GabbyCon 2014 and Mensa

21 April 2014 | 6 Comments

I usually write about Kickstarter on this blog, but I thought it might be fun to share some stories about an extended gaming event I’ve been hosting over the last few days.

I have an old college friend named Gabby who lives in DC (I’m in St. Louis). We often chat about games, and although he’s an avid gamer, I’ve mentioned a number of games to him in the last few months that he’s never played or doesn’t have the opportunity to play.

So when Gabby had the opportunity to visit St. Louis this week, I decided to host a very small “convention” of sorts at my condo. Over the last four days we’ve pretty much played games all day and night, stopping only to eat and sleep. 15 or so other friends have played games here for many of those days, and we played a total of 19 different games, 15 of which were new to Gabby.

It’s worth mentioning that we kept track of everyone’s standings in each game they played on a giant whiteboard in my office. At the end of GabbyCon, we averaged each person’s rankings based on the games they played to determine the “winner” of GabbyCon. While this didn’t really mean anything, everyone has a lot of fun with it, and it kept people engaged in games they were losing because they wanted to try to finish 2nd or 3rd.

Just for fun, I asked Gabby to rank the new games he played. He chose a favorite game and then separated the rest into three tiers, with the top tier being games he wants to play again the most, and the bottom tier being games that he enjoyed but isn’t all that excited to play again. I’ll share some photos of the games we played below that.

Favorite Game

Kemet: This was Gabby’s favorite new game. It’s an Egyptian/fantasy war game that plays quickly and offers a great intersection between Euro-game upgrades and thematic interaction. Gabby also said that he liked that such a rich, fulfilling game could be packed into 90 minutes or less.

Tier One

  • Terra Mystica: A heavy Euro game that offers a different experience every time you play thanks to the variety of factions. This is a favorite in my gaming group.
  • Stone Age: Gabby really enjoyed how easy it was to learn Stone Age compared to the variety of interesting choices in the game and that it’s a great 2-player game.
  • Bohnanza: Gabby loves games like Coup and the Resistance that encourage lots of player interaction and table talk, so he had a great time with this.
  • Fresco: Gabby liked how quickly Fresco played for the depth of experience it offers. It’s a light Euro game with very little downtime and lots of interesting choices. It was a major influence on my Viticulture design.

Tier Two

  • Tuscany
  • Tzolk’in
  • A Game of Thrones
  • Seasons
  • Ticket to Ride
  • For Sale

Tier Three

  • Forbidden Desert
  • Guildhall
  • King of Tokyo
  • Libertalia

Have you ever hosted a gaming event like this? I’m curious to hear any stories/recommendations you have.

Also, before I post the photos, Euphoria was selected out of 56 other games as a 2014 Mensa Mind Game winner! We’re excited and honored to have Euphoria earn that distinction.

Tzolk’in. Still one of my favorite games.
Tuscany with 7 expansions (perhaps a few too many, even for experienced gamers like Gabby. Unlock the expansions one by one, people!)
Terra Mystica
The Resistance
The Resistance. I think it’s a brilliant game, but I can only play a few times in a row before I stop trusting people in real life too.
photo 5
Gabby playing Kemet
photo 4
my Fresco apprentice about to stage a huge comeback..and ultimately fall a few points short
photo 3
photo 2
A Game of Thrones.
photo 1
Forbidden Desert
Forbidden Desert
me and Biddy strategizing for Libertalia

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6 Comments on “GabbyCon 2014 and Mensa

  1. Wow! This looks awesome! You’ll have to let me know about GabbyCon2015. But Jamey it worries me if you take game advice from your cat (referencing the last picture). And congrats on being selected as the Mensa Mind Game winner! But no ones surprised :-)

  2. Nice event. My group of friends (9 this year) take a week in a cabin out in the woods to play games. This year we played 69 games!

  3. Congrats on the Mensa Select award. We have been playing a lot of qwixx lately, which is one of the other winners. It is light, but a lot of fun.

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