what would be our home for the next few days.

Dean didn't bring along any of his own games since he didn't have enough time to prep them. Not a big deal since the rest of us made up for it. Even though i didn't expect to play 'em all, I brought Alhambra, Hammer of the Scots, the Mythos Standard Edition CCG and Bohnanza along with me. And then, of course, there was Andrew's voluminous tote:

Despite bringing along only a fraction of what he had last year, there was still a massive lungful of entertainment value packed into that pretty blue boit.

Since Chad and Mike wouldn't be showing up until later in the evening, we decided to take advantage of our current three-person head count and hit the sweet spot for:


Andrew and Dean had both played this Stefan Feld set collection / worker placement game at Mark and Dawn's BBQ / gaming event back in August. Although I was keen to try it out after missing my first opportunity, I didn't like my odds against two sophomore players.

Here's the travelogue entry on Bora Bora, snapped directly from Board Game Geek:

"In Bora Bora, players use dice to perform a variety of actions using careful insight and tactical planning. The heart of the game is its action resolution system in which 5-7 actions are available each round, the exact number depending on the number of players. Each player rolls three dice at the start of the round, then they take turns placing one die at a time on one action. Place a high number on an action, and you'll generally get a better version of that action: more places to build, more choices of people to take, better positioning on the temple track, and so on. Place a low number and you'll get a worse action – but you'll possibly block other players from taking the action at all as in order to take an action you must place a die on it with a lower number than any die already on the action.

"Three task tiles on a player's individual game board provide some direction as to what he might want to do, while god tiles allow for special actions and rule-breaking, as gods are wont to do. The player who best watches how the game develops and uses the most effective strategy will prevail." 

You can browse the full, in-depth National Geographic pictorial on Bora Bora by opening up the following rules link!  


Andrew did a fine job strategically placing his huts, covering some of the best fishing grounds on the board. He also made a point of collecting more Jewelry then Slick Rick. During the course of the game he made some prescient Task selections and had no problem completing all of them by the end of the game. He also performed an early Build action, which earned him seven in-game Victory Points, which was further augmented by some Status Track Tattoos. He only lagged behind in Ceremony Spaces, leaving six vacant at the end of the game.

Recalling how importing it was to keep the gods content in both Terra Mystica and T'zolkin, I devoted myself to the Temple Track, striving to collect more God Tiles then my rivals. Given my Newfoundland roots, I felt compelled to clash with Andrew over the primo fishing banks. Like Dean I also covered up every available Ceremony slot with building materials and building tiles. Unfortunately I hosed myself on one particular turn and failed to complete all six of my chosen Tasks. This forced me to sacrifice a God Tile to do damage control, cost me my six-point end game bonus and inspiring violent thoughts of table-flippery.

Dean served up a very balanced effort, taking care to score a smattering of points through every available channel. His decision to Build early was perhaps his most inspired move, since it earned him a whopping ten Victory Points during the game. He then went head-to-head with me on the Temple Track, ultimately losing that particular battle but still netting a few key Victory Points. After a heated clash for prime turf on the main island, Dean also scored a nice little windfall for Fish. Although he diligently filled up every single Ceremony Space, he virtually ignored Jewelry, opting for a more conservative and balanced approach.


In-Game Victory Points
Dean...16 points
Andrew...10 points
Me...1 point (?)

God Tiles
Me...8 points
Dean...4 points
Andrew...2 points

Fish Tokens
Andrew...13 points
Me...13 points
Dean...4 points

Andrew...27 points (!)

Completed Tasks
Andrew...6 points
Dean...6 points
Me...0 points

All Ceremony Spaces Filled
Me...6 points
Dean...6 points
Andrew...0 points


Andrew...58 points
Dean...43 points
Me...30 points

Andrew wins!

Bora Bora is sometimes referred to as "points salad" Euro because there's a veritable buffet of Victory Point sources. That's all well and good but I think that theme is rendered almost non-existent in the process. After experiencing the evocative calendar wheel mechanism of T'zolkin and the racial quirks of Terra Mystica, this one felt kinda flavorless to me in comparison. Although I tip my hat to Stefan Feld for knitting so many disparate methods of Victory Point acquisition into something semi-coherent, its really not my cup of tea. 

Let me put it to you this way: before I sat down to write the gameplay summary you just read I had absolutely no recollection of the game save that I came in last place. No aspect of Bora Bora lingered with me. And even though I liked Feld's Castles of Burgundy better, I actually had to go back and scan through my original post just to remind myself why I liked it. Don't get me wrong, I think these designs are great but the complete dearth of theme makes them pretty forgettable to me.

There's something else that bugs me about Feld's games. In much the same way that Andrew's Castle / Mine strategy in Burgundy seemed a tad abusive, the amount of points he generated from Jewelry alone seemed disproportionate to me. In other words, if I play this game again I'm going to collect as much Jewelry as possible. And why not?  I thought that all of the effort I sunk into gaining the most God Tiles would have been the big equalizer but clearly I was dead wrong. 

I also swear that I constructed something early on in the game but, according to the final score I only generated a single in-game Victory Point which most likely came from the Status Track. Sorry, but that seems kinda wonky to me.    

Although I loved the components and the baffling spectrum of choice, I still have to give Bora Bora a lukewarm review. I'm hoping that a subsequent play of this critical darling improves my own opinion of it.  

By the time we finished Bora Bora, Chad and Mike had rolled in so Andrew led them in another session of the same game. Hesitant to sink another two hours into the same game, Dean and I decided to throw down in a few hands of...


We both randomly drew Red decks for our first match, which quickly degenerated into the equivalent of two pyromaniacal neanderthals smashing each other over the head with flaming clubs.

Dean actually had the superior cards, drawing an endless stream of nigh-impregnable defenders like Wall of Stone and a veritable shit-storm of vicious direct damage. Between Searing Wind, Lava Axes and Lightning Bolts I was quickly battered down to seven life points.   

The big equlaizer came in the form of a Dragon's Claw which I managed to get down on the table early. This allowed me to gain Life Points for every single Red Spell that was cast; a pretty sweet peach in a two-Red Deck duel! Although it took awhile to match Dean's Monster / direct damage output, I eventually started to crank out defenders like Balduvian Barbarians and hucking around Volcanic Hammers which chewed up the last of Dean's two Life Points for the win.

