This year was very much about quality rather than quantity, with only a total of twelve games played over the five days. Even then, I didn’t have a chance to catch up with some people or have a proper stroll around the vendor hall this year!

I landed in Dallas after a very long day Wednesday and went in on a game of Pret-a-Porter from stronghold Games

BGG CON 2019 Porter

I backed this on Kickstarter, picked my copy up at Essen, but hadn’t had a chance to play it yet so I was happy to jump in on a learning game. There’s a lot going on here, or in my befuddled state, there seemed to be a lot going on! I’d like to play this again soon to really form an opinion, there were a lot of symbols and small text and by the time we finished, I’d been awake for 26 hours!

Going into Wednesday with a little more sleep, my first official game of the Con was Alubari. I’d picked this up at Essen and even muled a copy to Dallas for friends. We’d played it at 2 players so I was able to teach it when I got there but it was a very different game at 4 players! Yes, it does share similarities to Snowdonia but we love the theme and this is great when we don’t want to pull out the huge Snowdonia deluxe box!

BGG CON 2019 Alubari

I was then lucky enough to play a prototype copy of a new Martin Wallace game called Bloodstones. This is technically a war game, with multi-use tokens that constantly kept me angry (in a good way!) about tiles I wanted to use for one thing and ended up using for another. Then someone would attack me and scupper all my plans! This one is coming to Kickstarter next year from PSC and I can’t wait to see it in its final form.

BGG CON 2019 Bloodstones

So, it seemed to be prototype day as I went on to play a prototype of Jason Dingers Arcadians. This will be the third game in his Cajun trilogy (Captains of the Gulf being the first) and the theme shone through, even on this rough prototype version. Wow, there was a lot going on here! Programming and very limited actions ensuring everything about this game was TIGHT. Another one I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished version of!

BGG CON 2019 Arcadians

Waking up early on Thursday, we managed to get into the hot games room first thing where we played a game of The Magnificent. I picked this up at Essen and had managed a two-player learning game of it beforehand (though my memory had obviously faded as it came to teach it!) This game is gorgeous, the dark, brooding board with the bright coloured dice is gorgeous. I also love the theme! During the game you have a total of twelve turns to collect tricks, tents to perform them in, collect the pieces you need for them and perform them *phew* For a game with only three possible actions and twelve turns, there is a lot to think about.

BGG CON 2019 Themagnificent

Then onto one of my current favourites - I had the pleasure of teaching Underwater Cities to a group, none of whom had played it before. Damn, I love this game! I think everyone else enjoyed it (well, I hope so!) and it ended up being a pretty close game. I love engine building and worker placement and this sits nicely across both mechanisms. I’m so glad I got to grab the expansion at Essen with the beautiful inlaid boards.

BGG CON 2019 Cities

I then ran out for dinner with the lovely folks from Parallel Games who had copies of City of the Big Shoulders flying off the shelves in the traders hall over the weekend - good job!

After dinner, I played something new to me - yipee! Wildcatters has been sat on my shelf of opportunity for just over a year now and I had the opportunity to jump in a game with a teacher and another newbie. OK, so I understood what I was trying to do and how to do it, but just how to strategise this, I have no idea (yet!) I need to get our copy to the table soon to get the rules really sunk in. However, I managed to win with a huge one point lead! Great theme leading to great, logical game play made this a winner for me and glad I grabbed it when I could.

BGG CON 2019 Wildcatters

So, Friday morning we had a group of five which caused some discussion that eventually led us to playing Bruges with the City on the Zwin expansion. I’m a huge fan of Bruges but pretty sure I initially dismissed the expansion. Now, I have no idea why! I honestly love this game and am always happy to play it so it was great to play it with a new bunch of people and rediscover the expansion. For sure, it’ll be coming out next time we play!

BGG CON 2019 Bruges

Then onto another new to me game and another on my shelf of opportunity. Brewcrafters! Another super tight game with very few actions to complete everything you want to do. However, a lot of the writing on cards and player aids is tiny and the yellow-ish lighting in the main gaming room made this pretty miserable to play as I just couldn’t see a lot of stuff. When we crack my copy open I think we need to scan and reprint the guides to buildings in a bigger format as I pretty much ignored them in this game!

BGG CON 2019 Brewcrafters

For the evening, I went back to a firm favourite, Great Western Trail with the Rails to the North Expansion. I LOVE this game! In fact, I love everything Alexander Pfister has done (OK, I haven’t played Expedition to Newdale yet!) I managed to get a decent amount of cows this game leading to some serious Kansas scores, but I just wasn’t set up nicely at the top and ended up taking some negative points there. This actually ended up being a good rehearsal for Saturday…..

I was up early Saturday morning and while getting my coffee was invited to join in on a game of Maracaibo, Alexander Pfister's latest release. I picked this up at Essen but hadn’t played it yet so jumped at the chance! So, there are some similarities to GWT: taking counters off your player board to enhance your action and moving as few or many spaces as you want, end game scoring has an element of Mombasa, each country scores as many VPs as have been revealed by taking cubes off the board. Realistically, the game is nothing like either game though and I’m keen to dig deeper into the strategies of this one. I’ve played it once since getting home and the random city tiles were so different to my first game that it felt completely different! So much opportunity to be had here, can’t wait to play some more!

BGG CON 2019 Maricaibo

A random opening in the hot games room led me to teach Paladins of the West Kingdom. This is my favourite of the Shem Phillips games to date (though I said that about Architects!) It is definitely the crunchiest and yet another game where you want to do loads but don’t have the resources or time to do so. (spot a theme here!) The iconography can take a while to get your head round, but when you do the whole game will click into place. We’d picked this up at Essen and have actually also played a couple of games since I got home from BGG Con. This is becoming a firm favourite here!

View this post on Instagram

First play of Paladins of the West Kingdom from @renegade_game_studios and wow! So much to think about, we just love all of this range!! Can't wait to play it again with a better idea of what I'm doing lol . . . . #boardgames #tabletop #tabletopgaming #boardgaming #boardgamegirl #tabletopgames #eurogames #iplayred

A post shared by Kat (@iplayred) on Nov 4, 2019 at 4:00pm PST

The evening led onto a few drinks and some silly games including The Game, The Mind and me finally getting roped into playing Two Rooms and a Boom. This is played at a lot of conventions I go to and I am often intrigued by it. The game we played had a lot of people and a lot of different roles so honestly, I was very confused (only added to by the bottle of wine I’d drunk before playing!) Honestly, this really just isn’t my type of game but at least I have now played it and know what all the noise is about!

Sunday I failed to play anything as it was spent checking out of the hotel, chatting to people and generally mooching round and chilling out before saying goodbyes.

I was also lucky enough to come home with some awesome gifts from some awesome people!

BGG CON 2019 Items

My gorgeous dice tray and Dingers Thingers made by the super talented Jason Dinger, I was actually using the dice tray last night!

My great DandD keyring that Tamara Brzuziwski took off her backpack and gave to me after I’d complimented it! Apparently, her super-talented daughter makes them, how awesome is that? This is now proudly hanging from my Board Game Tables bag.

After lamenting that I had left my water bottle at home and having looked in the BGG stand and not seeing any, Mike came up to me with this great water bottle that I’d obviously totally overlooked! This will now be coming on all my travels with me.

Also a shout out to my great roommates Sid and Shawn who also put me up at their house on Sunday night and let me maul their awesome kitties!

BGG CON 2019 Rand

I LOVE BGG Con and hope to be there again next year. This was my fifth year and as well as meeting up with an amazing, great and generous group of friends I have made in previous years I made some new ones that I am looking forward to gaming with next year! This is the pure spirit of gaming!