Geekway to the West 2017, Day 4 - Acquire! Build! Slog!

Geekway to the West.
Day 4.

I played Microscope for the first time at Geekway 2016, and 2 of the people I'd ended up playing Fiasco with that weekend were also in the Microscope game. It was a wonderful experience, in which we created a world where humans had been created by and were subservient to a dragon race, then rose up and fought back against their dragon oppressors.

For 2017, we had several people sign up, but not everyone showed, and the place we picked was supposed to be a little quieter than the main gaming hall. The hallway directly inside the entrance, however, a few feet away from the main entrance to the gaming hall, wasn't the quietest area, but we made the most of it. Moving past the 30 minutes of announcements, it took us some doing to get through the game, and the delay didn't really help us.

I brought in a piece of large foam core to place all the periods, events, and scenes on across the timeline, mostly so that we could keep things organized without being a slave to the table, and I could tape everything in place later, once the game was finished.

Our Big Picture was: Oppressed beings revolt and cultivate a new civilization(s). The last "s" was a mistake, a by-product of me being really tired, but we rolled with it. Because who knows what could happen?
We built a world in which the Artisans, the ruling class, kept the Polishers, the lower class, under a ruling thumb. The Harvest celebration commences, bringing with it the destruction of The Spire, a monument to the society's greatness and source of the Soul Crystals, the fuel by which all of society ran.

The Polishers began to be oppressed even further until someone discovered a way to magically create Soul Crystals, and the Polishers used this new power to create interdimensional gateways. They used these gateways to escape to a new world. The Artisans created an army to follow them, but the Polishers destroyed the gateways while the Artisan army was in transit, destroying them, but completely cutting them off from their home world.

On their new world, the Polishers found the land to be too toxic to recreate soul crystals with the same integrity as what they had in their homeland, and The Spire Mistress (an oracle who was directly connected to the molecular makeup of the soul crystals) began to die. She revealed that without access to the soul crystals of their homeworld, they would have to completely start over with new ones. The new government, highly influenced by the corrupt church officials, came up with a deterrent to complete collapse and rebuilding, which was to harvest crystals from each human being born in order to keep the society running the way it always had been. Taking part of the lifeforce of each living being was now the order of the day, and a new age of Harvest began.
Yeah, it got dark. Horrifyingly dark, especially at the end.

A gentleman sitting down the table from our Microscope game set up his own customized version of Betrayal at House on the Hill, which he themed on Scooby-Doo. 
I thought it was a brilliant idea, especially when he told me that he created a scenario book, and each scenario was the plotline of an episode of "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!" He had the figurines of Shaggy, Fred, Velma, Daphne, and Scooby, and of course, the Mystery Machine.

Brilliant. Wish I could have stayed and played.

While at Fancy Gaming on Saturday night, I ran into Mark, a game designer and one of the organizers of Geekway. He was helping to coordinate distribution of games that had been won through an auction on BGG, and Power Grid was the game that I'd scored. I handed him the money and picked up my copy, which was open, but still had unopened components inside. Mark even mentioned that $24.00, the price I'd snagged it at, was a great price for that game. I've only played it once, but I'm glad I was able to get a copy of it, because I really enjoyed it, more than I thought I would at the time I sat down to play. Now, it's part of my collection and vies for the prize of Game In The Largest Box in my collection. I'm not sure if Student Bodies is a bigger box or not . . .

One other game that I'd purchased through the VFMGeeklist was Trains: Rising Sun, the sequel/expansion/standalone version of the deckbuilding game Trains. I'd played the original last summer, so I was looking forward to checking out this version, and I got it for a great deal from Mike, a St. Louis area gamer that has been dutiful about always inviting me to the game day events he holds at his home. Even though I've never been able to make it, he keeps inviting me, and I stay engaged with the group. We swap stories and ideas, and sooner or later, I'll get to join them.

In the meantime, I'm going check out solo variants for Trains and see if I can get some hot, steamy rail action going at my table.

Every person that volunteered at Geekway for 4 total hours or more received a Geek Guide T-shirt, and a $10 gift card to Game Nite, a local St. Louis area game store, and one of the event's sponsors. Game Nite also had a booth set up, so I went over to see what they had for sale. I almost bought Rock Band Manager, but it's rare that I can get with 2 other people to game, so a solo session didn't seem like a possibility with this game.

However, I did see Lanterns on the shelf. And only one copy.

Renegade Game Studios had Lanterns at their booth, but they were selling it for the full retail amount of $35.00. Game Nite was taking 10% off all their merchandise for Sunday, so I grabbed it, and along with my $10 gift card and tax, walked away with Lanterns for less than $25.00. I call that a win.

Mayday Games was also running a Sunday promo: you could get a free $5.00 game with the purchase of any other game. I didn't know what it was, but I knew I wanted to get Click Clack Lumberjack and play it with my family (which, as of this writing, I've been able to do so, and it was a hit).