In our second match-up I played a Black Deck and Dean went with a keenly-interdependent Elemental Red and Green affair.

I just couldn't get any momentum going with this deck at all. To make matters worse, Dean's deck was  way too fast, eliminating meat shields like the Glutenous Zombie just as soon as they hit the table. In fact, if not for the unrelenting damage caused by Underworld Dreams he wouldn't even have broken a sweat.

He was merciless, using a Smokebraider and an entire spectrum of exotic Land cards to conjure up an endless parade of Monsters. Everything in that deck dove-tailed perfectly together. He came out swinging early with a Flamekin Harbinger which let him pull several big Elemental fatties out of his draw deck.    

This included a Rockslide Elemental, which quickly 'roided up into a 5/5 behemoth thanks to its ability to gain 1/1 counters whenever any Creature hit the Graveyard. Even worse, it was augmented by a piece of Equipment that let him draw cards whenever he caused damage to me. Yowtch!    

Despite of my best efforts to hold back my assailants it was like erecting a popsicle stick fence to ward off a charging herd of rhinos. I knew I was sunk when a 6/6 Tornado Elemental showed up on the scene and used its ability to spread out damage to to annihilate my defenses. Fortified by his thirteen remaining Life Points, Dean launched his final assault. My only blocker, the aforementioned Zombie, was quickly overwhelmed and the last four points of Life Points I had left were trampled out of my lifeless husk.

Our third duel saw me playing a random White Weeny Deck with Dean busting out a vicious multi-colored Sliver Deck.  Look out!

As per my Deck's mandate, I quickly conscripted a small legion of Crossbow Infantry, Master Decoys and Suntail Hawks. Dropping an Angel's Feather down before casting all of this temporarily inflated my Life total before Dean's exponential Sliver assault began to ramp up.  

Honestly, that Sliver Deck was so well-tuned I don't think Richard fucking Garfield could have beaten it. After a few short rounds this is what I was staring at across the table:
  • A Might Sliver: "All Slivers get  +2/+2"
  • A Winged Sliver: "All Slivers gain Flight"
  • A Heart Sliver: "All Slivers have Haste"
  • A Quick Sliver: "Flash: Any player may play Sliver cards as though they had Flash" 
As if that wasn't shitty enough, Dean then played "Coat of Arms", giving each Sliver +1/+1 for every other Sliver on the battlefield. Needless to say, faced with a Flying, Hasted, horde of 6/6 motherfuckers my ten remaining Life Points were soon erased in one fell swoop.

Dean won with 19 Life Points still remaining. Lord, what a thrashing! 

It was time for revenge; I just hoped that my next random deck pick would be up to the challenge! I picked a Blue card-cycling Deck while Dean tried a White and Blue deck.

Tired of being pecked at by my persistent Storm Crow, Dean snapped and pacified the creature. Given what came next, that might have been a tad premature. I tried to hobble Dean's initiative by enchanting one of his Plains cards, turning it into an Island. Between my transmogrification and Dean's color choice, there was certainly no shortage of applicable terrain for my 6/6 Sea Monster to exploit. Eventually Dean was forced to chump-block my salt-water Nessie with a very frightened Apex Hawk.

I continued to hammer away, using the deck's ability to cycle cards with haste. An early Tidings, a relentless Thieving Magpie and a diligent Archivist kept me rich with options as I chipped away at Dean's Life total. After charting some new Trade Routes, Dean dumped his now-superfluous Land for some fresh draws. Unfortunately all he seemed to pull were weak-sauce blockers, one-use Instants and impractical Enchantments. The few Creatures he did manage to summon either received an immediate spirit-ectomy via Remove Soul or were promptly undone by the incredibly-powerful Rewind. 

By the time I cranked out two more Aven Fishers, a Horned Turtle and a Coral Eel, even a heavily-equipped Surrakar Banisher couldn't gird Dean's loins. With 16 Life Points left, I swarmed Dean's defenses, dropping his 6 remaining Life Points south of zero.

What can I say about Magic: The Gathering that already hasn't been said?  Honestly, if Lizards of the Toast hadn't gotten greedy and kept cranking out expansions that made so many previous cards obsolete I'd probably still be scrambling for every new set like Heisenberg's customers lookin' for more Blue Sky. 

Well, by then it was past L'il Dean's bedtime so after sending him off to Sleepy Time Land® the rest of us pondered something light to finish off with. Chad seemed confident that he could teach us a fairly quick game that he'd been prepping so we ended up tackling: 


Here's a brief "There and Back Again":

"The dice building game engine was pioneered in WizKids Games 2011 release Quarriors! designed by Mike Elliott and Eric M. Lang. Similar to deck building games where players collect a resource to purchase better cards to add to their deck— in a dice building game, players are collecting dice. 

"In The Lord of the Rings Dice Building Game, players must work together to assemble an army of dice representing brave Men, battle-ready Dwarves, wise Elves and stout-hearted Hobbits and muster their troops against the forces of Sauron. But beware — some may be tempted by the power of The One Ring and become corrupted by evil!"

If you're looking to plow through the full saga, you can click on the following link to scan the game's full rules

If Sauron's face was the equivalent of a hornet's nest, we did our damnedest to treat it like a piñata. By that I mean we attempted to muster as many powerful characters as soon as we could, resulting in some pretty burly Enemy Dice hitting the Sauron pool early.

For example, even before we made it to Helm's Deep, we'd added one Evenstar, one Lembas, three Stings, four Treebeards (!) two Gandalfs, two Boromirs, one Arwen and one Legolas and Gimli to our collective dice pool. In the The Lord of the Rings Dice Building Game just as it is in Physics, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Ergo, the Sauron dice pool was quickly choked with three Goblins, three Uruk-Hai, one Troll, two Haradrim and, even worse, two Saruman dice.

Our luck during the "To War!" phase was also laughably inept. When it came around to Sauron's automated turn, we became mired in the battle for Helm's Deep and pretty soon Corruption began to spread out amongst Sam, Smeagol and Arwen. Having said that, I find it knee-slappin', HI-larious that our noble quest to destroy the One Ring was eventually undone because our Lembas bread apparently went moldy.

