I'm back from OrcCon and below are my notes about the con. I've edited out some playtest stuff that I don't want out on the net, yet.
Isle of Doctor Necreaux. We got in four playtests of this game. Everyone liked it for the most part. One person complained about not being effective and another was confused about what was going on. In each instance, I made someone else read the rules and explain the game and I merely participated.
It was generally agreed that NINJA needed to be fixed, pending items needed clarification, a final round rule needed to be written to stop people from choosing a SPEED of 20, and some terminology in the rulebook needed to be depersonalized as it referred to TURNS (it's a TEAM TURN, after all). The card titles also needed to be distinguished from the text a little more clearly. It won't take more than a day to implement all of these changes. I intend to talk with Jon Letisko one more time about the game and then we're done.
XXXX. This is a small prototype game that I made that I played in my hotel room with two close friends who I trust and I got some GREAT feedback. I should have a new prototype ready for the end of the week. We played it twice and everyone agreed they didn't know what game it felt like.
Agricola. I finally played this game and I understand why this is #1 on BGG. Wow. Amazing resource management game with enough random elements to make replay value 100 times greater than Puerto Rico. Great game. If you can find the rules, read them. Really, really, really good. And very expensive to produce. I can't believe it's only $60.
Battlestar Galactica. This game was not made for the EURO crowd, but for the FFG Experience-style board gamers. It is not fun. It is work. It is exactly how you turn a cooperative-based ACTION POINT game into work. I'm sure people love the replay value because of the CRISIS cards, but this was not a rewarding game experience for me or anyone else at the table.
Race for the Galaxy. I finally played this game as well and I hated it as much as I thought I would. It is the predecessor to DOMINION and part of the wave of CCG to Board Games that are coming out now. Race's poor graphics, complicated ICONOGRAPHY, and poor graphics (did I mention that twice) really hurt the fun of this game. It could be fun, but it's again, more work than it is play experience. I like some elements of the game, but this was ruined by the game's inability to figure out what it wanted to be (literally, the mechanic is tacked to some random theme about space exploration). Like Dominion, it felt like a rough draft for a game idea, but was far from "ready for prime time."
Shadows over Camelot. We played this twice. Once without the Merlin expansion and once with. The traitor mechanic for this game really sets it apart from other games. The Battlestar CYLON mechanic is pretty good, but no better than the Shadows one.
Lifeboat. A well-established INDIE card game by Jeff Siadek. This game is meaner and more cutthroat than lunch-money. Really. It took 30 minutes to play and there was certainly a desire to play again amongst our group. Jeff Siadek also showed off a new card game he's doing in the style of APPLES TO APPLES. Really hilarious. Should sell well to gamers at first. I suspect it'll be out for GENCON.
In a Wicked Age. This is an RPG, but an amazing one. It's part of the indie movement. I cannot express enough how great this game is and that I really should steal some of these ideas for COIL. Even if I don't, this game just moved to the front of the line for great fantasy RPG.
This was a good show, overall and would have been better if I didn't force myself to learn some bad games.