As a kid, I lay awake at night on Christmas Eve, breathless with excitement about Christmas morning. Now, I lie awake at night on International Table Top Day Eve. I’m not kidding. I had my t-shirt picked out a week in advance, at least. (It was this Deadpool/Star Wars/Van Gogh mashup, if you’re curious.) I plagued my husband daily for input about what games we should take. (In the end, we took a big Ikea bag full of games, and only played one of them. The others all belonged to the people we played with.) When the day arrived, I was up with the sun, did all the pet chores myself, and was ready to go with plenty of time to get bagels before descending upon our FLGS by the 9 AM opening time. And so the 14 hours of gaming began!
Castle Panic with The Wizard’s Tower and Dark Titan expansions
The first thing we did when we got there was buy the new Dark Titan expansion. We sat down to read the rules, and had two curious onlookers who wanted to play by the time we were done. We decided upon a set-up recommended in the Dark Titan booklet. This removed a ton of monsters from the game, to make up for the monsters of increased difficulty, and even removed the imps (from The Wizard’s Tower) entirely.
With four players, the game occasionally got a little tense, but we never came anywhere close to losing. I should note that we did have our two Any Color Hero promo cards, which are dead useful. I think in the future, we’ll use more of the monsters – hell, maybe all of them – to make it more challenging. Next time, we will also have the advantage of the Table Top Day promo tower, which deals two damage to a monster that hits it. (I didn’t score that until later in the day.) What I really need are some 3D-printed walls and towers like these! (Out of curiosity, I got a quote from one of the 3D printers on that web site, just out of curiosity, and they want just over $20. I didn’t know anything about the cost of 3D components, but I thought it would be more expensive. These are probably in my future, after all!)
Carcassonne with River II; Hills and Sheep; Builders and Traders; and Die Klöster expansions
There’s nothing like a good Carc game with a few expansions. The sheer number of expansions keeps the gameplay fresh for those of us who play a lot, which I do. We did a 6-player game, full of experienced players, so it all moved smoothly and was generally very satisfying, and not only because I won. I had one of the huge Frankencities I always seem to build, which was a gamble, because it had a cathedral, so I had a lot to lose if I didn’t complete it. We had a lovely sprawl by the end, and a nasty surprise for one player who hadn’t noticed a connection made between two fields late in the game, which deprived him of all his farm points.
Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension
As we waited for people to get back from lunch so we could play Dead of Winter, a new friend invited us to sit down to a 4-player game of Gravwell. We had never played, nor even heard of, if I’m honest, this game. As promised, it was quick, and very easy to pick up. There was a little strategy and a lot of luck to it, since I had no idea what the others were going to put down in the coming round. I won, but through no great skill. I got lucky and got a good catapulting in my final round that set me out of orbit and free to take the skies back. It was fun, and I’d play it again as a filler if someone else wanted to, but it’s not on my wish list.
Dead of Winter with extra special Table Top Day Felicia Day promo I’d been wanting to play this game since I saw it recently on Tabletop, so when a couple we’d been playing with said they had it, and that they had gotten the much sought-after Felicia Day expansion, my ears perked right up. We did a 6-player game, which is actually one more player than indicated, but it worked just fine. The owners of the game taught the rest of us in the course of set-up, and it was surprisingly easy to grasp. I should mention at this point that I am terrible at being the traitor in games. Ask me to lie about whether or not I ate two grapes in the produce department, and I’m cool as a cucumber. Ask me to play an entire game, which I’ve never played before, pretending to support the other players but really stabbing them in the back, preferably without them realizing they’re being stabbed? Not so much. Most of them were pretty sure I was the traitor about halfway into the game, but personal win conditions others had made enough people suspicious that I didn’t get exiled until the last two rounds. I didn’t manage to get my win conditions, because I lost my hand of cards when I was exiled, and I needed them to meet my goals, but my consolation is that they didn’t win, either. They just barely lost by failing to keep one location barricaded that they needed to barricade to win. The game was super fun, even with the stress of being the traitor, and I really look forward to playing again as soon as possible. It’s out of print at the moment, but as of this writing, Cardhaus has some).