Every year my friends and I spend an extended weekend in Ocean City Maryland playing board games. We call it the “Bros Beach Trip”. I’ve gone for the past 2 years now, but the rest of them have been going for a few years longer. It’s a long drive for me to get to the beach from my mountain Chalet, and I inevitably hit traffic both going there and leaving, but it’s worth it to spend some time gaming with my closest friends from back in Delaware.
During this beach trip we play a lot of board games, eat tons of food, and drink lots of yummy beers.
we are all a bunch of nerds (as you can see from the above picture) so we even went out and made a spreadsheet to help us maximize our enjoyment!
During the selection process we eliminated games that couldnt play 5 people (since we had 5 people and didn’t want to leave anyone out) if we couldn’t play while drunk, and anything ranked over 2000 on the Boardgame Geek website Rank. Some games got past our validation by people constantly saying in chat “What game list?” and “Well I’m bringing X. We can play it or not.” Thats how Pat snuck Fury of Dracula in (2nd Edition). We ended up not playing it because the 3 hour play time scared us. Would still love to play that some day as it looks fun!
Some of the highlights for me from this years gaming was Mansions of Madness, Duskcity Outlaws, Rock Paper Wizards, and some more Dead of Winter. We also got in Terraforming Mars, Epic Spell Wars, Welcome to the Dungeon, Coup and Secret Hitler!
Duskcity Outlaws was probably my favorite game of the weekend.
It’s not a traditional board game but more of a RPG game from Rodney Thompson, the designer of Lords of Waterdeep who’s also worked on Star Wars Saga Edition and D&D 5E.
The game is set in a fantasy world like Venice but on the scale of New York City. It’s very much in the vein of The Lies of Locke Lamora, which Rodney Thompson has stated was a key source of inspiration for the game.
I’ve been really excited about this game since I Kickstarted it a year or so ago, admittedly on a whim since I loved Lords of Waterdeep, but since then reading through the material and watching many actual plays I’ve really gotten excited about not just the mechanics, but the world and the theme. I also got into similar systems that I saw a lot of comparisons to on the internet/forums/gplus, Blades in the Dark, and it’s space opera setting, Scum & Villainy from Evil Hat (one of my favorite game companies! Based in Maryland!)
Both of those games really sound great. Blades is darker (heh) and more focused on the crew running the job. While S&V is a more space opera style game. I’m committed to running a game of both, but they are very different thematically from Dusk City, that I’ll probably never expound on in another post, but I’d like to!
But back to Dusk City. It’s a percentile based role playing game with additional Advantage and Disadvantage dice used for added flavor, making the system very easy to pick up and play. The game is designed to be the kind of game you can take right off the shelf and play with very little preparation time, and the scenario design makes it so. With a bunch of drunk guys who had never played before (but admittedly are very experienced table top gamers) we were rolling along quickly and easily. I think the guys enjoyed it too!
I probably fudged a few rules in my first run through (I messed up needing to roll disadvantage dice when pushing your luck) and also probably didn’t get them accruing heat as much as possible. But nonetheless it was a lot of fun and I cant wait to get people together again to play some more.
Check out the kickstarter page here for more on the game, actual plays and lots of fun pictures, or the website for it. So much fun.
We also played some old stand by’s like Coup which is probably one of our favorite games. Everyone always seems to have a duke! There weren’t any memorable moments from Coup like we’ve had in years past, but was fun as always.
I also finally got to try out Mansions of Madness with the companion app that I’ve heard so much about. The game came recommended by a good friend of mine, James, who loved the app feature, letting him and his wife play co-op with out someone needing to run the keeper.
I was a little worried since Jake forgot his ipad, so we ran the companion app on my laptop and it’s been freezing up and crashing on my all last week. Luckily it made it through without any issues. We lost pretty badly when Nick playing the orphan was killed by the Priest of Dagon, but shit happens. It was fun and I didn’t have to GM it!
The system for Mansions of Madness is very similar to the other Fantasy Flight Mythos games like Arkham Horror, but more streamlined and not taking 3 hours to setup.
Speaking of long setup, Dead of Winter still remains one of my favorite new games.
While the Zombie thing is a bit played out like Jake says, the game mechanics bring about a new twist to the zombie apocalypse in that you are trying to survive a winter, adds a betrayal component which we haven’t run into yet, and has a bunch of smaller twists and turns to keep it interesting, making the zombie apocalypse really just the back drop to the theme of colony survival, overcoming obstacles and twists from the crossroads cards.
I really cant wait to play this one again. Not to mention we had Sparky the Stunt Dog carrying a Shot Gun!
There’s a series of comics about Sparky i think i need to pick up!
I think Nick and Steve liked Terraforming Mars the best. I loved it to, even if I had to play as yellow, didn’t get to drop a moon on Jake (good job nick) nor did my overall strategy pan out, but was still fun and i didn’t come in last place!
We played two games that were very much in the “Wizards Fighting it out” vein.
The First was Epic Spell Wars, that pat brought. It was ok. was kind of a deck building game (we all know how i feel about those) and was really about what card you drew. It was ok. I probably wouldnt play it again unless everyone else did.
The second i liked more, Rock Paper Wizards, we were all a few more beers in by this one but it had a fun mechanic where you did hand gestures to indicate what spell you were casting. I was weirded out by it at first, but it ended up being a blast.
Now the beach trip wasnt all just us sitting in a condo playing board games. We did get down to the beach a few times, visited the boardwalk, rode the beach bus and played pokemon! We also found an excellent sports bar called The Abbey Burger Bistro for burgers, beers and to watch the Fifa World Cup Final.
Viva La France!
Now for what should you drink during a gaming weeken? Well, thats a tough call. Now that I’m in my late 30s and dont have the drinking prowess of a kid in their 20s, I recommend with riding it out with a good session beer like SeaQuench from DogFishHead or the old stand by of the All Day IPA. I started the weekend off with a few Narragansetts that Jake brought. That wasnt bad. I brought in a few heavier Sweetwater IPA’s a bit later, but those seriously impacted my gaming ability. Not to mention the shots of Tito’s Jake had me doing later.
Nick kicked it with a 4 pack of DFH 120 Minute all weekend. Thats basically a wine at that point.
Final Verdict, stick with the SeaQuench and other session ales during a gaming weekend and throw in the occasional water and heavier stuff to keep it balanced out!