Posts tagged: escapist expo

Weekly Gaming Report

This weekend was the Escapist Expo, so I spent a large part of the week preparing for it, and then playing unpublished games at the Unpub Protozone. Here’s a quick synopsis of the unpublished games played over the weekend:

(All descriptions and names are subject to change, of course!)

Travel Bureau: My prototype, a set collection and hand management card game. Players are competing travel agents trying to plan trips for clients and earn the accolades of the industry.

Brew Crafters: A new worker placement game from Dice Hate Me about competing breweries. Hitting Kickstarter later this month!

Five Elements: A card and dice manipulation game where players seek the favor of the five elemental faerie lords. Very neat mechanics where you use dice to buy cards and use cards to manipulate your dice.

Tenure Track: A hex movement, hand management and set collection game where players collect bugs in the field in an effort to claim the final tenured biology professorship at a prestigious university.

Junkyard Fort: A tile placement and exploration game where players build a trap-laden fort from things found in a junk pile and then explore opponent’s forts in search of their treasure.

Wealth: A light economic card game where players must make wise investments and then manipulate or destroy the investments of other players while protecting their own.

Legally Blind (aka Trial by Liar): A bidding and bluffing game where players must communally sentence criminals as harshly as possible without going over and having the king force them to be merciful instead.

So, let’s get the week started:


We had a quick meeting of the game designers group before the Expo started on Friday, and I got to play Five Elements. I hadn’t been playing this for a while because I had a very hard time understanding the goals, but it’s been vastly improved since then, and I’m really enjoying it.


Friday after work, I packed up everything and headed to the Expo. The first game I saw being played upon walking in was Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension, which I’ve wanted to play ever since I saw the initial videos about it. After the game I was watching was finished, I got in on a 4 player game, and it was fantastic. Definitely going to be getting this in the future.

Next, I sat down to a game of Brew Crafters, which wasn’t really my thing. I’ve never been a big worker placement fan, and while the mechanics were neat, it isn’t the game for me. Everyone else really enjoyed it, though. Lots of agonizing decisions.

A few of us swung over to a local burger place for dinner and got in a game of Love Letter while waiting for our food, and then while eating. I always enjoy Love Letter, and it was great to be sitting next to the line and having people ask what we were playing.

When we got back to the Expo, we grabbed Takenoko from the library, and I taught the rest of the group. This is another game I’ve become a big fan of, although sometimes the best move is obvious. It often turns into a great tug of war between multiple players as one player tries to eat bamboo that another player is growing.

Some folks called it a night, and the last two of us sat down for a 2 player game of Haggis, which is a ladder building card game. It’s an interesting concept, but I’m not really sure if I’m a fan. It took me a couple of rounds to really get the hang of it, but I’d be willing to give it another shot.


I started off the long day at the Expo with three playtests - Junkyard Fort, Travel Bureau and Tenure Track - all with great feedback and discussion between playtesters and designers.

There was a lull in available playtesters as a couple of big panels and the cosplay contest pulled people away from the open gaming hall, so we grabbed more games from the library. We first played two games of Eruption where you’re trying to burn down other players’ villages while keeping yours cool. The first game we played was very friendly, but we realized the error of our ways, and the second game was extremely brutal, and much more fun!

Then we got to try the new game from Days of Wonder, Relic Runners. Unfortunately, I had not eaten lunch – just some donuts – and it was now approaching dinner time, so I was very grouchy and didn’t enjoy the game. I will have to play again sometime when I’m feeling normal.

After dinner, a few of us played a partial game of Love Letter while waiting for another playtest to end. Fun as always.

Then, I finally got what I was there for. Chris from Dice Hate Me playtested Travel Bureau with me, and I got some fantastic feedback, some of which I was able to implement immediately. I left the Expo that night feeling great!


Sunday morning I got there before other folks, and got in a couple games of King of Tokyo with a few other guys. It’s always good to just chuck some dice.

Other folks arrived, and we started playtesting again – 2 games of Travel Bureau and a game of Wealth. Both playtests of Travel Bureau included a player who played a lot of Gin, so he had some interesting insights on set collection games.

I hopped tables and got in a game of Ingenious, which I’ve wanted to play for a long time. It’s a very cool abstract game in typical Knizia fashion, where the highest lowest core wins. I lost on a tiebreaker.

We wrapped up the Expo with a playtest of Legally Blind, which was a very interesting concept that took me a long time to grasp. Also, I’d been playing games for two days, so I think I was starting to get a little foggy. Someone mentioned that “Legally Blind” isn’t a great title, and I coined the name “Trial by Liar”, since a bidding/bluffing game about sentencing criminals needs a lighthearted name to keep it from being too dark. Maybe it’ll stick?



Travel Bureau after a game with removed cards and a new start condition. Good time!

Travel Bureau after a game with removed cards and a new start condition. Good time!

The expo floor.

The expo floor.

Playing Tenure Track with new goal cards, much improved!

Playing Tenure Track with new goal cards, much improved!

Mark demoing Five Elements.

Mark demoing Five Elements.

Travel Bureau set up to teach after a playtest.

Travel Bureau set up to teach after a playtest.

Building a Junkyard Fort.

Building a Junkyard Fort.

Ok, so I got a little into stuff at the Expo and forgot about my live-tumbling. More tomorrow when we’re actually running playtests and such.

Games played:



Love Letter



Playtesting a new game called Brewcrafters hitting Kickstarter this month!

Playtesting a new game called Brewcrafters hitting Kickstarter this month!