Boy, do they know how to have fun at Geekway to the West! This was my second time attending this convention - and I count myself very, very lucky that it is held in my hometown. People travel from across the country to attend Geekway and I drive for about ten minutes. I’m luckier than the two people who won Wingspan from the Play and Win! That’s a joke. Nobody is luckier than those two people - but more on that later.
Last year I did an illustrated write-up of all the games I enjoyed at Geekway 2018 and I was so pleased to hear my recommendations and opinion held any weight at all and changed the landscape of people’s board game shelves. This year, I’ve done it again! You might recognize some of these games I’m listing - they may not be brand new but they are new to me. You can see the scrolling illustration over on my Instagram or the individual illustrations here, along with affiliate links to pick up the board games for yourself!
I actually won a Play and Win game! Ah! This year we had the fabulous option of selecting “Do Not Win” on Play and Win games you didn’t really care for - but this was not one of them, for me. It reminded me of Machi Koro but there was a lot more variation in the cards you select and once you finally built up enough properties, the game didn’t usually end there (like Machi Koro). You still had several turns to try to beat your opponent. I’m looking forward to playing this game over and over! Maybe one day I will win at it.
I won this game twice and I owe it all to the cute, enormous, first-player token of a raccoon in a bowler hat. His adorable face inspired me to build the best town and own the best railroads and become a coal-buying and coal-selling tycoon. Honestly, any game that features beautifully ornate illustrations of cats, dogs, and raccoons dressed as Victorian lords and ladies… I’m gonna love that game. This is an easy game to learn and teach and everyone in our group enjoyed it. Perfect for families and people who love raccoons.
I really liked this game’s concept and gameplay… but I do think my brain stopped working while the instructions were relayed to me. I would blame it on myself but another person in our group reacted the same way. The other two players described this game as “simple” and “fun” to which I said, “Okay.” I’m by no means an unbiased game connoisseur or expert reviewer. In fact, I’m doing this blog post on my own volition and no one may ever read it. Except my mom, maybe. Hi, mom!
You’re filling up a flight according to each card’s instructions with passengers who may have specific requests - wanting an aisle seat or window seat, for example. You only have so many vouchers you can use to skip over cards so you have to do your best to seat your passengers with the cards you are dealt. It reminded me of Sagrada - a game I really enjoy, so we will most likely purchase this game.
This game was a feast for my eyes and my brain and I count myself lucky we were able to play it! David snagged it in the Play and Win room during the rare moment it was there. I never saw it in the room ever again - it was always being played. This game has been so popular and successful that it’s nearly out of stock everywhere and copies are being sold for about twice their retail value. Never fear - they should be available again in July! I am waiting eagerly to purchase my copy then.
To quote my friend David DeVoss: “It is the mark of a good game that you still enjoy it despite never winning it.” Agreed. I think I could have played this game for hours because it was simple enough to catch on and play while having a conversation while also being challenging and interesting enough to… well, want to play it for hours. I do think I would love this game even if it were not invented by one of my favorite bands (The Decemberists), featuring one of my favorite illustrators (Carson Ellis).
It was terribly satisfying laying tiles in this particular game of the triology - even though the other two games (Cottage Garden and Indian Summer) follow about the same game play. It could have been the color contrast or perhaps it’s because the goal was to concentrate your efforts from left to right. Whatever it was, it was a joy to play and I did end up playing it more than once.
I really, really wish I was good at this game. Everyone I was playing with really enjoyed it. But something about remembering my rule and stressing over not messing it up… while trying to figure out everyone else’s secret rules simultaneously… my brain, once again, shut down. This is an awesome game of deduction. You can’t really misdirect your opponents because you need to follow your rule. But, you can be more discreet on your marker placement so they don’t catch on as quickly.
I’ll just remind you here again that these are all my unprofessional opinions. I thought this game was kind of clunky - the peacocks are just there to provide color, I believe, you could absolutely play the game without them. But they do provide a really dazzling amount of color which made my eyes happy. However, none of us really enjoyed the mechanics of the game. It has won some awards and is rated well on websites which makes me believe it has more potential than we observed in our own round of playing it.
I’m not generally a big fan of games that depend on your phone or a piece of technology… but this was just way too much fun! It was a bit like Clue and an escape room in one. It kept track of your time and the more people you questioned or the more time spent investigating a crime scene, the more the story advanced and the more time elapsed in the story. This game comes with 4-5 scenarios to solve and, according to the manufacturer’s description, the crimes are connected. Cool. We only got to play one story but I’d be eager to solve all the others.
This game didn’t totally dazzle me, but I did think it was really fun! You strategize on the strength of the cards you purchase while racing opponents to the temple stairs. Although, the order in which you play cards depends on how lucky you are when you draw them. I actually won this game. I don’t generally win at games so I just have to remark on that.
What a fun group game! You draft tiles to build two castles: you build one on each side of you with the players to your left and your right. At the end of the game, the lower scoring castle of the two is your final score - this ensures you don’t put all your eggs into one castle, so to speak. We all had a ton of fun building our castles and there’s really no clear winner until the end when you tally all your points.
We were only able to play once so I don’t know the best strategy to win this game - but it also involves chance as each house number is paired with different actions each time you play. Very, very fun! Loved the aesthetic of this game, as well, it has a 1950s vibe that I was digging. City planning, it turns out, can be real tough. But about halfway through the game I think we all believed we could easily do it for a living. jk jk
A really excellent group game along the lines of Codenames. Your teammates can see your four words - but you’re trying to get them to guess the sequence by providing codewords. The other team is recording the codewords as the game progresses, pairing them to their correct numbers and trying to catch on to what the actual words are. It’s MUCH harder than it seems and it provided a lot of laughter.
Lay your cards on the table in numerical order - easy, right? But you can’t speak to one another so it’s a lot of tentative card laying, relieved sighs, and intense staring at your teammates to try and figure out who is next in the sequence. I don’t know why intensely staring at someone seems to help you figure it out, but we had some miracles happen (Jacob had 83, David had 84, for example, and they were laid down in the right sequence). This game ended up being hilarious because its intensity escalates so quickly.
Such a fun convention! Next year’s Geekway is June 11-14 and I’m already looking forward to it! In the mean time, it’s time to spend all my money on new board games. Let me know what games you are enjoying lately in the comments! I’m always on the lookout for more.