CABS: After Turkey Day – 2011

Yesterday, Lisa and I made our annual pilgrimage to the CABS After Turkey Day Game Fest (XIV). Every year, CABS allows the public to use their space for playing board games and opens the doors to their massive game library to anybody that wants to play. Come one, come all whether it be families, kids, adults, people new to games, or seasoned veterans. I apologize up front for the relatively poor images. All I had to capture the moment was my Droid crap-cam. The lighting caused some horrendous purple fringe effects.

We arrived before 11am to a packed house. This year, they opened the doors at 6am Friday morning and would close down at 6am Sunday morning. I spent a few moments looking through the flea-market items while Lisa linked up with some friends who had arrived at 6am! Impulsively, I bought a used copy of Palenque, a recent Essen release. The Z-Man produced game was on my radar and my intent was to track it for a few months before making a buy decision but $20 for what currently sells for $34 at Game Surplus and what appears to be a like new copy, I figured it was worth the shot.

While our friends finished up a game, Lisa and I found a couple of open spots at the end of a table and played Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age.

When the end of another table opened up, I grabbed Kingdom Builder from the library and taught it to everybody else. I have never actually read the rules myself but in checking on a few items when questions came up, I realized that the hut placement rules are more easily taught the way the rules describe them as opposed to how I was taught them, and that there are some special tile situations I was unaware of. As is usual, I bore the brunt of the verbal ribbing (“Have we ever played a game correctly?!”), the burden of being the teacher I suppose. I think everybody still had a good time.

It had been months since I’d played Egizia but the three of us sat down for a rules refresher (we’d all played at least once some time in the past) and a quick game. I always have a good time playing Egizia; it’s one of my favorites.

While Lisa played Lost Cities: The Board Game with a friend, I taught Quarriors to a group of three kids. I didn’t play with them but instead, just got them started and sat near to answer questions. I like teaching games to others and honestly don’t mind teaching and then sitting out while they play. I think these public gaming events are a great opportunity to evangelize for the hobby and it might be nice to organize something a little more formal for the club.

Next up was Ascension: Chronicles of the Godslayer. This was new to three of us but it was a quick study. If you’ve played Dominion, you’re set. The game is a deck-building game where you’re trying to buy Hero and Construct cards to help you earn more money, victory points (glory or some such silly name for it), while you defeat monsters that pop up. It’s simpler than Dominion (less choices) so depending on your mood it may or may not get the nod when reaching for something off the shelf.

Taking a quick break after eating a quick bite, I taught Cities to everyone. Cities is a 2-4 person “solitaire” game (there’s no direct conflict between players) of trying to maximize points based deciding where to place a tile in your city. Very simple game and mostly an activity more than a competition.

We closed the night with 7 Wonders. Lisa has played many times but the other 5 players were new to the game. It may not look it, but 7 Wonders is a great family game. Don’t be put off by its complex appearance. It’s actually very easy to learn, it plays very fast, and there’s very little down time between “turns”. Unlike most games, adding more players does not slow the game down so the experience with 3 feels very much like the experience with 7.

Thanks CABS for putting on ATD-2011. We’re already looking forward to it next year.

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