Top 5 Things About Strategicon: Game Convention!

This past weekend I took part in my first ever gaming convention. I guess it was everything I expected. It had a bunch of different kinds of people…and by different, I mean the socially awkward, the type that never see the light of day, and the type you wonder how they even make a living in the real world…Everyone from nerds and geeks to D&D players for 40 years to TV stars to 3 star generals in the United States Marines all converged on this gaming convention to match wits and strategies with other people in a broad range of games. From table top games like Warhammer, to any kind of board game from Monopoly and Clue to Settlers of Catan, Last Night on Earth, and Axis and Allies. Card games of all kinds and difficulties from Uno to Magic: The Gathering. There were even video games and a computer bay for online and LAN gaming. I saw eight people playing Age of Empires 2 for god sakes. Of course there were stores too. Game stores set up a presence in the back room where you could literally buy any gaming supply could ever need for any sort of game. But the real bargins could be found in the flea market area, where people just set up their own shops and would sell their own products. More on all of that later, but here we go, the top 5 things about Strategicon for me: 5. Magic: The Gathering Drafts – A Magic player’s dream. Although most of the players do not show up for this game until later in the day, there are drafts pretty much whenever you want them. You sit down and get 3 packs, draft a deck, and they have both single elimination games and swiss style tournaments. Of course, I stunk bad. I am not proud of that, but I guess that is what happens when you know very little about the new sets. All that aside, there is a reason the game of Magic is so popular, and when you can play it with new people and new cards and, in draft style, new decks, you can see why. It is a fun, relativity fast, card game that is easy enough to play but impossible to master. Strategicon provides a good experience if you are a Magic player.

4. Runewars – This was a game I had no idea how to play or actually know anything about before this event. To be fair, I still do not know much of the flavor of the game. However, I got to learn how to play it and play a game and it was a blast. It was complex but also very intuitive. The goal is to collect dragon runes, and you do that with one of 4 different armies (2 evil, 2 good) and a number of different heroes. Your heroes can do quests and aide in battle as your armies fight over lands and runes. Not to mention there are a ton of different creatures roaming the world that will strike at you if you get too close, like dragons and giants. The game could look daunting to someone who has never played it, but it is a Fantasy Flight game so trust that it will look complicated and overwhelming but at its core is rather simple and straight forward. However, like Magic, just because you know HOW to play it doesn’t mean you are better or worse than anyone else. It all comes down to personal strategy. This game combines so many elements of other games such as Citadels, Starcraft, Game of Thrones and any other fantasy game you could think of. I cannot wait to play it again.

3. Lord of the Rings: The Board Game – This was a surprise to me. Whenever I go to Target, I always look at the toys. That is just who I am. I love looking at Legos and action figures and stuff like that. But I always check out Target’s ever growing collection of board games and this one is always on the shelves. I always picked it up and debated getting it, but I never tried it and of course was skeptical. Well, I am here to tell you I am skeptical no more. This was the first game we sat down and played at the convention, and it was wonderful. It is a cooperative game where you and up to four friends (5 players total) try to get the One Ring to Mordor without getting killed along the way. Easier said than done. You play against a game engine and things become desperate rather quickly. Events take place quickly and in fast succession and resources become scarce.  We ended up losing the game, but the impression it left was substantial. The game also can be played rather quickly. It is rather simple to learn and requires a lot more team work than it does cunning. It seems to be a wonderful group game to play if you do not want to be at each others throats with games like Smallworld and Battlestar Galactica.

2. Flea Market – This is the area right when you walk on. People take over tables and set out their wares and offer them to whoever is looking. This is the area where you can find some real gems! People that are looking to make room in their collections sell all sorts of stuff. Some times it gets really heated too, and at one point there was even an auction. I personally stumbled upon a man who collected all sorts of miniatures. Any game that had miniatures, he had pieces or even full armies. A ton of the stuff was completely unopened and still in the original packaging. He just never got around to it because there was literally so much. He was moving to Vancouver and couldn’t take all of his stuff with him, so he was there selling it at extreme discounts. I personally picked up 2 full, unopened Warhammer armies for $35! I couldn’t be more happy about it. It was a great experience to go through everyone’s stuff and see what you could find on the open market.

1. Artemis – I have seen the future of multiplayer gaming, and it is called Artemis! Ok, maybe that is a tad dramatic given the graphic driven games we have now…but this is an amazing game. It sacrifices graphics and complexity for team work and a real sense of commanding and working on a ship. The coolest thing is you can get 6 copies of the game for $40 here online. You can use those copies to give some friends and create a space team. Communication is truly key in this game, as the jobs are limited in exactly what they can do. This game is best played with six people, and it is a complete blast. I recommend trying it for sure.

Overall, this was a super fun experience, one I look forward to doing again in my life. Until then, I have some new games to try out…so you’ll have to excuse me for now…

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