Saturday, March 19, 2011

Thoughts on GAMA Trade Show 2011 - Mayfair

This last week we had the opportunity to attend out first board game trade show, the GAMA Trade Show.  We attended several classes, covering a range of subjects...some valuable, some not so much.  Personally, my favorite was one put on by Mayfair Games.

The class was part of their Demo 2 Demo program.  For 2 1/2 hours, Mayfair taught us how to demo 4 of their games.  In the process, we played each game for about 25 minutes and then moved on to the next game.  The best part is we also got a demo copy of each game to take home with us.  Of the 3 games, I had only played 1 of them before, so it was a good way to get introduced to some new games.  Here are my quick thoughts on the 4 games we learned about.

Catan Geographies: Germany

Think Settlers of Catan based in Germany.  The board is fixed, so you don't have a lot of setup.  Game play is similar to Catan, you roll dice, collect commodities, build roads or town halls or landmarks.  You keep track of victory points and the first one to 10 points (4 player game) or 12 points (3 player game) wins.  Since we only played 25 minutes, I cannot give a full review, but I liked the game and I have already ordered some copies to sell in our store.


This is the game I had played previously and I still like it.  Basically you are trying to gain control of as much land as possible.  Some land is more valuable than others, like mines and forests.  Your score dynamically changes as you expand your "domaine".   On your turn you can sell action cards to get money, or you can play an action card.  The action card lets you place boundary markers, add knights, or expand your domain.  In 25 minutes, we each only got about 3 turns each, but I am anxious to play it again.

Lords of Vegas

Your are a developer in the early days of Vegas.  Your start out owning real estate that is used as a parking lot, which you earn money for at the beginning of each players turn.  You eventually want to replace the parking lots to casinos, to earn bigger money.  You can take over other player's casinos and try to be the next "Lord of Vegas".  This is probably the most complicated game of the 4 we played.  Again, since we only played for about 25 minutes, we weren't able to get too deep.  However, I plan to introduce this to some of my gaming friends and give it a go.


The last game we played was Weihandler.  It was the simplest game demoed.  Weinhandler is a card game where each card represents a bottle of wine.  Each bottle has a brand of wine, a type of wine, and a point value on it.  The basic theme is you are a wine collector trying to build up the most valuable wine cellar.  You do this by participating in auctions.  Each auction has 4 bottles of wine in it.  You bid wine cards out of your hand and try to be the highest bidder.  However, this game has an interesting dynamic in it where the winning bidder gets the auction bottles, but the next highest bidder gets the cards the highest bidder bids....the 3rd highest bidder gets the cards the 2nd highest bidder bid, and so on.  The cards the lowest bidder bid becomes the start of the next auction.  This mechanic ended up being the most interesting part of the game.  Do I just go for the auction, or do I go for a certain player's bid cards.  This game is much deeper than it looks on the surface.  This is another one I will be carrying soon.

Final Thoughts

I really liked this Demo 2 Demo program and if I go to future events where it is offered, I will definitely attend again.  If I had known how good it was going to be, I would have attended the 2nd session that demoed 4 additional games.  Mayfair has got a winning idea here....

I have more to tell you about the trade show, so watch for an update in the next few days....

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