The Games We Play

The Games We Play

A repository of reports on the Wednesday night sessions of the club and anything else related to the club or boardgaming in general, which may be of interest to anyone who may be passing by.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Midcon 2007

Ben had been asking for some time if he could come to Midcon, as he enjoyed Games Expo and Hamstercon this year, I agreed he could come. We met up with Steve H and Mike at the bus stop and arrived at about 10.15. Dave D was already there; we launched straight into a game of Nottingham. This is a nice card game of collecting sets with enough player interaction to keep it interesting. Ben won, so he was well pleased. After this, Steve had got himself involved in a game of Civilisation and Mike was playing Imperial (actually, it turned out he wasn’t, but I digress). Dave, Ben and I played Race for the Galaxy. Not a big hit at the club, but Ben and I like it; once you’ve played a few times the strategy of building your hand and spread of cards becomes apparent.. We broke for dinner; the food was nice but horrendously expensive. And why does EVERY sandwich filling include mayo?
Lacking a fourth player; we tried Brass. This is Martin Wallace’s latest outing; a game of building canals and railways in industrial Lancashire. I liked it, Dave won and Ben was second. I then watched Starcraft being played on the next table; impressed, I bought the only copy on sale (and then had to fight off people desperate to borrow it to play – sorry folks; I like to punch out my own components and store them.)
We played Race for the Galaxy again, then Ben got into a Yu-Gi-Oh game with a lad he made friends with. Still lacking players; Dave and I played Dracula, a two-player game of Van Helsing chasing Dracula around a generic housing estate. I say played – we gave up after about three turns as it was rubbish; dull, pedestrian and boring.
Dave made a strategic withdrawal at this point (i.e. went home), and we had tea. After that, Ben and I played Mordred, another Martin Wallace game about Arthur’s knights battling evil Mordred. I won that one. We also chatted a lot to Hazel, the nice lady on the Bishop Games stand. We then played a curious 5-in-a-row game, the name of which I can’t remember; basically it’s like 5 in a row, but different elements of the board can move or rotate to change the patterns in place. We played several games and liked it.
Steve H came to join us and we introduced him to Vikings; I (just) beat Ben by 2 pts due to having lots of fishermen. Ben went off to play 5 in a row with Hazel, and Mike and another guy joined me and Steve for another game of Vikings. This game didn’t go so well and there were several comments about the fixed turn order penalising the last player. I’m not sure; I think it needs a few more playings to see if there is a different strategy the last player needs to adopt. The night was drawing on; we finished with Worms (no idea what the German name is); throw dice and collect worms. I won (eventually). We called it a night and headed for bed.

Ben watched a ‘Carry-On’ compilation on the TV and I started to read the rules to Starcraft before we turned in.

Sunday dawned dull and rainy. We had a super breakfast (one of the highlights of Midcon) and then headed back to the Wroxton. Dave, Mike and Steve had scheduled to play Britannia; on entering the room we got invited to join in with Andy and his sons Edward and Thomas. After playing Nottingham as an icebreaker (which Ben won); they suggested Twilight Imperium III. I’ve got TI II, but it’s never made it to the club; Ben’s asked to play a few times but again we haven’t. So we settled down to it. Ben liked it and was having great fun; it did transpire that the others play it a lot (family game). I wasn’t sure about it. I like TI 2; but I think they’ve added a layer of complexity that the game doesn’t need by putting in the ‘Puerto Rico’ style select-a-role/Action/Secondary Action mechanism. Also, there’s no point in making the hexes bigger if you then make the models bigger! This took up the rest of the day and we left to catch the bus home.

The turn-out was fantastic; I don’t think I’ve seen the Wroxton that full. Jeremy told me there were about 140 people attending on the Saturday,

It was good to see a lot of younger players there

The rooms were good, but the food ordering was bad. It took three attempts ( and two sendings back) to order a Club sandwich with NO mayo, NO lettuce and NO tomato


  1. Yes, MidCon was great fun. Britannia is one of my all-time favourites, so a Sunday dedicated to it was great. I'm just not convinced that the re-make is an improvement, both in some of the rule tampering around Romans/Belgae and the lack of names on troop counters.

  2. A somewhat belated reply to this, I was planning to add my own thoughts as a new post but I'll leave them here.

    I was not anticipating this year as much as I had last year's because there was nothing that I was deperately awaiting. Last year I had my first chance to try On the Underground, but this time the only real expectation in the run up was Race for the Galaxy and this had appeared a few weeks previously.

    The weekend started with Nottingham as Dave said, which I last played as Midcon last year. I know Mike has brought it along to the club, but it hasn't been played. I find the game inoffensive and I'm sure it would make a good filler.

    Brass seems a good game on this one outing, I do wonder if the Manchester factor could potentially be a problem, but shouldn't necessarily be so if everyone is aware of it. The rules, while perhaps not the most straight forward are not so complicated as some might lead you to believe.

    2 outings for Race for the Galaxy confirm for me that this is a great game and need not be over long when players have a game or two under their belts. Both these games came within the hour, the second playing out in 35 minutes.

    I tend to agree with Dave's comments about Dracula, but it's possible they we may have been missing something. I of course had high hopes for the game and could have forgiven much because of the theme. We actually stopped because I accidentally let Dave win.

    On Sunday it was Britannia, which is also one of my favourites, despite the fact that I had a feeling that I was on for a hiding as soon as drew the yellow faction, which I've always thought to be the weakest faction, requiring a really good performance by the Romans to stand any chance. I don't really think that the rule changes make any difference to this. While the Belgae are more of an irritation, the new rules on Roman roads, should balance this out. The real problem to me is the Norwegians and Dubliners appearing at the end and getting in each others way, this has not changed. I do agree with Mike that the counters could do with having names on them, but to me this is the only downside of the new edition. Here is a progress chart for the game. I am yellow, Mike Green, Steve Blue and Gordon red.