GenCon 2005, Day 4

This will be my last GenCon report. Hope you enjoyed them and feel free to ask any questions, either in the comment area or by sending me an email.

Sunday started with a return to the BigBox Play and Win. I did the math and figured out that if I bought another 12 generic tickets at $1.50 each, we could try out Manila and if we liked it, choose it from the prize table by aggregating our points. This means paying a net of about $27 for the game, which is a good deal (if we like it…).

We ran into Denise on our way into Hall 500 and she offered to join us - great chance for us to actually game together as we had been chatting all weekend. The kind GM at the BigBox area helped us setup the game and taught us the rules. This is a pretty light game, easy to learn especially when you play through a turn sequence.

Manila Board Game

Matthew, Jacob, and Denise join me in a game of Manila.

I thought I had a decent handle on strategy and was leading with about 1-2 rounds left. Jacob and Matthew, however, had bid much more competitively for harbor master and managed to buy up a decent amount of commodities. That plus a few bad bets on the board left Denise and I WAY behind Jacob as he crushed the rest of us, with Matthew finishing 2nd. Clearly these kids knew something we didn't, namely that you need to buy some of those commodities early in the game. I really enjoyed this - might be a bit too random for some folks' tastes but there's a solid game in there.

Next up was our final working session at Days of Wonder. I taught Memoir '44 to a few folks, including a father/son aged 7, while Jacob taught and played Ticket to Ride. Looks like they did well in the booth this year, selling out of Shadows Over Camelot and showing brisk sales throughout all of the time I sat there (certainly due to my demo prowess).

Jacob teaching Ticket to Ride

Jacob teaching Ticket to Ride.

Our last event of the convention was a Live Action Role Playing (LARP) game title "Dealer's Room After Dark". This was a kid-friendly LARP designed to be a good introductory game for adults and children, and we had a great mix of people in the room. The story line was simple: we are all toys at a toy convention, someone has stolen the "best dealer of the show" award and there have been some other strange goings-on.

Live Action Role Playing

The LARP in action. That's Matthew second from the right.

This sort of activity is right up Matthew's alley, but Jacob and I also had a blast. LARP has a sort of stigma at conventions; I don't know many boardgamers that try it. They really are quite innocent and, I think, a great developmental activity for kids. This is simply creative acting, improvisation, and problem-solving. There are some great socialization aspects as well - how do you roleplay a mean character without hurting anyone's feelings "outside" the game?

Matthew after the LARP

Matthew with two of the toys after the LARP completed.

We left the show around 4pm, and drove back to Shelbyville to spend time with my two grandmothers (in the same nursing home) then join my parents, sister, and two nieces for a great dinner and family fun. I broke out For Sale and taught it to everyone there and it was a huge hit - comments afterwards were uniformly "where can I buy this?"