Board Game Gumbo: Dice Tower Con Recap - Part One
BJ from Board Game Gumbo here, reporting (almost) live from Dice Tower Con 2019. It’s my second day here at the con, and already I’ve seen some amazing games being played. Now, did I play any? I will let you be the judge.
If you haven’t been to Dice Tower Con before, it is currently (but moving to a new location soon) staged at the beautiful Caribe Royale Convention Center on the door steps of Disney Springs. The open gaming and library run 24 hours a day, for five days, so there is never not enough games to play.
The Dice Tower Con crew puts on shows and auctions, scheduled games and a massive hot games section, and really knows how to put on a great convention.
My favorite part is that the con allows people to enter the first morning without worrying about the con badges. The gaming halls are open, and there’s a ton of hot games already set up, and people can start playing right away.
The Southern Board Game Fest Krewe is here, and we took full advantage of the early day. Sagan taught us all Brikks. Both of these are new roll and writes being published by Stronghold Games. I was skeptical about Brikks, because the pitch is “Tetris meets a rando-writer”, but it was surprisingly fun. Wolfgang Warsch can be very diabolical with his roll-n-writes, with complicated interlocking puzzles that need to be unpacked to really score high. Brikks has that depth, but is so much more accessible. I could see my wife liking this game a lot.
We also played Doppelt So Clever, and as I have said before, I like the puzzle in Doppelt enough that there really is no reason to play Ganz Schon Clever for me anymore!
I’m volunteering this year at the Grey Fox Games booth, where we are demoing Reavers of Midgard, the hot new release for GEN CON. The production copy made it safely to Orlando, and players are getting a kick out of being the first ever to play the game in its nearly final format. Alex Goldsmith. of the Dukes of Dice podcast and the chief noisemaker at Grey Fox, and I are keeping the tables full all day long. If you are at the con, come by and check it out!
I’m also demoing Bushido at the front of the booth. I was pleasantly surprised to finally meet the designer, Pedro Mendoza. My son Matt and I have played Bushido many times at the house, so it’s been fun sharing this quick playing two player tactical game of dueling martial artists. A few groups of players were very surprised by how quick the game can be learned and how thematic the ebb and flow of the battle is.
The vendor hall closed at five, so Alex and I grabbed my son Jack, who is out here at the Con with me, to try out a very special project that harkens back to my childhood, Return To Dark Tower. Back in 1981, this massive and mechanically amazing game debuted in America.
My friend Brian got a copy for Christmas, and we played the heck out of that game. Now Restoration Games is sprucing it up -- well, okay, they are taking the concept of the game and making it more modern for today’s gamer tastes. Justin from Restoration and Isaac (the designer of Return to Dark Tower and, of course, Gloomhaven) ran us through the latest iteration of the new design.
We set out on a four player journey (Corey from Dice Tower News joined up with us) to save the four kingdoms. According to Justin, we took the game deeper than they have ever seen it geaux with outside playtest groups, but in all honesty, it took four gamers, a friendly game manager, and Isaac himself to beat Isaac at his own game.
I unfortunately can’t share pics or talk much about the game play -- but I will say this: if they can pull off what they are promising with the game, and judging by our play, they can, this will be a blockbuster. No idea on a timeline yet but I will keep you posted.
After a quick bite for supper, Alex brought out LAMA, the new game from Dr Reiner Knizia that is just hitting American stores. It is getting a lot of buzz for its Spiel des Jahres nominations, especially since it flew pretty far under the radar here in the States. We played it a couple of different times, first as a three player with just me and Alex and Jack, and then as a five player with the I Heart Board Games krewe. (They are here and streaming every day, so geaux watch their Twitch channel!) John showed us a quick tweak of one of the rules, and although I agree it is basically Gamer Uno, there is a charm and a quick pace to the play that I now see fits the SdJ nomination to a “tee”. It is easy to teach, and families who like card games that everyone can play together will enjoy it. It is still not better than Just One in my opinion, but I think it has a shot of winning.
For our final game of the night, Alex convinced me to play We’re Doomed. I’ll leave my thoughts to the Dukes of Dice podcast, but spoiler -- it is one of those crazy con games that I can see myself playing many more times.
That’s it for the first day -- stay tuned this week as I will try to check in every other day or so with more news. Until next time, laissez les bon temps rouler!