The Lord of the Rings Dice Building Game has had a pretty troubled history thus far. From what I understand the rulebook that shipped with the game makes Finnegan's Wake look like a Sandals Resort pamphlet. Chad, who took it upon himself to prep and table the game, did what he could to teach this one to us. Despite being armed with the revised rules, it was still a pretty turgid slog. 

Now, for the sake of full disclosure, we did play this game at 2 am and we were pretty tired and/or intoxicated at the time. In fact, it turned into a chicken-or-the-egg scenario whereby we drank to get through the game and the drinking wasn't making things any clearer. Annoyingly, the rulebook didn't even have an index, a detailed glossary of the dice, or even clear definitions of basic concepts like Rotating cards. 

Thematically, the game really fumbles as well. To me, the base game of Dominion is nothing more then a mechanic. An awesome, interesting and wildly-original mechanic to be sure, but just a mechanic. The same can be said for Quarriors! Although I can understand the motive for pasting some theme onto a dice-building game, this one just didn't cut it. Yes, I understand that we're all working collectively to aid a single Fellowship, but when everyone has their own personal pool of Frodo, Sam, Bill, Sting and Treebeard dice, they end up feeling like a bunch of generic Ghostly Spirits and Quake Dragons. 

That's why I absolutely love A Few Acres of Snow: it took the thematically-vacant deck-building concept and placed it into an appropriate context. Someone needs to do something similar with a dice-building game. Like, maybe a Lord of the Rings dice-building game. *A-hem*   

Based on our first play, The Lord of the Rings Dice Building Game looks like Isengard after the Ents stomped it into a mudhole. We'll try it again someday soon, but I think we're gonna hafta dig pretty deep to find the mithril in this Mine of Moria. Hopefully we won't end up releasing the Balrog of Eternal Confusion.

I know, I know: enough with the crappy Tolkien analogies already.

By the time our Fellowship met their protracted fate it was probably around 2:30 in the morning so we decided to pack it in and sleep it off. We'd already tackled a few hefty titles so we were anxious to get an early start on our first full day of gaming!

By 8:30 am we were all awake, re-hydrated and fed so we jumped right into the first action item on our tightly-packed agenda:  


A few months ago, Andrew floated the idea of buying a collective copy of Risk: Legacy so we could have an eternally-prepped game to bust out whenever Plan "A" fell apart. Realistically, we all bought into his proposal 'cuz the game looked ludicrously cool. Just peep this shiznit out for a tic:

"Risk Legacy represents what is if not a new, at least a rare concept to boardgaming: campaigning. At its core, the game, particularly at first, plays much like regular Risk with a few changes. Players control countries or regions on a map of the world, and through simple combat (with players rolling dice to determine who loses units in each battle) they try to eliminate all opponents from the game board or control a certain number of "red stars", otherwise known as victory points (VPs).

"What's different is that Risk Legacy changes over time based on the outcome of each game and the various choices made by players. In each game, players choose one of five factions; each faction has uniquely shaped pieces, and more importantly, different rules. At the start of the first game, each of these factions gains the ability to break one minor rule, such as the ability to move troops at any time during your turn, as opposed to only at the end.

"What makes this game unique is that when powers are chosen, players must choose one of their faction's two powers, affix that power's sticker to their faction card, then destroy the card that has the other rule on it – and by destroy, the rules mean what they say: 'If a card is DESTROYED, it is removed from the game permanently. Rip it up. Throw it in the trash.' This key concept permeates through the game. Some things you do in a game will affect it temporarily, while others will affect it permanently. These changes may include boosting the resources of a country (for recruiting troops in lieu of the older 'match three symbols' style of recruiting), adding bonuses or penalties to defending die rolls to countries, or adding permanent continent troop bonuses that may affect all players.

"The rule book itself is also designed to change as the game continues, with blocks of blank space on the pages to allow for rules additions or changes. Entire sections of rules will not take effect until later in the game. The game box contains different sealed packages and compartments, each with a written condition for opening. The rule book indicates that these contain the rule additions, additional faction powers, and other things that should not be discussed here for spoiler protection.

"The winner of each of the first 15 games receives a 'major bonus,' such as founding a major city (which only he will be allowed to start on in future games), deleting a permanent modifier from the board, destroying a country card (preventing it from providing any resources towards purchasing troops in future games), changing a continent troop bonus, or naming a continent, which gives that player a troop bonus in future games. Players who did not win but were not eliminated are allowed to make minor changes to the world, such as founding a minor city or adding resources to a country.

"Initial games take approximately 30-90 minutes to play, which includes a brief rules explanation and setup."

If you want the full order of battle, just click here to peruse the full rule book.

So, with all five of the investors present and accounted for we randomly doled out the five different factions and then signed our open Declaration of War.

Andrew...Die Mechaniker (Red) 
Chad...Enclave of the Bear (Green)
Dean...The Saharan Republic (Tan)
Me...Khan Industries (Gray)
Mike...Imperial Balkania (Purple) 

Striking out from his base in North America, Andrew quickly swallowed up South America. He tried to come at me through Iceland but I Scarred the site with a Bunker and send him packing during the resulting fraces. This seemed to pacify him, resulting in a more-or-less stable detente for the rest of the game. Instead, Andrew skirmished with Dean over South America and Africa. At one point, their rivalry became so heated that Dean Scarred Venezuela with an Ammo shortage in order to make the region less defensible. Eventually Dean's Faction began to wane and he was forced to receded from South America, allowing Andrew to swarm the continent. Otherwise, Andrew was uncharacteristically meek for most of this match. 

Assailable from three different directions I quickly kicked myself for starting out in Europe. Even though I managed to stem back the tide of Andrew's early "surprise" attack, I spend most of the game struggling to retain the continent's structural integrity. Dean was the first one to take a poke at my soft, squishy underbelly, tagging Southern Europe with an Ammo shortage Scar. I managed to recapture everything only to have Mike take a crack at me in Russia, devaluing that territory with yet another Ammo Shortage. Every time I got close to trading in four Resource Cards for a Red Star I'd be forced to blow cards on re-enforcements just to win back what had been snatched away from me on the prior turn.

Attacking from the relative safety of the continental bunker that is Australia, Mike launched several sweeping strikes across Asia and down into Africa. This put him in direct contention with Chad and the nasty tone of their first few exchanges prompted Mike to stick a strategic Bunker Scar onto India. Eventually this hot war simmered down into what amounted to a mutually-beneficial Resource Card exchange program. Mike used this arrangement to become the first player to trade in four cards for a Red Star. He then proceeded to levy a massive army and then snatched up Dean's HQ in South Africa. 

