Rincon Games: Tucson’s board game convention

I went to RinCon for the first time last weekend down in Tucson and had an amazing time! I drove up Friday night to spend the night there so that I can game early in the morning. For those who know me in real life, I am so not a morning person and didn’t want to bother getting up early Saturday to make the 2-hour drive from Phoenix. I only got a day pass for Saturday. Next year, I hope to make it for the whole weekend!

I didn’t think I could fall in love with a board game. Isn’t it gorgeous? Meet Lisboa.

I arrived at RinCon at the super early morning time at 8:30 a.m. First up was Lisboa. Is it possible to fall in love with a board game? It seriously was love at first play. My friend graciously decided to teach it to our table, even though he had already played it during the convention. Lisboa is gorgeous, crunchy, brain-burnery and thematically wonderful. And I love using the multi-use cards. It’s designer Vital Lacerda’s best game, and that’s saying a lot since I love his previous games, too.

What’s cooler than being cool? Ice Cool (I know that’s not the real lyrics, but I can’t help myself).

I then met up with Kat, a k a @GloryHoundd of the Uninvited Gamers, and we played some lighter games after Lisboa took up most of my morning, which included a rules explanation that lasted about an hour. We checked out the RinCon game library and played some Ice Cool, which is too adorable! It’s a dexterity game where your flick your weebly-wobbly penguin and breeze through corridors to get fish. And bonus points for the nesting-doll design of the game, which fits back into its box.

Growing out my tree in Kodama: Tree Spirits. This should please the Tree Spirits!

We then played Kodama: The Tree Spirits. The artwork on this is gorgeous! And there’s something so soothing about playing cards to grow your tree. Each card has a section of a branch and symbols on it. You score points by extending the line of symbols, as well as playing your Tree Spirit cards for bonuses. I had a lot of fun admiring the artwork on this.

One of the Tree Spirits. How could you be anything but happy when playing this?

Then, we played Villages of Valeria. This is a village-building card game, which has an interesting Puerto Rico element to it. The active player takes a turn, and you can follow that player by doing a similar action. There’s even a castle marker to indicate which action the active player took. You then grow your hand by taking cards from the center of the table, but you can also discard cards by placing them on top of existing cards. The player who builds 10 buildings triggers the end of the game. In our case as a 3-player game, we had to build 12 buildings.

I really enjoyed the Puerto Rico aspect and engine-building in Villages of Valeria.

I also got a chance to talk with Kat a little bit more. We usually game in the Phoenix area but it’s often difficult to catch up when you’re totally engrossed in whatever game you’re playing at Game Night.

It’s GloryHoundd and me! She’s pretty fantastic. (I also wish my hair didn’t look like a hot mess.)

After a quick dinner break with my Phoenix gamer friend and his son, we drove to check out the Isle of Games board game store. This store is really impressive, and there’s even a used-game section inside! We then came back to the hotel, where I taught his son to play Ice Cool. He really liked it.

There was also a flea market at RinCon. We got there just in time and I snagged Dreamwell for $5 and Notre Dame, a Stefan Feld game, for $20, still unpunched!

I got Dreamwell because of the artwork and Notre Dame because it’s a Stefan Feld game.

So, remember when I said how much I loved Lisboa? Well, I played it again that night. It’s that awesome! This second game was entirely different from my first game, in which I came in second. That night, I did horribly! I think I was just trying to do too many things, which then made my turns inefficient.

Lastly, I played Gentes, a new civilization-building game that uses money and time to do your actions. Some actions are cheaper but require more time, and vice versa. You’re limited to actions and time by what’s open on your tableau. It’s definitely thinky but not hurts-your-brain thinky. This game is made by the same folks who did Arkwright, which often hurts my brain.

Gentes is an interesting civilization-building game that uses time as a resource.

And just like that, an entire day of gaming was over! I finished gaming around 1:15 a.m., and promptly drove back to Phoenix. I kept myself awake listening to the latest Dice Tower podcast from Suzanne and Mandi, and the latest from @GloryHoundd and the Uninvited Gamers. I can’t wait to go to RinCon next year. Everybody was so nice, and the gaming experience was excellent!

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