Trashfest Northeast 2015

For the third year in a row I went down to Connecticut this weekend to play a heaping helping of boardgames at Trashfest! This is always a good time and some fun people and this year was no exception.

I started out by teaching three other guys Battle Merchants. This is the second time I have played with the New Kingdoms expansion/alteration and I think the revised kingdom cards are really good. The new players seemed to enjoy it and one of them won, nearly steamrolling over everyone else (I was a very close second but only because I got really lucky in the final season.)

Someone there was selling Dark Moon, a game I’d had my eye on, for a really good price. It’s a retheme of “BSG Express”, which was itself a fan-made dice adaptation of the Battlestar Galactica boardgame. I’m not a huge fan of BSG, but more for the length and sameness than the central idea behind it. I wanted to jump on that sale price but felt I should give it a try first. I found some others who were happy to teach it and played a game. I was one of the Infected, and played cool for a while. At one point I selected an event card which could have given the game away and was disastrous for the humans, but it was because I was completely inept, not because I was trying to kill them all. When we Infected revealed, we had the humans on the ropes, but they wriggled out and won. Stupid humans. I had a good time and ended up buying that copy.

The people I had just tried to murder in Dark Moon wanted to play Space Cadets: Dice Duel next and I obliged. I tried this out at Gen Con and it didn’t do much for me then. It also didn’t do much for me now. I like dice stuff but I don’t like real-time everyone-roll-dice-and-then-yell stuff. Others had fun, tho, so I’m good.

The next game, though, was Space Cadets: Away Missions, and it was a blast. This has been getting a lot of buzz lately and was everywhere at Trashfest (the designers were there) but for some reason I thought it was some kind of miniatures game and that’s not normally my thing. It’s not. It’s more like a dungeon crawl game and it is a bunch of fun. We played a scenario where aliens were infesting our spacecraft and we had to defeat them all before the self-destruct went off. We were successful, but largely because of an amazing turn where the meathead character found some kind of adrenaline injector, Hulked out, and went on a rampage, mowing down aliens left and right. It was glorious. As I say, the designers were there, and the copy we played belonged to one of them, so it was the top-of-the-line Kickstarter edition with beautifully painted miniatures. I don’t usually care about such things, but in this case they really made the game come alive. It was loads of fun.

Then I played Albion’s Legacy and the less said, the better.

I was watching as Flick ‘Em Up was being taught, but it seemed like (a) way more than I wanted in a flicking game and (b) it would be kind of long and convoluted, so I bailed and joined a game of The Omega Virus. This game from the 80s was a hoot. There’s not a lot of play to it (you’re just kind of moving around and hoping to find stuff) but it’s a lot of goofy fun, as it has an electronic talking component, which serves as the countdown, the voice of the base computer begging for help, and the voice of the Omega Virus making fun of the base computer. I and one other player cornered the Virus in a room but he beat me to defeating it. I have been wanting to play Omega Virus for ages and am glad I finally got a chance. This makes me even more eager to finish SECRET BOARD GAME PROJECT “VICTOR MIKE”.

I can’t think of a better crowd to play Cockroach Poker with, and we had a great time. I pulled an especially gutsy move, passing a stinkbug to someone when I already had three of them in front of me. I figured no one would believe I’d do that, and it paid off.

There was a flicking game competition going on, and to help I brought my copy of Maus Nach Haus, which has not seen table time in far too long. You have six mice and someone spins a wooden ring. You try to flick your mice so that when the ring stops spinning and falls, they’ll be inside it. That’s it. It is a riot, and inspired a lot of obscene trash talk, as all the best games for pre-schoolers do.

I was ready to leave at that point but Matt Loter convinced me to stay for a round of a game he’s designing, U Mad Bro?, about the brain-twisting ineffable horror of Cthulhu and its effect on Jersey Bros. It’s a microgame, dumb as hell, and full of luck, and we had a lot of fun playing it. If you want a game where you stroke your beard and puzzle over interesting decisions in the problem space, it’s not for you. If you want to have a good time, it’s aces.

And that closed out another Trashfest. As always, many thanks to the organizers. I sadly did not play my traditional game of Ascending Empires on the Super Deluxe Board, nor did I play or teach The New Era. I saw other things being played that I’m now interested in, such as The Grizzled and Argent. Can’t wait for next year.

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