Weakened by the assault, I proceeded to eliminate Dean's Saharan Republic from the board on my next turn, partly because his early attack put me on a defensive footing for the entire game and mainly  because I wanted to open one of the envelopes!  

Starting on the nearly-impossible-to-defend land mass of Asia, Chad did a great job picking and choosing his battles. For most of the game he clashed with Mike over South East Asia but then they established a symbiotic arrangement which allowed both of them to strike out from their respective bases. This gave Chad an opportunity to turn in a set of four Resource Cards for a Red Star and recruit a huge strike force. 

He then proceeded to go on a tear, wrestling Dean's former HQ away from me and then stabbing into the heart of Central Europe. I tried to defend my home turf as best I could, but with my defenses spread out wafer-thin I proceeded to fold faster then Quicksilver on laundry day.


I make this declaration with a bit of an asterisk. Later, after skimming through the rules again, we saw noticed that every player starts the first game with two Red Stars: one to represent their HQ and one because there's been no previous victor. That means that when Mike captured Dean's HQ, he would have gained his fourth Red Star at that time for the win. 

Regardless of this potential goof-up there were quite a few things to dig about Risk Legacy:
  • The game begins when you customize your Faction with one of two initial traits. After affixing the selected power sticker to your Faction card you then have to destroy the one you didn't pick! For example I went with the option to re-enforce an HQ with one troop at the beginning of every turn and then trashed the option which gave me a free troop for selecting matching Territory Cards. 
  • Speaking as someone who would happily murder a friend for eating Doritos at the gaming table, there's something oddly therapeutic about a game that you willfully vandalize. 
  • Combat is exactly what you've come to expect from Risk but with some flavorful Scar-based modifiers.  
  • Resource Cards are even more straightforward then the Territory cards from the vanilla game. No pesky set collection required! 
  • The Red Star Victory Point system ensures that games don't drag on too long. You can earn them by trying to capture someone's HQ or by the even RISK-ier (seewhutIdidthur?) prospects of turtling. In fact, if we'd started the game with two Stars we probably would have been done in about forty minutes to an hour, tops. 
  • The "campaign" aspect of the game offers a lot of appeal. As the declared victor, Chad signed the board and will start the next game armed with a Missile which he can use to influence future battles. He also renamed Australia "Xenaville" which will net him a tidy little bonus next game if he manages to consolidate it. We also ramped up the value of several Territory Cards and incorporated the town of Sackville in Eastern Canada. Yeah, I didn't do that last part, BTW.   
All of this begs the question: how will these alterations impact the next game we play and what will be the state of the world at the end of Round Two?

I've always had a soft spot for Risk, mainly because it was the only "wargame" I could get my hands on as a kid. Like me, Risk is all growed up now. You can play it in under two hours, the rules are more  varied and the badly-needed additional chrome is meted out via one of the most unique methods of programmed learning I've ever encountered. I have no idea what Risk Legacy is gonna be like after the fifteenth match, but getting there will likely be a blast!

After a quick sammich-based lunch we moved on to out next game. Which, at face value, didn't look too promising.  


Here's how Board Game Geek describes this one:

"In the deck-building game Kanzume Goddess, you will be one of the Gods of mythology. Each God in the game has its own special powers which players can use to their benefit. Players will purchase cards from the center of the table to add to their decks. They will use these cards to purchase more cards and to do battle with the other players. These cards can be used to damage other players, to gain more cards, to draw more cards from your deck, and to protect yourself from damage. The last player with energy left is the last God standing and the winner of the game.

"Kanzume Goddess can be played as an individual match with 2-6 players or as a team match if you play with 4 or 6 players."

If you want to see this game as something more then a Japanese businessman's wet dream, then click on the following link to get the full acquittal.  



As per standard procedure, Andrew became the game's first punching bag, but he managed to divert our attentions towards Chad since his "Hideout" Ability prevented him from being attacked by anyone except Apollo!  And since Apollo could keep regaining Energy via his "Lunar Light" ability so long as Artemis was still above ground, Chad quickly became a walking, talking dartboard. And *BOOM*, just like that, Artemis was Outemis!

Due to some residual rancor left over from from Risk Legacy, Dean and I went at it like started to go at it like cats and dogs until we all rallied to lynch Chad. This gave him a temporary reprieve, using Hades to pull Warriors exiled in the Netherworld back into his own discard pile. Before he could take advantage of these newfound reinforcements, Mike sensed that he was becoming a threat and knocked him out of the game before he could recoup his lost Energy.

Odin's "Ruler" ability, which essentially gave my Warrior Cards the ability to attack twice, turned out to be clutch. It definitely served me well in those early skirmishes with Dean and Chad, but I just couldn't convince Mike to ally against Andrew. Even though I knew that dirtbag "Apollo" had been playing all of us like a cheap harp, Mike was hell-bent on preserving some sort of weird, archaic truce with Andrew. Already wounded with no real prospects for recovering my Energy, I became the third player knocked out during this top-heavy pillow fight.

Bolstered by Athena's "Tutelary" power which let her ignore discards and her "Tutelary Shield" which shrugged off damage, Mike proved to be a pretty resilient opponent. Unfortunately Andrew had been preparing for this one-on-one showdown for quite some time, stocking his deck with a disproportionate amount of Green Warriors, made even more effective thanks to Apollo's "Blight" ability. Coupled with his "Fusion" Skill, which kept him well-supplied with Bishops and Sacred Guardians, Andrew eventually triumphed in this battle of attrition.

Well, slap me in a pushup bra and call me Ranma½: this actually turned out to be a pretty decent game. Just after crapping on the base game of Dominion, I'm here to tell you that Kanzume Goddess is a deck-building game that works really well as a Royal Rumble. I really liked how the variable God powers actually do justice to these mythological figures. I also grokked the color-coding mechanism that made chaining cards together strangely satisfying. 

Sure, it isn't perfect. Beyond the overtly-puerile artwork, some of the God's powers seem a tad unbalanced to me. For example, I'm really glad that I got Odin's "double attack" ability instead of Chad's "Hey, look at me! I'm immune to everyone except Apollo!". Then again, that might only be a factor when you have someone as devious as Andrew sitting at the table.    

