#BGGCon parting thoughts

The badge pick up line Wednesday morning

It’s quickly approaching 2am on Saturday night at BGGCon, and I’m here watching a game of Western Empires that has been ongoing since 10am.

My brother and his buddies are committed to finishing this marathon game that has taken an entire day of the event. Ultimately, I’m glad I declined the offer to join them. Being my first BGG, it was ultimately more important for the ability to get some more games in on my first go.

I wait patiently for this game to end, so we can head home to finally crash, I’m taking time, looking back on the convention.

My first game of BGGCon 2021

As my expectations for the week were fairly straight forward (play as many new games as possible), I leave feeling like this Con has the perfect mix of size, events and open gaming. I don’t feel like I’m going home missing out on so many things from the Con like I do when I attend GenCon.

What were my favorite games of the week? This was my final tally:

  • Air Land & Sea
  • Beyond the Sun
  • Furnace (new play)
  • Horrified: American Monsters (new play)
  • Nemesis (new play)
  • Bargain Quest (new play)
  • Trogdor (new play)
  • The Quest for El Dorado (new play)
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • War of the Ring (new play)
  • Praga (new play)
  • Bad Company (new play)
  • Red Rising (new play)
  • Secrets
  • Mariposas (new play)
  • A Study in Emerald (new play)

Of those, below were my favorites of the new titles I got to enjoy:

  • Praga. What an amazing game with so many paths to victory. A perfect blend of so many different player choices in a single game.
  • Furnace. One of this year’s “Hot Games”, Furnace surprised me as a game this a great example of a easy to learn, hard to master title. Bidding mechanic at its best.
  • War of the Ring. I didn’t expect to like this game as much as I did. That being said, I need to add a copy to my collection.
  • Mariposas. Elizabeth strikes again with another game that doesn’t disappoint. Mariposas plays quick and wants you making repeat trips to your game table after your first game.

Being a first timer, it was impossible for me to understand the differences between this years show and pre-COVID ones. After talking with some friends who have attended for many years (both new venue and previous), apparently this years event was very much subdued in not only number of events but also the size and scope of the events that did take place.

Honestly though, as someone who has attended GenCon for many years, BGG was nice in the fact that it had the feel of a stripped down Con, but still the size of a mid to larger event. At no point did I ever feel like I didn’t have something to do, which can be the problem with smaller events. But on the flip-side, I never felt that I was missing out on 18 different things that larger events can you have you feeling when the week is over.

It did help tremendously that I had a great group of people to spend the week with, both from back home and from my brother’s local crew that allowed me to always have someone to play a game with. I daresay my BGGCon experience might be very different I had attended with just a few friends or even solo.

As far as the venue itself, the Hyatt Regency at Reunion Tower was well suited for the convention. The facilities were always in good order. There was plenty of space to spread out and not feel like you were crammed in with others. The badge pickup process Wednesday morning went very smooth. The game library had just about anything you could look for to enjoy for the week. On top of it all, at the board game bazaar on Friday morning, I was able to find one of the titles I have been trying to add to my library for a very long time.

Daybreak expansion for BSG was my big find of the Bazaar

Saturday morning as my brother and I were driving in to the Con (we drove in every day of the event from his place), he asked me what my preference would be now, GenCon or BGGCon? After thinking on it a bit, as much as I’ve enjoyed GenCon over the years I’ve attended for various reasons, I would have to say BGG. It’s a much shorter drive from Little Rock to Dallas versus Indianapolis. Being able to stay with family in the area saves a lot on your hotel cost. And the experience of having a great group of friends to be able to hang out with all week was the tipping point.

GenCon is the spectacle event. It’s bigger than life. BGGCon is like an old friend who you always love being able to catch up with once a year.

I’ll take the old friend over spectacle.

All this to say, BGGCon was a huge success and I will be looking to attend next year if everything works out. To those new folks whom I met for the first time and those who I was seeing again, thank you for helping make the week what it was.

A great time with friends, doing the thing we all love. Until next year.

As always, leave a comment with your thoughts. Until next time, LLAP!

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