RickFest IX Postmortem

Don’t worry. Nobody died, despite the killing cold1 that has become a RickFest tradition. It did, I think, thin out attendance a bit. We still had around 20-25 people over the course of the day, which is not bad, but some injuries and illness and other commitments kept some of the regulars away, otherwise we might have broken our attendance record.

For those who don’t know, RickFest is my annual game day. I rent a community centre hall, load in a bunch of games, make a big pot of chili, and invite whole bunch of my friends to come by between noon and midnight to play games, eat food, and hang out. It’s a potluck, drop-in affair. This was the ninth2 RickFest, and a survey conducted a couple of years ago led to us adopting the tag line The Sixth Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Here are some pictures of the festivities:

I loaded three big duffel bags with games, stuck an extra one in my messenger bag, and hauled 56 games (57 if you count Codenames and Codenames: Pictures separately) into the community centre. Overkill? Maybe. But I like giving folks a good variety of options.

Illimat was the first game of RickFest. It’s a very attractive game, but there are some elements of the rules that seem a little arcane. I have read the rules and watched a couple of videos, but haven’t actually played it yet. The gang here were having a bit of trouble figuring it out. Still, it got a couple of plays, so it can’t be too bad.

Tak is based on the game in Patrick Rothfus’s novel A Wise Man’s Fear. Rules are very simple, and strategy is quite deep. I taught it to one of my friends as our first game of the day, and he proceeded to beat me three games in a row. It’s lots of fun.

My friend Dave is into miniature games the same way I’m into board games and RPGs. He brought out his demo setup for Infinity, which always looks so cool that, when I see his stuff, I start thinking about diving into minis. It doesn’t help that he is a really great painter, and all his models just look gorgeous.

Dave also brought out The Captain is Dead, a game that I had been looking forward to trying. Unfortunately, I was caught up in something else when all the spots filled up. Judging from the laughter around the table, it’s a pretty good game. I ordered myself a copy this morning.

This might have been what I was playing when The Captain is Dead filled up: Batman Fluxx. Fluxx games are always fun, and this is no different.

Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate is a D&D take on Betrayal at House on the Hill. It looked fun, though I find the art on the tiles a little busy and confusing. That may just be a product of me not looking at them in the context of playing the game.

Dreamwell is a beautiful game that I got through Kickstarter. I’ve had it for a couple of years, and it’s got a fair bit of play at RickFests, but I’ve never been one of the players. I need to correct that. Everyone says it’s fun.

Kodama is from Action Phase Games, just like Dreamwell, and I got it through a Kickstarter, and it is also beautiful. It also gets a fair bit of play, and I have never played it. I really gotta fix that.

One beautiful game that I did get to play is Inis. In fact, I played it twice. Not only that, I actually won once! It’s surprisingly simple and quick to learn, and the game can turn in an instance, all without relying overmuch on random elements – no dice rolls, for example. And having a part of combat be the participants talking to each other to decide if they actually want to go to war is pretty good. Lots of fun, this game.

Since King of Tokyo premiered at RickFest V, it’s been a perennial favourite. It’s quick, fun, easy, silly, and you get to be a giant monster. ‘Nuff said.

Erik brought Labyrinth, and I got to give it a try. It was simple and fun, with lots of flavour. I played Sarah and, what with how often Jareth showed up to mess with us, I spent too much time asleep for us to save Toby from being turned into a goblin. Considering the final showdown has the Sarah player reciting the culminating speech of the movie from memory while gazing into the eyes of the Jareth figure, it’s probably just as well we didn’t get that far.
We did get to do the Dance Magic “You remind be of the babe” riff, though, so that’s something.

Lazer Ryderz is beautiful neon and Nagel 80s glitz. It’s also a really fun game. Greg Stolze has shared one of his house rules with me:
“When we played this, we house ruled that every time you said the game’s name, you had to do so in a high, 80s-hair-metal falsetto and then make a guitar solo sound.
‘LAY-suh.. RIIII! DUHS!!!'”

I love Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu. Like most Pandemic-style games, it excels at pulling the rug out from under you at the most inconvenient moment. I don’t know how this game ended.

This game of The Mountains of Madness, I am told, ended in a victory. I find that statement suspect, based on my experience playing the game. But I will accept it as truth.

Witches of the Revolution looks like a lot of fun, and I’m generally a pretty big fan of Atlas Games. The folks playing it seemed to be enjoying it. One day, I will play it, too.

This is Nora. Her parents recently taught her to roll dice. Now she’s rolling the dice for them as they play Zombie Dice. It makes me proud that RickFest fosters such exemplary parenting skills.

So, that was twelve hours of gaming goodness. I’ve got the car unloaded, now, and most of the stuff put away. Another RickFest in the books.

Of course, next year is RickFest X. I’m going to need to come up with something special.

  1. For my non-Canadian friends, in Winnipeg, “killing cold” is neither hyperbole or metaphor. We’re talking temperatures that can cause actual death pretty quickly if you’re not dressed for it. []
  2. We think. We didn’t start keeping track until a few years in. It could be the eighth, or the tenth, but we arbitrarily decided on a count about four years ago and made that the official one. []
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