Unfortunately, this game would probably go over like a lead balloon with certain members of the female persuasion. I know that I'd certainly have some 'spainin' to do if my wife saw this pervy-looking thing sitting on my game shelf. Since the game itself is actually really tight, it's a bloody shame that the artwork makes it look like Dakimakura: The Card Game.  

Next up was perhaps the biggest revelation of the entire weekend for me:


Here's what publisher Columbia Games has to say about Hammer of the Scots on their webzone:

"Hammer of the Scots brings the rebellion of the Braveheart, William Wallace, to life. As the English player, you seek to pacify Scotland by controlling all the important noble lords. The Scottish player also seeks the allegiance of nobles to support a difficult struggle for freedom.

"Hammer of the Scots will give you many hours of entertainment and insight into this fascinating period in history." 

If'n you wanna check out the full catalog of fiddly bits, you can find the current iteration of the rules right hur.  

Honestly I didn't expect to get this played at Cabin Con but when Andrew, Dean and Mike got into a series of Star Wars: Epic Duel battles this provided the perfect opportunity to broach the subject with Chad. Along with me, Chad is probably the grognardiest member of our inner sanctum so it came as no surprise to me when he signed on to play. 

Chad came out swinging, rallying many of the Highland nobles to his cause. I struck back with a Sea Move card, landing a modest army in Ross to begin the hammering process. Meanwhile, I also managed to corner William Wallace in Lothian with a two-pronged attack and kill him in battle! And with that the war was joined!

Even though my military units were often dramatically superior, the Scottish home field advantage began to swing the tide of the war. My northern expeditionary force got whittled down by a combination of wintering and battle attrition and I just couldn't swing the loyalty balance in time. Pretty  soon the Scots were getting a metric shit-ton of reenforcement and recovery steps while most of my blocks were either forced to disband or kept limping along until they were eventually capped off. 

Things also started to get bleak down south where maddening movement restrictions over the Anglo-Scottish border forced me to send blocks in piecemeal. I kept drawing "1" and "2"-point Move Cards over and over again while Chad consistently drew several "3"'s! Given the fact that only a maximum five cards can be played every year, I felt pressure to commit my forces to battle before Edward was on the board and garrisoned with plenty of back up. In the end I'd wind up regretting my lack of patience.  

Things went from bad to worse when Chad tried to get Comyn crowned as the new King of Scotland. I attempted to lure him to the English side with a well-timed Herald Card but my regional forces were just too weak to facilitate his betrayal. In the subsequent skirmish he ended up swaying back to the Scottish side and on the following turn he made the pilgrimage to Fife where he was successfully crowned King. That damnable new block ended up being a colossal pain in my royal ass.

After scoring a narrow victory in Lennox, Edward's battered army limped into Carrick. Unfortunately my British blocks were pursued, harried and pinned down by a renewed blue wave of pissed-off Scots led by Comyn. Although it went right down to the wire, Edward was killed during the battle and, with that, the Scots converted all of the nobles to their side. By the end of the game, Scotland was nothing but a sea of glorious blue!

Even though I got beat like a rented mule, this was probably my favorite game of the entire weekend. To the point where I'm irrationally thinking about picking up the swanky third edition of the game. I've gotta get this one back on the table ASAP, especially while the rules are still relatively fresh in my brain.

Here's a quick inventory of what I loved about this game:
  • First off, this is truly a wargame. The block system is sheer, inspired genius; replicating initiative, unit strength, combat damage and fog of war all in one simple, easy manner.
  • The fog of war aspect alone deserves a special mention. You might go into battle with a clear numerical superiority only to have your opponent reveal their elite blocks. With that, your heart will sink, knowing that victory is no longer guaranteed. 
  • Block movement limits do a fine job representing difficult terrain and challenges faced by the English in keeping their armies supplied in Scotland.
  • When the Scottish nobles are defeated in battle they switch allegiances, which is a great way to simulate their fleeting loyalties.  
  • Wintering is a particularly interesting challenge since the Scots will always have the better deal in this arrangement. In order to overcome this deficit, the King Edward block needs to enter Scotland with a massive army and try to winter there. If the English have to disband every winter it's almost like starting over again next year from scratch.
  • The Move and Event Cards always keep you guessing. I love the year can come to a premature and unexpected end with the simultaneous play of two Event Cards. When that happens it can really throw a monkey wrench into your plans.
  • Both sides play completely different from one another. The Scots should generally avoid straight-up pitched battles, opting instead for hit-and-run tactics to maximize their home field advantage. The Brits on the other hand need to deploy their "THE HAMMER" King Edward ASAP, reenforce him with a massive army, and then start pummeling the Scots into submission region by region. 
  • Getting into the game wasn't easy at first. Even though the rulebook for HOTS is only six pages long, there are a lot of fiddly bits involving border limits, Wintering, the French army, pinning blocks, the Norse, reinforcements, Scottish Kings and Schiltroms. Once you wrap your head around all of that, the game starts to become intuitive and moves from "fiddly" to "chromey". Although we probably goofed up more then a few rules but we also got the gist, and the gist was very, very good.  
What can I say, this game is phenomenal. I don't think I can resist picking up that swanky Third Edition. I know, I know it doesn't make any sense but that's how my warped brain works.

Since Dean, Mike and Andrew were finishing up The Castles of Burgundy Chad and I had enough time to throw down with a few hands of:


I slaughtered him in Game One, but alas I neglected to take a picture. I don't even know what decks we were using; all I know is that I knocked him out of the game when he had only two Life Points left and I had my full roster of twenty.

For Game Two I used the same Blue Deck as before and Chad borrowed my Red Deck which I'd used against Dean in our first match.

Thanks to a severe Mana drought at the start of the game and a veritable conveyor belt of Red Monsters to contend with, my Life Total was quickly reduced from twenty to two. At the end of the match I finally managed to summon an Aven Fisher and then attacked once, causing a single point of damage to Chad with a Crafy Pathmage before he Lava Axed me into oblivion.   

After that second duel ended we all reunited for:


Sorry, but when I first heard about this one I started to get shades of Camelot, the Tom Jolly barker which trademarked the laughably inept "Lightning System" in which every player attempts to perform simultaneous actions under their own auspices as quickly as they can. Sorry, but this sort of fuckery makes the rules lawyer in me cringe.

