Wiled Gaming in San Antonio
by Susan Rozmiarek
If you frequent the Chit Chat forum at Geekdo (BGG), you must know Amy and Jeff Wiles as they are very active there. Myself, I'm a lurker, but Ed practically lived on the forum during his year of unemployment. I love having lots of "virtual" friends, but I love it even more if I get a chance to meet them in person and put faces to names and avatars. So, we were really looking forward to driving down to Jeff and Amy's house for a day of gaming and a chance to meet a few other Chit Chatters as well as play with a few of our favorite locals also making the drive.
We note the secret mark on the door. This must be the place.
My only reservation was the feeling that most of the people attending were hardcore Eurogamers at a time when my tastes definitely tend toward the Ameritrashy side of the fence. Given that a lot of the reason I was there was for the company, I shrugged off the feeling and tried not to flinch when I sat down for my first game of the day- Factory Manager. Brian Bankler, of The Tao of Gaming fame, taught us this game of factory management and I was pleasantly surprised. It's an economic game where you are trying to balance several things as you build as an efficient factory as you can so that you have the most money at the end of the game. It wasn't trailblazing by any means, but it was pleasant enough to play although not enough for me to want my own copy. It reminds me a little of both Industrial Waste (only partly because of the theme) and Vegas Showdown (in the way your income each round is determined).
Brian, Susan and Mike watch Amy watch her factory board.
Next up for me was Innovation, a little card game by the same guy who designed Glory to Rome, which I love. Jeff Jones has been playing it so much that it caught my attention and he brought his copy, which is apparently some pre-publication version that was very limited; the game isn't out yet. I'm way too lazy to describe the game when Brian has already done a superb job of it here. It intrigued me enough to want to play it again, but I'm not sure what my final verdict will be. The game has vicious "take that" actions and chaotic wild swings, neither of which I necessarily mind but sometimes do when the latter is due to the former. I like all the unique actions to try to use in clever ways, but agree that it is difficult to quickly and easily assess the ones available to each player in their tableau of cards on the table. The difficulty in planning ahead doesn't bother me so much as I usually like games that involve reacting to constant changes more than those that require planning a long-term strategy and executing it.
Why am I grinning like that? It's because I'm about to steal most of the cards in Jeff's score pile with my pirate. He was not amused.
Woot! The Adventurers was the next game, a fun push-your-luck Indiana Jones romp to collect treasures and avoid the traps and hazards. We all managed to avoid getting crushed like bugs between the moving walls and successfully tiptoed around the traps of the Lava Room, but then Joey met his end by being swept down the waterfall, and Ed got crushed by the boulder when he was two steps from the exit. My delay from trying to get a treasure in a wall alcove, unsuccessfully I might add, almost sentenced me to the same fate, but I was able to make it out to claim second place behind Tiffany "Toggy" Jones.
The Lava Room is full of traps, including giant hands that drop from above.
To end our day of gaming, we chose a quick game as we needed to hit the road soon. Tiffany taught us Cornerstone, yet another one of those spatial, dexterity, building games. You roll dice to determine which type of piece you have to place and after placing it, you can move your meeple, the goal being to have the highest placed meeple at the end of the game. The game ends when the structure or part of it falls and, of course, the player who causes its demise automatically loses. That would usually be me. The placement and meeple moving rules are simple but hard to execute if you have my shaky hands and (lack of) spatial skills. Of course, Ed excels at and adores this sort of game and wanted his own copy immediately after the rules explanation. My gentle reminder of the fact that we already own Aztec, Rumis, Pueblo and few others that I'm sure I've forgotten fell on very deaf ears.
Where the h*ll do I place this?!?
It was fun to meet everyone but I'm sad that the Wiles are moving soon to Georgia. Hopefully, we'll at least see them somewhere like BGG.con. We definitely need to hook up more often with the other San Antonio gamers. It's not *that* far.
Check out more pictures here.
Posted by susanroz at 8:48 PM
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