Click Clack Lumberjack was 10% off, which knocked off a whopping $2.00, but I wasn't about to complain. Because along with it, I also got Lemonade Stand! A card game! About selling lemonade! At a stand! 
Buying supplies! Meeting demand! Adjusting for the weather!
I hear it's a good game for kids and families, so I figured, why not?

I had scheduled another Coldwater Crown game for Sunday afternoon, but nobody that signed up showed. I guess once the Play & Win game winners were posted, and the major prize giveaways were depleted, most people took off to have lunch or dinner, or just go back and decompress before the end of the weekend.

One person did sit down, however, Jeannie, and she and I went fishing. She won. Then she introduced me to a guy who's in her group of gaming friends, and goes by the name of Jamey Stegmaier.

So yeah . . . Jamey is a game designer, creator of Scythe, one of the biggest board games of 2016, as well as Viticulture and Euphoria, and he was at Geekway, being a St. Louis area resident. He was wearing the unmistakable "SM" emblem on his t-shirt. Meeting a game designer you admire is, for a gamer, the equivalent of meeting your musical hero or other major personality, and I tried not to squeeeeeee.

Instead, I thanked him for writing his blog of Kickstarter Lessons, because I've been able to get a TON of great information from that on designing my own games, and I've learned a good deal about promotion, which I've used in both my full-time and part-time jobs. The next time you run into someone that blogs, thank them for their writing contributions, because a huge amount of work goes into making that happen. They don't have to share their wisdom, trials, mistakes, and triumphs with us, but the fact that Jamey has done so is just a testament to how much he loves gaming, but more importantly, how much he loves entrepreneurs and gamers.

It was a pleasure to meet you, Jamey. I swear, I'll play one of your games soon.

I bought Suburbia at Geekway 2016 for less than half price off the Virtual Flea Market because I knew it was a Mensa Select game, and I'd heard good things about it through reviews and on BGG. Since buying it, I'd only been able to play it solo, and had been itching to play it with more people.

One person that signed up for the 4-player game, Jacob, had stuck around until 5:00 pm, but nobody else had. We ended up playing with one other person, but not before we waited a bit. Neither of us had anywhere we absolutely had to be, so before playing, we broke out Star Realms and played a hand of that, which I won.

I didn't care for Suburbia as much as I thought I would. I like the exercise of building your own city and trying to make it as economically viable as possible, but I think the scoring might be a bit unbalanced when you consider the end game bonuses, especially if one player runs away with all of them. Which happened, but that's not the point.

There's very little player interaction in this game, and that's the spot that I think makes it not a favorite for me. It's almost like playing solitaire, aside from someone else taking a tile you want from the Real Estate Market, or playing a tile that gives you points, or you playing one that gives everyone else points. Mostly, you're working on your neighborhood, and everyone else is working on theirs. And then you find out who's got the most population.

It feels every German in its exactness. For mathematicians and introverts, this game is probably a wonderful time. But I may remove this from my collection. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but probably the least of any game I played all weekend, and it was disappointing to figure that out at the last game at Geekway.

I acquired a few more games, also, including Meteor from the Virtual Flea Market, I snagged what I was told was the Mini version, or the junior version, of Meteor. Haven't played it yet, but I got it for a decent price. It doesn't have a sand timer, but a timer on the cell phone is just as good, so I wasn't going to complain.

I also picked up a copy of Chez Cthulhu, which I filed under: Never Pass Up The Opportunity To Buy A Game For $2.00.

The first 2-buck game I bought was Friedemann Friese's Megastar while at Gen Con in 2015. I don't know when I'll be able to play Chez Cthulhu, but it looks silly and fun and totally up my alley and the alleys of many of my friends. To boot, the $2.00 I handed over to the seller, he immediately put in the donation box for Pat. Plus, when I opened up the game box, I found the cards were already sleeved. See? Never pass up a $2.00 game.

Finally, I want to thank everyone that came by while I was playing the charity game for Pat on Friday. The #PandemicForPat hashtag sign was lit, the bucket was getting filled, and Pat and his family are better for it.

Some people gave through the GoFundMe page, which you can still give to through the end of June 2017. Just go to and make your donation, or you can give after June 2017 at Both funds will go to Pat and his family to take care of his medical expenses.

If you gave electronically, or if you gave cash, I want to sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart. I don't know that I ever would have lasted 19.5 hours and through all 17 games of Pandemic Legacy if I hadn't been doing it for such a worthy cause, and every one of you that donated gave me a little bit of motivational fuel to make it through the entire game.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, a million times over, thank you.

By the way, the total amount donated was $1,369.00, with the majority of that coming through in cash donations during the convention. Donor Tim Busche won the drawing for Gen Con passes, which he has received, and is hopefully planning to have one hell of a great time.

As for me, I'm humbled that everyone gave what they did, and I am further convinced that the gaming community is one of the best in the world. No contest.

Until next year.

There Is No Box.