When I discovered that Geekway to the West, a small local gaming convention in St. Louis, would be on the same weekend as our one-year wedding anniversary, I jumped right on it as a fun way to celebrate. The con itself was inexpensive ($25 for 4 days of gaming!) and St. Louis is only 3 hours away. As I’ll soon be living in PA and won’t be readily able to make St. Louis events in the future, I wanted to cram as much in as possible. Plus I thought it’d be fun to get away after my dissertation defense. Here’s my top ten list on Geekway to the West:
10. Trainwreck. When I discovered that Geekway is held in the exact same location as Spring Fling, I was thrilled because of how much I like this bar/restaurant. Darren & I went on Thursday and he loved the bison burgers, so we went back on Friday also. We tried to go on Sunday also, but they were closed.
9. Drunken Fish. I’ve walked past this sushi place many times with my Spring Fling friends, but had never eaten there. Since Darren & I are both big sushi fans, we stopped in on Friday night. I didn’t expect much of midwest Sushi, especially in a Sushi place in the mall, but this place was really good. Since Darren has a lot of food allergies, typically we order separately, but recently I’ve liked for us to share food instead. We ordered four rolls and he ate the rest when I got full.
8. Seeing old friends. Some of our friends live in St. Louis, and some of their friends came to visit for the con, so we got to see some old friends we hadn’t seen in awhile. In addition to playing games at the con, we also had fun grilling and hanging out on Saturday night. We also tried playing a game of Citadels.
7. Making new friends. While wandering on Friday, I was asked to join a couple of ladies playing 10 days in the Americas. As it turned out, one of them lives in Urbana, IL with her husband who is finishing graduate school and starting a new job in the fall (just like me!) Sadly we met as both of us are leaving town. We had fun at the con playing a few games together like 7 Wonders.
6. Mansions of Madness. This game has elements of Arkham Horror and Betrayal on House on the Hill, but it is shorter than Arkham and more in depth than Betrayal. Although neither Arkham nor Betrayal are among my favorite games, I enjoyed Mansions of Madness a lot. We didn’t have time to play a full game, but we played the first few turns to get a sense of the game. I’d be willing to play this one again.
5. Through the Ages. One nice thing about a con is the opportunity to play longer games that you normally don’t get a chance to play. I’ve played Through the Ages about a half dozen times, most of them 2-player with Darren. Our epic 4-player game took 6 hours, but it was very fun and definitely worth it. My only complaint is that the older version of the game with the fiddly bits feels like it adds an hour just for moving the bits around. In the newer version, you can slide bits around on your game board, which is much easier.
4. Haggis. This lovely little trick taking card game plays quite a lot like Tichu, a favorite of ours, but it’s for 2-3 players. They sold out of this one at the con so we’ll have to pick it up at our local game store.
3. Cargo Noir. Although this game has taken quite a hit in the reviews, it was the perfect game for our little group to play on Friday. First, as many of the players were distracted by other things, it was an easy game to come back to after pauses. Also, the artwork and components are really lovely. The strategy is complex enough to keep the game interesting, but simple enough for new players and non-gamers to enjoy. And because the game took us awhile and there was some down time, I got a lot of knitting done. Here’s some shots at the end of the game:
2. Hansa Teutonica. Of the games I’ve played recently, this one is definitely on the must buy list. I think the strategy and game play for this one is fairly unique for an area control game, and I really enjoy both the original version and the expansion, although I never seem to win this game. We taught this game to our new friends and they seemed to like it as well.
1. Play-to-win. One of the most unique things about Geekway is the Play-to-win table. Based on pre-registrations, the con buys a bunch of games that you can play all weekend and be entered into a drawing to win. This is a really fun idea even though I didn’t win. My name got called twice, but then you roll a die, and the person whose number gets rolled wins the game. Regardless, I did enjoy trying a lot of the play-to-win games I might otherwise not have tried including Cyclades.
So overall the con was a success and great way to spend our anniversary. Next weekend, I will actually be going camping in Southern Illinois with Darren’s friends. I went twice, but haven’t gone in the last 3 years as camping is really not my thing. But as it will be my last chance to go for awhile, and as there will be friends there I want to see, I’ll be going again this year.