Friday, May 9, 2014

Five on Friday: Top 5 Games from Lexicon Gaming Convention

As I write this it's the wee hours of Friday morning. One week ago I was preparing for Lexicon and was like a kid going to bed to awake on Christmas morning. The air was full of excitement; I couldn't wait to go to my first gaming convention in over a year. Now that the convention has come and gone, I'm experiencing Post Con Depression. I thought I'd use that opportunity to continue the 5 on Friday segment with my top five favorite games I played this past weekend.

I featured Lexicon a lot on the Kentucky Geek Girl Facebook page, sharing a lot of their updates. We had Greg on The Rad Ass Bitches episode 13 and we talked about the con on episode 15, which will be released this week. I'm very excited that I got to play over ten new-to-me games and meet a lot of fantastic folks. I'll post my own ReCONnaissance piece on Lexicon here on the blog, but we're covering the con extensively on the podcast as well.

While I got to check out a lot of great games, I thought I'd spotlight my five favorite games!

Square Shooters
There was a lot of emphasis placed on Square Shooters at Lexicon, with Heartland providing enough copies of the game for each person in the Square Shooters tourney to receive two copies for their entry. I didn't participate in the tournament, but Leila and I did play the game on Sunday afternoon. I really enjoyed how fast-paced and fun Square Shooters was. I liked that it was all about the luck of the roll and it was not as simple as matching the target "hand." There were other factors like betting to double your chips or challenging another player for a roll-off. It's also a very portable game, so you could pick it up anywhere. Be careful if you're a heavy roller, you might injure someone. :-D Oh! And you can even play it for free on iOS devices.

Kingdom Builder
One of the play to win selections in the game library was Kingdom Builder, which was designed by Donald X. Vaccarino, who was responsible for Dominion, which is one of my all-time favorite games. In Kingdom Builders, players are tasked with amassing the most gold at the end of the game. Using nine different terrain cards, players being building settlements across the board, which itself is separated into quadrants. The game allows for a great deal of variation and I honestly don't think that it could result in the same outcome each time. Like with Square Shooters, I like the variability. Unlike most games that I play, Kingdom Builder is definitely an every man for itself sort of game. You can block other players for building settlements near yours and influence the outcome in your favor.

Say Anything
Granted, this wasn't exactly played by the rules, but I like the concept of this party game. In a group of 3-8, players choose the answers that best suit their friends' personalities. Whether it be something as innocuous as "What is the best movie of all time?" to "If I could have a BIG anything, what would it be?" - the game can definitely be taken down an adult path, and by golly, that's what we did at Lexicon After Dark. For those of who were there, you know that answers thrown out to "What's the best activity for a first date?" included "Sex" and "Snowballing." And that was right out of the gate. While the game does have a betting system like Wits and Wagers, you can really throw the rulebook out the window and play however you feel like it. You can even team up Say Anything with Cards Against Humanity for an even more uproariously hilarious time.

This deck building game, reminiscent of Dominion with a battle format of Magic: the Gathering, was a slow starter, but turned out to be incredibly fun. Players spend runes to obtain more powerful cards for their deck, battle monsters, acquire minions/contructs, and win the game with the most honor points. The game is incredibly dynamic and the key is being able to adapt your strategy. I'm confident that now we know the rules, play next time will be even easier. Like in Dominion, there are card which allow you to penalize the other player based on certain conditions. I really liked this game and I'm very glad that we checked it out of the game library.

The Downfall of Pompeii
Another game in which, screw your neighbor is the name of the game, the object of Pompeii is to get as many of your Roman citizens to safety and away from the disaster of Mount Vesuvius. The first phase of the game is placing your people and the second phase comes when the volcano starts to blow its top. After that, it's a race against time. Between the ability to throw other players' pieces into the volcano and blocking their path with lava flow, the competition in this game is gruesome. What I see happening a lot with this game is that 2 or 3 people just go after each other the whole time and it leaves one unassuming person as the victor. Pompeii is really straightforward: you place your people around the board based on the cards that you draw and then you place the lava tiles based on symbols that correspond with the game board. I'd love to see a game that expounds on this that would include effects like Elder Sign. I could see "At midnight" all plebeians must move back a certain number of squares or all patricians may advance. Some storytelling would also be really cool.

There you have it, of all the games I played at Lexicon Gaming Convention, these were my top 5. The exciting part of this, is that they were all available in the 1000+ game library, which was a huge part of the convention experience. We'll have Episode 15 of the podcast up very soon which will chronicle our experience. Spoiler alert: We had a great time.

To keep up to date with Lexicon, check on their websiteFacebookTwitter, and the new Friends of Lexicon group. On the first and third Monday of every month, Lexicon and the Board Game Enthusiasts sponsor gaming at West Sixth Brewing Company. They also meet every Wednesday at Rusty Scabbard. Join the Meet-Up group for more info!

Be sure to like Kentucky Geek Girl on Facebook and follow my daily updates on Twitter! If you have any questions or want to discuss partnership opportunities, be sure to send me an email.

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