In case you missed it, this last weekend was the second annual board game convention known as Timp Con. The convention is held mid October at the Utah Valley Convention Center. It consists of two days of near non-stop gaming. The convention was created as both a means to make the wait for February and Salt Con more tolerable, and too bring gaming to Utah County as opposed to Davis County. While the Con does feature a few exhibitors, some demos, and a handful of raffles, due to the infancy of the convention the primary focus is directed towards one thing; gaming.
I had the opportunity to attend for the first time this year and let me say that I had no shortage of gaming those two days. Every week I feel like I need to get my health dose of games or else I start to get a little anxious. When a Con rolls around I can normally fill my canteen sufficiently to get me through the next week or two. The first day consisted of twelve full hours of gaming, resulting in one massive headache. You know, the bittersweet, over-exhausted kind, one I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Below is a list containing all the games I played over those two days and a quick description.
Crypt is a tiny game that provides a pretty robust bidding/push your luck experience. Players are exploring the tombs of an ancient king and will use dice to bid for various artifacts. These treasures will not only provide points at the end of the game, but collect enough of a certain type and you can exhaust them for special bonuses or end game scoring. Careful though, bid too high and you run the risk of losing the die when rolling to determine their availability for the upcoming rounds. The game is quick and has some tense moments when outbidding and rolling.
What can I say? This is one heck of a game. Players represent industrial powerhouses trying to develop the English countryside. Player will build canals, then railways, to transport the necessary goods and resources to fuel the economy, and in turn your opponents. Careful planning and quick tactics are key if you plan to make the right moves at the right times to increase your income and gain the reward of precious victory points. The game is long, and not entirely intuitive. But with some experience and an appreciation for tough decisions, the game will become as smooth and enjoyable as a bowl of your favorite ice cream.
Reiner Knizia is one of the most well known designers in the industry, and Modern Art is one of his most well known games. Players are museum operators bidding and selling art. The highlight of the game is most certainly the fact that the game features nearly every type of auction out there. You have blind bids, open auctions, set prices, etc. The games is very easy to learn and play and it is a blast to shout out insane amounts of money for a card that may or may not even score at the end of the round. And don’t even mention the art used in the most recent reprint by CMON, it’s absolutely terrific.
Not all bidding games are created equal. And while I enjoy Modern Art a good amount, I absolutely adore The Estates. Few games provide players with as much freedom as this one does. Players will be auctioning off building pieces, awarding ownership of particular companies to players in the process. The kicker is that when a player wins an auction, whether they control that company or not, they get the say in where it is to be built. Yet the player who owns the company will be the one scoring it, for positive or negative points. Players must work together, as they are invested in the same rows, but players must also keep their opponents in check. The Estates is such and elegant and captivating game, and I love it to bits.
This game holds a special place for me. It is one of the few games with which I’ve gotten to be involved in the play testing process. The game is a little brother of sorts to the popular classic Tzolk’in. Players represent ancient Indian tribes as they vie for the favor of the gods. Players move their dice around a rondel to collect the necessary resources with which they will work together to build a giant pyramid in the center of the board. The game can feel intimidating at first due to the sheer number of choices players have each turn, but the actions are simple and rewarding. If you’re in the mood for a heavier euro this is a game I have no hesitation recommending.
This game is somewhat of a classic within the hobby. Two players face of head to head as the USA and the USSR. Players will vie for control of various regions of the world using historically accurate events and people. The game can be a little long but it is most definitely tense. When you are in the lead you feel you opponent is one move away from taking control, and while behind you feel like at any moment your opponent may force an early win. There aren’t a lot of great 2 player area control games, so don’t let this one pass you by.
The theme may not be the most exciting, but what Inka and Markus Brand have done with the concept of ‘time’ is truly innovative. Each player represents a family working and making a name for themselves within their humble village. Players have the opportunity to train their family members within certain occupations, but doing so takes time. After spending so much time players will have to kill off worker pieces, hopefully earning them a spot within the village chronicle. The theme is charming and it’s quite the twist on a traditional worker placement game.
Too Many Bones-
I’m not normally one for dice chucking adventure games, but I do really enjoy Too Many Bones. Players assume the roll of Gearlocs eager to slay the tyrant terrorizing their homes. The adventuring party will face a series of encounters, leveling up and gaining new skills in preparation for their big showdown with the tyrant. Each Gearloc is incredibly unique. Each comes with more than dozen skill dice covered in an even larger number of die faces, each translating to a special ability or effect. The game will make some time to wrap your head around but it is a difficult and challenging puzzle to best all your enemies and properly level up your character.
I had a blast at the convention and would encourage you to attend next year. It was a convenient and fairly priced good time for all those in attendance.