Wednesday, October 4, 2017

My RinCon 2017

RinCon is Tucson’s friendly local gaming convention. In fact, it might be the largest gaming convention in Arizona. It’s definitely powered by the local community and I’ve always had fun at it. RinCon 2017 was no exception. I was there for a good chunk of Saturday and came back for one event on Sunday. While I was there, I got to play a nice mixture of scheduled events and pick up games.

I started out on Saturday with a scheduled game of Imhotep. I’ve played it in Yucatá but I wanted to play it face-to-face so I could get a better understanding of it. It was well worth the experience. One play with the game really helped me grok it better. It has a nice Ticket-to-Ride philosophy, three simple actions but tough choices. My Yucata experiences did help me decide to collect a ton of statues for the win.

I then ran into a couple who I had played Scythe and HUE with at a RinCon fundraiser last year and they remembered me. I had For Sale in my bag and we sat down for a quick game. I don’t get to play For Sale much but I often pack it for events. And getting to play it again reminded me of what a good game it is and why it ends up in my bag.

My second scheduled event was Button Men with James Ernst, who was a guest of honor. And I was the only one who signed up, although he had had a full table for Button Men on Friday. We still found another player and got in several rounds.

It was also a lot of fun to talk to James Ernst. As I grow older, I feel like he really knows how to design games for the casual gamer. And I have played a LOT of Button Men and it was cool to talk with him about it. We discussed stinger dice, which was a type he had been disappointed by, the new Button Men site and how we used the same plastic photo cases to carry games.

After a quick lunch, I ended up in a pick up game of Circus Flohcati with a group that included someone else I met at a fundraiser. I’ve owned the game for years but I have never actually played it. (Stayed in the collection due to its small size and it’s a Knizia) Nice to finally play it. And it’s going to definitely stay in the collection now.

Coincidentally, my third scheduled event was another Knizia, Samurai. Haven’t played it in years but it’s still brilliant and I am still TERRIBLE at it. I really think the new edition is a serious improvement, particularly the thicker board that comes in more pieces, allowing for a square box.

Wandering around after that, I got invited to a pick up game of Sagrada, a game of building stain glass windows through dice drafting. I’ve been curious about it since it sounds right up my wheelhouse. It was a lot of fun. I understand it’s hard to get a copy but I’d pick it up if I have the chance.

My last scheduled game on Saturday was Codename - Pictures. I have never played any of the games in the Codename series but I know that they have consistently gotten rave reviews. I’m not that into party games but I knew I had to take it advantage of the chance of playing one.

While I didn’t become a fan, I can definitely appreciate the Codename system now that I have tried it. And I know that Carrie and I should never be on the same team because we would want to kill each other by mid game :D

The last game I played was Broom Service, which I both learned and taught :D Since I already knew Witch’s Brew, Broom Service’s predecessor, it wasn’t that hard or unreasonable. Despite sharing the same core mechanic, they are surprisingly distinct. Broom Service was a good play.

Before I left, I went and looked at the Flea Market. I have been really trying to keep myself from buying games this year but I just couldn't help myself. And when I saw Steve Finn's Butterfly Garden, which I almost backed on Kickstarter, I broke. Having done that, I also got Famous Fairways since I've wanted to look at that series of micro games. I can console myself that my total expenditure for this year on games is still under ten dollars.

The only thing I did on Sunday was participate in a 7 Wonders tournament. I've made a point of playing in at least one tournament since my second RinCon. If nothing else, it's a good way to make sure I get a solid block of gaming in. Despite a rough start in the first round, I managed to squeak onto the final table and get second place. (Okay, someone dropping out had to have helped me out a lot) That was a fun way to wrap up the con for me.

Every year, it seems like every RinCon I go to is the best one I've been to and this year was no different. What made it so good, above all else, was how warm and inviting everyone was. I made sure to have scheduled events so I would get to play games but I got in a lot of pickup games. And at least half were with folks I'd gamed with in past RinCon events. There really is a sense of community in RinCon.

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