Sunday, August 14, 2016

JeffCon 2016 Recap

We held the annual JeffCon up at Jeff's cabin at Lake Kachess last weekend.  We always bring a mix of old classics and new games to try out.  Here are some of the games we played this year:
  • Colt Express - This was the 2015 Spiel des Jahres winner and I was excited to play it.  I wasn't expecting a pre-programmed move game, which I typically don't enjoy.  For what it is, it works well.  I enjoyed the random nature of the game, but also found it incredibly frustrating.  Part of the fun is the 3D cutout train, but I found it hard to see what was inside each car and would have preferred a normal board.  
  • Deception: Hong Kong - This is a social deduction game where the players need to pick a pair of cards out from a huge supply.  One of the players is assigned to be the murderer and selects two of his or her cards to be the targets.  There is a overseer who presents clues to the team so they can pick out the cards.  It was fun (and we were successful in finding the items most of the time), but the game could be much faster and straightforward than the rules as written.
  • Isle of Skye - This is a game I already reviewed.  I still enjoy it - good length of time, and hard decisions to make.  My only complaint is that if you make some bad decisions on bid prices early, it can be hard to recover.  However, the game does have a built in benefit if you are behind, which really helps.  On turn one, I had two great tiles, but each were purchased after my time to buy, so I ended up with no new tiles.  I did get extra cash, but was still playing catch up for the rest of the game
  • Dark Moon - I was hoping this could be a faster-playing Battlestar Galactica, but so far, it has been hard to replicate the fun associated with the old classic.  It feels a little clunky, but I'm hoping to get a full game as we needed to cut the last game off early.
  • Stockpile - This was the highlight of Jeffcon gaming this year.  This stock trading game is fast, fun, with good decisions.  It has some clever mechanics, and a great bidding mechanism.  It might replace Acquire as my favorite stock trading game.  The bidding phase makes the game really fun and interesting - there is bluffing and hard decisions to make.  My only suggestion would be a bidding mechanic for the character selections - I think some of the roles are more powerful than others.

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