Caira and I took a daytrip down to [ConQuest San Francisco] on Saturday. It was great, same as last year, but the Bay Bridge closure caused some extra traffic problems. I missed out on all the games that started at 9:00 am, but it gave me a chance to look around and see what was going on and chat with some folks whom I don’t get to see very often. Meanwhile, Caira headed straight for the miniatures-painting area. Except for a short lunch break, she spent the whole day up there. That ended up being a pretty good deal: I paid $30 for a 1-day pass for her, and she got five mini’s out of it along with access to all the paint, brushes and tools she needed.
At about 10:00 am, I finally got a chance to join a game, [Axis & Allies], which I had only played once before. I got to play the Allies against two veteran players who took the Axis. History proved quite malleable — after a little over two hours, Germany captured Moscow and the Allies sued for
lunch peace. (Yes, I *was* getting hungry.) 🙂 After lunch with Caira, I managed to restore my reputation somewhat. I got in a 5-player game of [Taj Mahal], another game that I had played only once before. I played fairly well, (or I got lucky), and scored enough points to finish in second place. I chatted with my fellow players and mingled a bit more.
I came across an in-progress game of [Thurn und Taxis]. There’s been quite a lot of *buzz* around this game, but I hadn’t had a chance to look inside the box, much less play it. So while the game was running I asked if I might read the rules and watch the game for a while. More people started hanging around this game, and by the time it was over there was a full complement of four people ready to jump in and try it. The theme sounds a bit silly: each player represents a family trying to establish the first postal service in northern Europe in the 15th century. It’s actually a very interesting and nicely balanced game. The rules are simple, play is quick, and the components are quite attractive. This game has a lot of potential to become a favorite of my family, so I went out and bought a copy as soon as [Viking Hobby] opened the next morning.
Some things I learned last year, and re-learned this year:
– Plan to arrive at about 08:00. This leaves time to park, walk to the hotel, register, and look through the schedule for the day.
– The coffee bar at the Con isn’t open all evening, and there’s no other place within walking distance to buy coffee. Find out when they close and set an alarm to alert coffee
addicts connoisseurs of the “last call”.
– A backpack would have been helpful. I remembered to bring my camera, but I was constantly worried about losing it.
– Bring some snacks along. Maybe some fruit, cheese and crackers, something.
– There’s water at the Con, but they only have little bitty cups. Bring a waterbottle next time.
– I needed a pen and notepad to write people’s email and other notes.
– Highlighters for the schedule would have been handy.
– **Leave $3 in the car for bridge toll!** (Fortunately I had $3.35 in my pocket when I hit the Carquinez Bridge.)
[ConQuest San Francisco]: http://www.avalonconventions.com/conquestsf/index.php
[Axis & Allies]: http://boardgamegeek.com/game/98
[Taj Mahal]: http://boardgamegeek.com/game/475
[Thurn und Taxis]: http://boardgamegeek.com/game/21790
[Viking Hobby]: http://sonicchicken.net/blog/wordpress/2005/09/09/viking-hobby-has-no-web-page/