Sunday, October 25, 2009

Draconis 2009

I’ve been meaning to write about my experience at the Draconis convention all week. The convention had no miniature component and IMO was top heavy with RPGs. However this is part of give the people what they want. I signed up for only one game in advance and that was to play Talisman on Saturday morning.

The convention was held Friday night to Sunday afternoon (Oct 16th to Oct 18th) with six game slots, each of 4 hours length with a break in between. Thus we had one slot on Friday, three on Saturday and two on Sunday. I believe there were 15 gaming tables located in two rooms, a dealer’s room and a small AV room for the panels and workshops that were held. I would estimate overall attendance at about 150 people.

My main goal was to play some board games and help out Doug Blair with his Ludus Locus tables. Doug's description was “Ludus Locus is a free gaming area manned by some dedicated board game enthusiasts. Many popular board game titles will be available in both French and English. Gamers are invited to stop by in their free time and try a new game or play an old favorite.” Doug brought in about 20 games and I contributed to the cause withTrans America, Illuminati, Beltstrike and a copy of Wings of War.

Friday night at Ludus Locus I along with 4 other newbies were introduced by Doug to Ticket to Ride, a rail road game. After one round we were left on our own and finished playing in less than two hours. I then introduced the other four players to Illuminati and refed while the others played. Ticket to Ride was my favorite board game of the weekend.

Sat 9:00 AM I played Talisman (3rd edition). We had a 5 player game and at 1:00 PM when our timeslot ran out, there were three players standing that had a chance to take on the dragon king. So to decide a winner, we had Dragon King face off. It took three attempts before I was able to slay the great worm. The others failed.

Sat 2:00 PM Back to Ludus Locus, where I was introduced to the board game adaptation of Ken Follet’s, Pillars of the Earth (actually Les Piliers de la Terre). It is a six turn manpower-resource management game where one gains victory points towards building the cathedral. The player with the most points wins. Events and available resources are card driven.

Sat 7:00 PM I took a break and went out to watch the hockey game. The Canadians lost.

Sun 9:00 AM Back to Ludus Locus where I was one of three players in Notre Dame. This is another church building game set in Paris during the middle ages. A player earns prestige points that are considered his contribution to the erection of Notre Dame. The game lasts three main turns, each with three sub turns and one major book keeping phase. The Black Death is very real and every player keeps track of the rat population in their “quartier”, as it has negative effects on one’s prestige Like Pillars of the .Earth, events and resources are card driven. Notre Dame is the more complex game.

I then showed one person how to play Trans America, a small railway building game. It took about 45 minutes to complete.

Sun 2:00 PM One of the things that we were doing over the weekend was playing Wings of War whenever there was spare time. We had one final dogfight between Doug and myself. I already had earned four kills over the weekend and needed one more to become an ace. I had not been shot down. It was our first encounter. Doug went down under my guns but it took a while. I flew the Sopwith Camel for this match. You have to love the right rotary turn of this plane.

Ludus Locus was sponsored by Filosofia ( and the last act of the weekend was to randomly draw a name from a list of all of the participants (well over 60 individual entries) who took part in the various games played over the weekend at the Ludus Locus corner. The prize offered by Filosofia was a copy of the board game Megawatts, the French version of Power Grid, with France and Quebec map boards. Congratulations to Luc Millette, the winner of the draw, as well as to Doug Blair for having run a successful gaming weekend.

Doug was approached by the convention committee and asked to run the board gaming program at next year's convention.

I would call the weekend a success. I learned to play three new games, won Talisman and achieved ace status playing Wings of War. I look forward to Draconis 2010 (the 5th edition) next fall.

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