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Every year I attend the Gathering of Friends. It's an invitation only board game convention started by Alan Moon, designer of Ticket to Ride and a million other games. I get to play games and talk to designers from all over the world, and I get to try out prototypes of new games coming out soon. My favorite by far was Path of Civilization. A civilization building game starting from the stone age and working up to modern times. Plays in about two hours. Just about all the gameplay is simultaneous, with a really clever tiebreaking system in case two people want to buy the same card at the same time. Expect this on our shelves around October / November time.

The other prototype game I fell in love with is a cooperative version of Texas Hold 'Em. This is a fairly simple idea that grabbed me like no other coop game ever has, and it's been living rent free in my head for the last week. Now I'm at the GAMA trade show, where again I get to see all the awesome new games coming soon! Look for me to spend another ridiculous amount of money on dice, but also stay tuned for any other products I get super excited about!

I recently attended Game Days, a three day convention put on by the Games Club of Maryland. I was the vendor, but I also got to play tons of great games there! My favorite by far, and the game I sought out for myself immediately, was We're Doomed! The group has exactly 15 minutes to collect resources to build a ship big enough to get us off the planet. There probably won't be enough seats on the ship for everyone, so you also have to collect influence to make sure you get one of those seats. And if someone isn't contributing... You can use some of those resources to shoot a Nuke at another player, knocking them out of the game. It's fast, it's hilarious, and in the three games we played, not ONCE did we actually get anyone to safety. Mostly due to my godson's penchant for nuking people at random. So much fun!

Since I'm the worst at understanding how time works, I was an hour late to our game day today. But we still got two good games in - Distilled, and Ares. In Distilled, you're running a brewery. You're collecting ingredients and barrels and such, buying new recipes and trying to get points. The neat mechanic in this one, when you distill your alcohol, you shuffle the ingredients you're adding, then remove two of them at random and return them to your supply. You can never fully predict what your outcome will be. It wasn't amazing, but I still had fun. I ended up winning by a few points, despite wasting a ton of money and actions setting myself up for a path I'd never end up being able to follow. Afterwards, we played TM Ares with the expansion, and you know how I feel about that one. Ended up EXTREMELY close, with first place only three points ahead of fourth. I had a gross collection of blue cards that gave me a 9MC discount on just about everything, then a bunch of cards giving bonuses for all the Earth and Space tags I had, which was also a lot. Coming home, Jodie wanted to play more games with me, so we played Fairy Tile. This is an adorable light little game where you move characters and play more map tiles in order to complete the pages in your own fairy tale. At the end of the game, the cards you played combine and tell a unique story! It's pretty cool, but Jodie absolutely crushed me. She's a clever kid - look out for her in a couple years.

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