Here's how Queen Games tries to account for this one:

"An adventure in Real Time! If a player is left behind, you need to rescue him. Otherwise, you'll all lose!

"You are a team of adventurers – trapped in a cursed temple. Together you must activate the magic gems in the temple chambers in order to banish the curse.

"Look out for one another. Some tasks can be accomplished only as a team – and you have only 10 minutes before the temple collapses!

"Escape is a cooperative real-time game, that is not played in rounds. Instead, each player rolls as quickly and as often as he can with his five dice.

"The dice determine your fate: discover the different temple chambers by rolling the correct dice combinations. Take care, though, because if you fall under the spell of the Black Mask, you‘ll need the help of the Golden Mask and your team-mates in order to keep moving!

"Act together: if several adventurers are together in one chamber, you‘ll activate more magic gems faster!

"Two modules make Escape even more exciting: the modules 'Curses' and 'Treasures' make gameplay even more varied. The treasures aid you whereas the curses make escape more difficult. After all, an adventurer who is unable to talk or who must roll his dice with one hand stuck on top of his head will have a tough time working with his team!

"The 10-minute soundtrack enhances the exciting atmosphere of the temple adventure!"



In Game One we only managed to get ten lousy Gems down on the table before hearing the "return to the Start Chamber" summons. Unfortunately only Mike and I managed to get back there in time before the doors slammed shut, trapping Chad, Andrew and Dean in various sections of the maze. 

We did marginally better in Game Two, finding all but one gem in the temple before the "Getcher Ass Back to Start" Gong sounded. This time Andrew and I were the ones who got sealed off on the ass- end of the Start Chamber door!

Stricken by a board game headache, Dean took a knee for Game Three. This reduced the number of gems required to unlock the Exit Chamber to fourteen but that didn't seem to help us out very much. In fact, we only revealed about eight Gems and then every single one of us promptly got locked up in different parts of the temple.

*Cue sad trumped noise* 

In some weird way I kinda enjoyed the funny, frantic and borderline insane gameplay of Escape. Even though the dice keep you more honest then the completely arbitrary actions of Camelot, the game is still pretty airy-fairy.  

To that point: how are you supposed to keep your communal efforts in check if everyone's playing a solo game of craps, rolling dice as fast as they can and validating their own efforts? Even if you manage to "win" the game, how can you prove it? Sorry, but there's no way you can tell me that every single roll from every single player is always going to be legit. For example, in our game, some of us were using Golden Masks to unlock one die amongst two players in the same room. Apparently that's not altogether, shall we  

Dean and Andrew did a good enough job explaining the rules, but every single player needs to be well-versed in how the game is played in order to be fair to the system. Otherwise Escape ceases to be any sort of game at all.

Having said that, the system probably doesn't need any extra help. We got our collective clocks cleaned on three separate occasions.  Hell, we didn't even come close to winning, which, I suppose,  is a good sign for a cooperative game. I'm always skeptical of co-op's that you win on your first try.  

Next up was something considerably less nebulous: 


Ever since we played this one about a month ago, I wanted to try it again, just to confirm that it's as good as first impressions led me to believe. 



Andrew quickly spread his starting forces out over four continents, gaining numerical advantage in two of them. He also did a fine job capturing two Coal and one Anvil bonus tokens. For Resource Cards, he also went with the Anvil theme, finishing the game with six of them plus one Tree and one Coal.

Chad ventured out into two other continents. On the land mass to the West he dropped down a City, besting Andrew by two units. It was a different story on the island to the northwest, where Andrew came out as the Mac Daddy...or possibly the Daddy Mac, we're not sure which yet. In the end he earned a respectable nine Victory Points just from Goods alone. 

I tried to mirror Chad's tactic from the first game by swarming the starting continent but I narrowly lost out to Mike in this particular arms race. It's a damned good thing that I also managed to get three armies up into the northeast continent, giving me dominance over the region as well as a bonus Crystal.  In the end I collected four Veggie Resource Cards, two Crystals, one Lumber and one Wild Card. 

It's a shame that Mike locked horns with me over the same strategy since we ended up hurting each other in the process. With two Cities and twelve Armies on the main continent, he ended up outnumbering me by four, scoring a valuable point in the process. For Resources Development, he concentrated mainly on collecting five Forest Cards, which he augmented with two Carrots and one Anvil.


Regions...4 points
Continents...2 points
Goods...6 points

Total: 12 points

Regions...2 points
Continents...1 points
Goods...6 points

Total: 9 points

Regions...3 points
Continents...1 point
Goods...5 points

Total: 9 points

Regions...3 points
Continents...1 points
Goods...4 points

Total: 8 points

When I first posted my generally-positive review for Eight-Minute Empire on Google+ one reader in particular gave me a bit of heat. Sorry, but after playing the game for a second time I still gotta stick with my first impressions. In addition to being quick to learn and fun to play, the Resource Cards and scoring via Regions and Continents provides just enough variables to keep players guessing to the end. 

Not only was it super-late at the time but I'd also plowed through the lion's share of my Crystal Head vodka. So, needless to say, my recollections were starting to get a tad fuzzy at that advanced hour. Regardless, we pressed on with our next game. With my Newfoundland heritage already stoked by fishing off the coast of Bora Bora the previous night as well as my beverage of choice, it was time to get downright patronizing:


Here's the lowdown on Fleet, yet another recent Kickstarter success story:

"Acquire licenses, launch boats, and fish the great briny blue. The player who best manages his or her resources and acquires the most victory points via fish, licenses, and boats, will build the strongest fleet and lead his crew to victory!

"Each round of Fleet has five phases. Every player participates in each phase as able or may pass.

"Phase One: License Auction
Players may purchase a fishing license from the license auction, using the boat cards from their hand as cash, and place the license in front of them.

"Phase Two: Launch Boats and Hire Captains
Players may launch a boat from their hand (matching a fishing license they own) by placing it in front of them and paying the launch cost using other boat cards from their hand as cash. Players may then hire a captain by placing a boat card from their hand face down on any of their available launched boats.

"Phase Three: Fishing
Players place a crate of fish from the supply onto each of their captained boats that are not already at capacity.

