Dice Tower Con 2016 Recap

July 17, 2016

by Ambie Valdés
As you may have heard in the podcast, I went to Dice Tower Con in Orlando this year (my third year at Dice Tower Con). Out of the two different board gaming conventions I've been to, Dice Tower Con is by far my favorite, just because of the awesome open gaming experience - both in available space and in the amazing library.

This year I didn't go to any of the events (I didn't want to wait in line for an hour), so I spent almost all my time doing open gaming. I also wandered around the vendor area (some demo gaming, some buying games), went to the flea market, and visited the world's largest McDonald's with Flip the Table!

My 'vacation' was exhausting. Over the course of the 5 day convention, I played 56 unique games, 49 of which were new to me (a lot of learning!). Each day I played 10 or more different games. I also got to cross a bunch of games off of my list of 'games I want to play.' Obviously, I can't go over all the games in this blog (well I can, but I don't want to), so I'll just go over some highlights.

One of the demos I got to play was Codenames: Pictures. For those of you who have played Codenames, the game is basically the same - you're on a team, trying to guess which cards are your team's based on a one-word clue. But in this game, instead of words on the cards, there are strange pictures. As you can see, the pictures are all pretty ambiguous, so I thought it was more difficult than regular Codenames, since it's not clear what each picture means. Still, with my husband as the clue giver, I was able to guess everything correctly until the other team picked the assassin! That's super rare for me when I'm on my husband's team in Codenames.

Codenames: Pictures demo at the CGE booth

Another demo I played was Crazy Karts, taught by Ignacy Trzewiczek and his wife, Merry. This was a fun team game - each pair of people is controlling one cart. One person controls the acceleration and shooting, while the other person controls the turning and power. But you can't talk to your partner, so it can end up pretty crazy with you running into obstacles and other carts! It was pretty fun, and we got to play on a giant board that they had for the convention. Unfortunately, the board was a little big for the table, but it was still fun.

Playing Crazy Karts. The blue team (dwarves) won right after this.

Another fun, light game we played was Winner's Circle (Amazon). This is a horse racing betting game. You bet on which horses you want to win, and then you take turns rolling the die to move the horses. It was a super fun game, especially late at night when we didn't want to be learning any complicated rules. Also, the horses are pretty.

When you roll the die in Winner's Circle, you choose a horse to move based on the symbol.

On to some heavier games. One of the games in the library was 1856 (Amazon), an 18xx game. 18xx games are economic games where players buy stock in railroad companies and then operate the companies, creating railroad track and running trains to pay out dividends to stockholders. The 1856 map takes place in Canada, and near the end of the game the Canadian Government Railroad (CGR) takes over any private railroad that has outstanding loans. This changed the game a lot - 6 companies got taken over by the CGR, so players who had stocks in those companies lost a lot of money. It was a very interesting game, and I'm glad we got to try it out.

The end game of 1856

Another game we got to try from the library was Roads & Boats (Amazon). If you've noticed a trend here - a lot of these games are out of print and difficult to find, which was why it was amazing to get to try them out from the Dice Tower Con Library! We only played a few rounds of Roads & Boats. It was the last day of the convention, so we wanted to make sure we could try other games as well (Roads & Boats takes a long time). We got a feel for the game - it's basically a lot like Sim City as a board game. You build buildings to get resources, use those to build other buildings and roads, and research so that you can get better buildings. I was really enjoying it, but there are a bunch of small pieces to keep track of. Also, there's a plastic sheet over the hex tile board, so the way you build roads is by marking lines with a whiteboard marker. I thought that was pretty neat, but some people (namely my husband) don't like games with whiteboard markers.

Roads & Boats. We were playing a friendly game, building up our civilizations together.

One last name that deserves a mention is A Game of Gnomes. We saw the huge box in the library and just had to try it without knowing anything about the game. Basically, the game is a huge decoration. There's a huge mountain that looks like something you'd put on your lawn. A lot of people stopped and gawked at us while we played. The game itself wasn't that great. It was actually a pretty complicated questing game, where you need to move around, gather specific mushrooms, and sell them to get points. The movement was done with cards. We ended up stopping after I got up to the top of the mountain, since the game itself wasn't that great, and we just wanted to see what it was.

Pretty sure A Game of Gnomes should win most superfluous component

There were tons of other games I played and enjoyed at Dice Tower Con, including a lot of newer games (like Imhotep, Karuba, and Vikings on Board) that were in a 'Hot Games' section. That section had the games set up for people to start playing right away, with a sign telling people to set it up again for the next players, so people were able to try those games the whole convention. I also saw a bunch of friends - both old friends from previous years and new friends that I played new games with!

Lastly, we were able to acquire a bunch of new games at the convention. I participated in the no-ship math trade, got a couple games in the flea market, and bought a game from CoolStuff on Sunday, when everything (including already marked down items) was an additional 50% off! Also, everyone who went to the convention got a free copy of Voodoo Mania (Amazon), which is a speed game similar to Ghost Blitz, but with more complicated rules.

Our Dice Tower Con haul
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