I started the HelCon II experience on Friday. The event began Saturday, but I since I was coming from a longer distance, arriving on Friday was a good idea so I could meet Tommy and Laura sooner. Evening was well spent at the Ryytty residence, filled with games, food, sauna and idle chatter.
They had bought the other Crokinole set made by Ismo from me and it was well placed on their living room table. Good placement. The first games I played were thus Crokinole matches against Laura and Tommy. Two games, one victory and one tie. What a nice way to start the weekend!
After dinner Laura left and me and Tommy started with two-player games. Two of them had been to Essen and Tommy had brought a ton of games with him, so there were many interesting games to try. We started with Hive. We played four games and Tommy won all of them. Once I was close to winning, but Tommy made a miracle recovery. The game is rather curious, and worth trying if you’re into quick two-player abstracts. It’s not a heavy game unless you make it a one, so it’s quite good two-player filler if both players are familiar with the game.
Then we tried Tom Tube — after reading the Games Journal review, I just knew I’d like the game. Fortunately Tommy had bought it from Essen. It was as good as I expected. I also liked the race game aspect of it I didn’t know of. You’ll have to build a path and then race through it as fast as possible. We played three games and I won two of them — in my second victory, I made a good use of drifting through long lengths of tubes. Very good, and definitely on my “this game I want”-list. I’m not rushing to buy it, though, because I’m not sure if I’ll have many opportunities to play it.
By then Laura was back and she wanted to play Constellation, another Essen oddity. Suits me. It turned out to be a good game, too. If you’re good with IQ tests like the one Mensa uses, you’ll do great in this one. Players try to find certain patterns in a 7×7 matrix of tiles. The tiles have three attributes (background colour, icon, icon colour) and each of the players uses one of those attributes to find patterns. So I’d be looking for patterns formed with tiles with the same icon and you’d be looking for patterns made by tiles with the same background colour, for example. Each turn you can swap two tiles, to make the patterns possible. I won the game, but then again I had probably the easiest attribute, the background colour. The game is a limited edition of 200 copies, so I’m not hoping to score a copy. Hopefully the game will be republished in greater numbers with better components — if that happens, I’m probably buying one.
Then it was time for sauna and after that, some more two-player games. I studied the rules of Top Speed and we tried that. Five games didn’t take a long time — trying to understand the Adlung English rules took probably longer. It was a good game for me, as I’m pretty fast. I think I was faster to empty my hand in each game. I won three out of five. Top Speed is great fun and definitely worth the few euros it costs.
We also played a two-rounder of Isis & Osiris. Tommy hadn’t played it before, I think, but I had — after all, it’s the most-played game in our board game club this year! And for a good reason, too, because it’s fast and fun. If it isn’t fast, it isn’t fun.
Metro was another new game for me. It was great fun, I like the complicated tile network that is created during the game. There’s good amount of player interaction and luck involved. Metro isn’t a great game, but good, solid fun nonetheless.
The evening was closed with a Crokinole match between me and Tommy. Keeping the board as the centerpiece of the living room surely creates a nice temptation to play just one more game…