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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Friday, December 02, 2005


Sorry about the lack of a post last week. Like anyone was paying attention the day after Thanksgiving anyway…

I was listening to the Have Games Will Travel podcast Thursday morning while driving to work and heard an interview with Gabriel Vega of Avalon Game Conventions. I had never heard of Gabriel or his conventions, but there are some interesting things going on that are of interest to those of us in the northwest.

Looks like there’s a new convention coming to Seattle – Conquest NW. This convention looks to be similar to Portland’s own GameStorm, and from what I heard on the podcast they will have the GameStorm game library up there as well. I must say I enjoy these smaller conventions and I hope Avalon builds a strong business out of these regional cons. They also have a CruiseCon scheduled for next year and in 2007 they plan to do an Alaskan gaming cruise out of Seattle. That could be interesting.

My only complaint about the regional cons is the professionalism in how they are managed. I mean that in the exact sense of the word – most of the people running these events are part-time amateurs and I know they do their best. GameStorm, for example, doesn’t do the best job of communicating with volunteers and game judges about the status of their events. For the past few years I’ve signed up to run events and I never hear back from a coordinator, but I still manage to show up somewhere on the schedule. You’d think they could implement some sort of automated system to help manage their calendar and keep judges informed. Perhaps Avalon can build a repeatable small convention experience (franchise) and get GameStorm on board to improve the logistics and planning.

Not much gaming going on lately. I did manage to get in a few games of Exago with Jacob tonight before dinner. This is sort of a connect-4 style game (connect 5 when played with only 2 players) where players try and build a straight connection of their colored hex pieces, alternating moves with the other player(s). It plays with up to 6 players and Julie has had some success using it at school in her gaming breakout sessions. I think Jacob was a bit tired (might be getting sick) because I beat him in 4 straight games.

Tomorrow night I’m hoping to get in another play of Duel of Ages with the boys. I picked up expansions 2 and 3 so it should be fun to mix in some more land platters and character mixes. I really like how the game is time-bound, allowing me to plan a fixed playing time to meet the boys’ bedtime requirements.

This Sunday morning I plan to get in a game of Eastfront at Mike’s 2–player gaming weekend. This has long been on my must-play list so I’m excited to give it a try. We haven’t yet decided on a scenario yet though I’m leaning towards Operation ‘Blue’ which should be fairly balanced. Here’s the historical commentary:

S’42 was crunch time for Germany. The Soviets were getting stronger and smarter. America was turning England into an armed camp. Germany’s nemesis, the two-front war, loomed. Russia had to be defeated now, and quickly. The German economy was particularly weak in petroleum. The lure of Caucasus oil tempted Hitler to go South, combined with a plan to breach the Volga at Stalingrad and then swing north behind Moscow. This plan surprised the Soviets who were deployed to protect Moscow. The Soviet front evaporated, but they had learned to retire before being bagged.

Hitler fidgeted with the plan, varying the main objective between Stalingrad and the Caucasus. Stalingrad became the eventual focus, where the Germans forswore mobile warfare for street fighting and met their match. Meanwhile, Stalin patiently hoarded his reserves behind the Don and Volga. Those who had lived by the blitzkrieg were about to die by it.

I’ll report on how this goes, hopefully on Sunday night, and probably over on my own weblog.


  • At 11:26 AM, Blogger Eric said…

    I'll definitely be at ConQuest NW. One of the feature events is our West Coast DBM 15mm Championship Tournament. (AKA Harbor Storm)

    We finally decided to hook the tournament up with a con as Bruce simply ran out of space. He's got a wonderous "war room" in a daylight basement under his detached garage, but he can't handle more than 10 simultaneous games, and The Game Matrix in Tacoma (last year's host) was simply too cramped to use again.

    With the new con in place on the same weekend as our historical date for the tournament, all the stars fell into alignment. And the organizers were VERY eager to promote the tourney as a featured event.

    Hopefully, the promise is fulfilled.

  • At 10:31 AM, Blogger Paul Tevis said…

    I was at the first ConQuest LA this year, and it seemed quite well run. I'm a little worried that Gabriel may be overextending himself a bit, but he's got very good industry connections, so I suspect he'll be able to do it.

  • At 9:32 PM, Blogger mike said…

    I'm really going to try and get Conquest NW into my schedule. I've never been to a convention and would love to try one out.

    I'm also hoping to work Gamestorm in this year, if I can get my 6 year old worked into shape enough that I'd feel comfortable bringing him along. We'll see.


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