Rather than have All Aboard this month, the group of board gaming enthusiasts have decided to do something better: Exploratorium 2012.
The event is similar to a usual All Aboard event: plenty of board games were available for people to play and try and there were a lot of tables reserved for playing, and several people were on hand to teach and answer questions about the board games that were available. The biggest difference between Exploratorium and All Aboard is the scheduled activities, the first of which is a board game design workshop conducted by Dylan Kirk, a Canadian game designer behind the Z-Man Games published Genji. We had a money management demo (probably using Cashflow) and there was a team building event for a group of around 20-30 people via Ultimate Werewolf. There was a photo booth and free hotdogs throughout the day as well.
Admittedly, I didn’t participate in these activities because I was too busy playing different board games! First, I tried Flying Frog’s fourth board game release, Conquest of Planet Earth. Very different from Flying Frog’s first three games, players control entire different alien races instead of different characters in this game, each trying to conquer the Earth. There are two modes – Competitive, where players try to be the first to conquer the Earth; and Cooperative, where players work together to overcome Earth’s resistance forces. I only tried playing Cooperative mode, and I liked that mode but it was a little too easy.
I then played Invasion From Outer Space with the owner of Conquest and another guy who was waiting for friends. It was a long game, and I lost but I was happy to see both players enjoy the game. It’s been a while since I last touched IFOS, honestly, so I was glad to just play the game and try to lead the Martians to victory again.
After that, we (a different group) played Defenders of the Realm, a game that was similar to Pandemic in terms of it’s mechanics but dressed in a medieval / fantasy theme. We each played one out of six available characters that sought to defeat 4 different Generals and their minions. Each General is of a different race with different characteristics, ranging from a Dragon, a Demon, an Orc, and an Undead leader. Our objective was to defeat all of the Generals before they reached the capital (Monarch City) or before the world is overrun with the Taint. The game was nice but there were 6 of us trying to play a 4 player game and it was everyone’s first time to play the game so it dragged on longer than I would’ve liked, even though we were never really challenged by the game.
The highlight of the event for myself was trying out Flash Point. Another game with Pandemic-like mechanics, but instead of being medical researchers trying to stop diseases from getting out of hand, players work as a team as they take on the role of fire fighters trying to save as many people as they can from a burning building. The team wins when they successfully rescue 7 victims and they lose when any of the following happens: 4 victims perish in flame or the building suffers too much structural damage. The best game that I played that day, I ended up buying my own copy just today.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend Day 2 of Exploratorium, so I ended up not being able to participate in any of the special activities scheduled for the event but I was able to try out 3 different games and I discovered a new game that was good enough to buy. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for me next month.
Here’s an updated list of board games that I tried out in these open gaming meets:
- Shadows Over Camelot
- Last Night On Earth (bought it)
- 7 Wonders
- Monopoly Deal
- Cutthroat Caverns
- Conquest of Planet Earth
- Defenders of the Realm
- Flash Point: Fire Rescue (bought it)