Every August, there is a wonderful boardgaming convention in Bellevue, Washington, called Dragonflight.
It’s been held at the Hilton hotel there, and I’ve been going to it since 2015.
This past weekend was the 2018 version of it, and it was just as much fun as it usually is.
Even the Doctor was there!
Somewhere, anyway. She must have been hiding.
I’m not going to go into detail on the new games I played on this fabulous weekend, as those will be in the monthly “New to Me” post that I will be doing later this week.
However, I will list the games I played and just talk in general about the experience.
I’m going to give the few criticisms I have before going on to the more general stuff, mainly because there’s a lot of the latter.
First, the convention is getting very tight for space for people to game who aren’t hosting or signed up for a scheduled game.
The ballroom is where the hosted games are generally located, and there are quite a few scheduled all throughout the Friday-Sunday time frame. Sometimes there are tables that will be in use later but aren’t currently, and those can be used for your casual gaming, but you have to be quick. And you have to make sure you’re done in time for the scheduled game to set up.
In past years, it hasn’t been too much of an issue, but this year I really noticed it. I’m not sure if that means they’re outgrowing the Hilton or what, but it’s something that needs to be addressed.
Secondly, and unfortunately this isn’t anything the convention itself can do anything about, is that most of the lighting is just terrible for game photography.
We’re all gamers, and many of us post what we’re playing on Twitter or Instagram or whatever. We need to be able to take good pictures of our games.
Inevitably, either it’s too bright and there is massive glare/shadows on what you’re trying to take a picture of, or it’s too dim (this is mostly just the case on the 5th and 6th floor tables that are by the elevators).
It’s not quite as bad in the ballroom, but in other areas, it’s either bad on one side or the other.
Now lets talk about the good stuff.
I love all of the scheduled games! There were so many games scheduled that you couldn’t help but find something that you were interested in.
I was down with friends so only signed up for one, but I managed to get into two other games when time allowed, and all of the hosts I met (both playing and watching them play) were wonderful people. They were helpful, cheerful, patient, and obviously just loved the game they were hosting.
This also applies to the gamers who were at the table with me. A great bunch of people.
Which leads me into just meeting new people in general.
This is the second Dragonflight since I started this blog, but last year I was still a newbie in the “boardgaming world” online. I didn’t really feel comfortable meeting people. I stuck mainly with my friends except for one scheduled game.
This year, with me actually interacting with people on Twitter, it was a lot easier to go up to people and meet them.
I had a couple of really nice conversations with Christian Kang (aka on Twitter: TakeYourChits) about gaming social media, content creation, and the like. We also managed a game (Fantastic Factories) on Sunday morning where I met some more great people (including Jesse Perez, aka on Twitter: Jessedperez). The game was designed by Joseph Z Chen (aka on Twitter: FanFactories)
I was still there with my friends and we had a great time together, but I did feel like I was branching out a bit, and it was a good feeling. I did also feel a lot more included in the community, which I think was helped by Christian saying he recognized me from my Twitter profile pic. (Editor: Proof that your pic doesn’t turn away everybody)
Of course, I didn’t have somebody come up to me and say “oh, it’s you! My daughter really enjoys your work!” like Christian did, but baby steps…
I think that’s just a general comment that can be made: everybody was nice. I didn’t see or hear one bad thing happen, no loud altercations, nobody treating anybody badly (There is always some of this, so I’m sure it happened somewhere, but it certainly wasn’t prominent).
Everybody just seemed to be enjoying themselves.
So what did I play?
Here’s a brief rundown.
Cat Lady – review linked. Also will be in my August “New to Me” post.
Valley of the Kings: Last Rites – review linked
The Palace of Mad King Ludwig – in my August “New to Me” post, but sneak preview: Fun game in the “Mad King Ludwig” sequence from Bezier games, but this time you’re building a communal palace. Fun, somewhat fiddly and a bit of a table hog. But I’d definitely play it again.
Diamonds – review linked
Eldritch Horror – I’ve played this one before, but this time was a much better experience. Better-organized, better mood around the table, and I was in charge of keeping track of the rules. Which helped.
Wasteland Express Delivery Service – in my August “New to Me” post, but sneak preview: A pickup and deliver game after the Apocalypse. It’s a lot of fun. I may have to pick this up sometime.
Spartacus – First time I’ve played this in three years. And I’ve missed it! A great game based on the Starz TV show, with a fair amount of the swearing (though thankfully none of the nudity). A game of intrigue, negotiation, bribery, and trying to get your house on top of the Roman Empire (not, you know, Emperor top because that’s just dangerous, but on the top of Roman society). And gladiators!!!
Herbaceous – review linked
Grandpa Beck’s Cover Your A$$ets – in my August “new to me” post, but sneak preview: A really vicious card game that will elicit some bad words. Hopefully in jest, unless you’re a real asshole.
The Prodigals Club – an annual tradition and the only game (so far) to be on my “Top 10 Games Played” two years running. This is a game where you are a member of high society in Victorian England and you are trying to totally destroy your status. A hilariously fun game, a bit long for some and somewhat fiddly to set up, but nothing too bad. It’s one of my favourites.
Raiders of the North Sea – a fantastic worker placement with a rather unique “place a worker, then pick up another worker and do both actions” mechanism. I first played it earlier this year and now have played it enough times that I should probably review it! A game of Viking pillaging that thankfully doesn’t have any real violence.
Fantastic Factories – mentioned above and in my “new to me” post coming up, but sneak preview: A really fun “city” building card game (more like “set of factories” than city, but you get the idea). Some nice dice and dice management mechanisms go along with the card play. Still available for pre-order after a phenomenal Kickstarter campaign!
As you can see, a great weekend of gaming.
I really liked Dragonflight, and thanks to the organizers and volunteers for another stellar convention experience.
Were you there? Did we miss each other?
If not, what is your Con experience like?
Let me know in the comments.
Category: Board Games, conventionsTags: AEG, Bezier Games, Cat Lady, Cover Your A$$ets, Czech Games Edition, Diamonds, Eldritch Horror, Fantastic Factories, Fantasy Flight Games, Gale Force 9, Grandpa Beck's, Herbaceous, Majesty for the Realm, Palace of Mad King Ludwig, Pandasaurus Games, Pencil First Games, Prodigals Club, Raiders of the North Sea, Renegade Games Studios, Social media, Spartacus, Stronghold Games, Valley of the Kings: Last Rites, Wasteland Express Delivery Service, Zman Games
This is a blog about board games, with the occasional other post for a bit of spice.