"Phase Four: Processing and Trading
If able, a player may process one crate of fish per boat onto their Processing Vessel License for later use. A player may then trade a crate of fish from their Processing Vessel License for a boat card.

"Phase Five: Draw
Players draw two cards from the boat card supply and discard one of the cards just drawn.

"Fleet builds as the game progresses, creating more important choices for players. Fleet is not a light card game. Although it is easy to learn, it is not easy to master. It is a deeply strategic game that plays quickly with very little downtime throughout the game."   

Looking to review the full Captain's Log? Head on over to the game's Kickstarter page to get all the deets!  

Having played Fleet once already, Andrew showed a definite aptitude for the game. He quickly procured a Shrimp and a Tuna Boat, got 'em both Captained and then went out to sea. Armed with no less then five fishing Licenses including one for Lobster, one for Tuna and three for Shrimp he ended up snaring eight Crates of Fish and a ludicrous amount of money which he channeled into a Fisherman's Pub for 10 Victory points!  What, what?!?  

Chad's final tableau didn't look a lot different from mine, except for the fact that he doubled up on the same kind of boat. After buying a Tuna license and a Processing Vessel permit he proceeded to retain two Captained Tuna vessels. This combination of high-valued Fish, two dedicated Tuna Boats, and a dash of Processing Power really added up to some serious coin. In addition to scoring mondo points from his Licenses he also got a tidy sum from two land-based business ventures.   

For some reason I was completely obsessed with diversity and I wanted to procure as many different licenses as possible. This turned out to be a decidedly unoptimal strategy. By the end of the game I only had a single Cod and Tuna license and three matching Boats, all of which were Captained and stocked with eleven Crates of Fish. 

Mike got started with a Cod license and a matching Ship (with prerequisite crusty skipper) but then he branched out with a pair of King Crab contracts.  Instead of looking for equally Crabby ships, Mike bought two big Processing Vessel contracts and a pair of like-minded vessels in order to gill net the entire Arctic Ocean. Even though he only had one Crate of Fish at the end of the game he scored a decent little King Crab bonus as well as a reward for his impressive flotilla.  


Licenses...28 points
Boats...2 points
Crates...8 points
King Crab Bonus: zero

Total: 38

Licenses...26 points
Boats...3 points
Crates...4 points
King Crab Bonus: zero

Total: 33

Licenses...7 points
Boats...5 points
Crates...11 points
King Crab Bonus: zero

Total: 23

Licenses...20 points
Boats...8 points
Crates...1 points
King Crab Bonus: 7 points!

Total: 36

Andrew wins!  Again! Dammit!!!

Okay so I'm hoping that one of these scenarios is applicable to this game:
  • Andrew neglected to mention that owning a bunch of different ships is a bad idea.
  • Andrew did explain that that owning a bunch of different ships is a bad idea but I either don't remember or I just ignored him.
  • Having a bunch of different Ships isn't a bad idea and my poor showing is based solely on gross incompetence and/or a dangerously high blood alcohol level.
Look, back where I'm from the object of the game is to catch as much gorram fish as possible, which I clearly did. By a mile. So, by rights, I actually won the game. Either that, or I just explained why the Newfoundland economy was in the shitter for about thirty or forty years. 

Needless to say, I'm not going to float any criticisms of Fleet. Because of user error, I can't say that the game was unmemorable. I will say that the theme is interesting enough for me to try it again, but this time I'll be less militant with the whole be-the-first-on-your-block-to-collect-'em-all approach.

After that dubious play-through of Fleet we all decided to pack it in. Since our plan was to game the following day until we had to drive back to Hali 'round 3 pm, I knew that we still had time to sneak in a few more quality games!


Even though I was feeling rather sloth-like the following morning, I quickly revived when I saw what Andrew was setting up for our next game:


We played Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar fairly recently, and like Eight-Minute Empire, I was keen to try it again to make sure it deserved the overt critical gushery that I heaped upon it the first time out.  



After building an early Farm to offset his food costs, Andrew veered away from his previously-successful Crystal Skull tactic and employed a Corn-heavy strategy. To augment this, he took a one-tier step up in Agriculture and Resource Extraction Technology and three jumps in Theology. He also dabbled on the Temple Track, earning a three-point favor bump with Kukulcan, earning some bonus Wood in the process. At the end of the game he left one worker stranded on the Tikal rondel.     

It was Chad's first time playing but he took to the game's concepts very quickly, purchasing a Farm that exempted one worker from The Hunger Games. When he noticed the immediacy of Crystal Skull pointage, he was quick to jump on that particular bandwagon. Perhaps influenced by Andrew's example, Chad also stepped up his Agriculture Technology, which ended up earning him several bushels of bonus Corn. He also flirted with the Temple Track, earning two devotional steps with Quetzalcoatl and three with Chaac, both of which paid off recurring dividends of Stone and Gold. He also left a worker cooling his heels on the Palenque wheel at the end of the game.

Even though Mike was also a T'zolkin virgin, things seems to click with him straight away. He invested in some hawt Crystal Skull action and ended up buying the most Buildings, including a Tomb dedicated to Quetzalcoatl and Chaac which gave him two and three advancements in their respective Temples. Interestingly enough, he completely avoided any Technological developments in lieu of exploring the Temple track, nearly reaching the devotional apex for Kukulcan and scoring some Wood and Skull freebies in the process. 

Recalling the importance of leaving Skull-shaped offerings on the Chicken Pizza, er...the Chichen Itza Track and devoting yourself to one particular god I quickly went to work. I decided to curry favor with Quetzalcoatl, nearly claiming the penultimate position in that Temple and earning a reoccurring Gold windfall in the process. I wanted to get to the top spot but other requirements, plus a key game fuck-up (see below) prevented this. 

I also went up one step on Chaac's track, probably just to make amends for burning down part of the forest in order to satisfy a Corn/food requirement. For Buildings I made one of my Workers immune to hunger with a Farm and then built a Tomb that gave me a one-point Temple improvement. In order to accommodate my early Crystal Skull venture I went up one space on the Theology track and then tried to improve my resource variety by ratcheting up my Extraction Tech. 


Mike...44 points
Chad...41 points
Me...40 points
Andrew...26 points

So, you may be at home, looking as this and thinking, "Sweet Googly Moogly, why are all of these scores so pathetically low?"  Well, just have a peek at the photo again and see if you can figure out what critical thing we fucked up. Don't worry, I'll just wait here while you take a good, hard look at the board.

