I'm only about a month late on this wrap-up. Maybe two.
Though my trip to the convention was shortened by a day and a half due to work commitments, I had a great time and experienced a great mix of the old and new (with more emphasis on the old this time around). Again, I did most of my gaming with good friend Jim Ginn.
We the People - This is becoming an annual tradition for Jim and me and arguably has been the highlight for the past two years. This is just a great, simple card driven game that seems extremely well balanced. We both can't wait for Washington's War to come out next year. This time I played the American colonies and emerged victorious, partly due to some amazing card draws early in the game. Jim did a valiant job of trying to keep up, and even with that advantage I had some hard choices in the final turn to ensure my victory.
Havana - This is the card game derived from Cuba and I played twice. More expensive than it should be, this is still a fun little game with an innovative action selection and sequencing mechanism.
18AL - We played about 1/2 of a game on Sunday morning with the amazing graphic re-design by XYZ. This was Hamzy's first time playing 18xx and I think he enjoyed it enough to get the bug.
FITS - Brilliant Knizia design that feels like Tetris combined with Take it Easy. I love the different phases in the game that present unique ways to score. Got this one for Julie for a Christmas gift and she enjoys it as well.
Steam - My first time playing the new Mayfair / Wallace version of the classic Age of Steam. We played with the advanced rules and I think the streamlining choices were appropriate.
The Pillars of the Earth - Hadn't played this in two years and really enjoyed this play. A game that probably registers negatively with me because my first two plays were with the German cards and we would fumble through with translations, this is better than I have given it credit for.
Roll Through the Ages - I still wonder why I don't own this game - great quick fun with surprising depth for (just) a dice game.
Just Good Stuff
Power Struggle - This new Essen release was just OK for me. I think it felt too much like other Euros I've played and it didn't grab me. The mechanics seem solid though.
Homesteaders - I'm certain I need to give this another try and the comparisons to Lehmann's Phoenicia are accurate I think.
Canal Mania - Love the game, hated this instance of playing. We had three competent players and one, er, incompetent player. Every freaking turn he would ask again what his possible actions were and even by the end of the game I think he still didn't understand the basics.
Roma II - I love Roma but I'm not sure I see enough here to warrant a purchase. It felt like a redoing of the same game with some different cards and powers, though the extra action possibility seems like a nice addition.