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Geekway Mini 2022 Redux

I went to Geekway Mini last weekend, hastily rescheduled because of omicron to coincide with both Valentine's Day AND the Super Bowl. Needless to say, it was lightly attended. There wasn't anything in play-and-win that I was super excited for going in, but I found some good ones nonetheless.

NEOM



The title is, I assume, the sound Cookie Monster makes when he runs past you really quickly. Tile-drafting city builder that feels like a cross between 7 Wonders and Big Cities. I liked it quite a bit as a 2-player where there were some more interesting drafting rules. The standard draft at 4 players was a little less engaging. While I enjoyed it, it has a pretty high price point, so it's not one I'm likely to acquire.

Luna Capital





Another city-builder, this time on a lunar colony with a bit more emphasis on Sushi-Go-style set collection. You get bonuses for grouping like structures, but they all score slightly differently, plus you also have to lay out the cards that you're building on, which have to go from left to right in increasing numerical order, but then there are structures you can play that let you move things around. It's very pretty and has nice components, and the theme is fun. Gameplay was decent, but very busy, and it's not one I feel compelled to play again.

Imperium Classics 



Probably my favorite of the con. It's a very meaty asymmetric deck-building game about advancing your civilization from barbarians to an empire. It does some fun things with thematic abstractions: the Persians collect a bunch of tributes; the Macedonians conquer lands, then lose them, then conquer them again; the Vikings can never become an empire--if they would, the game just ends. For the most part its about racking up "Progress" to be tallied when the game concludes, but there's an alternate end to the game where if nations collect enough "Unrest" then civilization collapses, the game stops immediately, and whoever has the fewest Unrest cards is the winner. I liked it enough that I ordered both it and its companion game Imperium Legends. Each game is a stand-alone with 8 nations and you can mix-and-match them. Really had fun once I finally grokked it--which took some time because the rulebook is hot garbage, and I couldn't find a good how-to-play video online.

Land vs Sea



Basically Carcassonne but streamlined and made for 2 players (it has rules for 3 and 4, but it's clearly intended to be a 2-player game). One player is the land and one is the sea. You draw two-sided tiles and take turns playing them. Score points by closing off land masses or seas. The Land player always scores for land, the Sea player for seas. However, whoever closes the area off gets bonuses for any Xs regardless of which player it belongs to. Also, quite a few of the tiles let you play extra or steal from your opponent. The art's decent. Gameplay is fine. I actually like it quite a bit more than Carcassonne... I just don't like Carcassonne all that much.

Newton




A sciency point-salad game with an emphasis on hand management, themed around the age of Isaac Newton and his contemporaries. It's decently fun, but awfully fiddly. Like most point-salad games, there's a lot to do and it gets a little overwhelming on a first play-through. Also, it's got a huuuuuuge table footprint. I would play it again.

Equinox (Purple version)



A casual betting/bluffing game with some hand management and lots of mythical woodland creatures. There's a contest, you're betting on which three won't be eliminated, and you play cards to determine standings. You can play over each other and use the creatures' powers to do some manipulation. I enjoyed it reasonably well and it's definitely kid-friendly. If it pops up in a sale I might pick it up.

Lizard Wizard





Another point-salad game, and one that looks incredibly dumb but ended up being decently fun. Gather reagents, earn mana, build towers, hire apprentices, conjure familiars, delve in the dungeon, cast spells, get points for all of it. The big drawback though is that it went on for entirely too long. It needed to be done in half the time, and there's not an obvious way to run the clock out if you get an early lead (there are less-obvious ways, but they turn out to be, well... less obvious).

Savannah Park



Tile-placement game about grouping animals into herds around watering holes. It's very puzzley, although I don't like the art. The scoring is similar to Kingdomino, but instead of drafting, everyone already has all of their tiles and you take turns calling out which tile everyone will move to an available open space. It's decently fun at 3 or 4 players because there gets to be some chaos in there. It has solo rules as well, which I tried and did not care for.

Kabuto Sumo



Dexterity game about shoving bugs off a tree stump. It's fine. Definitely geared towards younger players.

The rest...

Those are all the play-and-win titles I tried out. I also learned The Lost Ruins of Arnak and Discworld: Ankh-Morpork, both of which I was solidly "meh" on. Additionally, I got to share some of my faves with new friends, including Downforce, The Crew: Mission Deep Sea, Poetry for Neanderthals, and Architects of the West Kingdom. The party games happened late Friday and Saturday night among much drunken ribaldry.

All in all, had a great time, tried new games, made new friends, hung out with old friends, and can't wait for the next one in May.

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