See it?  Doolya?  Yep, that's right, folks, we forgot to change the offered Buildings to their more powerful versions halfway though the game.

I remember thinking during the game: 'Why am I having such an impossible time getting to the top of this stupid freakin' Temple track?" or 'Man, why can't I afford a freakin' Monument'? I'd like to think that the cock-up effected everyone equally but my long-term goal of constructing a Monument and hitting the top of the Quetzalcoatl chart was most certainly impacted by the mistake. I'm confident that Andrew's "Corn-A-Go-Go" scheme also would panned out a lot better.

But this was our failing, not the game's. Along with Terra Mystica, this is still one of the most interesting and original Eurogames to come down the pike in a very, very long time and I'm seriously considering adding both of them to my collection.

Well, by now it was lunch time and we only had time for one more game. We all turned to stare longingly at the one thing in Andrew's box (?) that we'd be all been salivating over ever since we first got to the cabin:


So, is this expansion worth dropping down your hard-earned Gold Pieces? Here's the tantalizing premise dangled before us by the designers:

"Scoundrels of Skullport adds brand new content for the award-winning, bestselling board game, Lords of Waterdeep. It’s not one, but two, complete expansions: the sprawling dungeon of Undermountain and the criminal haven of Skullport.

"Each thrilling location has unique characteristics and offers new play options, including new Lords, Buildings, Intrigue and Quest cards.

"Owners of Lords of Waterdeep can use one or both of these new subterranean locations to add depth to their game experience. There’s also a new faction, the Gray Hands, so now a sixth player can join in the fun!" 

Looking to explore this hive of scum and villainy in more detail? Just click on the following link to get the full map to the Undermountain. 

Andrew...Red Sashes
Chad...Green Harpers
Me...Gray Hands 
Mike...Blue Silverstars

Skullport proved to be a pretty tempting destination. All of us braved this shady metropolis, lured in by a veritable smorgasbord of Adventurers, Gold and Intrigue. Unfortunately as the negative modifier began to creep up around -6 per Corruption we all started to scramble for methods of redemption. I got a temporary reprieve early in the form of a Quest called "Donate to the City" which allowed me to reroute Corruption back to the board upon its successful completion. 

Although Andrew didn't complete a lot of his character-based Quests, he did become a very successful slum lord. In quick succession he constructed The Three Pearls (trade any two Adventurers for any three Adventurers), Northgate (choose any type of Adventurer plus two Gold) and Monsters Made to Order, which allows the user take Corruption to get their agents back. I dabbled in real estate as well, purchasing Heroes Garden, which let patrons complete face-up Quests and gain a four-point Victory Point bonus to boot.  

Chad got into the act by placing the House of Wonder, which let Agents retain a mix of Clerics and Wizards for two Gold. But it was Mike who built the most sought-after structure of the entire game: The Promenade of the Dark Maiden which gave us a last-minute opportunity to cool down our Corruption! Unfortunately, it only got built right at the end of the game so I was one of the few lucky souls who got to take advantage of it!

In fact, at the end of the game, I only had one Skull worth of Corruption! Mike and Andrew both managed to chip their deficits down to three but Chad was more corrupt then the average U.S. Senator by the time the game ended.  

There were some notable completed Quests. Chad finished "Bolster Griffon Cavalry", earning a crap-ton of Fighters for this valuable Plot Quest. Mike completed five Quests that were right in his Lord's wheelhouse, including "Take Over Rival Organization" and "Patrol Dock Ward". Andrew polished off one of the big, hairy forty Victory Point fuckers right at the end buzzer. And talk about going down to the wire: on my second-last turn I managed to drop an Agent down on my own Heroes Garden, completing "Uncover Forbidden Lore" with a very welcome four-point bonus! 


Andrew: Kyriani Agrivar
Chad: Nindil Jalbuck
Me: Mirt the Moneylender
Mike: Caladorn Cassalanter


Andrew: 96 points
Me: 88 points
Mike: 72 points
Chad: 56 points

With Lords of Waterdeep, I always got the impression that the designers finished up with a considerably more complicated game but they deliberately set a few things aside to constitute an inevitable expansion. And sure enough, lo and behold, just one year after the release of the original game we've got Scoundrels of Skullport to ponder.  

In my humble opinion, this expansion gives us the perfect worker-placement game experience. Yes, some of the Quests are still a tad unbalanced and there's a smidge of luck involved when you pull those first two starting Quests. But overall the game is great. I love how Corruption works, becoming increasingly problematic the more you and your table-mates exploit it. I'm also grateful that we now have more Lords to chose from.

When it comes to incorporating the base game and the expansions, some people seem to believe that you should introduce one module, then the other and then combine them. I say horseshit; just go ahead and chuck 'em all together. Honestly, the added "difficulty" is downright negligible.    

As soon as I can get my mitts on this, it's goin' right in my game collection. Besides, I'm afraid that my wife will probably divorce my lame ass if I don't bring this home in the next few weeks.  

And with that, all that was left to do was tidy up the cabin and ensure that we left it in better shape then we'd found it. Diving back home that day we had a chance to discuss how the weekend went overall. The general consensus was that we'd not only learned a great deal from last year's experience, we successfully applied our new-found wisdom to great effect. As a result, this year's Cabin Con was successful way beyond our expectations. 

But, hey, there's always room for improvement, right? Here's my wish list for next year's event:
  1. I want to try and play all of the games that I've prepped. I really wanted to get to Alhambra, but, hey, what are ya gonna do?
  2. Although tablet gaming is great it'll never replace good, old-fashioned tabletop trash talk! 
  3. Super-seriously we need to make sure certain condiments are in the fridge. I mean what's a sandwich with mayo?  Jesus, just because we're in a log cabin in the middle of the woods it doesn't mean we have to revert to Lord of the Flies style-savagery.  
  4. Speaking of flies, we need to invest in about forty bucks worth of no-pest strips. 
  5. It might be smarter to spread the alcohol consumption out over two days instead of one!
When I think about it, these words of wisdom should be pretty much applicable to every weekend. 

You don't need a cabin in the woods to enjoy an evening gaming  with friends! Just click on the links below to snag some of your favorite titles from this post and cobble together your own informal gaming con!